Meet Bridget Early, our featured member from Bellefontaine, Ohio. Bridget's gorgeous designs are inspired by her love of vintage headwear and her clothing design background which spans over 30 years! This week we feature her Spring Summer 2015 Album which is jam packed with stunning, delicate and intricate millinery marvels like the fabulous creation below.
How did you get into Millinery?
I love hats, but have a very small head. It varies from 20 ¾” to 21”, so purchasing a hat in the store was virtually impossible. The hats dropped down over my eyes, or looked like buckets sitting on top of my head, if I used sizing tape or drawstring sweatbands. Having designed bridal attire for many years, I was accustomed to making veils and other small head pieces, so making the leap to blocking full hats was a natural progression. I obtained vintage shop manuals that were used to train young women in hat factories. I practiced the techniques taught in the manuals, and then tweaked or developed my own methods until I felt that I could turn out a decent product.
In a sentence tell us how you would describe your designs.
I would describe my design style as vintage romance with a strong influence from nature.
What is your idea customer?
My ideal customer is someone who knows who they are. I love clients who love hats and are confident wearing them. They should also be free spirited enough to see what I design for them, without micro-managing the design. Some of my best designs come when the client says, “This is who I am, and how I want to wear the hat, now make me a hat.”
What inspires you?
I find inspiration everywhere! I am inspired while working in my garden and flower beds, watching my grandchildren at play, traveling, books, movies, and even architecture. I love to go for a long bike ride or a float in my kayak and let my mind wander.
If you could invite any milliner to tea who would it be?
I have never been the star struck type. While I admire the work of many famous milliners, I would choose to step back in time, and have tea with a group of “working” milliners from small towns across the country and around the world in the early 1900s. Those with small hat shops, who day after day worked directly with everyday clients making hats for “real people.”
What is your favourite material to work with?
Do I have to have a favorite? I view materials like the seasons—when I get bored with felt, I have a stack of straw waiting. When straw starts to feel too stiff, I can lay folds of fabulous vintage fabric over buckram . . . . . . . .
Whats your best millinery tip?
Forget about being the next (fill in your millinery idol). True millinery is not about being famous—it is about the work. Develop your own styles and techniques, and experiment.
If you had to make your last hat what would it be?
WOW—if I had to answer today, It would be a hat that would not scare my eight-month-old granddaughter. She is terrified of anything on someone’s head. She could be a real threat to my millinery career!
Famous words to live by.
“The most dangerous risk of all—The risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet that you can buy the freedom to do it later.” Author unknown to me.
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