INTERVIEW: AMANDA JOYNER

With a knack for thinking outside the box and designs which exude quirkiness, Amanda Joyner from Michigan City Indiana, sure knows how to attract attention. From pills and rams horns to tentacles and playing cards, her pieces have the ability to delight and excite any observer. Whilst these whimsical and wild creations form a theme in her designs, Amanda's work also often reflects elegance, balance and subtlety which speaks volumes of her plethora of techniques and understanding of the needs of her customers. When asked what she likes about hats she commented; "They have a way of bringing grace to a woman. They inspire, they flirt, and they let you become who ever you want to be for the day." This milliner needs no further introduction, read on to find out more on the fantastical world of millinery according to Amanda Joyner. 

What do you love most about millinery?
For me millinery is about invoking a reaction from the wearer. I always tell my clients even if it's for a good laugh try on a hat because you never know what doors it will open. Just by wearing my creations I have had so many meaningful conversations and interactions with people. Hats are magic that way.
 
How did you get into millinery? 
My grandmother raised me on musicals while my mom worked three jobs. We always talked about the wonderful hats and outfits the ladies wore and said one day we would have an amazing hat collection. Before my kids were born I had a small collection I later parted with. One day I found a hat I just had to have but my husband couldn't justify the purchase and suggested I make one myself. I think he regrets sometimes the monster he created because after that day I became obsessed with learning how to make hats and traditional millinery skills.
 
In a sentence tell us how you would describe your designs. 
All my hats I try to put a little bit of my own quirkiness. My elaborate crazy pieces I don't have to hide it as much as totally embrace it. When it comes to a sophisticated piece there's always still something about the design that's just odd in a beautiful way.  
 
What is your ideal customer? 
I love a customer who just wants to go crazy with it. Some of my best clients are the ones where we have lots of conversations that just keep feeding the idea of there hat. We're both willing to play with how the materials work and let things just fall into place in the chaos of our ideas.
 
What inspires you?
That ones hard because the oddest things inspire me. It could be my favourite movie Labyrinth, a song on the radio, or a fabric that just catches my eye. If I had one thing it would have to be movies before the crazy special effects. The time they would put into the sets and costumes. There's always something in old movies that catches my eye that can send me sketching.
 
If you could invite any milliner to tea who would it be? 
Oooh that's a tough one. I'd be torn between Phillip Treacy and Piers Atkinson... can I have tea with both? Phillip I feel I could learn so much from as he has always created the most jaw dropping hats.  At the same time Piers is my style of design and quirkiness...I feel like we'd pass the tea and go straight to champagne.
 
What is your favourite material to work with? 
Right now it would be sinamay.  Probably because it's spring and it's the go to material right now.  I love the way it feels when I'm creating a free form piece. It just creates so many unique opportunities with hats once your brave enough to just play.  It allows any accident to become magic. I had some great hats this season because of some accidents with sinamay.
 
Whats your best millinery tip? 
I still feel very much like a baby in the millinery field so I don't know how much I could offer except don't be afraid to ask.  I've met so many great milliners that are amazing cheerleaders and are willing to help you out if you just ask. I don't think I would be where I am without there support and advice when I get stuck in a millinery dilemma.
 
If you had to make your last hat what would it be? 
Well I know it would definitely be over the top. I've used playing cards a lot since I started and I would probably make something insane and cocoon like with them. I love the way I can make cards swoop around a clients head so why not the whole body. Of course it would be out of a top hat with a steaming tea pot and lots of glitter.
 
Famous words to live by.   
Go with the crazy and edit after the chaos. You never know where it might land you. I never would have worked with the House of Mouse if I had edited my crazy mermaid headpiece.

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Tags: #millineryinterview, Amanda Joyner, milliner

Sharon Panozzo

Amanda is not only a unique milliner but a terrific person as well.  I always look forward to her new designs.

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