Friday, July 28, 2006

Millinery: Sometimes it's in the blood

Occasionally I get asked how I became a milliner. "How" is a lot of things, such as practice, practice, practice making lots of hats before I became comfortable referring to myself as such. Taking a millinery class at Houston Community College was probably the biggest "how" in the process.

But I also think it was just something in my genes.

The photography above is of the Brosnan family of Springfield Massachusetts, taken some time around 1915. Garbed in the classic Edwardian splendor of a white lawn dress, waist corseted, and a longstem rose tucked into her ribbon waist band, the girl at the far left was my great aunt Florence. She grew up to become a milliner.

Pictured below is one of the two hats that I own which she created in the 1960. It actually was a collaborative effort; my dad shot the pheasant from which the feathers were plucked. Now there's a family project for you!

My grandmother Madeline is seen in the center of the photograph.

And for you trivia fans, the inventor/patent holder of the paperclip was Cornelius J. Brosnan, my great grandfather, the gentleman in the far left of the photo. Posted by Picasa


jillytee said...

Hello from another 52 year old Jill in England! I found your blog by chance whilst browsing some other sewing blogs. Your posts are so intersesting and as a fellow craftswoman I have enjoyed reading about your creations. I was a professional costumier/dressmaker until fairly recently, and often had to create/adapt headpieces as well. Also I worked closely with a milliner friend and we would often create an ensemble together. Although I no longer run my business,I can never resist having a project or two in hand. Well I shall drop by again, regards Jill

Brenda said...

My grandmother was a hairdresser and that the right term? She made hats. I have a box in the garage with a few of, what I think are her creations... but not quite sure. She died when I was 9.

Also... I'm in your age group of bloggers.

OHHH... and love your grandfather's creation of the paperclip. Use them in abundance daily!

Vee said...

Fascinating! I'm always missing the most interesting posts.