Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Cabbage Rose Class Project, No Summer School, and Other Ramblings

Summer School Ends  Thursday, a week ago, my evening millinery class was buzzing with activity and chatter.  You see, it was the last night of class before summer vacation.  Not only was it the last night, but for the first time since I have been taking millinery classes, over a quarter of a century on and off, there would be no summer school because California budget cuts caused LAUSD  to ax our millinery classes, as well as some other summer classes.  Back when I started taking classes, summer school was a time when we would cram everything in--flower, glove, purse, and jewelry making, including shoe covering and sewing, and hat making, of course!  Oh, how I long for those summers of creativity!  These classes serve adult learners, including seniors, and high school students needing to take additional classes, usually for graduation.

Cabbage Rose Project  What was all the chatter and urgency about?  Well everyone was excited about the cabbage rose Mrs. Eloise King, our millinery teacher, was demonstrating to make on this last night.  Several of the students had made the rose earlier to trim their hat, and it was so beautiful that everyone in class wanted to make it.  This was not the only rose being taught this night, but this was the one that really peaked my interest.  Unlike the cabbage roses I had made in the past using strips of folded fabric, this rose, although it looked very similar, was constructed in a unique manner.  It was this construction technique that intrigued me.  This rose was constructed using 12 squares of fabric of varying sizes.  Each tier of the rose was a pod that fit into the pod below it, and none of the tiers were attached to the other--they floated inside each other like a flower in water.  I made a very large red flower from thin suede, not to be used as trim, but as a hat.  The suede yielded a heavier flower than I liked, but I was fascinated by the results.  Mrs.  King suggested that I turn the edges down, and the result was spectacular!
Why All Those Millinery Classes  You're probably asking, why is she still taking millinery classes.  Well, my calligraphy classes only lasted eight years...and then there was the paper making, the jewelry making, elementary and high school (of course these are out in order), college, college, additional technical classes, etc., etc.  To make a long story short, I'll never stop learning, and it's something I can fit into the rest of my life, for the rest of my life.  

Sharing  When my kids were small, I made hats for extra income while working my regular job.  I actually dreaded making another hat then--the deadlines, etc.  After a while, I started making hats only when I wanted to and gave them away to family and friends; boy, did I love this.  Plus, sharing was and still is a great way for me to give back.  Now retired, I love it even more.  The research and experimentation never ends!  

For those that email me and are surprised that I share so much, I ask, what is there not to share?  I know how you feel because I've seen how some act if they are asked a millinery question.  In my millinery classes we pass hat patterns around as if we were passing around tea cakes.  For years no one even thought about "copying."  Even back in the day when many of the women had millinery businesses, they never felt threatened and always shared.  Today occasionally someone will come through that will take but not give back, but that has only been within the last few years, and they don't stay very long because "they're on a mission," excluding those that stop in to further their careers.  Not everyone has the time to just hang out.  There is a difference.

I've been told that people will not respect me if I just "give it away;" people will just use me up; people will just sell the information.  To that I say, this is about me and what I enjoy doing; there are still good, honest people in the world.  I'll leave the respect to those that really know me, and I will not stop doing what I enjoy doing because of others' issues and insecurities.  Somewhere in the world someone, especially in these times, will need a little extra cash that learning millinery will bring them; someone will need a hobby that they can enjoy without spending a fortune to pursue; someone, because of their location will not have access to millinery classes or expensive millinery supplies; but many will have Web access.  It will not replace formal instruction in many cases, but it will help to a certain point, and big time if hard work goes into learning.  

Kicked Off Yahoo Answer  This leads me to another issue.  Recently I signed up for Yahoo Answer where you ask and/or answer questions on various subjects.  Of course, I searched out millinery and hat making questions and answered them when I could.  Shortly afterwards I was reported for inappropriate language and kicked off--the same language I use here on my blog.  After several emails back and forth to Yahoo (one of those everybody-gets-the-same-email, emails), it was clear that they were not going to investigate.  So, it appears that there is a problem with sharing.  The next time someone is bashing someone on the Web, ask yourself why.  I've learned so much in the last year and a half about how evil some people can be.  What a miserable waste of life.

What do you think?   What is the issue with sharing techniques that have been documents in books down through the years?  We are not talking about the Coca Cola formula here.  Unlike hatting (making men hats), millinery is not a trade that is passed down from family to family--its secrets.  Plus today, there are those that make exquisite men hats without all those guarded secrets.  This does not involve someone's line or technique they have created.  So, I'm I that much out of touch? I would really appreciate your thoughts.

Please note that there was a typo on the County Fair millinery flyer.  The delivery date is July 16, 2011 and the delivery time is from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


  1. I am surprised that I am the first to comment on the sharing issue. I have had experience with "over sharing", and what I found was that, if you are confident in your talent, you have nothing to fear by sharing. After all, no one can create something from inside of you but YOU! Even when someone copies you, their work can never have the authenticity of a true artist. I also found that by sharing, it kept me growing because I could let go of my comfort zone when I share and then have no choice but to move forward.
    The negative feedback you are getting is from people who make money from millinery work who are not growing, so they feel threatened that you are teaching everyone things that they want to keep secret. So, keep sharing!! I found sharing far more rewarding than the money I might have made by guarding my "secrets" for fear that someone might outshine me.
    Hugs to YOU!

  2. Thanks Wendy. I totally agree with you. Also, I find that creative people constantly create, almost nonstop. So they are always in the forefront.

    Concerning the comments, I did get a few on FaceBook. If I didn't see the daily site statistics on this blog, I would be really disappointed, because I would think that no one is visiting. Actually, the statistics tell me that many people are visiting each day. So, believe me when I say, I really appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment. A little bit of encouragement goes a long way.

    Thanks again.

  3. Lee, as someone who is just getting into millinery, your blog is heaven sent. Like you, I love learning. I have a full time job but my free time is spent reading about various crafts and I am currently trying my hand at sewing, crocheting,jewelry making, bag making, and now millinery.
    About sharing, you were spot on when you said somewhere in the world there is someone who needs a hobby without spending a fortune on supplies. That person is me. True I have signed up for some classes, but that does not leave me with enough money for expensive supplies, and boy is millinery an expensive craft. Lol.
    So your blog means a lot to me and I am so grateful.

    I think Wendy is right when she says if you are confident of your talent, you won't be afraid to share. The information I have obtained from books is awesome. That same info is available to everyone. What differs is our interpretation of said information, and the manner in which we choose to express our interpretation via hats. I hope one day I will be able to produce works of art, but for now, I am learning to walk, and without people like you who so selflessly devote your time to helping babies like us learn to walk, millinery as an art would die.

    Oh my God this is one lengthy comment. I better stop

  4. Dibs, I love your excitement about learning and making millinery. Try to keep it enjoyable. I was looking at a segment on the news where it was stated that other things, such as hobbies, etc., have the same affect as meditation on the brain and our ability to relax. I believe this to be so because I'm so relaxed when I'm making something.

    About the expense of millinery, it can be very inexpensive. If you are like me and have little control when it comes to buying supplies, then it becomes expensive. I purchase my fabrics from a discount store, still I overspend :) It is possible to make a hat with very nice material for well under $10! Of course we are not talking about the purchase of fur felts, etc. But look around to get the best price you can for your supplies. I found a very expensive material that goes for $50 for $20, jinsin, on Etsy (various colors). I picked up a a ton of fur felts and straws for under $7 (regular $12 $34) when one of the sellers purchased supplies from a milliner that had gown out of business, etc., etc. Know what things cost by doing your research.

  5. Hi Mrs. Wendy! I SO SO SO appreciate your sharing! It's because of reading your blog that I put my hot glue gun back in the general crafts basket, and started gathering real milliner needles, and some buckram & wire. I actally tried my first wire frame for a July 4th "hat" using red aluminum wire & stuff from our local Big Lots! I too need to make some extra $$ and I'm getting lots of encouragement from FB friends, etc. Thanks again!

  6. Hi Sarah. Thanks, you've made may day. This is what this blog is all about--helping, learning, and enjoying the journey. If you have any questions or if you would like to see something presented here that will help you, please let me know.

  7. Querida Lee, he aprendido tanto, gracias a usted y a su blog¡¡¡
    Me encantaria formar parte de esas clases, pero esta tan lejos su pais del mio.
    El compartir "saber" enriquece a las#personas y proporciona un intercambio de ideas y creatividad.
    Pienso que la genialidad y la imaginacion no se agota, tiene unicamente que ver con el estado animico de cada uno.
    Me gusta mucho su rosa y el tejido que ha utilizado. Yo hice algo parecido. Tengo una foto de ello en el encabezamiento de mi blog.
    Estuve investigando en google sobre rosas de ese tipo, en sombreros y libros de millinery vintage y al final, compre un vestido en la tienda Zara de España, que tenia unas flores hechas de igual manera, las deshice y averigue como realizarlas. Uno no sabe cuando puede encomtrar la solucion a algunas dudas.

  8. Gracias Carmen. Me gustaría poder viajar por todo el mundo y tomar clases de sombreros. Además, me encanta inspeccionar sombreros vintage y prendas de vestir.

  9. me gustaria saber hacer esta flor... no encuentro como hacerla.
    un saludo desde españa¡¡¡

  10. La rosa que hice es demasiado complicado de explicar en un mensaje. Se compone de tres a cuatro capas o vainas y cada vaina se encuentra en el otro. Aquí es una flor más fácil.

  11. Olá a todos@as! Quero desenvolver um trabalho de chapelaria em uma comunidade pobre, no nordeste do Brasil, ensinar a essas mulheres como ter indepêndencia finaceira dentro de seus lares cuidando de seus filhos sem pais. Tenho algum conhecimento de chapelaria e penso em desenvolver com elas o pouco que aprendi. Cheguei aqui em minha pesquisa. Quero trabalhar com Juta uma fibra nossa e busco ideias, como formas modelos... É uma cidade de praia recebemos turistas de todo mundo e elas poideriam comercializar os chapéus. Obrigado pelo aprendizado. " Poesia na Cabeça"