This is me, I am Bink. This is how I actually work:
Barefoot, in dungarees, sat on the floor in my West Yorkshire millinery studio, passionately making hats pretty much 7 days a week!
(Picture courtesy of John Clifton, www.johncliftonphotography.com)
In 2008, I moved from London to West Yorkshire and launched Pearls & Swine on a shoestring. I had been dabbling with hatmaking for a couple years prior while I working as a 24/7 live in carer to the elderly, disabled and terminally ill.
I really tried to not be a creative as I was so scared of failing but I turned 30 and I STILL couldn't figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. I gave up on my dream of being sensible to dive into creativity with all my heart and risk everything. That was the beginning of Pearls & Swine, a love affair with hats. I don't know why I make hats, I only know that hats are how I tell my story...
I am a self-taught milliner, I live in a constant state of inspiration so I literally have no time for anything else apart from being a full-time hatmaker. I generally work 7 days a week from morning to night. My hats and fascinators are inspired by surreal art, colour, culture, religion (though I am not religious), glitter, flowers, insects, animals, icons like Frida Kahlo, movies, vintage millinery... the inspiration list is endless!
When I create fascinators and hats for Pearls & Swine I create what I feel inside, and they don't always come out in the way you would expect, when I am happy my headwear is often very dark and when I am sad a headpiece can come out sparkly and colourful. Creatively, I have a "thing" about balance in colour, shape and weight.
For me millinery is like reading the best book you have ever read and there is a real pleasure in not knowing the end of the story until you get there. I love just flowing with my materials, my hats just seem to make themselves as if by magic, I try not to get in the way or overthink where the hat is going, it becomes what it wants to be.
My millinery sells to people all over the world, despite that fact that I rarely leave my millinery studio. Social media and word of mouth have helped to spread my reputation as a British mad hatter, which is lovely. I have made all sorts of headpieces for all sorts of people: brides, burlesque performers, ladies who attend the races, mothers of the bride, bridesmaids, drag queens and for television.
Some buy directly from my website and others ask for a bespoke hat or fascinator. I am constantly creating new headwear, I just can't stop myself!
Pearls & Swine hats are often seen in the press for Royal Ascot, have been on websites like Vogue Italia and Dark Beauty magazines like You and Your Wedding and occasionally I am interviewed by magazines like The Guardian, my headwear has been spotted on the front covers of How to Spend it and The Yorkshire Post. I have worked nonstop for about 8 years, during this time I have made 1000's of hats.
I also run Temptress of Waikiki, which is hats for those who prefer something less surreal. Temptress of Waikiki hats that are perfect for brides and the races. I intend to launch a couture millinery collection in 2016, probably towards the end of the year. I have begun making my own hat blocks and hand blocking over the last year, which I am LOVING!!!!
My millinery studio is the bottom floor of our house, where I live with my (very understanding) partner, fine artist, screen printer, muralist & DJ and our 4 cats Luna, Delilah, Zoot and LeeLoo, on a hill overlooking Dewsbury, West Yorkshire.
... and that is basically my millinery story in a nutshell.
PS. If you wish to keep in touch or to keep an eye on my latest headpieces you can find me on social media: