GET ahead, get a hat. Good advice once to young women who wanted to look smart.
But these days, though the hat is back with us in the fashion stakes in a big way, Lisa Marie Barraclough-Tobin’s reasons for creating a dashing new range of hats is as much to do with testing her skills as creating fabulous fashion.
Looking at the new collection of hats and bags that she has created, she has succeeded on both counts.
This 28-year-old, who lives in Bradley and has a BSC Honours degree in textiles from Huddersfield University, certainly has bags of skill.
Lisa captivated many last year with a major exhibition of her art work at the Lawrence Batley Theatre.
Her exhibition, which she called Colours Of Passion, packed the theatre walls with all the sizzle of the Caribbean. Inspired by a family holiday some years ago, Lisa took inspiration from the dazzling fauna and flora that she saw on that holiday and created a palette of hot colours to make her paintings sing.
That exhibition in the upper bar at the LBT marked a milestone both for artist and for the theatre.
For Lisa last summer became the theatre’s artist-in-residence, the first such appointment in the theatre’s 13-plus year history. She created a small working studio space for herself in the theatre’s balcony bar and that is where I saw some of her latest work, a collection of bags and hats which she has made using complex fabric-making techniques.
It is what you would expect of this inspirational young artist whose passion for creative artwork and now accessories is extraordinary.
Lisa says, with a degree of understatement: “I had to do quite a lot of experiments with the fabric. It’s been quite a complex process.
“One of the initial problems was in finding fabric that I thought was sufficiently durable as well as attractive.
“It is something that I have wanted to do for a long time. I’ve found making the hats and bags quite exciting.
“I kept coming up against obstructions in how to make things. But then I’d go away and think about it and come back and resolve the problems.”
Lisa received a bursary from the Textile Centre of Excellence which she says has given her the confidence that what she was doing would work.
She started out wanting to use natural fabrics and was excited by the possibilities of alpaca fibres given to her by a local farmer in Holmfirth. But she opted finally for some man-made fabrics which she felt would give her accessories the durability they needed. Lisa sources her materials in Yorkshire and puts them through a series of complicated processes to get the highly individual results that her designs demand.
The bags have a rounded, organic shape which is appealing on something that is carried or worn close to the body. The hats have a cheery, contemporary look which young fashion fans will find instantly wearable.
As with her paintings, Lisa’s textile work is intricate, highly detailed and delivered in beautiful rich colours.
For the accessories, Lisa has gone more heathery than Caribbean with hats and bags in blues and pinks that still zing with vibrancy.
Now Lisa is looking for fashion and art outlets that might be interested in stocking her hand-crafted, decorative and contemporary textiles and artwork.