Thursday, October 20, 2011

St Catherine's Day Hat Contest

November 25th is St Catherines day.  Who? I hear you ask.  Thanks to the power of Wikipedia I can tell you that:  According to the traditional story, Catherine was the daughter of Costus, a pagan governor of Alexandria, where she was born. She is said to have announced to her parents that she would only marry someone who surpassed her in beauty, intelligence, wealth, and social status.  Though raised a pagan, she converted to Christianity in her late teens. It is said that she visited her contemporary, the Roman Emperor Maximinus Daia, and attempted to convince him of the moral error in persecuting Christians.  Upon the failure of the Emperor to win Catherine over, he ordered her to be put in prison; and when the people who visited her converted, she was condemned to death on the breaking wheel, an instrument of torture. According to legend, the wheel itself broke when she touched it, so she was beheaded.

Since then, girls were under the protection of St Catherine (while Saint Nicolas cared for the boys). Girls participated in devotion groups to the saint, and were responsible for the confection of a beautiful headdress to "cap" her statue each year on November 25. The young women left the group when marrying, hence "capping Saint Catherine" became, for a female, synonymous to "being still single at/after 25". Following the changes of women's and marriage's status in society, this custom progressively died all over France, with the exception of the hatmaking and dressmaking trades, wherein unmarried women, after they turned twenty-five, would attend a ball on St Catherine's Day in a hat made specially for the occasion;

Here are the some of the Catherinettes from last year showing off their millinery creations.

This year the Lycee Octave Feuillet in Paris is holding a Catherinette hat contest. Hats of any type can be entered, as long as they incorporate the Catherinette colours - green and yellow. You can enter online until the beginning of November.  As far as I can work out it is still ok to enter if you are over 25 and married.  Good luck and I would love to see any hats you guys make.

Friday, October 14, 2011

PolkaDot Spotlight on Scottish talent: Aka Tombo

A big thank you goes out to the lovely ladies behind PolkaDot lighthouse who featured AkaTombo hats in their blog today. Their blog is always full of super pretty things and available in English and Spanish. Enjoy!

                               PolkaDot Spotlight on Scottish talent: Aka Tombo

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Catch up

Hey guys, I know I have been MIA for a wee while but I am furiously trying to get as many hats as my fingers are capable of making before falling off, ready for my trip back home to Scotland next month.  This has meant that pretty much everything else has fallen by the way side.  To keep you all up to date though I thought I would do a wee Aka Tombo round up of the last few weeks starting with a lovely weekend spent with the ladies of Empukuji.

One of my dear friends, Masako, and her Daughter in law held their bi-annual weekend sale at nearby empukuji temple.  Masako's son is the head monk of the temple and lets us crafters set up shop inside the beautiful, old, traditional wooden temple twice a year to sell lots of handmade and vintage treats.  For a wee temple in the middle of rice fields the turn out was amazing and I must say thank you to all my lovely friends who came out to support my first hat based stall in Japan.

I also need to say a big thank you to the lovely Shoko Sakamoto who recently ordered a custom made hat to wear to her friend wedding here in Niigata.  Lets hope this starts a trend of hat wearing at Japanese weddings!

Sticking to the wedding theme I just received some beautiful pictures from a recent Aka Tombo bride Ayla.  Ayla had bumble bees as her wedding theme (how cool is that) and requested a custom order bumble bee veil to match.  This wedding looks amazing as does the gorgeous bride!

I have also been busy working on the new Aka Tombo web site which will be launched at the beginning of next month as well as organising a very funky retro off beat wedding photo shoot which will be happening on the banks of Loch Lomond during my trip home.  Pictures will be up as soon as I have them!