Year of the Artist

Over the last six months Luton has been celebrating the Year of the Artist with an exciting millinery project emphasising the town’s role as the centre of the British hat trade.  The project has been organised by Luton Borough Council Museums and Arts Service and supported by a grant from East England Arts. 

For the ‘celebrity’ side of the project, milliners Sharon Morgan and Dagmara Childs  created a collection of hats for singer Faye Tozer of the chart-topping group STEPS.  A recent photo shoot resulted in some stunning pictures of Faye wearing her new hats, and we hope that they will soon feature in some leading fashion and music magazines.  The milliners drew inspiration from the archive collections at Luton Museum and also benefited from a work placement with local hat manufacturer J Albert and Co., which enabled them to improve their knowledge of the industry. 

The ‘community’ side of the project has seen milliner Caroline Morris leading a series of hat making workshops for elderly people.  Participants were drawn from five Luton residential homes and a day centre.  After creating design storyboards they learned to make artificial flowers which they used to decorate a number of hats.  A number of people had formerly worked in the hat trade and they were able to tackle more demanding tasks and revive old skills and memories.  To round off the project, Caroline Morris gave a millinery demonstration at Luton Museum which attracted several hundred visitors.

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