Migration - Leanne Fredrick

©Victoria and Albert Museum, London View Inspiration Details

Artist Statement

Leanne Fredrick

Migration is a ladies hat made of teal coloured sinamay and hand beaded Monarch butterflies. It is an amalgamation of ideas and emotions inspired by several pieces in the V&A Museum of Childhood collection.

I have been lucky to learn about the hats at the Museum of Childhood with friends I made while at Morley College. The craftsmanship, materials and design of many of the pieces are astounding. I started with a focus on strip straw hats, but chose to use sinamay as a contemporary lightweight plant material.

I knew I wanted to use some kind of pleating or gathering like we saw in the 18th c. velvet hood. We had just learned a bias pleating technique in my Morley hat class so I decided to explore that technique further in the brim of the hat.

I also wanted to include a bit of sparkle and the essence of luxury as in the silver lace and beads on 18th c. baby’s cap, thus I beaded the top tear drop. The circular shape of the lace motif also came through in the pleated brim.

The beaded butterflies came together like a bolt of lightening. I recalled the gasp of surprise and delight as the ladies around the viewing table noticed the little mushrooms in the trimming of the 1950’s festival straw bonnet. I wanted to capture that element of surprise. The morning I was working on the trimming ideas, I had just read about how a collaboration between Mexico and California had shown to be improving the Monarch butterfly population, which had been in decline. Monarch orange contrasted perfectly with the teal sinamay. A few Monarch’s, hand stitched in a beaded collage was just the special surprise I wanted.

Migration - Leanne Fredrick

©Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Inspiration details:


Harvest festival bonnet

Great Britain, Uk (probably, made)

mid 20th century (made)

Unknown (maker)

Given by Daphne Pearce

V&A collection reference number(s):
Misc.239-1979, B.502-2012, B.89-1993

2015 Exhibition Guide

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