A Timeout …

I’m taking a timeout from hatmaking as I upgrade my technology and web presence.

Here I am with my first Smartphone (which is smarter than me so I’m trying to figure it out), which will allow me to post to Instagram (which I’m also trying to figure out), and Reddit (which is yet another thing I’m trying to figure out). So. Much. Figuring Out To Do…

Instagram will replace Pinterest, which will remain as an archive. Reddit already gives me more traffic than Twitter, although my feed there is not yet hat-oriented – I’m working on that… Find my own version of Everything Everywhere All At Once on my newly revised Contacts Page.

It’s a virtual triumvirate of upgrades, filled with rabbit holes. But Granada ShopCat reached out as if to say: “It’s OK Mom, you’ll find your way eventually.”

My Semi-Decade Clearance Sale!

That’s right! My gallery returns are your gain! Clearance sale now in progress: )
Click here to find your new hat at a reduced price!

The hats below have now sold. Thank you Early Bird Shoppers!

A Tribute to the ShopCats

I set creative work aside for the last little while, to spend time with and care for Toledo, my Black ShopCat. His brother Granada and I said goodbye to him last week.

Meet the ShopCats

Toledo and his brother were named after cities I had visited in Spain. Toledo was my doorbell and my protector. He was fascinated by many things, including my ruler and rotary cutter which nearly cost him toes on more than one occasion. He was as inquisitive as any cat I’ve ever owned. He joins Odin, his ancestor ShopCat, as one of the immortal felines on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge.

Make a Statement!

At the turn of 2022 I decided to try my hand at creating art pieces that are not hats. Now you can “Make A Statement” with a piece or two from my new collection, which will range from jewelry to home furnishings, to wearables, perhaps even puppets!

Here are the Statement Pieces I have created so far. The Tea and Coffee Cozies are lined with insulated bags that my groceries are delivered in. All pieces are made from recycled materials and items from my decades-old stash of miscellany. These one-of-a-kinds are now available in my online store under the #StatementPieces tag:

Works “other than hats” are not a new thing for me. The photos below show examples of previous custom works. Some of you may recognize the cushions as knock-offs from my hat designs. The embellished clothing at the bottom of this gallery were from a project I delivered last year.

Make your own Statement with something uniquely handcrafted!

Art is Love : )

A Hatter’s Year: 2021 …

Simply a photo essay of the projects I completed this year. Not all projects were hats…

Shop Art, Shop Local …

Sometimes the best thing I can create as an artist, is traffic for other artists. Find a new favorite maker and give the gift of this holiday season!

Move Over Black Friday, Artists Sunday is November 28

The Sunday after Thanksgiving, is Artists Sunday, the day to shop with local artists, creators, and makers. More than 550 communities and 4,200 artists, makers, and art organizations are participating in the nationwide art-shopping movement, now in its second year. Artists Sunday is sandwiched this weekend between Black Friday, Small Business Saturday® and Cyber Monday. Artists Sunday unites artists and communities across the country, all promoting purchases from local artisans.

A gift of art makes a heartfelt connection with friends and loved ones, while supporting local artists and boosting the local economy. You can shop from a full range of art, hand-crafted items, experiences, and performances that are practical, beautiful and inspiring.

Visit the Artists Sunday Online Directory and search for artists by location and the types of craft.

46th Annual Holiday Show at Brookfield Craft Center

No photo description available.

Give the gift of Craft! You’ll find unique handcrafted gifts while supporting artists in their creative pursuits. I have been a participating artist in this show since 2004.

This sale runs through December 31, 2021 and includes special events for Shop Local Saturday and Artists Sunday. Hours are Mon-Fri: Noon-5PM, Sat: 11AM-5PM, Sun: Noon-4PM. They also have selected items available online.

The photo at left shows one of my hats paired with a silk poncho by Kriska, and a handbag by Loyalty Leather.

Holiday Market at Peters Valley

The HOLIDAY MARKET at Peters Valley started last week and runs through January 31, 2022. Hours are 10AM-6PM daily for in person shopping, with many items available online, including my hats!

I have been a participating artist in this show since 2009.

“There’s nothing like loving the handmade gifts you give!”⠀⠀

Creative Minds Art Gallery

This artist co-op on Orcas Island (WA) is now open for in-person shopping and features a lot of one-of-a-kind pieces from local artists. Open every day except Tuesday from 11AM-4 PM, Sunday 11AM-3PM. Find their most recent additions on Facebook. Here are some of my hats & caps that you might find here:

Nature’s Kitchen

Nature’s Kitchen is an organic bakery and health food store located in Yreka, CA. They bake bread, pastries, muffins, and scones which they serve with specialty hot drinks in their cafe, even when the kitchen is not serving lunch. Browse their natural products store with its extensive selection of nutritional supplements and specialty gifts from local artists in their store. Learn more about them on their Facebook page. Here are a few of my caps that you might find there:

I also have a limited selection of hats ready to ship on my Hats Page. Contact me for details if you are interested in one of them. Happy shopping!

#ShopArt – #ShopLocal – #BuyHandmade – #SupportSmallBusiness – #ArtistsSunday

Sensing a Trend …

“I see a red door and I want it painted black…”

from “Paint it Black” by the Rolling Stones

Black and red, black and grey, black on black. It’s been a trend this year. When customers aren’t ordering blacks and reds, I’m gravitating to that color combination by choice or by habit.

So, here’s a collection of my Gothic color palette from the past few months. Those shown with masks are custom orders that have been shipped. Others are on their way to holiday art shows at Brookfield Gallery, Peters Valley Gallery, and Uncommon Threads — a new (for me) show where you will find me in the Boutique Artist listings.

If you see something here that you might like, give me a shout. I can probably make something similar for you, black and red optional : ) As a reminder, nearly everything you see here has been made from rescued textiles and found objects, with the exception of the two black-on-black hats, whose materials were supplied by my patrons in order to meet their exact specifications.

All Laced Up : )

Now that the triple-digit heat wave has ended in Seattle, and I can once again stand to handle wools and my steam iron, it’s time to get back to work. Towards the end of last week, I made a list of priority tasks I’ve been postponing, and commissions I am stuck on. Lists are a tool that most people use to focus.

I sometimes think I make lists simply to ignore them…

And I’m still in a creative rut. I have a myriad of excuses, most of which I will blame on a pandemic which melded one day into another, and even though I started re-entering the community at large 2 months ago, inspiration and motivation are still both sorely lacking.

I remembered a game I used to play when I found myself in similar circumstances in the past. I would walk into my shop, and take a box off the shelf, and force myself to make something from the contents of that box. Sometimes it was my bowl of buttons, or a tail-end from a bolt of trim, or a bit of brocade that’s been hanging around for years. This time, it was my box of lace remnants, most of which were thrift store finds.

The first hat featured a row of work that edged a pair of tea towels, four panels of what I think is tatting, that I had long feared taking apart for fear of wrecking them. Casting fear aside and picking up the scissors, I found that I could separate the panels after all. I filled the voids with tiny copper beads scavenged from a broken necklace, and finished it with a cuff from a vintage jacket bearing a label of “Canadian Select Beaver,” (sheared and bleached) which was a pretty perfect match.

The second was the most challenging – a beautiful but troublesome piece with scalloping on both edges. I tried to cut the scrolled edge away and use it to cap the leaf-like lozenges, but the more I stitched, the more the lace disintegrated, as lace is wont to do when it is cut apart. The final version, augmented with silver leaves and beads, passed my quality standard. The fact that the spirals on the cuff line up with those three lozenges on the crown was a very happy happenstance…

The last one was another piece of lace, scalloped on both edges and just enough for a single hat. Again, happenstance occurred when I was able to match the pattern all the way around the crown of the hat. You will see purple/plum glass beads imbedded into the base of that white lace. I used some of the same beads to hold down the (new) black lace on the cuff, which allowed me to leave the lower edges to hang loose, giving a bit of swing to the padded cotton pique.

Challenge complete and (at least for today) lifted out of my rut, I’m off to finish one of those commissions and maybe even attend to the rest of that priority projects list…

The One Monkey Show…

You may remember me from certain medieval societies as Lao Tao-sheng – “Old One, Born to Tell Tales.”

Once upon a time I presented a “One Monkey Show” – a seven hour solo presentation of the first seven stories from “The Journey to the West” at a medieval event called Ducal War, at a park somewhere in Oregon, on a weekend in August in either 1983 or 1985, depending on how you remember time…

A few months later, I was invited by a couple of friends to recreate my performance for public access TV in Longview. We spent an afternoon taping the first half of the show, but I never returned to tape the second half. As far as I knew, the first set of tapes never aired, and after a few years I had forgotten entirely about that day. Life events prompted me to retire from performing in 1993.

And then, on June 1, 2021, a package arrived in the mail:

Hi Heather,

After watching your interview with The Sisters [a regular feature on Facebook], I was surprised to hear that there were no other films of your storytelling performances. I decided it was past time to see if I could get what I had of the Monkey Tales into readily viewable form. When KJTV converted to digital, Gary saw they were disposing of old VCR tapes. He grabbed what he could find of the tapes from our Monkey sessions and got them to Leslie and I. There was one mix tape that was aired, so it had wear, as well as original camera tapes. I asked Noah if he could use his contacts and film knowledge to save these and put them into a form that will last better.

He had them transferred to digital and did some cleanup…You can tell that there is some age involved, and that we were rookies as far as filming a performance is concerned. Noah did a great job of cleaning up the small technical issues…I wanted to make sure you had copies of some of the fantastic work you did and could let others see a sample of it…

I hope this brings you joy.

Max Slape (Master Cormac of Caermont)

The discovery of these tapes gave me the impetus to shake the dust from the notes I had collected while preparing these stories, which culminated in the solo show which took about a year and a half to prepare. You can read that six-part series here.

Here are a couple of teasers, courtesy of film editor guru, Noah Hale:

And as they say, “without further ado”

I invite you to my August Phoenix Rising Event – 2021

“The Tales of Monkey” – as performed by Heather Daveno

Live Streamed from YouTube starting at 2 PM on Sunday, August 22

If Monkey doesn’t unduly challenge the tech-gods, this production will be simulcast to The Sisters Interview on Facebook, where we will have a 10 minute Q&A after each segment. I will do my best to respond to comments you leave in the chat sidebars on both Facebook and YouTube, both during and after the show.

Click on the YouTubes below, or contact me for the link to my YouTube channel.

Thank you for helping me celebrate this premier!

[Heather] in the persona of Lao Tao-sheng, is a performing artist specializing in the authentic re-creation of the fold tales of medieval China and Mongolia. Years of study and personal training have developed Lao into a historically accurate example of the street storyteller who was the forerunner of the modern day Peking Opera.

Of her repertoire, the Tales of the Monkey King are the most well known and most often requested. The tales are taken from a classic entitled “Journey to the West,” an allegory based on the travels of a 6th century monk. During the performing of these tales, Lao plays many characters — dragons, ogres, generals, patriarchs — and most famously, the Monkey King. Wielding his iron staff, riding upon magic clouds, he wreaks havoc and defies those who would doubt his importance…

“…[She] brings Monkey to life with an authentic Chinese costume, makeup, a big fancy fan and her voice. With a few props and a painted backdrop, [she] plays all the parts. She undulates like a curtain of water, chatters like a passel of monkeys and parries with a ‘golden’ spear.

But mostly she’s the Stone Monkey…

The Daily News – Longview, Washington

The Glastonbury Gowns…

It is to this Avalon of the Heart, the pilgrims still go. Some in bands, knowing what they seek. Some alone, with the staff of vision in their hands, awaiting what will come to meet them on this holy ground.

None will go away as they came…

In November 2019, my friend Kate went on pilgrimage to Glastonbury. One of the things she took with her was a set of Viking-inspired wedding clothes I was commissioned to make for her daughter and fiance some twenty years earlier. On the third day of this pilgrimage, an offering was made at the Goddess Temple, and accepted. “They were agog at the clothes,” Kate told me. “They’ll use them to officiate at weddings, and for guided winter walks on the Tor. And they will be used as loaner finery for brides without means. The silk underdress with the sleeveless coat is wonderfully elegant and easy to wear. The cloak will probably hang as a backdrop in the wedding chapel, unless the Winters turn much colder.”

The wedding clothes were designed by Pat, based on 9th century Viking designs. The central feature was his interpretation of the “Kissing Couple,” a Viking relic from the Aska burial mound in Stockholm. On her coat, Pat envisioned the Kissing Couple supported by a Tree of Life, with spirals repeating on the facings of her coat, the hem of her Viking apron, and the sleeves of her gown.

I think Laura and I had about eight months to pull everything together. Laura worked on the red apron while I embellished the bride’s white silk gown, and made her sleeveless coat. I worked an appliqué chalice into the hem of her coat to tie it in with her father’s clothing. Because the silk of her gown was very fine, I opted for paint rather than embroidery for the scrollwork on the bodice, and at the edges of the sleeves so it would be double-sided. The rest of the work was wool appliqué with perl cotton detailing; the Tree of Life was gold and silver cord, held down with couching.

For the groom, I made a rectangular coat with the Kissing Couple covering most of the back, and a border of 9th century Norse knotwork with silver interlacing at the bottom. I duplicated the knotwork on the hem of his wool tunic.

Dublin, the father of the bride, wore tunics I had made for him earlier. The blue linen had gryphons in dimensional appliqué that were detailed with hand dyed yarns, jewels and beads. The gryphons supported a chalice on the front and a triskelion on the back. The sleeves and neckline were predominantly gold paint with some embroidery for texture. His white linen under tunic was embroidered at hem, cuff and neck with designs that complimented the blue tunic. I designed the pair so they could be worn together, or as stand alone garments.

But I didn’t get anything made for Kate…

Another 20 years pass. Kate goes to Glastonbury and plans to go to Greece the following year. I offered to make her a dress for Greece. At that point, Mea and Anni devise a cunning plan. Mea is getting married in the spring, and wants Kate to officiate, and wants to gift her with the dress. Anni wants to co-conspire. We decide that instead of a dress, it should be a small wardrobe of interchangeable pieces. And so, plans hatched, I am commissioned for the work, and the Glastonbury Gown Project begins.

November 2019The Concept

Mea, Anni, and I start a series of long conversations on Facebook while Kate is in Glastonbury. We decide that Kate’s wardrobe should mirror her daughter’s wedding clothes which she has just donated there. I suggest a linen kirtle with full gussets, a keyhole neckline, and straight sleeves as Kate has requested for her gown for Greece. Perhaps with a large hood like the gowns I was seeing in Glastonbury. A sleeveless coat with similar design elements to Sarah’s. We start plotting on how to get Kate’s measurements.

I research Gaelic dyes and come up with a list of about ten colors which includes green, purple, claret, orange and yellow. Mea and Anni share notes on appropriate stones for a Pict – garnets, amethyst, glass. Dublin’s personal colors were green, black and white. so to honor him, I suggest green for Kate’s kirtle. For accent colors, we rule out orange and yellow because those are the colors of Dublin’s “Evil Twin Jagar” and inviting the spirit of Jagar would be bad : ) But I cannot source a suitable green linen, so I suggest purple instead – the color a widow wears after her year of black. I offer a redesign in purple with green facings and black embroidery.

I am following Kate’s Glastonbury journal and start collecting designs to incorporate into this project. One of the elements I see at the Chalice Well is two interlocking rings entwined with vines. In sacred geometry, this double ring is called a vesica piscis, a symbol of harmonic proportions, the visible and invisible worlds interlocked, and a source of strength and power. I sketch a preliminary design of a hooded coat that incorporates this symbol supported by a Tree of Life with its roots in a chalice, and a purple kirtle, cut short in front to expose the painted hem of a sleeveless chemise.

I use the pattern pieces from Sarah’s coat to calculate yardage for Kate’s kirtle. I send linen swatches to Anni so she can match the weight and weave, and she takes on the linen procurement. Anni is also buying pounds of jet for me to use as the predominate stone.

December 2019 – The First Redesign

I start going back and forth on adding the hood to the gown instead of the coat. Should it be a sleeveless coat? Or box sleeves? Or half sleeves to show off the kirtle? So many decisions… I revise my quote for the kirtle and a heavily embellished coat and submit it for payment. The chemise will be my gift.

Anni wins the auction for the jets and sends me photos. I start to play with their placement on a paper pattern for the vesica. I pick through the stones left over from Anni’s last hat order and add those to the project pile.

Several yards of unbleached cotton in a nubby gauze weave arrives from another friend who is thinning out her sewing stash. It’s perfect for the chemise. Yay!

January 2020 – Taking Her Measure

Kate comes to Seattle for Chinese New Year, and we talk about ‘her gown for Greece.” I take her measurements and verify her preferences for necklines and sleeves. When she pops into the shower, I grab the fleece dress that she says is her ultimate favorite, make a sketch of it and take additional measurements. My timeline is “a gown” for an event that Kate plans to go to in May, with the rest deliverable by Mea’s wedding in September. Kate will have the full ensemble for her trip to Greece in October.

February 2020 – The Next Redesign

Kate cancels her plans for May. Postponement gives me time to redesign. I’m not happy with the profile, so I start to design tippets, a 14th century feature which would echo the profile of the angel-wing sleeves from Sarah’s gown. I could load them with jet and attach them with ties to bands already sewn to the upper arm of the kirtle, so they could detach for laundering the gown. But my design is not gelling.

Anni has procured the proper weight of linen for the kirtle and is dying it purple today.

March 11, 2020 – Project Interrupted

The pandemic lockdown begins. My galleries close and my hat business comes to a screeching halt. I put the Glastonbury Gown Project aside and join the Masks4Millions Project, for which I would ultimately make 800 masks between now and next spring.

May 2020 – The Chemise

Mea’s wedding is now postponed. With every postponement I redesign the purple gown. Now it will have shorter but wider sleeves which will allow more space for embroidery and beadwork. I discard the tippets as being too fussy, and the facings as being unnecessary. The chemise will now need sleeves.

I test ivy patterns in both green and blue. Blue wins my patron’s vote for the chemise, which I paint over the Memorial Day weekend. I contemplate the neckline for the chemise, and decide to replenish my vodka before proceeding…

June 1, 2020 A Brave Day

I have a brave day and cut and paint the neckline on the chemise. And I didn’t even eff it up! I add spirals to the top of the gores because I did eff those up, to hide the mismatched points and to reinforce that stress point. The chemise is now finished.

The purple linen has arrived from Anni. I cut out the gown and embroider the first sleeve with black continuous spirals, set with amethysts and jets. I’m now thinking the hood should be a separate detachable piece. The first rendition of the hood begins but I abandon it by the end of the month. I also go back and forth on embroidering the hem, but ultimately the hem wins, sans the beads.

September-October 2020

I put the dress aside to work on hat commissions, and couture masks for a customer giveaway to celebrate the 20th anniversary of my hat business.

December 2020 – On to Phase 3

I finish the purple gown, and mail it and the chemise to Kate, as a Winter Solstice gift from Mea and Anni.

Work begins on the grey coat, whose design would morph considerably from my original sketch. I am running out of time and forgo the embroidered scrollwork on the outer facings. I choose instead, a beautiful piece of purple-green-gold silk to use as inner facings, which would flash color as she walked.

Mea, Anni and I deliberate on the hood, and whether it should be detachable or not. We discuss the chalice, which I ultimately cut from a piece of moss-green suede. I plan to cover the back of the coat with silver spirals like I did on Sarah’s coat, to tie the vesica and the chalice together. But the “Tree of Life” would not be symmetrical like Sarah’s, and I would not repeat the interlaced center trunk that supported the Kissing Couple, because that’s a thing I only wanted to do once.

The winter holidays come and go, and at the turn of the year I develop one of the worst creative blocks I have ever had, which would last for weeks…

March-April 2021 – The Vesica

I force myself to work on hats for commissions and an upcoming show. I wrap up the Mask4Millions project and turn my attention to the vesica. I cut it from a piece of purple suede and place the larger jet pieces. I abandon my plan to weave the strands of tiny jet beads into knotwork, in favor of black leather leaves which will be more dynamic and less fraying on my nerves. I incorporate those strands of jets as veining for the leaves, and braid perl cotton for the stems.

May 2021 – The Chalice and the Tree of Life

The chalice is reworked a few times before I find a broken bracelet in Anni’s shipment of jets that perfectly fits along its brim. Once the vesica and the chalice are stitched in place, work on the Tree of Life begins. I freehand the scrollwork onto the wool with tailor’s chalk and, in a sudden bolt of foresight, photograph it. I would end up retracing the scrollwork every 15 minutes when the chalk wore off, using the photo as my guide. I finish the back of the coat a week later, at midnight.

The front panels have become the new stumbling block. I start to simplify the design and eliminate the swans and some other design elements. The coat goes back onto the hangar for the next few weeks.

June 2021 – The Stole

I turn to the hood, now a separate piece entirely, which now evolves into a stole. The sand-washed silk isn’t working, so I resort to linen, with a cut velvet scarf across the top, which I edge with strings of jet along the back, and braid and jets along the front. I do my best to repair the beaded fringe on the scarf, and play with ornamentation for the next day or two before settling on a simple jet tassel for the back, and jets for the front, set against metal thread appliqués that I brought home from the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul a few years back. I fold the front edge over and over until it stiffens enough to hold its shape. A pair of buttons and an elastic hair tie form the closure for the front.

July 2021 – Finishing Details

My new deadline is August 8. I figure out the scrollwork for the front panels, and tackle the lining. Five lengths of non-workable yardage later, I wonder if it’s me or the project that is actually in charge.

My hands finally land on a brocade curtain that works. I center the design on the back panel so the coat will look pretty on the hangar. I cut a facing from the flashy gold and purple silk, which self destructs under an iron. Argh! I return to my fabric stacks and locate a piece of black pique. It is highly textured and “Needs No Embellishment,” I say to myself, as I cut out more leather leaves for embellishment.

I spend the next few days applying various trims to the inside of the facings, and little details here and there, until the lily was as gilded as the calendar would allow. I finish the coat by the end of the month.

August 8, 2021

The Glastonbury Gown Project is complete and hand delivered to its new home. A chalice filled, a legacy honored, and a deserving friend, newly attired, makes ready to rule her New World…