This idea has been brought to life
Ellie works with all kinds of materials from wood to clay. She often uses waste materials, such as plastic washed up on the beach or recycled glass bottles. She likes to get her hands dirty and try out all kinds of making techniques to help her come up with her designs.
Designer-maker Ellie Birkhead from London brought Benjamin's Super Hat 2021 to life using a mixture of dried and felt flowers, moss and fallen branches!
Maker blog entries
Ta da! I hope Benjamin like's the made real Super Hat 2021! I definitely like wearing it :)
I'm continuing to add some more flowers, leaves and twigs to bring the hat to life, and have added some special felted additions to the hat. If you look carefully you should be able to see them...
The last steps before the hat is complete is to add few more sprigs of felted flowers as well as some dried flowers. I will also pad out the inside of the hat with wool to make sure it's comfy to wear around the city!
I wanted to make sure all of the metal part of the hat is well covered so that in the end it will look very green and natural. I started by covering the frame in preserved moss, this is real moss that has been treated to last for a long time.
I then began positioning different types of flowers into the hat. I have chosen to use a mixture of felt flowers and dried flowers as the hat needs to travel to different exhibitions and not wilt as fresh flowers would do. Felt is made from wool so is a natural material.
To give the hat lots of texture and colour to attract bees whilst also being fun to wear I chose a selection of different coloured flowers, and tried to select mainly blue, orange and red to match Benjamin's drawing as closely as possible. I've also started to add leaves, and more twigs to the brim.
The Super Hat is starting to take shape!
After finding the sieves which would make up the framework of the hat, I started taking them apart so I could mould them into the top hat shape Benjamin drew. I removed the handle of the sieve and used wire to attached one sieve on top of the other. I also repurpose some leftover flower foam and cut this to shape to fit into the top part of the hat. This will allow me to poke flowers into the hat without them spiking you in the head when you're wearing the hat, and also hold the flowers firmly in position.
I sourced some locally grown willow from a friend who grows willow to make baskets, so that I could start to make the nest-like brim. I soaked the willow for 2-3 days to make it flexible before weaving it around the frame of the hat to cover up the metal edge. This gives will also allow me to start poking larger sticks into the brim to create a twiggy perch for birds.
The basic frame of the hat is now done and ready to be covered in the exciting parts!
To start making the Super Hat I began by thinking about the framework of the hat. It needed to be something strong but lightweight, with holes the poke flowers in. I love to use repurpose or recycled materials to make things so I took a trip to a local bits and bobs shop and found the perfect starting material - 2 kitchen sieves!