50 years Re-Imagined

In this year of missed milestones and in-person exhibits, the show must go…online! Welcome to the 50th Annual Peters Valley Craft Fair Re-Imagined.

Enjoy this live and interactive event where you can meet over 80 juried artists in our virtual booths, and shop our selection of handmade artworks from the comfort and safety of your home. Chat with the makers, peek behind the scenes, ask about our processes, and shop our websites while you are chatting with us in real time! Register at this link to score one of the 1000 free tickets, or buy one starting at $5 for the weekend to support Peters Valley School of Craft’s largest fundraiser of the year. A limited number of $2 tickets are also available, email me for that access.

The show organizers have developed this short and handy YouTube video which you will find in the Reception Area once you enter the Craft Fair site. I highly recommend that you watch this video to learn all the ways you can interact with us and explore our art. You can also click on the EXPO button to go directly to the artist booths. Once you enter the EXPO, look for me at August Phoenix Hats!

If you click on my booth and arrive at this video, it means I have stepped away for a cup of coffee or to chase a cat. You can play the video, or click on the Booth tab to shop my store, or click on the Chat tab to leave me a message. I’ll be back in a flash!

If you arrive at a screen that says “The Presentation will start shortly” it means I’m online and waiting to connect with you. Click on “Share Audio and Video” to enter my booth and wait a few seconds to connect via live audio/video. You can also initiate a text conversation with me via Chat if you’re camera shy : )

Come Meet The Kraken! This brand new, never before seen, hand sewn cap will make its debut at this show. Stop by to say Hello Kraken and place an order for one of your very own! I hope to also debut my version of a 1930’s style NewsCap to at this show.

You can also have a look around my shop. If you’re interested in ordering a hat, I can even pull fabrics from shelves, closets and boxes for you. Just ask me for a “behind the scenes” tour!

The show runs 10 AM – 5 PM East Coast Time, which means my day here in Seattle will start at 7 AM. I’ll remain LIVE in my booth until 5 PM Pacific Time on Saturday, and by appointment until 10:30 PM for late night shoppers. You can book an appointment with me by clicking the “Book Now” button at the top of my Facebook page, or via email. The show will be open (but not live) all night on Saturday so you can shop our websites. We will return to our booths on Sunday (10 AM – 5 PM East Coast Time / 7 AM – 2 PM Pacific Time).

As a reminder, every hat (both custom and off the shelf) ships free within the Continental US, and includes a complimentary face mask and tote bag. I look forward to seeing you this weekend at Re-Imagined!

Topkapi-inspired …

This week’s progress includes this newly finished Topkapi hat in hand painted silk with braided soutache providing texture along the seams and the brim of a commercial straw hat. Those who follow my travels may recall that this hat is inspired by my favorite ceiling in the Harem Apartments in the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, which I visited in 2011.

I’m delivering this hat and complimentary cotton mask to an artist friend who is participating in the PhinneyWood Art Sale & Stroll on Sunday August 30 from noon – 4 PM. Over 40 artists and makers will set up in their yards and gardens for your socially safe and enjoyable shopping experience.

Tickets are now available to the 50th Annual Peters Valley Craft Fair ‘Re-Imagined’ online art show. There are 1000 free tickets available, as well as tickets at a variety of price points if you would like to show your support. I will be participating in this show in October. Wish me luck : )

In gallery news, Brookfield Craft Center and Peters Valley School of Craft are now open, with COVID-19 limitations in place. Please check their websites for schedules and visiting information. Nature’s Kitchen in Yreka, CA is also open, and Creative Minds Art Gallery on Orcas Island, WA expects to reopen in their new space any day now.

In hobby news, my third submission to Mainly Museums was published this week, which puts me well on the path to being an established regular contributor. The Museum of Broadcast Communications was a nostalgic trip which many of you may appreciate as well…

August Progress …

Here are some newly completed hats, caps, & masks. The first is an Imperial style in brocade fabric ornamented with braided yarn passementerie, Afghani silver belt pieces and silvertone beads. The cuff is from a vintage fox stole that the customer provided. The mask is made from the same brocade and also has an Afghani silver accent piece at the upper right corner, sort of like a beauty spot.

This next one is a hand sewn wool cap with a fish themed ribbon on the padded wool cuff, edged with custom braids which I repeated as ties for the mask. I chose black for this mask to pick up the black accents of the hat, and because it was less predictable than red. The tassels are leather, suspended from glass teardrop beads.

I have dropped the price of my Kid’s masks to $6.50 (down from $10) and added two new design choices: Geometric and Super Heroes.

My company is officially 20 years old this year, marking my transition from hobbyist to small business owner. In more normal times I would have planned some big splashy way to celebrate the occasion, but instead, like everyone else celebrating milestones, I’m opting for more subdued activities.

My first plan was to send Fancy Face Masks to 20 of my Facebook followers who responded to my 20 year announcement. The first 10 masks ship out this week.

I had planned to share a series of retrospective projects, but so far the only one I have brought out of my archives is Something Tattered This Way Comes.

I am still in the design phase for a new hat, which I’m hoping to launch before September. The rest of my list of planned promotions have so far, not moved off the page.

I am fortunate to have a home not threatened by fire, and an income outside of my hat business that is not threatened by the COVID-19 economy. No kids to home school, no parents to look after. And yet, I’m slogging through mud. Everything takes three times as long as it should and the smallest things completely trip me up. Every few days I wonder what is wrong with me.

Then I heard a new term this morning – “corona-coaster’ – an apt description for having big plans and short bursts of energy, followed by lengthier lags of lethargy. I also found this article on surge capacity and ambiguous loss, which was hammer to nail for me. Perhaps you will find it helpful as well.

“How do you adjust to an ever-changing situation where the ‘new normal’ is indefinite uncertainty?”

I especially took note of the advice to find fulfilling activities. So I’ll continue to donate about 50 masks every month for distribution through Days for Girls and other organizations. I’ve become a contributor to Mainly Museums. And I’ll be expanding my skillset when I engage in my first virtual art show with Peters Valley School of Craft in October.

Today I washed all the windows to my live-work space that I still rarely leave.

I’m learning to cut myself some slack, or what a therapist friend calls “gifting yourself with white space”. White space is how every project starts, whether it be a book, or a painting, or a dress, or dinner. White space is a necessary thing. It’s up to us to figure out how best to fill it, and in turn have it fill us.

And that, even in the most subdued and incremental of terms, is progress.

Mask – Hat – Mask …

My first hat & mask sets have started shipping out. Every hat order this year comes with a free mask!

I even got to see one of my original hats from about 30 years ago – it was interesting to see that the seams and structure were intact, but the wools had completely worn through. I reproduced the original hat as closely as I could, and added a metal stud on each panel because i’m apparently incapable of letting a hat leave my shop without some form of ornamentation.

On the mask front, I have 50 in kid’s and adult sizes ready to deliver to a local food & mask drive this weekend. I have another 30 in production for the Anacortes/Camano Island chapter of Days for Girls. That will bring my mask donations to just over 500 so far this year.

Because our economy won’t regain its health until our community does. I’ve been trying to target my masks and other donations to benefit essential workers. Among our most essential workers are those who harvest our food, which is why I’m participating in the Food & Mask Drive at the Seattle Repertory Theater, in partnership with WashMasks.org. I’m donating food as well as masks to this effort and I hope you will join me. If you choose to donate masks, they need ties rather than elastics or ear loops, and no nose bridges. There’s also a list of preferred foods and supplies on their website.

Today I learned about the “Lipstick Index”- apparently when women want to cheer themselves up, they often buy lipstick, so it has become an informal economic indicator. But with the advent of masks, women have switched that ‘cheer up impulse buy” to nail polish instead…

I wonder why women aren’t buying or making new masks instead, to keep the focus on their face… Imagine a Mask Index as a new economic indicator as well as a socially responsible action : )

Mask #400+

July 3 starts my 4th month of home sequestering, and the 400th and something mask, all but 20 of which I have donated to individuals and local organizations who needed them, including Days for Girls and the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. I’ve now turned my attention to Yakima, my birth town and a current hotspot in Washington State. I’ve sent 50 masks for distribution through a food bank and a women’s shelter, and this weekend I’m starting another 50 for WashMasks for distribution to agricultural workers there.

Proceeds from those other 20 masks have allowed me to donate cash to Feed the Frontlines and Off Their Plate – two programs that pay impacted restaurants to provide meals to medical workers. Although my website says that 50% of those sales would be donated, I’m actually sending closer to 90%, with the remaining 10% covering shipping costs.

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on here, Americans are now banned from traveling to the EU, UK and Mexico. Although my travel plans take me elsewhere (a US museum tour later this year, and Africa next year) I’m hard pressed to even get on a city bus at the moment. One of the places I post my travel photos to, and visit to travel the world virtually – Trover – shuts down August 1. The world becomes smaller with every passing day.

So I leave my house for groceries and not-often-enough walks, and spend my days with my cats and my sewing machine, making more masks than hats, and listen to people clamor for a return to normal, apparently not realizing that this is the new normal, at least for now.

Make the best of what you have. Use your resources to better the world. Show some love. Stay safe. That’s all I’ve got for today.

Fancy Face for Kids . . .

First off, I want to thank Liz and JoAnna for donating cottons from their stash to assist my mask making efforts for Days For Girls and the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. In response to today’s reports out of New York regarding Covid-19 related illnesses that are now showing up in kids, I have put some of those cottons to immediate use.

Introducing “Fancy Face” Masks for Kids – triple layer cotton masks in colorful prints, with either braided yarn or cotton ties. These face masks have a lighter gauge wire nose bridge than my adult masks, with the ends curled into spirals to prevent them from working through the cottons.

As with my adult sized masks, I am donating 50% of your purchase of “Fancy Face” Masks to Feed the Frontlines in Sacramento, and Off Their Plate in Seattle and selected other cities, through the end of 2020 (or until there is no longer a need). Both of these programs team restaurants with medical facilities to keep hospital workers fed during these critical times.

Order your Kids Masks here.

Read about the new Covid-19 concern here.

Put on a Fancy Face …

Six weeks, sixty hours, 300+ masks donated. It’s time to put a new face forward.

I am launching “Fancy Face” Masks today! My new line of upscale masks are now available in the following Collections from my online store:

These collections are a result of me ‘never being able to throw a textile away” which has resulted in a collection of brocades, some of which are too small or not workable for hats, but are too exquisite for the trash.

Costco will require shoppers to wear masks in their stores starting May 4. According to the New York Times, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines will start requiring all passengers to wear a face covering, with a tentative compliance date of May 11. Other airlines and mass transit systems are expected to make similar announcements in the coming weeks. Wearing a face mask is a socially responsible thing to do. Why not make it part of your personal fashion statement as well?

It’s not just about the fashion. I am donating 50% of your purchase of “Fancy Face” Masks to Feed the Frontlines in Sacramento, and Off Their Plate in Seattle and selected other cities, through the end of 2020 (or until there is no longer a need). I plan to continue donating utilitarian linen masks to non-profits (Days For Girls in Stanwood-Camano Island and the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance) and to individuals in need (albeit on a limited basis).

Thank you for your continued support of my work, and for helping me to pay it forward into our communities! ~ Heather Daveno, Artisan Hat & Mask Maker

A Wardrobe of Masks …

Fabric masks in large, medium and the new child size (with soft, braided yarn ties)

As I was finishing my first child-sized mask, I mused on the things I’ve been waiting for during the Covid-19 lockdown – visiting friends, going to movie theaters and restaurants, restocking my art galleries, shopping for new shoes and thrift store finds. Like a slew of other anxious humans, I’ve been filling my non-telework hours with eating and sleeping, and reading repetitive news clips late into the night when sleep becomes evasive.

And of course, sewing masks, 260 of them so far. It’s the thing I have chosen to fill my hours while waiting for a “return to normal.” And then this morning, it suddenly occurred to me:

“You’re waiting for yesterday.”

That out-of-the-blue thought spurred me to put down my sewing, put on my linen mask, and go for a walk and a think. A long, meandering, no-destination walk – something I’ve rarely done since I retreated to my apartment studio on March 10. I retraced the route I used to take when I was still visiting my mom, not only in reminiscence of those visits, but because that route takes me through the cemetery and on to neighborhoods that are filled with flowers. I hadn’t realized how many things were in bloom – the forget-me-nots growing wild among the graves, and yards & gardens filled with tulips, japonica, lilacs, and wisteria starting to burst their buds. I made myself pause to admire every blossom. The things you miss when you never leave your house …

On the way back home, I realized that while waiting for a “return to normal” I had also stopped making any future plans. I stopped designing hats for galleries, and have several commissions that I put aside in the urgency to make masks – a project that turned out to be the proverbial marathon rather than a sprint. So I will be rebalancing my projects, splitting my time between mask making and hat design / commissions starting May 1.

I took the rest of the day to start a wardrobe of masks for myself. Once the stay-at-home restrictions are lifted, I will want to dress up. I also expect masks will become not only normal, but socially responsible street wear. And I definitely won’t want to visit people and businesses in the grey utilitarian mask I wear when I take out the trash!

After testing my first brocade masks, I decided to launch a couture line which will be available soon in my online store. If you order a hat (or currently have one on order), I will include a couture mask with your order at no additional cost. Like my hats, these masks will be made from recycled brocades, laces, and beads and will typically be one-of-a-kinds. I also plan to offer options suitable for weddings, since no pandemic bride’s “something blue” should be in the form of a surgical mask.

I plan to continue offering utilitarian linen masks to those in need who request them (albeit on a limited basis). In keeping with my ethos of not profiting from pandemics and social causes, I plan to donate proceeds from stock masks (excluding custom couture) purchased from my website, to local food banks through December 31, 2020.

The 100th Mask …

The Hatter’s Decameron, Day 25: Completed my 100th linen mask last night. Production stopped at the next mask when my sewing machine needle had an unfortunate encounter with a finger …

Hatmaking in the time of COVID19 is not what I expected it to be. I have been self-sequestered since March 10, 2020 and expected to use the time to focus on making hats. But after shipping the Purple Phoenix hat (detailed in my previous post), that focus completely dissipated. Instead of creating, I spent my time monitoring the never-ending news, and sleeping and eating between periods of anxiety and anger. Of those news reports, the shortages of PPEs (personal protective equipment) for health care workers – especially masks – made me especially angry.

Anger is a useless state of being, unless you can transform it into motivation.

So on March 24, I set my hat business aside, and joined the army of home sewers and small businesses who are now channelling their resources into making cloth masks.

As with my hats, my masks are made from recycled textiles. For several years, Historic Enterprises had sent their cutting room scraps to me instead of their local landfill. I’m now working my way through my “linen closet,” pulling the softest remnants from those boxes of scrap, sorted by color, and cutting out masks, 1-2 panels at a time.

I quickly worked my way through my entire stash of ribbons, soutache cords and elastic, and am now making ties from 2-3 yards of linen that was printed in a grid, but off-grain. It was useless for hats, but perfect for handmade bias tape.

The customer who had purchased my last hat, turned out to be the director of a non-profit in the Stanwood/Camano area of Washington State, and asked if I could make 450 cloth masks as part of their current efforts. I have shipped 80 masks to that organization so far. The rest of my masks have gone to friends and family, and the staff at my local UPS Store, who received my 100th mask. I am now well into my second set of 100 masks…

My work on this project is pro-bono, as I refuse to profit from a pandemic and I have other sources of income. If you are looking for masks for you or your family, there are several makers who can be found via a Google search. If they are charging a fee, it’s because they have families to support. If a maker gives you masks for free, please consider paying it forward by making a donation to a food bank.

A new Phoenix rises . . .

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 …