Congratulations to Emma Files for receiving First Runner-up in the Millinery Association of Australia Student Design 2019 Competition. Discover the workings behind her her amazing "Urban Landscape" creation.

The title for the Design Award was 'Urban Landscape.’ How did you develop your idea for this entry?

When researching Urban Landscape, I noticed there were a lot of aerial photographs of cities, and images that captured a broader view of urban landscape, which included the cityscape extending towards the sunset. I wanted my piece to tell the story of escaping from the city into the sunset, therefore titled my piece “Urban Escape”.

I had a sinamay base already made up that I had blocked using my Rebecca Share 3D hat block, and decided to use it as I thought it represented the shape of the earth well. The idea to recreate the aerial grid view just came to me straight away, as I knew I could use a beading technique that I had learnt in a Couture Beading and Embellishment workshop with The English Tailoress. I wanted a road going out of the city and as I love layered feather work (a technique learnt from Cynthia Jones-Bryson at Hats Off To Adelaide 2017), I incorporated this to create the road heading towards the sunset.

The sunset is where I became a bit stuck with the design of my piece. I had painted a sunset onto Crystoform and honestly my painting skills looked like my 6 yr old daughters (possibly worse). Fortunately, I had the perfect colours in crinoline that would reflect a beautiful sunset. I used my previous knowledge of crinoline spirals thanks to my Rebecca Share Hat Academy course, to create this part of my piece. I then used my Rebecca Share Hat Academy 3D Hat and the Percher Headband tutorial to put my entry together.

What materials were used?
I used a sinamay base which was covered in stretch material and beaded different amounts of layered square metallic sequins for the aerial view of buildings. I layered black goose nagoire feathers for the road, which headed towards the various layers of coloured crinoline attached to millinery wire then covered in the same base stretch material to create the spirals of the sunset.

Were there any challenges creating this piece?
Time was definitely a challenge in creating my entry, as I had really procrastinated on registering for the competition in the first place. This then had the flow on effect with the time I had then left myself to design, order materials and work on creating my piece.

Is there any significance in the colours chosen for the headpiece ?
I chose darker tones to represent the city to reflect the concrete footpaths, dark streets and darker colour buildings, which is what I associate with a city. In choosing the darker colours for the city, it then enhanced the pink, purple and orange tones I love to see in those sunsets that make me stop and take time to appreciate the beauty in the colours.

What do you enjoy the most about creating wearable art?
That feeling of accomplishment when a piece is complete. I enjoy the process of creating wearable art, however, it is that moment when you get to admire it in it's entirety.

Do you have any advice to fellow Millinery students who are considering entering a Millinery competition?
Do it! Please do not doubt yourself and your ability. There is so much to gain both personally and professionally in entering a competition like this. It is not all about winning, placing or becoming a finalist. It is the lessons you can take from it, the goals no matter how big or small that you set for yourself and having the opportunity to meet amazing people on your journey. Go for it!

» More from Emma Files | @emmamichellemillinery

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