As a companion for my upcycled wedding dress, I needed a hat or headpiece that complimented and/or furthered the theme of the dress. Well, a headpiece is certainly what I ended up with!
I was very inspired by my favourite designers, both living and deceased, who have used nature and total fantasy when having headpieces created for their collections. I wanted to try my hand at dreaming up and executing one for myself. It had to have height, volume, a butterfly or two, flowers and…an antler. Don’t ask me why because I don’t know. It just spoke to me of the forest, dress and photo shoot location and I also knew it would give some of the height I wanted.
I searched online for an antler but was not willing to wait for it to be shipped nor pay the crazy shipping prices various sellers were asking. I also searched at a local outdoor store to see if they had any in their hunting department, real or artificial. No such luck. I had all but given up on my yet another crazy and eccentric idea when I stumbled upon one at an antiques show that my husband and I attend each year at Carleton University. We assumed from the weight of it (quite heavy) that it was made of a resin based material and did not ask the seller any questions about it, but we were wrong. When my husband helped me drill some holes in and shorten the stem of the antler to a better length, the dust and smell from it told us the truth…it was actually real. I had the heebie jeebies about it for a moment but was comforted by the thought of how people hunt deer for food in our forests and not only as trophies. Also, for hundreds of years, various cultures have looked upon animals such as deer as food and clothing and never waste any of the animal by also using its antlers as decorative art and body pieces. I then resolved to just be happy for the find and grateful for the animal’s gift.
The base of the headpiece is an x-shaped, vintage headband style hat base that I had lying around. The solid form and shape of the base give it a secure fit and help to balance any heaviness in the finished piece. After attaching the antler to the base with some wire, I covered the base and stem of the antler with moss. The base of the headpiece has also been built up and further accented with various wildflowers, buds and leaves.
Pussy willow branches and russet red curly grasses/straw add volume, drama and more height to the piece. A few flowers and a butterfly were placed on the branches, grasses and antler to help the vibrancy of the piece travel from its base to the top. A second black butterfly came to rest on the moss near the flower bed. A larger skull headed orange and amber butterfly on one of the antler points is unexpected and ties together the colour scheme and theme of the dress and headpiece.
This past weekend as I was leaving to go and pick up some supplies for the headpiece, I found a small and wondrously constructed bird’s nest on the ground beside my car. It had fallen out of the tree on our front lawn. It was the perfect finishing touch for my design! Thank you God and my feathered friends for another special and wonderful gift in the making of this piece. I made some “eggs” to place in the center of the nest and used the fork in two of the antler points as a cradle of sorts for the nest on the headpiece.
When I took into account all of the components and inspirations that went into dreaming up this design, it was easy to find a name for it. I have titled this piece Nature’s Gifts.