Lizz, on Hat Making and Clowning Around!
I have been a hat maker since the early 90’s and used to travel to festivals in England, France, Spain, and the Netherlands selling them in my old green Renault Traffic van called Tommy, (named by Rosie). Rosie who was alive and laughing at that time was often with me and we had such fun, we did this together for about 4 years until that little love changed dimensions and left planet earth. I shared Rosie with her father who moved further and further away from where I lived, finally moving to Southern Spain, which was how the hat trade started up.
In the 80’s juggling and fire spinning became quite popular and a whole new genre of renegade circus performing acts sprang up everywhere. (Anyone remember the French circus group called Arkaos?) To accommodate this interest in juggling, trapeze, fire, clowning and other circus related skills, (no animals folks), Juggling and circus conventions began to become popular, especially in France. They were wonderful meeting places where not only could I improve my own juggling and clowning abilities, but they presented a great hat selling opportunity. It made all those long-haul journeys bearable and provide some sort of income that covered the costs of fuel. So, I made funny hats, individual crazy hats of all sizes, a hat for every head. I had a hat for everyone, and they went down well. I got to be known as The Hat Lady. Hats have been part of my life.
And here I am again. Making hats. This time making hats for me, using hats as a both a creative expression and a voice. What is arising as I make these artistic pieces is something I had not predicted; I am coming face to face with myself. This is both physically – I look in the mirror a lot, and mentally – I reflect on what I see. For some years I really worked on clowning, attending courses here there and everywhere with some of the best mime and clown artist ever, and one thing all clowns must learn is that working with the clown demands that you look inside, it demands that you use your face as an expression. It turns out I have an elastic type of face and I can make the strangest expressions. I must admit over the years I have spent hours in front of mirrors making faces, faces that few people see, faces that NOBODY has seen. Some of them are quite scary and a lot are definitely not beautiful. This is where I am now, beginning to step over the line. The rebel in me is saying nothing to lose, don’t be scared, tomorrow maybe dead… I don’t know where this is all leading but something has changed in me.