Thrift shops, and most recently, HomeGoods--a discount store, are the places to shop! My makeshift blocks cost anywhere from under a dollar to around $15 dollars. A block the size of the large dark bowl above would cost anywhere between $120 and $250 or more dollars. Additionally, I do not pin into my traditional blocks unless I absolutely have to. These are my sculptures, my works of art..., but I will push pins into these bowls, etc., without a second thought.
My hat making material of choice is buckram (the material covering the vase). Buckram is a heavily sized cotton material, that when dampened and stretched over a block, conforms to the shape of the block. Of course it's also used dry for flat patterns that will be covered with various materials, as is the dampened, blocked, and dried buckram. Knowing how to work with buckram will allow a milliner to create any shape she desires.
Sooooo, stay toned. I can't wait until I post again. Now which one of those bowls, etc., will I use to create my next hat.