Featured 14 Apr 2022 Image
The title of my project was The Hatstory of Newcastle-under-Lyme (me trying to make it into a pun) but could also be called A local history of hats or anything along those lines really!
Information about me:
Holly is a local, self-taught hatmaker that uses the traditional practice of ?elt blocking?to create unique and interesting headwear. She has been learning for 3 years and recently started a business under the name Hojo Hattery, where she sells her creations. Her recent achievements are selling her work internationally, winning a local ?ew Business of the Year?award, and going full-time with her self-employed business.
Information about the project:
Whilst learning to make hats, Holly discovered that Newcastle-under-Lyme had a rich history of hat-making and felt manufacturing in the 17th and 18th century, and wished to explore this further. As Appetite and Newcastle BID were advertising a paid Artist Commission in their new building ?ewcastle Common? Holly applied and began her residency by speaking to locals about their knowledge of the local history of hat-making. She also received lots of old images of local residents wearing felt hats throughout history and chose three to bring to life and re-create. Through a series of filmed tutorial videos, Holly explained the hat-making process and created: a Tricorn Hat inspired by Newcastle Town Crier ?rank Shufflebotham?(complete with an embroidered coat of arms designed by herself), A large floral ladies Wedding Hat from the Edwardian era, and a mens Bowler hat embellished with Gold painted pyrography designs inspired by Newcastle-under-Lyme. These 3 hats are now on display in Brampton Museum as part of Holly? guest curation exhibition in the downstairs Spotlight Gallery. She has also carefully chosen an array of historic hats from the Museums archive to display, along with a wall of images provided by local residents of their family members wearing hats throughout history. The exhibition is open from the 9th April to the 15th of May.
Traditional Hat-making is such a rare craft these days, that I felt quite alone with it whilst first starting to learn. After hearing about the rich history of this practice locally, it helped me to feel connected to my City and more passionate about it than ever. It? been incredible to hear stories from local residents of old hat shops, hat-makers and milliners, and I even found out recently that my Great Grandma was a local Milliner, so I guess it? in my blood!
I would encourage anyone in any type of craft or trade to delve into its history, as it? given me a new love, and a deeper understanding for my work