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diane harty

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Medium: Fiber

Booth #: LN41C

I stitch each and every hat myself, starting just with strands of braid made of various fibers. I use an antique chainstitch sewing machine fitted with attachments made for this type of hatmaking. This is an old technique of hat construction that dates back to the 1800s. I add a contemporary element by shaping as I stitch. I do not use any premade forms or hat blocks. I am self taught in this technique, though I discovered my love for creating as I finished my B.A. (in South Asian Studies and Botany) and took a ceramics course for some relief from paper writing. I shape each hat as I stitch it together using tension with my hands. This "free-form" shaping gives each hat a uinque shape, and, I feel, maintains a freshness and vitality in my work. I approach each hat as an individual sculpture. Many of my cocktail hats reflect the light side of fashion and its capriciousness, and it's power to alter a person when it is worn. I enjoy exploring the ability of fashion to change a person by the simple act of wearing clothing or an accessory such as a hat. It causes one to travel to another part of oneself, or change one's personality without going anywhere.

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