So you have bought an amazing Bamileke feather hat to decorate your home with, but are a little unsure of how to best display it and work some magic into your living interior? A few of my feather hat clients also want to know the best ways to display their recently acquired bounty for the home. Because as they discovered, these regal feathered adornments can look rather lonely in an empty space. Traditionally worn during dramatic masquerading displays as part of public dance celebrations in a display of the Kingdom’s wealth, maximalist me believes this drama should continue this side of the world. Be inspired by your feather hat’s African heritage, share in the passion for adornment and natural tendencies for celebration using colour, ornament and found objects, this will help to enliven your home.
The best start point is with colour, always. The feather hats in all their grandeur become a focal point in any room, utilise their colour or colours to set your colour scheme – this will create a well balanced room with a great energy. The easiest way to introduce more of the same colour and on a budget, is with flowers or a quick lick of paint. Then come the textiles – address the colour balance with cushions, a pile of ethnic fabrics, hook up a gorgeous dress, buy some cool curtains, bundle up with vintage quilts or Basotho blankets, lay down your favourite scarf…you get the idea. I am prone to get handy with a spray can – this is a cheap and chic way to maximise your colour scheme with great results. Update a car-boot find, unused vase or recyclable glass bottle in a matter of minutes. This is thourougly rewarding I promise and who doesn’t like a bit of spray can craft? I use MONTANA CANS, as they have an incredible selection of colours and a great colour finder tool on their website. Remember to keep your hand moving when you spray, for an even distribution of paint.
I merchandise my collection ALTAR style, the desire for this type of display was inherited from my time spent in India, where altars are a part of everyday life and range from the simple to the extreme to the sublime – but always with lots of colour and daily offerings. Set up a simple table or bench below your hung hat and start adding /layering a collection of your favourite finds – these can come and go with your mood and according to your daily offerings. Think fresh flowers, your weekly fruit and veg (check out how great the lemons look in the picture above), incense, books, masks, sea shells, paintings and other assorted ephemera. Candles are a great way to continue with the altar theme. I light a candle at mine in the morning to welcome the day and at night to give gratitude, another India throwback – it’s a great daily ritual to get into the habit of. The best advice I can give, is to play around with your styling and have fun with it, sometimes you’ll get it right and other times it might look god damn awful… Let it evolve as you do – the change is as good as a holiday and will keep you creating. Dont be scared to hang your hat on a wallpapered or decorated wall. “More is more.” as Tony Duquette was often quoted.
Most of the photos here have been taken in the BlackDot studio over the last two months and demonstrate the different ways for display. The photos above and below at Spitalfields market where I often trade, testify to the fact that laying the hats flat, also works and gives you options to play with. My vintage cast iron set of hooks (as seen in most of the photos) make it easy to tell a story, enabling the hanging of paintings, favourite textiles, masks and the like, and let you set more of a mood. If vintage or hooks are not your thing, there is a great range of shelves and wall units by independant designers on the market currently.
This timing seems right to announce that the next delivery of feather hats arrives on our shores at the end of April, with some incredible colours and colour mixes coming your way. I am taking orders, both wholesale and retail. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your enquiry. Message me here with any further questions or top tips for styling your feather hats. I would love to share them here. May the fabulous feather hat force be with you. x