About the Milliners
My love affair with hats started at a young age and has only grown as I have learned and honed my craft over the last 25 years.
I started buying hats from thrift stores as a young girl, and redecorating them. In University I double majored in both Apparel and Costume Design, I was offered a position in the costume shop and was lucky enough to intern with a theatrical milliner.
My strange upbringing and constantly weird existence have certainly shaped and molded my idea of design. I love the bold, shocking, unexpected and sometimes just plain weird in this world, and find it beautiful. I thrive on incorporating unusual items into headwear, and challenging myself on what a hat can be.
My hats have been featured in Elle Accessory Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Martha Stewart Show, Good Morning America, and the runway for Hello Kitty/Sanrio, as well as many blogs and art publications.
I am thrilled to be a part of Ballard Millinery Studio where collaboration is key, and I can feel myself growing as an artist.
Michale Crooks works under her label of Mabel M Hatworks.
Fierce fearlessness! I imagine not worrying about convention, not staying in the boundaries of expectations, and not limiting myself to what's been done before.
"My wish is for all of us to think of hats as an EveryDay, AnyDay accessory. I create hats to be as comfortable and casual as jeans, as sleek as a fine suit, and as chic or unique as any special event.
I create elegant hats for the discerning woman. I am a graduate of music at the University of Oregon; later of Ethnomusicology at the University of Washington. I retired from teaching school in 1998, met and began learning millinery from Wayne Wichern.
I have continued to create hats and learn new techniques. I recently attended classes at Chateau Dumas – it was amazing!
I have always loved to wear hats, and I am now delighted to learn how to make them. Over a decade later, am still learning and enjoying every minute of the process.
Wayne Wichern has carved a curious path as florist, ballet dancer, and visual display artist to create his 30-year career as a millinery designer and teacher. His innovative hat designs are in collections of the de Young Museum in San Francisco and the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle, WA.
Hats are a powerful social and cultural marker. In the early to mid-1900’s the daily wearing of hats was a social norm. People rarely ventured out in public without a suitable hat. Today, when you wear a hat you are certain to be noticed. It is interesting to me to observe the obvious or subtle adjustments of a client’s mental and physical attitude as I set a hat on their head. The hat may well ask for a confident straight-forward comportment or perhaps a more mysterious or mischievous character is requested of the wearer. Thus the “theater of the hat” as each change of hat reveals facets of an individual’s persona.
The Ballard Millinery Studio is the design and working studio for 5 Seattle milliners.
Carol Campbell - Michale Crooks - Jane Leeds
Belle McCluskey - Wayne Wichern
Please email us individually for an appointment to view our ready to wear hats in our showroom or to have a hat made for your particular needs. We look forward to working with you.