Hats off to Northumberland milliner helping New York homeless charity

A Northumberland woman is preparing to share her craft making expertise with a worldwide audience and help a charity dedicated to improving the quality of life for people in need in New York.

By Ian Smith
Monday, 17th May 2021, 10:02 am
Updated Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 9:05 am

Margaret Woodliff Wright set up her business, The Northumberland Milliner at Doxford Newhouses, near Alnwick, after graduating in Couture Millinery from Leeds Arts University.

Her reputation for inspirational and fashionable couture millinery has seen her designs exhibited worldwide, with her creations being frequently seen on international catwalk shows, and nearer to home at the prestigious London Hat Week.

Now, the St. George’s Society of New York, in partnership with the UK Crafts Council, is preparing to stage a series of online craft master classes.

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Margaret Woodliff Wright. Picture: The Bigger Picture

Margaret was invited to submit a proposal detailing her plans for a 90-minute virtual event where masterclass attendees could learn about her craft as well as make an item under the care and guidance of her expert eye.

The theme of the workshop was to incorporate some of the typically British heritage themes which feature strongly on the Society’s website - such as a London bus, a crown, telephone box and a red rose.

Margaret choose one of the more subtle British icons featured – the red rose.

Her proposal was accepted, and Margaret is one of only three UK expert tutors who have been selected.

“I’m really looking forward to sharing my Northumberland millinery skills with people from all over the world,” said Margaret. “The class is ideal for all abilities and any beginners will enjoy the step-by-step process I’ve developed for the event.

"We will be using traditional techniques to create a small hat, which will feature a red felt rose all enhanced by a froth of ivory veiling. The rose itself can either be attached to a beret button (which is also included in the kit) or worn as a lapel brooch.”

Margaret designed a special kit for each delegate containing all of the materials needed for the masterclass.

The sold-out master class on May 25 has inspired Margaret to create similar online courses for others too based on the national emblems of the United Kingdom.

She said: “I’m now looking at new designs based on regional variations including the Lancashire and Yorkshire roses and of course something closer to my home in Northumberland.”

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