Anne Nijland: Hatmaker

Tucked away down arty Harbour Street in Oamaru, South Island New Zealand is Flocked and Fleeced – a wonderful hat shop owned by Anne Nijland, Hatmaker.

I’ve always been told I suit hats so was pleased to have the opportunity to try on a few beautiful handmade ones!  Anne keeps herself busy here and when she’s not inundated with coach loads of tourists, makes hats and accessories in the shop which doubles as a beautiful airy studio space with high ceilings and natural light streaming through the sash windows.  I caught her during a quiet spell and so was able to have a little chat with her about her work and why she decided to set up her hat shop.

What inspired you to start making hats?
My Grandmother, Aunts and my Mother wore hats as I was growing up, so I was interested from an early age.  My parents took us to see musicals in Dunedin and I loved the costumes and hats. The old movies also inspired me, and I was given my Aunts hat blocks and books.

Later I studied Craft Design and learnt basic Millinery skills at Fashion and Design College and have gone on from there. Setting up my shop was accidental actually but it has turned out well for me. I set up for Easter weekend in the Stables in Harbour St last year with friends and through that I realised there was a genuine interest in my hats so when a premises came up in July I took it over and that’s how I began my shop in Oamaru.

The hats are so beautifully textured and sculptural – do you have a favourite material to work with?
It’s hard to pick one medium but probably my favourite is wool to felt and block into hats plus feathers to adorn.

What has been your most unusual creation so far?
A commission for a construction of a feathered bird headdress and mask, for a celebration involving modern dance.  I love the sculptural aspect of a hat.

Flocked and Fleece also sells funky Inspired By Jewels jewellery created by Anne’s daughter Louisa Lee.

Go and have a look around and enjoy beautifully made hats:
Flocked and Fleece, 12 Harbour Street, Victorian Precent, Oamaru, South Island, New Zealand.  Call 0212344621.

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