HATstock: Hat Heaven with The Hat Stand


Earlier in the year myself and my Hat Stand collaborators, Amanda and Siobhan, were invited to take part  the very first HATstock. The event took place at Hat Works, the Museum of Hatting in Stockport.

We were incredibly honoured to be part of this celebration of hat making in the North.

Preparing for HATstock

We have been booked by a number of women’s groups to deliver our talk about how we, as individuals, got into millinery and how we got together to become The Hat Stand.

The timing was perfect as we were preparing for this year’s pop-up shop. However, this was the first time we were going to deliver it in public (not my dining room!).

Needless to say, we had the usual normal nerves about public speaking. But then who doesn’t?

Then we found out about who some of the other speakers were and there were some pretty illustrious people in the hat world.

HATstock Talk

I’m totally playing this down, as I’m still slightly overwhelmed that we were invited to be on the same bill!

The other speakers included;

  • Organiser of London Hat Week Georgina Abbott
  • Long term supporter of Hat Stand and editor of HATalk Magazine Becky Weaver
  • My former tutor from Leeds College of Art, Sharon Bainbridge, a nationally renowned tutor and curator of hat exhibitions.

So a slight quickening of heart rate…until I found out that spaces for our talk had sold out. I’ll be honest, then I just felt a bit sick!

As well as our talk, we had been offered the opportunity to display some of our work as part of the Millinery Showcase at the event.

Cue a frantic discussion about how to create a slick and professional display as new details about the space emerged. We also needed to do it on a shoe string budget! We genuinely had an entire two hour meeting devoted to photo frames. The style, the size, the cost and how quickly we could source them.

This was a whole new world for us. We know the pop-up shop space so well now that we can just rock up and set-up!

This also proved to be a useful example for our talk when discussing how collaboration, co-operation and compromise works between the three of us!

On the Day

The extended chat was thoroughly worthwhile and we were really pleased with our final displays. 

We also worked out a way to reuse all the promotional images for this year’s pop up shop too. We will be super swanky when we open up in June!

The next task was actually delivering our talk. We knew what we wanted to say…we just needed to do it!

Despite all our natural nerves, I was so proud of us all for how well we worked together to offer an insight into our girl gang. We backed each other up, prompted important points, but equally gave each other time to say what we needed to say… just like we always do at meetings!

Our audience were lovely and friendly, they laughed in the right places, gave a tremendous applause and even came to compliment us on our delivery afterwards. 

Needless to say, this reaction has helped buoy our confidence to deliver this talk in the future. Just as well as we are booked for another two sessions on this topic!

HATstock the audience

Once this scary bit of the day was out of the way, we were free to enjoy the rest of the HATstock event.

We attended the other talks, chatted with the other millinery showcase participants, did a bit of supplies shopping and met the huge numbers of hat enthusiasts who came from all over the country.

Personal Highlights of HATstock

The icing on my cake was selling a hat that I had specifically chosen to bring to HATstock!

I chose the hat for my display because it directly linked to my previous visits to Hat Works. It felt like the perfect tribute and a fitting celebration of my experiences of learning at the museum.

I made the base of this hat a year ago when I attended an open blocking session at the museum (You can read my blog about it here).

This was when I first met Bronwen, the visionary behind HATstock, so it seemed very fitting to bring the finished piece. 

Despite completing the design last year, on morning before the event, I decided it was missing a little something. Nothing like a last minute design change to help with increased stress levels!

However, I’m so glad I added the gold painted edging to the petals on the hat. It really did make all the difference and the hat’s new owner certainly though so too!

I also wore a hat with a very special Hat Works link. 

It was another of the pieces that I had blocked during my visit last year.

However, that one had remained completely unfinished until the afternoon before HATstock!

We had a simply fantastic day at HATstock and hope we will be able to take part again in the future.

Thank you so much to the amazing Bronwen and all the Hat Works staff who worked so, so hard to make the event happen. We were so honoured to be invited to take part and it was such a privilege to be involved in such a brilliantly organised event.

Hats off folks, you nailed it! Thank you so much from The Hat Stand milliners.




HATstock The Hat Stand Sheffield

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