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Artist Feature: Ian Bennett Millinery

Copyright Richard Shaw

Award-winning milliner and teacher, Ian Bennett is always a welcome visitor at Barnett Lawson. His friendly demeanour and immeasurable creativity radiate, and his boundless knowledge is freely shared amongst the students he brings to the showroom.

Ian’s unique and whimsical style has led him to create a plethora of wonderfully unusual hats and headpieces. Since his first foray into millinery at a Women’s Institute Hat Making workshop  in 1991, he has forged a hugely successful and varied career spanning film and theatre to fashion and teaching. His wealth of experience means he can offer classes and one-to-one tuition in blockmaking, Crystoform, feathers and much more.

Ian said the following on why he loves hats:

“I have always been drawn to the three dimensional. I studied sculpture at college and loved the idea that a form could have a presence. It made its surroundings change, simply by being there. For me hats have that same presence, they have a personality of their own – as well as a wonderful extension of someone’s character. They can be subtle, quiet, demure, loud and overwhelming. Hats are such incredible things, from the moment you put one on, you become something else.”

For further information or to contact Ian, you can email him on or check out his instagram @ianbennetmillinery. His book, My world according to Me: A Technical Workbook, is available from


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Artist Feature: Silkworm and Cottontails

There is a certain thrill that comes from owning a product is that is totally unique. Coupled with the knowledge that it has been carefully crafted by hand, it can be one of your most satisfying purchases. At Barnett Lawson we want to celebrate the artists who use their unique skills and creativity to provide the world with items made with love, care and dedication. Each month we will be featuring a different individual or business that is keeping the spirit of true craftsmanship alive.

From bespoke lampshades and soft furnishings to workshops and collaborations, Elizabeth Pegg of Silkworm and Cottontails provides customers and clients with a truly personal service. Blending traditional techniques with modern style, she creates interesting and unique pieces. Using colourful fabrics and interesting trimmings, her work has an undeniable sense of fun and life and it is clear to see that Elizabeth has a true love for her craft.

“Sewing is my passion and hopefully it shows in my work.  I treat my lampshades as “Works of Art”, which allows me to show off different sewing techniques like beading, appliqué and embroidery. I’ve always been passionate about colours and textures. 

Lampshades for me create interest in a room , they can be simple or elaborate in style but for me the embellishment is the icing on the cake . Sometimes a piece of trimming can inspire the whole design or can be used to enhance a particular fabric. Choosing the right trim can make or break a lampshade and with so many decorative trimmings available I never rush the process.”

To find out more, or to see more of Elizabeth’s work, visit or view her shop on Etsy.

If you would like to be considered for an artist feature, please email