Boston Handmade Holiday Gallery 2012

The holidays are fast approaching and once again the artists and craftspeople of Boston Handmade have come together for a holiday gallery exhibition. Located at the Christina Hurley gallery at 554 Washington Street in Canton, Massachusetts, the exhibition includes a wide array of beautiful handmade gifts. I am honored to have my hats and hair accessories included in the show again this year.

My friend Wendy and I model Bird Nest Fascinators at the opening reception

The show officially opened with a reception last Saturday, and the gallery was packed with people looking for unique items for their loved ones. I sold a headband to a nice lady who was looking for a gift for her eight year old niece. She even asked me to write her a little note on a business card. I think this is my first request for an autograph!

My headbands and bobby pins on display

Of course, holiday shopping is just getting into swing this weekend. Instead of heading to Wal-Mart or other large corporate retail chains today, why not head to the Boston Handmade Holiday Gallery tomorrow for Small Business Saturday instead?

A collection of Bird Nest Fascinators waiting for you to take them home

Millinery Marvels–KittyKanzashi

Since I’ve been incorporating origami in my millinery designs, it seems only natural that I would eventually be drawn to tsunami kanzashi: the Japanese art of creating flowers from folded fabric. I have begun to make my own tsunami kanzashi hair pins, and I am pleased with the way they have come out. However, I cannot even begin to hold a candle to the intricate work of fellow milliner KittyKanzashi.

Kanzashi hair band by kittykanzahi

Each one of these flowers was painstakingly hand crafted, with every petal folded and sown individually. Kitty’s work is an impressive display of technical skill, but what I admire most about her work is the creativity of her designs. In the headband pictured above she has arranged the flowers in a “spiral galaxy pattern.” In addition to hair bands and combs, Kitty makes stunning kanzashi bridal headpieces, like this crown:

Imperial Hime Bridal Crown

Tzunami kanzashi are a traditional Japanese art form, and these folded flowers have been adorning meiko for centuries. Kitty’s work draws on that traditional aesthetic, but she takes it in her own, unique direction. Her creativity is expressed in this Stormy Sky Tsumani Kanazhi, which incorporates felted merino wool:

Stormy Sky Tsunami Kanzashi

Weekly Wishlist–High Tea

Although my husband was born and raised in Kenya, his mother is British and it is her culture that he most inherited, particularly a penchant for tea. I never used to have more than an occasional cup of herbal tea on a cold winter afternoon. Since hooking up with Hassan, however, I find myself drinking at two to three cups of black tea a day. My wedding vows included a promise to make him tea whenever he was ill. When neither of us are ill we split the tea making duties. And of course, nothing makes tea better than some handmade goodness to go along with it.

 I pity the fool who doesn’t want this teapot:

Mr. Tea Pot by LennyMud

And of course to remind us of why we drink tea, we could use these delightful tea bowls:

Keep Calm and Drink Tea by Holly Slay

And of course, we need something to drink. My husband prefers the simplicity of tea, Earl Grey (hot), but for myself I like the spice of a good Chai.

Loose Leaf Rooibus Chai Tea from TheRobinsNest

Millinery Marvels: Talulahblue

I have often felt that modern Western culture gives too little regard to the forehead as a site of decoration. We paint our cheeks and our lips, pierce our ears and our noses, but the space from our eyebrows up to our hairline is sadly ignored. Fortunately, British milliner Talulahblue is working to rectify the situation with her wide variety of stylish headbands.

This gorgeous piece, titled Ruby of the Orient in recognition of Eastern cultures longer history with forehead decorations, is a beautiful example of inventive millinery. The peacock feathers are hand curled, and Talulahblue has created a lovely satin cameo to anchor the feathers. The beaded trim provides my favorite forehead decoration.

Milinery Marvels–LaPetiteMenagerie

Deck of Cards Pillbox hats by LaPetiteMenagerie            

Artists draw their inspiration from the things they see around them, and milliners are no exception. It takes true talent to take the everyday and turn it into something extraordinary. That is why I am so impressed with the millinery work of Shelby, the creative mind behind LaPetiteMenagerie. Most of us have a deck of cards sitting around our house somewhere, but how many of us would look at those cards and say “Let’s take this and make it sexy”?  But that is exactly what Shelby did with her Deck of Cards series of pillbox hats. Each hat is constructed in buckram and wire, covered in black and white leather, and then decorated with rhinestones and veiling. I challenge each of my readers (and myself) to look with new eyes at the things we see around us and see if we can find some new inspiration in them.

Model – Kitty Kosmo
Photographer – Luminous Lizzy
Hair & MUA – Sarah Rochelle
Corset – Sweet Carousel
Photo used with permission from Shelby of LaPetiteMenagerie