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LIKE FATHER LIKE SON

Here at Selvedge we'd like to wish all of our readers a happy Father's Day, and to celebrate dads all around the world we've republished an excerpt from Diane Wolf's lovely article in issue 69, on how one man was convinced to take over a hat block business by none other than his dad...

Owen Morse-Brown took over the family hat block business founded by his father, Guy, eight years ago. Contrary to appearances, this was not a pre-ordained case of son succeeding father: Owen had been happily running his own successful business as a luthier for several years. However his father’s retirement in 2007 forced Owen to consider his options and he and his wife Catherine eventually agreed to take over the business. ‘It took us a while to decide to take it on but I am very glad that we did as it’s been fantastic,’ he says…

Hat blocks – also known as hat forms – are the hat-shaped blocks a milliner uses to shape a hat. The Guy Morse-Brown blocks are hand-carved from wood, using chisels, spoke shaves and gouges. The company is one of the very few traditional hat block makers left in the UK (mass-produced hats are made using aluminium moulds) and mainly sells to amateurs, although designers such as Philip Treacy have commissioned work from the company in the past…

Once he had decided to take over the family firm, Owen spent a period working alongside his father, revising the skills he learnt as a child and in effect carrying out a mini hat block making apprenticeship. His father, who Owen describes as ‘the most methodical man I know,’ also left him detailed records of how to make every block the company produces. A natural teacher (he was awarded an MBE for services to millinery and skills training in 2007), Guy is still available for advice and clearly father and son have an excellent professional relationship…

You can read this article in full in Selvedge issue 69.

www.hatblocks.co.uk



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