www.silverhillcreative.com will be coming soon! Until then, please enjoy my blog or visit my Etsy shop.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Milliners on Etsy

Etsy has a neat feature called Treasury, where you can create a collection of 16 items (from other sellers generally). I've created several for a variety of reasons. Yesterday I made one for hats. Check it out here:

New Year ... New Hat (Etsy treasury)

I believe more in karma than competitiveness. So I don't have a problem giving a shout-out to other milliners. In fact, I enjoy doing it. I love hats — and that includes hats made by other artists. :) This collection is 16 of my many favorite hats on Etsy.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

"Milla– what?"

I knew that the words "milliner" and "millinery" were not exactly in the common vernacular. Still, I think I'm a little surprised by how many educated people I need to explain the word to.

I said before that I avoid using "atelier" because I think it sounds too pretentious for what I'm (currently) doing. But I do like the word "milliner." In some ways it sounds more descriptive than "hat-maker." No one is going to confuse a milliner with one of those kiosks at the mall where you can get a design embroidered on a baseball cap. Or even assume that I knit or crochet hats.

It might be time, though, to say "I make hats" when people ask what I do. Otherwise the conversation goes like this...

"What do you do?"
"I have my own millinery business."
"Milla– what?"
"It means hat-making."
"Oh. I didn't know that word before."

And any conversation about my hats or my actual work vanishes as the person absorbs the new vocabulary.

But hey ... I did register merely Silverhill Creative as a business name with the state. So I could add any descriptor on that I'd like. Silverhill Creative Hats. Silverhill Creative Headwear. Silverhill Creative Accessories. ... But probably not. :)

I am Silverhill Creative Millinery.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Fascinator (Sold!)

I made this fascinator recently. It was kind of a custom order, so it sold basically immediately. (Yay!) The down-side is that almost nobody got to see it in my shop before it was gone. So here it is:

I call it "Waves." Inspired by the ocean in Maine. :)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Sacred Spaces

Like many milliners, I work from home. In a way, though, I don't consider it working from home. I work from my space — my studio (or "atelier" if I want to use the fancy-schmancy word many milliners use). But, because it's in my house, occasionally it has to give way to other functions.

For more than 2 weeks in the past month, my studio has had to be converted back into its original identity as a guest room. I love my guests. First, our best friend from college; next, my mom. I was glad they were here. But I experienced a new emotion too, feeling kind of cranky and frustrated. I had work I could do outside of that space (and I did). So I wasn't totally stifled, but I felt as though I was. I've been thinking about how selfish and needy I was feeling about "my" room. And it really made me think about how important — even sacred — our creative work spaces can be to us as artists.

I now have my studio back, and I feel so relieved! And part of having the room empty means supplies and tools get scattered everywhere. (Oops!) I have gotten a lot of work done in the past couple days. Glad to have full access to all my creative materials. :)

What would be really great is if I had the money to finish the "bonus room" over the garage to use exclusively as my atelier. A girl can dream ...

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Geeking Out

There's lots of vintage stuff on Etsy, and I usually admire it and move on. Today I saw this, though, and I'm practically squealing with geeky delight over it:


Click through for more photos.

Maybe it's because of the shoes I made for Sweeney Todd, but I am completely in love with this. The embroidery is gorgeous! And it's in such good condition. I half want to buy it, but I don't think I can justify the expense. So, I thought I'd share the vintage fashion love.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Busy busy ... but not blogging

I feel like I've been neglecting my blog. But that's because I've been working on my Etsy shop and busy learning the ropes there. So many Etsy sellers! I've joined teams etc., networking to get my shop noticed.

Here it is:

Silverhill Creative on Etsy

Featuring my new favorite hat:

My husband thinks I should keep it for myself, but I'm offering it up for sale. :)

I hope to get a web site going in 2013. For now, though, it's Etsy.

Monday, November 5, 2012

My Logo, Dissected

After spending a long time working on it, I rather recently finished my logo. I am lucky that I have a background in graphic design, so I can have a nice, professional logo without having to pay someone else to design it.

Silverhill Creative Millinery

The part that took the most time was the lettering. Those are not fonts. All of the letters were created by me! :) Side note: In the past, I have occasionally wanted to be a font designer. No more. The amount of nitty-gritty detail work, getting curves just so, etc. is very tedious. I am proud of the results of my work, but I don't think I'll make font design a permanent part of my life.

I wanted a logotype (that is, a text-based logo) rather than an icon of some kind. Partly because I didn't want to lock myself into a certain style of hat being depicted (fedora, cloche, etc.). Also, I wanted kind of a vintage look, and fashion and millinery labels have traditionally been logotypes.

The style was all about Art Deco. Because I love theatre so much, I took my inspiration from deco-era marquees and theatre facades. Obviously it doesn't look much like a marquee now. In the process of designing it, I had to simplify the style and make it symmetrical. But that is the origin story of the shape surrounding the text. As for color scheme, I went with a deco-inspired color palette as well. I have a secondary color scheme as well:

Silverhill Creative Millinery

So there you have it. I hope this was at least somewhat interesting.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Green Cloche

It's hard not to want to keep all the hats I make. But here's another peek at one I made for myself. Interestingly, my personal hats aren't as nice as the ones I make for sale; I sometimes skimp or cut corners on the interior (e.g. by not including a headsize ribbon or by having threads showing).

This is a freeform cloche in fur felt with a salome (heathered) finish in bronze. I like how it covers my ears. Nice and warm.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

My (Current) Favorite Hat

My favorite hat styles tend to come from the 1930s. I think what I love most are the asymmetrical shapes. And tilt hats! So a lot of my millinery work draws inspiration from the '30s (even if it isn't actually historically accurate to the time).

Here is one of my creations from my "personal collection." Haha! That sounds so fancy and artsy and official. Ahem, in other words: I made this hat and kept it for myself. :)

It's designed to be worn tilted to the left (and slightly forward), so that even though the brim is asymmetrical, it sticks out the same distance from the head once angled. Self-fabric band and trim. Made from a velour fur felt hood in antique rose. I think it looks better on me than it does on my "model," but I haven't managed to get photos of myself in the hat yet. (Oh, and I get lots of compliments when I wear it. Yay!)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Procrastination through ... shoes?

I ended up procrastinating and neglecting my hat-making a while this summer/fall. And the reason was because I was in the ensemble of Sweeney Todd at Stowe Theatre Guild. The director changed the time period of the show to be 1745. Our Mrs. Lovett — an actor after my own detail-obsessed heart — had period appropriate shoes that she had gotten while studying in England. The rest of the girls were stuck wearing character shoes, jazz shoes or Victorian-style boots. *shudder*

That wouldn't do for my obsession with historical accuracy, so I decided to ... make my own shoes. In classic "me" fashion, I undertook a sizable project when no one would have cared or thought less of me for just wearing character shoes. And I'd never done anything with shoes before, but I didn't let that dissuade me. What I did was take a pair of character shoes and modded them to look more period appropriate by sewing up brocade fabric in the proper shapes and gluing the fabric to the character shoes. (I don't use a glue gun in my millinery work. I promise!)

Here is the result:

The image quality isn't the best (being taken in dim backstage conditions), and the neon backstage tape doesn't exactly add to the period mood. But I'm pretty proud of my work. My castmates were jealous and some people did notice (mostly fellow costume geeks).

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Color, color, color!

Maybe I'm about a month late to the party, but I was just checking out the Spring 2013 colors from Pantone. I love them all! Really, I just love color. I was less than happy working at a job that required me to wear all black all the time (for which I showed up to the interview wearing a fuchsia skirt and a bright, busy, multi-colored top).

I'm not one to be a slave to trends in the least. I make what I like and what my creativity inspires me to do. So I'm not going to pull out these colors just because they're on trend. Still, it's nice to see what the fashion industry is doing so I can coordinate if I want.

Plus, pretty colors. Always fun.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

And Twitter

And here's the link to my Twitter account:

Friday, October 5, 2012

I am on Pinterest

I dragged my feet for the longest time on joining Pinterest. There are just so many things about the site that are so cheesy to me. But the great thing about it is that you can use it however you want. So there will be no avalanche of recipes or kids' craft ideas from me. Just hats and vintage-y things.

Follow Me on Pinterest

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

"Great hat!"

I don't just wear my own creations. I have a lot of hats that I did not make, and I wear them often. And I've received countless compliments on one mass-produced hat or other. Usually it's "great hat!" That's not strictly a compliment for me because I didn't make the hat.

And then I realized: When people say "great hat," they're not usually complimenting the hat at all. I might be wearing a mass-produced hat that is a good hat or an okay hat, but not a great hat.

What people are really saying is "You're wearing a hat! That's so great! Good for you for rocking that hat!" And that is a compliment. :)

Now we just need to increase hatty awareness so that merely wearing a hat isn't novel enough to earn a compliment and so that people can start to appreciate the difference between an okay hat and a "great" hat.

Friday, September 21, 2012

What's in a Name?

I've been thinking about names, titles and words in a few different ways associated with my business. I guess I should admit that I am overly analytical, and I have a background in writing and editing. As such, maybe I think about words a little more than the average person.

First of all, I officially registered my business name (DBA) with the state. So exciting! I registered just "Silverhill Creative" instead of "Silverhill Creative Millinery" in case I want to branch out beyond just hats. In any event, Silverhill Creative is the brand name. Millinery is the the descriptor.

When I think about names, I also think about naming my hats. Many, many hat makers out there give their creations girls' names. While I like that strategy, it seems like everyone does it. On the other hand, I don't want to be stuck with something strictly descriptive like "blue cloche" or "brown trilby." ... "When from out of the blue, and without any guide, you know what your decision is — which is not to decide." (Ahem, channeling Cinderella from Sondheim's Into the Woods there. My theatre geek is showing.) Back to my graphic designer background. I'll use the naming convention of fonts — which really isn't a naming convention at all. Some fonts have girls' names, some fonts have merely descriptive names and some fonts have more esoteric names. I draw my inspiration from a variety of sources, so my hat names will reflect those varied inspirations.

And then the third way I've been thinking about words: the term "entrepreneur." I suppose that by having my own business (and, yes, trying to make money with it), I am technically an entrepreneur. And that word sounds so powerful and thrilling. But it also connotes (at least to me) the goal of making money and of growing one's business as much as possible. That's not my goal, not really. Sure, I like money. But I do what I do from the love of it. I want to bring pretty and creative things into the world and share them with people. I want to spread the joy of hats to others. And, really, I think most artists and milliners are the same way.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Waiting for cooler weather

It's a gorgeous day today, not too hot. But it's still warm ... which means it's not cool enough to wear felt hats. I like straw hats. I like fabric hats. But felt (wool or fur) is my favorite. I can't wait for cooler weather to get here so I can go back to wearing my favorite fur felt cloche. And making fall/winter hats, too!

Today, though, I'm going to be working with straw. (I know it's not too early to start working on fall hats, but the weather is telling me to make more summer hats.)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Perfection and Procrastination

There's a bit in the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice where Lydia is working on trimming a bonnet — and she tosses it away in frustration. That's how I feel sometimes. My only consolation is knowing that every creative person feels that way at times. Creative people are such perfectionists, which is greatly ironic if you think about it.

And I think that's part of the reason I haven't updated this blog. Writing is easy for me and fun for me; it doesn't feel like work. But I procrastinate posting anything because I want any words, photos, etc. to be perfect. That's something that will never happen. So maybe I'll just toss my bonnet away (metaphorically speaking, obviously) and plow ahead.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pun intended

I've been kind of procrastinating starting this blog. First blog posts always seem so awkward to me. I don't want to just jump in as though the blog has already been around for years and speaking to a not-yet-existing readership. On the other hand, I don't much like the "Hi, this is my first post" approach. This seems to be leaning toward the latter. Oh well.

I'm the new milliner on the block. (Pun definitely intended.) I've been obsessed with hats for years, but I haven't yet endeavored to make money from creating hats. That changes now.

I will post photos of my work, etc. as soon as I am able. Thanks for visiting, imaginary reader!