Palmerston North milliner Anél Heyman has won an international hatmaking competition for the second time.
Her winning headwear in the 2021 HATalk Hat Making Competition features vegan feathers made from straw. Entrants had to make a hat or headpiece inspired by a HATalk article or project with the theme out of the archives.
The judges described Heyman's entry as outstanding, "so delicate with a wonderful flowing design" and "elegant, full of light and well-balanced". They said it could be worn by a model or on a trip to Ascot.
Heyman chose a vegan feather tutorial as her inspiration.
"It grabbed me the moment I saw it because it was something I didn't know how to make."
It was the opportunity to make something that looks real but isn't and the vegan feather can be used in different ways than an actual feather.
The headpiece is named
after the Titan goddess of sparkle and light. "It felt to me like a goddess and something a goddess would wear."
When Heyman received the email saying her design was selected from the 110 entries
she was ecstatic. "I literally jumped up with joy and then I started crying."
Then she rang her husband in tears and he was concerned she was crying, then her parents phoned and the tears started again.
Heyman says it was an emotional morning as congratulatory messages came through. She felt touched and humbled by the beautiful comments.
"I was on a high for quite a few days."
Winning an international award twice is "no mean feat I would say".
HATalk is a British-based e-magazine for milliners. Heyman won its 2015 competition with the theme transition. Her piece Lantern was inspired by a cape gooseberry (also known as Chinese lantern) and was chosen from 90 entries. Her prize that year was a trip to France.
This year, she won £1000 of hat blocks, something she's happy with as getting more blocks will fill some gaps in her toolkit and be lots of ticks on her wishlist. She will order a custom-made puzzle block that ensures a hat keeps the correct shape when it is finished and separated from the block.
Heyman and her husband Stephan moved to Palmerston North from Pretoria in South Africa nearly 10 years ago. She says Palmy chose them as Stephan got a job here. It was quite a change coming to a much smaller city but they quickly came to enjoy the quiet traffic, not-so-busy city and central location.
She did a three-day basic introduction to millinery course shortly before arriving here. Heyman says they didn't ship a lot of their possessions from South Africa but her millinery blocks, materials and tools made the cut.
Heyman says she's always been a creative person, she likes making things and figuring things out. She has qualifications in graphic design and illustration. She started with handmade wedding stationery but the move to digital meant people started to prefer printed items.
"I fell in love with millinery and I haven't looked back since, I really enjoy it."
She started making hats and headwear alongside her day job and the business has grown from there. Demand slowed last year with Covid-19 meaning people attended fewer events.
Clients are predominately from New Zealand but there are some international - mainly racegoers, mother of the bride and groom, and people who like wearing hats.
Heyman says when you put a hat on you see yourself only from the front in the mirror, but everyone else sees it from all angles. It is important to create something beautiful no matter which way it is being viewed. As Harry Winston said: "People will stare. Make it worth their while."
Heyman has continued her study including attending Melbourne master milliner Waltraud Reiner's yearly spring school in New Zealand. She loves the work of Stephen Jones, a milliner from Dior.
She is going to build on the sketches she did for Theia and create a vegan feather collection of headwear.