Friday, September 14, 2012

My Hat Looks Important!

Here's a picture of my hat that's being exhibited at the Peabody Essex Museum in conjunction with their show on hats. My hat is part of the local show "Contemporary New England Milliners"(CNEM). I think there were four of us chosen to have hats in the show, but I can't say for sure.

Mine is the burgundy hat on the left. The hat on the right is by Sarah Havens. You can find these and the other CNEM hats in the American gallery.

This has been a totally cool experience. Seeing my hat under glass makes it seem very important.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Have you not seen it?

Oh dear, you must go to the Peabody Essex Museum to see their latest exhibit—it's all about hats! Old, new, decorative, funky—it's all there. There's eve a giant body hat—it covers the head all the way down to the knees!

I'm a lucky girl because I have a hat on display in a related exhibit, their "Contemporary New England Milliners" show. So funny to see one of my hats under glass and on display in a museum. Then you can go over to the shop and try on some of the hats that they have there.

If you're into fashion, put this on you list of things to see. The show will be up until February, but you should go early because you'll probably want to go back a couple of times.

Opening night reception was on Friday, and Stephen Jones, milliner extraordinaire, was on hand to talk about this exhibit that he put together. Here are a couple of shots I took at the event.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

The New Studio

I just realized that I never posted a photograph of what the studio looks like. Of course, you're going to want to actually come to our Open Studios event being held the last weekend of September to see it all for yourself. In the meantime, here's what the new-ish digs look like.

Yes, it's a little packed, but we like it and Andrew and I are getting along just fine even though the space is a lot tighter. We'll try to have it looking tidier by Open Studios!

ArtSpace Maynard
63 Summer St., Maynard. Mass.
September 29th - 30th
noon - 5p.m.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Summer's Over

This is too long for a blog post, but please, just let me get it out.

Summer is already over. Yup. I hate to report that, but for me it feels pretty true. We had planned it all properly, and it was going to be a pretty good season, but life has a way of doing whatever the hell it wants.

We thought if we got an early start by doing our yearly trip to Portugal at the beginning of the summer, that there would still be plenty of summer left for us when we got home. And I'd be able to get back and finish up that lovely commission for the Peabody Essex Museum before having to have foot surgery in August.

Summer itself had gotten a leap on us and my garden blooms were going by so quickly that I couldn't remember what would be left when we got home. And I knew that, though they shouldn't be, the raspberries would have come and gone before we could taste one.

But Portugal, great, right? Three weeks in coastal Portugal with friends, family, and great food—who could ask for more. Well, the Mr. of this Milliner is in a startup and doesn't actually get vacation time, so those three weeks for him were mostly delicious meals wrapped in fourteen-hour work days. The joy of the trip was having my mom and step-dad visit from Massachusetts, bringing with them my nieces (eight and eleven). We had nearly two weeks of laughter and fun. My three-year-old daughter got really close to her cousins, while we showed them around, husband's laptop always in tow.

The plan was that we'd fly back to Massachusetts with the family when they returned, but three days before we were supposed to leave, my father (who lives in Portugal) had a heart attack and ended up in the hospital. Our visitors had to go home. The vacation collapsed. I didn't want to be there any more, but we cancelled our flights ($250 penalty for each of our tickets?!).

So I found myself in Portugal trying to negotiate a healthcare system that doesn't quite make sense to me, in a language that I had once considered myself fluent in (Side note: Fluency is like the needed coin that you suddenly drop in your car on your way to the toll booth—you feel the tip of it with your fingers, and just when you seem to be lifting it from the grimy carpet, it's gone again.). My Portuguese was not quite up to the task, or more realistically, it was making me so tired!

I spent each of the next twelve days in a hospital that a three-year-old wasn't allowed to enter. The fourteen-hour-a-day-working husband suddenly had a toddler that wanted to spend lots of time trying to get him to play and talk about stuff. My father's condition was slowly improving, and they were able to move him out of a more critical unit, but things seemed to be moving about as fast as an octogenarian driving a town car on a lovely Sunday afternoon. And then the healthcare service industry of Portugal decided that they would go on strike. I was done. My father was stable and awaiting results and there was obviously nothing more that my presence was accomplishing. We had extended our stay by nearly two stressful weeks, and it was time to go home.

So I came home to piles of mail, appointments that I needed to reschedule, blooms gone past. And I had to keep calling my father and trying to make a stubborn man follow doctor's orders with the mere power of my voice (impossible!). There was still so much that I wanted to do—trips to a nearby lake, a stay on Cape Cod with family-like friends, all the ice cream we had missed, barbecues, community gardening, and on and on.

And the trip to Portugal had been scheduled with plenty of time for me to come home, enjoy some summer, and then have surgery on a foot that's been trying kill me for a couple of years now. That surgery is just a handful of days away, and the foot won't be able to get wet for three weeks after that. So forget sand, and beach, and shoes, I won't even be getting a shower!

And the hats... Well, we'll just have to wait and see how I heal before I go finish up the commission. Surprisingly, there's a lot of standing and walking to be done.

 Oh, this is not the summer I wanted to have.

 Thank you so much for letting me have my little pity party. I think I'm done now.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Denishé at the Peabody Essex Museum Shop!

I just checked my blog and realized that I hadn't posted in so long—how had I forgotten?

I have managed to land on Planet Luck. I never even asked how she heard about me, but one of the buyers from The Peabody Essex Museum boutique contacted me about making some hats for their store. The hats would be sold during their upcoming show about the history and marvels of millinery.

This is a great opportunity.

What's funny is that just a couple of weeks before, I was talking to my studio mate and saying, "You know, I think I'm going to do what my husband suggested—don't worry so much about selling hats, just make the stuff I want to make." I was going to slow down, maybe do some more painting, and make really fantastic, but slow-paced headwear.

How could I say no to the request from the Peabody Essex? I couldn't. Especially when she said these magic words, and I paraphrase: "I want you to make us your most-creative hats. I don't want anything that I've seen in stores. I want unique, fun, colorful. Oh, and by the way, we'll pay you for them." I looked around to see if there might be hidden cameras. Was this some kind of joke?

It was not. And now I find myself in the process of making about twenty-five hats by August first. I'm thrilled, though a little bummed about the painting. I'll get over that. It's just so exciting to think that I'll have my hats in such a lovely place, in a wonderful gift shop, and among such talented milliners.

They really liked Liora's hat (that red hat there), so I'm making some like it for the museum. Liora is going to be wearing this to her son's Bar Mitzvah. Mazel Tov for both of us!

So wish me luck, as I set my head to making the absolute, most-best-beautiful-fantastic hats that I've ever made. And let's hope that lots of people get to go see this amazing show that has been traveling through Europe.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pretty Things

Here's a pretty little thing I've been working on. I'll have it with me at Paradise City Marlborough.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Friday, February 24, 2012

Got to get making!

Oh my! I just realized that my next show isn't in a month, it's in two-and-a-half weeks. All this experimenting that I've been doing has to, sigh, stop so that I can get to making more tried-and-true wearables. That's not to say that I won't be tinkering again soon—probably after the show—that fooling-around-sort-of-thing is what makes for the new and exciting.

I've been working with a new material called Fosshape. It's a modern version of buckram, but without all the mess. Essentially, it's a foundation material that can be molded with steam or extreme heat, that you can build upon. I bought a few yards of it with a promise to myself that I would use it. I'm doing pretty well so far, though not every hat has worked.

Yesterday I was working on a little number that had a Fosshape base. I decided to call an old friend that I hadn't spoken to in a while because I knew the task ahead of me was a bit tedious, and I needed a distraction. With headset on, I called my friend and set about blind stitching fabric to the base. The call was a good move. We easily spoke for nearly two hours, and the repetition of my task was like background noise. Next step is to sew a lining in.

I'll have this, and the other things that I've been working on with me when I show at Paradise City Marlborough March sixteenth through eighteenth.

If you're thinking of coming to me looking for something special (i.e. special color or material) give me a heads up and I'll try have something to show you.

Hope to see you in Marlborough!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Once Upon a Time

I finished my painting. What painting? The one I started back in June or July. The one that's been like a monkey on my back—Toss it? Finish it? In the end I decided that I couldn't throw it away, that I really did need to see it through. I'm glad I did.

This painting has struggled and searched to find its own meaning, and I have struggled right along with it. I've had good people in my life to help me work through it and offer advice. Now all that remains is the difficult task of mounting it and getting it framed. The brown background is not part of the piece—it's just the cork board holding it temporarily. So it's two pieces, with a 1.5" river between each side. Maybe I'll post another photo after I make the difficult framing decisions.

I wasn't sure about the title, and then one came to me. Then I forgot it. So for now, I'll just leave it with a loose title of "Once Upon a Time", and you can know that it might go by a different name by time it comes back from the framers.

Please feel free to leave comments. I always find them interesting.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Big Move: post 1

We are now exactly one month into the new move, and I have yet to report on any of it. It seems that every day we're still looking to put a pile of things away or figure out what to do with some large container or piece of equipment.

We moved from a 1,022 s.f. space (that included a storage room and a bathroom), to a 724 s.f. space (no storage, no bathroom). Let me tell you—those three-hundred square feet made a lot of difference. We had lots we needed to get rid of, and we needed to figure out how to store the piles of ugly things that we needed but didn't want to look at. On top of that, I needed to come to terms with that fact that I would no longer have my own sink to felt at—oh, how that hurts! Still, it beats the steam pipe leaks. By the time we moved out, we had already had six or seven for the start of cold-weather season, and it wasn't even officially winter yet. Let's hope the new tenants have better mojo than we did.

It seems like it's going to take me a long time to get this post done—my time is pretty limited. So, for some perspective, let me show you what my studio setup looked like when I started at ArtSpace back in 2004.

Pretty Humble beginnings, no? It was a start.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Must-Share

It's been a long time since I posted to my blog. Things have been crazy around here—the holidays, my studio move, the normal and not-so-normal things. I'll post soon about how the changing of studios has gone, but in the meantime I wanted to share this video that a friend sent to me.

Give me another twenty to forty years and I'm going to be one of these ladies, for sure!

Many happy wishes in this brand, spanking-new year,
Denishé Hats