For Natalja, founder of the creative studio, ArtLuja, millinery is the perfect combination of art and skill and has inspired her to collaborate with other artists in Latvia. Being a somewhat small country, millinery is not a very prominent art form or profession so for Natalja, Hat Academy has been a great resource to combine with her existing creative skills. As you can see, she has her own strong sense of style and has used a unique rouching technique to create a floral feel in this gorgeous pastel button hat with a diamanté encrusted bow. Read on to find out more about millinery life in Latvia.
What do you love most about Millinery?
A hat is like a picture. It consists of many details. In hats you can combine different techniques, play with fabrics, use various materials. The hat makes the image of a woman complete. The hat is like poetry, each of them is different, each has its own character: this one is tender, this one is strict, but another is playful and provocative, and yet there is a modest or mysteriousness to each of them.
How did you get into Millinery?
For many years I have been engaged in decorations and silk flowers. I know a lot of techniques, and one day I wanted to combine all of my knowledge into one product. That's how my hats were born. Gradually I began to learn the materials, and started studying with Hat Academy.
How you would describe your designs.
My designs for making hats are the results of creativity, the fruit of my imagination, the search for a new, the joy derived from the final result.
Who is your ideal customer?
My ideal customer is a refined woman who is looking for her own individual image and finds it in my works. Our time is very fast, and the hat, in my opinion, obliges us to slow down, relax. It creates a special rhythm and a special mood.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by nature, especially flowers, as well as the work of other masters, inspired by close people, students, friends. My hats are my inspiration.
If you could invite any milliner to tea who would it be and why.
Once I was inspired by the work of Philip Treacy. His works are divine, every hat is a story. This is the work and skill of the great genius.
What is your favourite material to work with?
In my work, I combine different materials. I love to use veil, feathers, lace, stones and, of course, flowers. In more recent times, I use embroidery and silk ribbons.
What’s your Favourite type of hat?
I love small cocktail hats, I create them from many details, most often complete with ornaments. I adore wedding hats. I like to make both romantic hats, which we then use in photo sessions, and more strict ones, for example, for church or theatre.
What has been the largest challenge you face in millinery?
In Latvia, where I live, there are no courses in hats and materials, so I have to order everything. However, I do not think that this is a big problem. When you really want something, you just do it, and everything shapes itself around that. Often, when you are just starting out on the creative path, you have to perform many other tasks. Millinery is not just the creation of hats. You need to take pictures, sell your products, advertise them, purchase materials. Sometimes it takes a lot of time from the very creativity, so you have to learn a lot.
Famous words to live by.
"The peak of mastery is unattainable, but every day is given to us to take a step closer to it. And the master is not the one who reached the peaks, but the one who is always on the road"- Chinese philosophy
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