Hat blocks are “tools of the trade” for the hat maker, but they are not just common workroom tools. They are wood forms, intricately carved and shaped by skilled woodworkers - they are unique sculptured works of art in their own right.
Shell Beret, Hat Block
Wayne Wichern’s exquisite hats will be paired with these unusual wood sculptures from his extensive collection of vintage and contemporary hat blocks.
Wayne Wichern’s millinery design and teaching career evolved out of his experiences as a floral designer, classical ballet dancer and his interest in fashion and costume design. Wayne grew up on a farm in Cody, Wyoming. His professional talents as a celebrated hat designer are apparent when following the winding path of creative and artistic endeavors pursuits he has mastered. Beginning as a floral designer in Seattle, he then relocated to New York City to pursue dance as a classical ballet dancer. The gradual evolution of an interest in fashion and costume design precipitated a return to Seattle where work in theater costuming and retail store and window display eventually transformed into his now 32-year millinery design and teaching career.
Wayne’s elegant hats have sold in such fine stores as Barneys NY and Nordstrom. He has created hats for theater productions of the Belfry Theater in Victoria, BC, Art Club Theater, Vancouver, BC, San Francisco Ballet, Seattle Repertory Theater, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. 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. His work has been featured in the San Francisco Chronicle, Women’s Wear Daily, Victoria Magazine, and Fiberarts Design Book Six.
Wayne is a skilled teacher who continually works to inspire and encourage students to pursue their interests in professional design careers.
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 always 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.