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Feather Effect Headpieces with Anél Heyman

July 8, 2023 - July 15, 2023

Join award-winning Australian milliner Anél Heyman at Chateau Dumas in southwest France from 8 to 15 July 2023 and learn to make a unique feathered headpiece from sinamay.  This inspirational week includes 4 days’ full-time tuition in a spacious air-conditioned studio as well as a visit to the local International Hat Festival where you will get the chance to meet milliners from all over the world and see entries for the hat competition.

Anél has won several international awards for her headpieces and has been honing her millinery skills in the twelve years since she first began making hats. She is known for her elaborate feather effect headpieces which she sculpts from sinamay into ethereal three-dimensional shapes which are often framed by dramatic wire silhouette sculptures.   With a problem-solving approach to millinery, Anél has overcome many of the technical challenges associated with working with sinamay and she shares her expertise generously in her workshops.

Following a discussion about design and proportion, you’ll set about creating templates for the feathers featured in your design. You can embrace the freedom to be creative and allow yourself to think outside the box as the design possibilities are endless. Once you’ve designed your feather templates, the shapes are cut out of sinamay, a natural open-weave material, available in the workshop in a range of colours. Alternatively, you can custom dye your sinamay using Procion cold water dyes. Anél will show you how to mix the dye to achieve the desired shade and how to achieve plain and ombré effects as well as create design motifs.

In the next stage and under Anél’s guidance you experiment with fanning out the sinamay to create a faux feather look and learn the techniques for wiring and manipulating the feathers to match your design. Creating a bespoke wire headband comes next and Anél demonstrates the skills to bend into shape and neatly bind both a single and double headband. Continuing the lesson in wire work,  Anél teaches the skills for creating silhouette sculptures which can be used to add visual structure and impact to a headpiece. Finally, it is time to assemble everything, attaching the wired straw feathers and wire sculptures to the headband securely to complete your headpiece.

You’ll be amazed at what you are able to achieve during the week. This workshop offers the perfect entrée into millinery as no previous experience of millinery and hat blocking is necessary, although if you have already worked with sinamay you might find you are able to complete several headpieces during the week. Anél will encourage you at every stage to make the most of your learning experience and to experiment with your designs.

You will leave at the end of the week with at least one completed headpiece and a raft of new skills on which to build. Anyone concerned about animal welfare or working with animal products will love this workshop. Often referred to as vegan feathers, you will not find there are no customs restrictions when you travel internationally with your straw feather headpieces.

Also included in the week is a  visit to the atmospheric farmer’s market in a nearby medieval St Antonin-Noble-Val, to Cahors for the Wednesday morning market and to a nearby restaurant for a memorable gastronomic dining experience. You’ll stay at Chateau Dumas, a beautiful 18th-century chateau set in 22 acres of private grounds with a pool, just one hour north of Toulouse airport in southwest France.


July 8, 2023
July 15, 2023
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Anel Heyman
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Chateau Dumas
Chateau Dumas
Auty, 82220 France
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