Millinery class brings family together in Haliburton
By Jenn Watt
After four days of steaming, stretching, pinning and cutting fabric into hats, Mary Ann Rich and her family said the millinery class at Haliburton School of Art + Design was just the right fit.
Four members of the family – Mary Ann from Simcoe, her daughters Layla and Morgan from Toronto, and daughter-in-law Brittany Godlien from Saskatchewan – came to the Highlands for a week together.
“We went on a family holiday to Costa Rica in April and we had a great time. I was trying to think of something I could do, engaging my girls in creative pursuits and thought this would be a great idea,”
Mary Ann said, while taking a break from crafting hats on Thursday afternoon.
“We’re all liking it about three times more than we thought we would. We’re having a ball.”
Other members of the family were staying at a nearby cottage, taking swimming lessons and enjoying the hot, sunny weather.
As is common at HSAD, Mary Ann is a repeat visitor. She’s taken classes for 10 summers in Haliburton, first coming by chance, and then returning as an annual tradition.
“It is such a wonderful school. Once you come here once, you just want to keep coming back. It really is very inviting and supportive,” she said.
“I love how people walk around to the different classrooms and check things out,” says Morgan, who has also previously attended HSAD with Layla.
Each family member had crafted at least five hats in four days, each one vastly different than the last with hints of bygone eras.
“I felt a little intimidated coming in the beginning,” Layla said. She knew how to sew a little, but wasn’t sure how she’d fare if the class was primarily measuring and stitching.
The family had high praise for instructor Karyn Gingras, who leads Millinery - The Art of Hat Making.
The garments are first shaped using a hat form, they explained, with the material steamed and
stretched and pinned until it fits the shape.
“She’s got a wonderful eye for finishing the hat. The hat itself is interesting, but it’s how you wear it and how you style it,” Layla said.
“It’s pretty exciting. And to have it be wearable art that I know I’ll wear.”