Tell us a little about yourself, and please tell us a bit about your fabulous job at the Lacis Museum of Lace and Textiles!
I grew up in a town called Waukegan, which is just outside of Chicago, IL. We were a science-fiction and dress-up family with closets full of home made costumes and I don't think I ever outgrew that. My mother taught me to sew early on, but I didn't take it to heart until later. By the time I graduated with my BA in Sociology from UVA, I had decided to give it all up and invest in my creative career instead. I left the East Coast, moved to California, and now I have a closet full of my very own home made costumes.
For the past four years I have worked at Lacis Museum of Lace and Textiles, which turned out to be a constant source of inspiration for me. My days are saturated with antique textiles, costume, embroideries, and lace, as well as a steady stream of interesting and awesome people who come to the store to shop and ask for advice on everything from building a Burning Man wardrobe, to analyzing Viking needlework, to designing a wedding dress. I'm fortunate enough to have worked in the collection restoring textiles and setting up exhibits, as well as helping customers on a day-to-day basis.
Please tell us about your fancy dress hats and whimsies. Where does your creative inspiration come from?
Sass! If if brings a swish to your walk or a swagger to your step, then that's worth doing. Vintage fashions are always a good springboard and lately I've been taking my design inspiration from nature with my line of Bug Hats (it started with a ladybug and now there are birds, butterflies, and beetles of all kinds). I thrive off of the whimsical and fantastical, but really I'm all over the map. There is only one rule: if it looks good, do it!
What are your favorite materials to work with?
The fantastic thing about headdress is that it can be made out of anything. Of course my favorite materials are those that create exciting textures, both visually and to touch. Feathers, rhinestones, fur, felt, ribbons, etc., but especially the combination of all of them - it should make your heart skip.
What other crafts do you enjoy?
I make costume of all kinds. I have implemented everything from embroidery and braiding to carpentry and electronics in my work.
Where can we find you online?
Apart from my Etsy shop, photos of past projects, selfish projects, and other things I have done can be found on Flickr at http://flickr.com/photos/bennettmillinery.
Giveaway time! Kelly has generously offered her vintage-style Black Beetle Whimsy (it will look fabulous on you at your next fancy dress party!) as a gift to one lucky Serendipity Handmade reader:
1. Visit Bennett Millinery on Etsy and leave a comment on this post about the fancy dress hat or whimsy of your choice. (Required)
To increase your chances of winning, you have the option to do one or more of the following. For each action post one additional comment on this post:
2. Follow Serendipity Handmade with Google Friend Connect in the right margin.
3. Follow Serendipity Vintage on Twitter and tweet or retweet about this giveaway:
4. Like the Serendipity Vintage Facebook page.
UPDATED: This giveaway is open to all readers and will end