Funny how where we came from stays with us where ever we go in one form or another.
My father, Herb Hersh retired last year after being a milliner for over 50 years. He loved what he did, and encouraged us to believe in ourselves and find what we love.
Little did I know then that his passion for hats would become my inspiration – with a twist of course!
Recently, I taught a Professional Development workshop for the DIAE (Delaware Institute of Arts in Education) for art and social studies teachers. Titled, The African Presence in Mexico as seen through their Masks, the workshop was held at the University of Delaware. Ivan Henderson, Curator of Education and Jan Broske, Curator of Collections generously shared with us pieces from their collection of African masks and head pieces. Inspired and informed by an exhibition titled The African Presence in Mexico we began looking at how helmets are used in contemporary society, their form, function, symbolism and fashion.
Workshop participants or Artistic Warriors as they became, created headdresses using recycled bike, lacrosse, construction helmets, and- a lampshade, for structure. They channelled their inner hunters and gatherers selecting materials from boxes of found and recycled objects to design and build their personal crowns.
Afterwards we went upstairs where Jan Broske had paired Mexican and African masks along with the African headpieces. Lines were drawn, connections were made, and I give a shout out to my Dad with love and gratitude remembering continue all those days foraging in his stores and our basement trying on hats and dreaming of what is possible.
Thank you Dad- and Happy Father’s Day to all!