Friday, August 20, 2010

House Calls with Zara Carpenter from Chatham Girl

You know that feeling when you see something in a shop or online and think "I have to have that" and further more, want to know more about the creative mind behind it? Well, that was how I felt when I saw the millinery work of Zara Carpenter (from Chatham, UK) on Etsy. I am not a hat girl per se, but Zara's works are all really pieces of art in my view, and I just knew that she must have a great story to tell, so here it is!

Love Is In The Air Beret

Describe the work that you do? "I make hats and I have also written 2 collections of poetry."


What was the career/education path you took to get to this point? "Pure accident...... I have taken the path life has chosen. I have taken a couple of short courses in millinery otherwise I have learnt from making mistakes and reading lots of books."

The Dreamy Wood Nymph Hat

The Enchanting White Rose Gazebo Hat

Where do you get your inspirations? "Books, films, conversations, everywhere and anything can inspire me....... I am especially inspired by found objects and many of my hats are made around them."

The Heartbreakingly Beautiful Kathy Fascinator

The Delicious Strawberries and Cream Hat

Describe the creative process in designing and constructing a particular piece. "It's hard to describe as I am somewhat chaotic when designing..... its quite a manic process that I just go along with....... it can come upon my at the oddest times and I have to rush into my studio and work."

The Alice Giant Bow Aliceband

Where do you create your work? "My spare bedroom is my studio."

Would you share some of your favourite artisans whose work you most admire?

Mark Ryden (painter)

Images from The Snow Yak Show Exhibition Book 2009, Tokyo

Bjorn Veno

Images Bjorn Veno

Alison Blackburn (textile artist).

Where can we get our hands on your work? Etsy, Kellerman Vintage, Living In La La Land, Hannah Zakari, Starburst Boutique, The Deaf Cat

Too Too Cutie Bambi Hat

What/who are the things you love most in your life? "My Swedish boyfriend Rikard, My cat Boo, The Natural History Museum. I love watching films...... I am a massive movie geek. I collect hats, corsets, vintage erotica and antique glass. One of my favourite things to do is have a cuppa in my fave coffee shop The Deaf Cat with my friend."

All The Nice Girls Love A Sailor Beret

What would you do “in your wildest dreams”, if there were no restrictions? "Make hats for lovely people and never have to charge any money."

What is your greatest professional achievement? "It changes with each day, being chosen as an etsy featured seller was pretty awesome. I also won the Medway Arts Prize for Literature last year."

The Super Saucy Seaside Sally Windmill Hat

What is new with you and your work? "Beading."

New designs from the Chatham Girl studio.

Do you have a motto for life? "Say yes to everything...... give everything a go once....... if you don't like it then at least you know......... good things happen to people who say yes (they have for me)."

I have to say here, that the styling and imagery Zara uses for her work are really the most stunning I have seen. Beautiful and unique models in the most perfect set-ups. It is enough to make me buy a fascinator/hat/beret regardless of how beautiful. And they really are beautiful, aren't they? Zara is an insanely talented girl I think you will agree.

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