The capital of Spain is becoming a creative hub for textile lovers interested in finding treasures and meeting artisans whose life is about preserving traditions and finding creative ways to keep them alive.
When buying a heirloom hat, the secret address leads to Ana Lamata´s studio in Madrid.
Ana Lamata looks at each of her custom made hats as a powerful object that can transform both the appearance of the wearer and its perception of the world. Hats can epitomize a particular culture and express the personality of the wearer. During her PhD in Contemporary Art History, she was able to reflect on the connection of textiles and pigments with social history, art and culture in general; how they are linked to one another. This Spanish hat maker explains that she was already an avid collector and wearer of hats when she decided to move to London to learn the trade under the exceptional guidance of Mrs. Rose Cory, master milliner, MBE and Royal Warrant Holder to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. In her atelier she learned everything, from hat block making to finishing details; from structures to linings; from blocking to draping. Always observing and respecting the intrinsic characteristics and behavior of the different materials. Ana Lamata considers that the handmade manufacture of a hat comprises various techniques and numerous steps which must be mastered in order to achieve the desired result. Focused on classic hat manufacturing techniques, she works with its highest quality standards while reinvigorating this tradition in every piece.
For Ana, tradition is present in the use of classic materials such as straw. And here is an unfortunately common misfortune in many artisan trades: practically all the straw that she uses is no longer woven. The Corypha umbraculifera parabuntal (as fine as the finest toquilla straw from Carludovica palmata) that was woven in the Philippines, or Florentine wheat straw, which decades ago people stopped weaving because learning how to do it was no longer rewarding. “The straw I work with is almost exclusively "dead stock" woven decades ago. I only use straw from a living master weaver from Ecuador, the rest was woven by anonymous master hands, sometimes over 70 years ago.”
“For me it is a pride and a privilege to be able to work with these materials, which I search tirelessly all over the world, because the ones that exist are what they are, there are no more of the same quality. Jewels that took weeks and months of work….Tradition, pride and privilege, is working with the master laster who made the wooden lasts for Rose and who has been making them for me too, with a gouge and chisel, by the eye of a master….In my case, innovation may lie in giving technical twists or traditional knowledge, such as braiding leather to make headbands.” affirms Ana.
“The artisanal making of a hat encompasses a myriad of singular steps, each of which are critical in shaping the outcome. One has to master them in order to play with them. I passionately uphold those classic hatmaking techniques and aim for the highest quality standards, vindicating while revisiting this tradition in each and every hat I make.” Marcella Echavarria
@analamata | www.analamata.com