Saturday, 12 April 2008


I think my proclivity toward all things shmata is genetic. I'll probably continue to think so no matter how much people laugh at me for it. All kinds of people on both sides of my family have been involved in the rag trade in some fashion (ha!) or another.

Viz. my cousin Tracy. She's the driving force of Abbey Hill Design in North Bay, Ontario. Her mother Gisela worked in the costume shop at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, where Tracy and her sibs grew up. Her paternal grandmother, my great aunt, designed and made costumes for community theatre in Yorkshire, England. The one time I visited Aunt Edith I wondered what was in her locked front room, so she showed me. I remember feeling like Aladdin discovering the cave full of treasures when she opened the doors. Exquisite Belle Epoque gowns, hats, feathered fans -- be still my beating, pubescent heart. No wonder Tracy became a designer. Genetic predetermination.

Yes, I still believe in free will.

Monday, 7 April 2008


For a photographer's daughter I've got a lot to learn. Unfortunately, it's too late to ask my dad for pointers as he's no longer with us. However, thanks to digital cameras and the nice people inside my computer (okay, okay, the Web) and my camera (okay, the instruction booklet), I stink somewhat less at it than I did before.

For instance, my light tent, in which all these hats have been shot. You can buy one much smaller than mine for about $150; I made mine for about $10 (not including cost of the lightbulbs). All I used were some corrugated cardboard, old pillowcases, glue, staples and wire.

If you would like to know how I made it, please email me.

The camera is Nikon Coolpix. It's amazing what you can do when you find out there is, in fact, a tripod in the house and you learn to go flashless. It's all about the lighting and setting your camera's white balance. And photo touch-up software, of course.

It's an ongoing process. If I experience any epiphanies, I'll post them here.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Lucy's Play

My friend (and client) Lucy Brennan is a poet, actress and playwright. Her one-act play, "Daughter of the House", is debuting this month, thanks to the Alumnae Theatre Company. I saw it in a staged reading last year and I'm dying to see how it looks all dolled up. It's set in 1950's Ireland. There's bound to be hats!