When jewellery and hat maker Dorothy Morant was approached by Launceston’s new mayor, Cllr Helen Bailey, to see if she could save a tattered traditional hat used for local ceremonies, she knew she couldn’t say no to this chance of being included in history.
Cllr Bailey reached out to Launceston-based maker Dorothy when she was given the years-old hat used for female mayors during mayor choosing ceremonies and other town celebrations. With the mayor choosing ceremony taking place in May, she knew she had to try and save the hat, covered in damp and smelling rather musty after some time in storage, so found Dorothy online.
Cllr Bailey took the hat to Dorothy’s home in Launceston and the pair agreed on an updated, yet traditional look for this historic hat, which would include flattening out the creased buckram of the hat, and adding a handmade cockade, an original gold button and Victorian black feather to match the black material of the rest of the hat and honouring Launceston’s traditional colours of black and gold.
Launceston Life escaped a grey, rainy afternoon in March by visiting Dorothy’s delightful period home to find out more about her unique skill in hatmaking.
She started out making jewellery, having completed a Masters in jewellery and goldsmithing at Royal College in London, but when she moved to Launceston over eight years ago, she enrolled onto a hat making course. Now, she creates stunning bespoke hats, as well as silver jewellery, with handmade flowers and a particular focus on vintage design. Hat making was another string to her bow.
On restoring the mayor’s hat, Dorothy said: “It’s a bit of a responsibility, but I’m really interested in how it’s made, and it’s rather nice to be involved in the history of the town. I’m quite thrilled about doing it.
“I really love 17th century Gainsborough hats and I look a lot at vintage fashion, but also nature, like shells and seed pods.”
And people aren’t the only ones that get to don one of Dorothy’s beautiful hats. Her 16-year-old spaniel Victor Crum and 17-year-old shiba inu Miss Pinkerton have had their own hats made.
Dorothy is open to commissions for weddings and bridal parties. Visit www.dorothymorantmillinery.co.uk/ for more information.