Monday, April 27, 2009

Sensible girl

I'm not just a girl; I am the most cliche, blubbering, textbook example of a girl there is. My mannerisms, style and interests belie any belief I have that women are just as capable of wearing the pants as men are; my unquenchable quest for beauty in every moment betrays the journalistic rationality I so thoroughly steeped myself in during college.

This girly-girl mentality goes a long way in explaining my undying love for period pieces and the decadent lives they portray. I've always been a bit of a traitor to my generation, emotionally and sartorially speaking. I'd rather spend my days languishing underneath an enormous willow tree reading trite poetry while daydreaming about the man of my dreams than type worthless words on a computer screen, but alas, I am not Jane Austen. I only wish I was.

During a routine home screening of Ang Lee's Sense & Sensibility -- to this day one of my all-time-favorite cinematic offerings -- I began crafting a collection of tiny hats that I have lovingly dubbed "19th century cottage couture." Though my colors are certainly brighter and lighter (keeping with that soft focus, pretty pastel look I'm obsessed with right now) than what Lee used in his classic Austen adaptation, there is definitely an air of antiquated sophistication to these hats that has yet to be seen in my other work. Subtle touches here and there recall specific pieces from the movie; the ebony plumes on my black and cream pillbox echo those on Lucy Steele's onyx chapeau. The sheer striped linen, soft lace and floral accents featured elsewhere echo the overall mood of this gauzy, ethereal film, one that continues to provide me with fresh inspiration in varying forms every single time I see it. Needless to say, I'm super pleased with the results of my new collection, and I have the Dashwoods to the thank for that.

Please keep an eye out for these new looks at Clove Salon Gallery & Boutique in Midtown Atlanta, where these and other selections are now on sale! More where that came from will, of course, be available at I.C.E. May 30-31.

all in a row


Thursday, April 23, 2009

this is the best thing to wear for the day

With less than a month left to prepare for this summer's Indie Craft Experience, and quite a few custom orders in the pipeline, Ministry of Tiny Hats threatens to become the most important thing in my life right now, and I must say, that doesn't bother me one bit.

I've been gathering inspiration from all sorts of places lately, and more than just the subjects themselves (resort-friendly Jackie O and Grey Gardens, i.e.) I have become particularly fixated on a specific color palette. With a handful of exceptions, I'd like my summer I.C.E. collection to be a flood of the palest pastels and wispy-est neutrals imaginable, a wash of ethereal elegance in very soft focus. Could anything be more wonderful?

The past few days, I've made a handful of hats, including a lovely moss-green velvet pillbox number with coral feathers, mint tulle and cream sequined flowers. Pictures soon to follow. My other big accomplishment is a tiny Brownie hat, which is pretty much a hybrid between the traditional Brownie beanie and Girl Scout beret. It's a belated birthday present for my friend Millie, who I'm hoping will appreciate the creative license I took in crafting this miniature piece of GS memorabilia. Tiny hat merit badge?

tiny brownie beret

Please don't forget to check out the Ministry May 30-31 at Indie Craft Experience for more where this came from! Peruse thousands of adorable wares from the craftiest minds this country has to offer. And now you have two days to come out in case you miss the first!

mini milliner

Thursday, April 16, 2009

top of the o' media to ya!

This week has been, in many ways, thoroughly dedicated to furthering the tiny hat cause. In addition to finally purchasing the domain, which temporarily redirects to this blog (real site to come in nearish future thanks to the graphic design skills of a friend, fingers crossed), I made and shipped another custom order (the tiny American-themed hat pictured in my last entry), further proving to myself that I work best under pressure. Always.

The tiny be-feathered top hat pictured at left is another project I undertook for my friend Sarah Bell's birthday. She managed to take the look to the next level by juxtaposing it to a fountain of Marie Antoinette-esque, tight curls. Girl knows how to make me look good.

One of the most exciting pieces of news I received this week was in reference to the tiny leprechaun hats I blogged about a couple weeks ago. Tom Milewski, costume designer for the Seattle play Keefee's House of Cards sent me some amazing preliminary photos of his cast members donning their mini green chapeaus, and I couldn't be more thrilled. Here's a taste of the Ministry's stage debut!

Amy Taylor
mini milliner

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

world domination

Whenever I participate in a craft fair, of which there are many in the Atlanta area, I am often surprised by the positive response my hats receive. This is particularly perplexing because the reactions generated by tiny hats on the whole range from intense confusion and disapproval, to extreme affection, the former being the stronger of the two.

But all it takes it one tiny hat fan to transform the whole lot of 'em that yes, indeed, you do need a tiny version of your favorite normal-sized hat. This is why it's important to mention the sudden surge of tiny hats in the media, even though they aren't even mine. I won't lie, when Nylon Magazine posted this piece on their site yesterday, I felt a tinge of sadness...followed by extreme disappointment. It stung a little to see a concept so dear to my heart, and once so unique, being transformed into a mass-produced, fleeting fashion trend. But then i reconsidered: isn't any mainstream attention paid to this hard-to-sell, uber-niche market a good thing? And it's not as if I INVENTED the tiny hat; I only refined it, and took it a to a new plateau. Besides, though these Nylon-worthy hats are adorable and certainly ones I'd wear myself, I'd like to use this opportunity to set myself apart and hopefully gain some new followers in the process!

Ministry of Tiny Hats is based on the principle that any -- and I do mean ANY -- idea, holiday or piece of personal memorabilia can be transformed into a wearable work of art. While the tiny top hat is what sparked my miniature chapeau obsession, I have moved into considerably more abstract territory in recent months; a tiny airplane and cupcake hat are among my more whimsical offerings thus far.

I wouldn't want to deter anyone from buying the lovely hats mention in the aforementioned article, but I would like to steer some on-the-fence folks in the Ministry's direction, if only for practicality's sake: My hats are not only 100% handmade and more affordable, they can be customized to practically any specifications you might have. I won't even add the caveat "within reason" because as of yet, there hasn't been a single custom tiny hat request i've turned down!

In the spirit of whetting your tiny hat appetite, here are a few of my more recent offerings to the tiny hat world, with many more to come in the near future.

ministry of tiny hats

Please email me at with any and all requests, and for more information about pricing and construction time. Or if you are, or will be, in the Atlanta area May 30-31, please stop by the Ministry of Tiny Hats booth at this year's summer installment of the Indie Craft Experience!

Tiny hats off to ya!


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Ministry of Tiny Successes

Well hello there. Sorry for the lack of updates. I've been sick, out of town and just generally avoiding productivity for the better part of a month, so please forgive me.

My creation

But now that I'm feeling better and back at home, tiny hats are making a comeback. This has been a busy week in the world of small chapeaus, what with my published spread in Spain's H Magazine and my renewed desire to make a tiny-hat living. The series of photographs, taken by Atlanta's own Alex Martinez, features a model wearing a variety of my earliest tiny hat creations. Given my journalism background, there's nothing quite as exciting as seeing the fruits of my labor in print. I have my friend Meghan McNeer to thank for this amazing opportunity, a local photographer who assists Martinez and is passionate about promoting her peers. Meghan is the visionary behind my original tiny hat photos; a truly revolutionary and talented woman. You can view the H Magazine spread here.

In other tiny hat related news, I have been commissioned to make two Irish-themed tiny hats for a Seattle-based play called Keefee's House of Cards. I think gay theatre was the next natural step for Ministry of Tiny Hats, don't you? So excited to see how it all turns out! You can see my first finished hat for the order below.

tiny leprechaun hat

In the pipeline, I have quite a few projects on the horizon, including several tiny hat orders for a friend to sell at her salon as well as belated birthday hats that i keep dropping the ball on. And maybe, if I'm lucky, the lingering book idea that Alex and I keep threatening to pitch. No joke. Watch out, world. here we coooome!

Until next time.