My journey into the world of millinery began when I moved from London to West Yorkshire in 2008 and launched Pearls & Swine on a shoestring. Prior to that, I was a live-in carer to the elderly, disabled, and terminally ill, and had been experimenting with hat-making on the side.
It took me a while to embrace my creative side, as I was afraid of failing, but at 30, I decided to take a leap of faith and immerse myself in creativity, and that was the beginning of Pearls & Swine - a love affair with hats that continues to this day. My hats are the means by which I tell my story, although I couldn't tell you why hats speak to me so strongly.
As a self-taught milliner, I live and breathe inspiration, leaving little time for anything else. My hats and fascinators are influenced by surreal art, culture, vintage millinery, and everything in between. When I create, I let my intuition guide me, resulting in headwear that defies expectation.
For me, millinery is akin to reading a good book - a pleasure that lies in not knowing how the story will end. The materials take on a life of their own, and I do my best not to get in the way or overthink the process.
My work has been frequently featured in press for Royal Ascot and graced the pages of magazines like Vogue Italia and You and Your Wedding. My hats have been worn by brides, burlesque performers, race-goers, celebrities, and drag queens, among others as well as on TV and in movies. I am very lucky, word of mouth and social media have helped spread my reputation as a British mad hatter.
My studio is situated in our hillside house, which I share with my supportive partner, Trafford Parsons - a fine artist, screen printer, muralist, and DJ - and our six cats. If you'd like to keep up with my latest creations, you can find me on social media.
That's the story of Pearls & Swine in a nutshell. I hope you enjoy my work as much as I enjoy creating it.