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Susan Freese's Profile

About

I have always had an interest in art, crafting and fashion. Millinery (hat-making) is the way I've found to tie it all together.

I grew up in an era where women and men dressed nicely when they left the home. I respected that, but that era ended. I love the way clothing and accessories represent the social, psychological, and political aspects of the era in which they were worn. Clothing can tell a lot about the lives of people at various times in history.

Ladies I knew had their hats made to match their outfits by seamstresses or milliners in the communities in which they lived. Knowing that, many years ago I tried to locate information on hat making, but it was before the Internet and I could find no information.

When the Internet came along, I found JudithM, a…

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  • Female
  • Born on November 16
  • Joined September 23, 2008

Favorite materials

fabric, buttons, beads, ribbon, laces, ribbons, bright shiny things, wools, felts, silks, cottons

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About

I have always had an interest in art, crafting and fashion. Millinery (hat-making) is the way I've found to tie it all together.

I grew up in an era where women and men dressed nicely when they left the home. I respected that, but that era ended. I love the way clothing and accessories represent the social, psychological, and political aspects of the era in which they were worn. Clothing can tell a lot about the lives of people at various times in history.

Ladies I knew had their hats made to match their outfits by seamstresses or milliners in the communities in which they lived. Knowing that, many years ago I tried to locate information on hat making, but it was before the Internet and I could find no information.

When the Internet came along, I found JudithM, a millinery supply store, four hours from my house and began taking classes there. I also practiced and learned on my own as well as spending time at Penland School of Crafts in North Caroilna.

Of course, life often gets in the way and I was not able to pursue hatting in a steady manner. I've created as opportunities have arisen. People sometimes ask me how long I've been making hats and I honestly cannot answer. It's been somewhere over 10 years, give or take.

I sell my hats on Etsy.com and at artisan markets around central Indiana. My two "regular markets" are the fall market at the Johnson County Museum of History in Franklin, Indiana and the winter Indiana Artisan market at the Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis. I've also done Hoosier Artisan sponsored by the state of Indiana and a wide variety of smaller markets over the years.

I do some custom work as requested, most recently a bridal birdcage that was a lot of fun to make. I've had requests for hats by Kentucky Derby goers as well.

My studio-workshop is located in the converted garage of the house my late mother and father built almost 60 years ago. It's not open to visitors at this stage, but I do have a sort of conference room in my guest cottage which is a renovated barn close to my house. I meet customers by appointment only.

I enjoy sharing what I've learned with others and have taught fascinator (small fancy hats) classes at the Johnson County Museum of History, Franklin, and the Edinburgh Indiana public library. The students and I have had lots of fun in those classes.

Along with my millinery training, I have an undergraduate degree in fashion related courses, a graduate degree in textiles and clothing, and an associate degree in graphic design. Everything I learned in those studies has been beneficial to me in making hats.

Several years ago in an international wool felt hat making contest sponsored by Judith M and a non-woven felt manufacturer, I place second in the pattern division with a hat that I completely sewed by hand. It was a 1940s style.

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