Sunday, February 28, 2010

Featured Artist - Janine Basil

Here is another wonderful craftsperson that I have recently met through Indie Junction.

Janine makes fabulous hats. She is inspired by many eras, from the 1920's through the 1950's. Being a fan of old films myself, I love those eras and sometimes wish for the glamour that seems to have disappeared from women's fashion. Janine's hats bring all of that back, but in a way that can be translated to our modern life.

In her own words she began her current craft in a very "round about way'. She was at one time a hairdresser, a make-up artist, involved in film and theater and eventually found herself studying fashion at Cambridgeshire College of Technology and Art in West Wales. She had a small introduction to hat making in a course she took just before Art College. Although she always loved hats, she decided not to take a degree in millinery. It wasn't until last year when she moved to London with her boyfriend, that she took an additional two week intensive course in hat making and made 10 hats. I guess you could say she was hooked.

For fascinators, Janine uses buckram, which is a loose woven cotton with an adhesive coating. She uses two layers and says that "the beauty of it is you can spray it with water, leave it for a minute or two and than it is easy to shape over a block. For those of you who don't know what a fascinator is, I again used the ever useful Wikipedia to look up the definition. "A fascinator is a headpiece, a style of millinery". It is used to describe "a delicate, slightly-to-very frivolous head decoration worn almost exclusively by women."

For hats, wool felt is used for winter and straw and sinamey for lightweight summer hats. The wool felt is bought as "hoods", then steamed over a hat block. She also uses a glitter fabric that is tough and doesn't shed much glitter. I can hear the question now - what is sinamey? Well the definition is "a stiff open-weave fabric spun from the fibers of the banana plant".

I can talk all day and not do Janine justice for her beautiful work. I suggest you check out her hats on the following sites: