I received a commission late last year from a customer (whom I shall call Lady C), for a phoenix hat in purples and blues – the first of its kind in this color scheme, as up to this point I have only made this style in shades of red. After months of delay, this hat finally took flight and shipped out today.
Set against a deep purple wool background, this phoenix is crafted in a deep blue wool, which I padded for some added dimension. The wings are lavender leather and blue wool applique, held in place with navy yarn and silver cord. It has a cobalt glass beady eye : ) The hat is cuffed with a chocolate brown karakul, and has lavender linen lining and a silver-tone button at top. All materials in this hat are reclaimed except for the sewing thread and the silver cord.
Because this was “not the customary” custom order, I sent progress shots to Lady C to make sure my work was meeting her vision and expectations.
This hat has a beautiful and mystical back story …
A phoenix presented itself to Lady C in a dream, and when she said: “what is your name?” the phoenix replied: “rue de attar”. When Lady C returned from her dream, she googled the name and discovered a 13th century Persian Muslim poet – Farid Ud-Din Attar, commonly known as Attar of Nishapur.
Rumi, another 13th century Sufi poet, referred to Sheikh Attar as ‘the spirit’ and himself as ‘its shadow’, saying “Attar traveled through all the seven cities of love, while I am only at the bend of the first alley”.
Attar’s work, The Conference of the Birds is a poem he based on a passage from the Qur’an, where two men are said to have been taught the language of the birds. It is considered a significant work of Sufi literature. The work reminded me of the story of the Crow King and his Ministers from the Khalila wa Dimna – a 14th century Arabic fable that inspired my Three Crows Cap. So I was thrilled to bring yet another bird from literary legend to wearable art piece.
Thank you Lady C! I hope your new hat brings you more happy dreams and enlightening journeys …