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MM12: A Gallery of Hats

w/ Carol Blake


video sleeve image

$29.95 + S&H

Table of Contents:

Tools and Materials
Hat Frames
Assembly and Shaping

Approx. Running Time: 90 minutes


From A Feather In A Duck Pond
To A Feather In A Hat...

...Carol Blake's experiences with miniature hat making are an example that frequently desperation leads to inspiration. Her career as a miniaturist began when she decided to attend a miniaturists club meeting in her area. But there was one catch. In order to join, Carol would have to bring something with her. There was also a problem. She had never made a miniature in her life!

"Well, I really panicked," says Carol, "and I wracked my brain for things that I liked to do." Since she loves to model antique hats and clothing, she thought...."I'll make a hat!" She then gathered some purple felt, a piece of oversized lace, one bead, and a feather from a duck pond to create the hat that was to launch her career as a miniaturist. In the fifteen years since, in addition to making them, Carol has worn a variety of hats; from teaching miniature hat making, to selling her creations, and producing some of the best miniature shows in California.

Two lessons stand out from her story. First, your greatest inspiration comes from things you love to do. Secondly, you don't need a lot of fancy materials or tools to get started. And in "Gallery Of Hats with Carol Blake," Volume 12 of the multi-part Master Miniaturists Video Instructional Series, Carol shares with you just how easy hat making and decorating can be. The Master Miniaturists Video Instructional Series features expert instruction by some of the country's top miniature artisans, covering a variety of specialties.

In this volume, you'll learn how to make patterns and frames for a Garden Hat, a Bonnet, and a free-form Victorian Hat. However, the techniques you'll learn can literally be applied to any hat you want to create. You'll see how easy it is to assemble an d shape your pieces, make feathers and roses to decorate them, and finally add the finishing touches to hats that your miniature dolls will be proud to wear.

Carol's instructions begin with a review of the tools and materials you'll need to get started. All are common items, available at either miniature shows or craft stores. And she doesn't just demonstrate these tools and materials, she explains which one s are best for the specific hats you'll be creating.

For example, when buying glue, choose the tub of tacky glue, not the tube. "Tube glue has been thinned already," Carol says, "and you want your glue as thick as possible." But in case you should need a little bit of thinned glue, she also gives you a formula for thinning glue from the tub, instead of buying the pre-thinned variety.

After she gathers the materials, Carol takes you step-by-step through the process of drawing and cutting your patterns. You'll find that even the hardest part of the process, the free-form edge of the Bonnet, looks easy when she shows you how to do it. The good news is, "You can use these patterns for about fifty hat frames before they disintegrate completely."

Throughout the demonstrations, Carol adds hints and suggestions that will make the process easier for you. For example, when looking for an object from which to trace the pattern for the side of your Garden Hat, she suggests using something the size of a nickel. But she adds, "That object should be made of plastic or glass. Don't use a wooden object because the glue will stick to it and you won't be able to remove the pattern from it."

Once the patterns are cut, you'll learn how to make the individual pieces from which you'll assemble the finished hats. All the while, Carol guides, instructs, and inspires with valuable suggestions to making the process easier and more enjoyable. For instance, when working with straw, "You need to pull firmly to get the correct size," she says. "But you can get a heck of a rope burn if you pull too fast." Carol also stresses the importance of organizing your work area and keeping everything handy. A nd she discloses the one thing you should never do before working with straw.

In the final stages of the video, Carol shows you how to assemble and shape your hat from all those little pieces you've been making. You'll watch how seemingly random pieces are transformed into beautiful hats right before your very eyes.

Finally, you'll learn how to decorate your creations. "This is my favorite part," says Carol, as she shows you how to add hat bands, ties, feathers, and roses as finishing touches to your hats. In addition to showing you how to cut and curl feathers, an d telling you what type of ribbon is best to make your roses, she offers a terrific tip for knowing exactly how many roses, ribbons, feathers, or other decorations to add to your hats.

Using Carol's techniques, you can make a variety of styles of bonnets and garden hats. But if you need further inspiration, she suggests, "Go to your local library or flea market and study books and magazines with pictures of hats. This will give you ideas for styles you can create. After a while, it will come to you naturally."