You Are Here: >

The Mad Hatters Society on Facebook

a fun-filled place for hat loving friends

 (c) Brenda Grantland, August 4, 2013

Illustration, inspired by the original Tenniel illustrations from Alice in Wonderland, created by Mad Hatters Society member Tatiana Rakhmanina, a milliner originally from St. Petersburg, Russia, now living in West Virginia.

The Mad Hatters Society is a Facebook group made up of vintage hat collectors and sellers, hat historians, professional milliners and men's hat makers, millinery instructors, hat block makers and millinery supply sellers from all over the world.  Anyone may join.  It doesn't cost anything. Just go to the page and click on the button requesting permission to join. Someone will respond to your request within 24 hours.  Note: you must be serious about hats and having fun.  No spammers, or angry flamers are allowed.  Destructive criticism, angry or insulting words, or posting spam will get you banned from the group.

The Mad Hatters Society on Facebook was founded by Brenda Grantland, one of the  co-authors of the ebook Hatatorium: An Essential Guide for Hat Collectors.  The book was still in the planning stage when she started MHS.  Brenda had begun creating a website gallery of photos of her hat collection, and had started sharing pictures on her personal Facebook page.  A lot of non-hat people felt the need to make dumb comments about the hats, which took all the fun out of sharing the pictures, so she started a group where hats could be discussed intelligently, on pain of banishment.  (Yes we still make fun of hats sometimes, but they have to really deserve it!)

Brenda soon persuaded Mary Robak (an Etsy vintage hat seller who sold Brenda a Jack McConnell hat -- Mary's first sale) to get over her fear of Facebook and join.  Other vintage hat collecting members of the Mad Hatters Society ended up becoming great sources of information for the book, and several joined in as co-authors. Other members contributed photos of their vintage hats to the website gallery of images which links to the book. By the time the second edition was published in January 2013, more Mad Hatters had joined the co-author team.

Hatatorium Emporium owes a lot to the Mad Hatters Society.  All of the sellers on Hatatorium Emporium met through the Mad Hatters Society. The idea for Hatatorium Emporium came about when MHS members began sharing their bad experiences on eBay and Etsy, and griping about sellers who give incorrect information about the era or style or value the hats they offered for sale.  A number of the hat sellers were dissatisfied with how much junk was being offered on eBay and Etsy, and the idea of starting our own, exclusive marketplace was born. 

The love of hats brought the Mad Hatters together, but it turned out to be so much more.  For many members, hats are a good excuse to get together on line (as well as in person) and have fun.  Mad Hatters need little excuse to pitch an impromptu party, which -- because members are scattered around the globe -- are often conducted as virtual flash mobs, with members getting up at all hours to join their friends on line, via skye conference calls, or just to make a toast and post the pictures on Facebook.  Some members have travelled great distances to meet up in person with their favorite Mad Hatter friends that they got to know on line.

Members share lots of pictures and information.  New members are encouraged to post pictures of their hat collections, and ask questions. There's almost always someone in the group who knows something about any hat treasure that is displayed.

Several times a week, MHS member Tammy Marwick posts a "Hat of the Day" -- a photo of a vintage hat from an online museum, usually an extraordinarily fabulous example by a famous milliner from a past era.  Members are invited to rate the hat on a scale of 1 to 10, and to discuss what they like or don't like about it. Members contribute information they know about the milliner, style, techniques, etc.  It's a great excercise for new milliners and millinery students, as well as collectors, who can improve their hat collecting expertise by exercising their skills in hat appreciation.

Several times a year, Mad Hatters hold hatmaking contests, often with valuable prizes.  Mad Hatters' Annual Hatmaking contest runs each year from January 15 (National Hat Day in the U.S.) to April Fools Day (April 1).  Amateurs and professionals alike are invited to participate, and men's as well as women's hats are welcome.  The annual contest does not have a theme, nor any restrictions on materials or methods.  The only two rules are (1) the entire hat must be made by the entrant (or a team of 2 entrants) during the contest period (January 15 through April 1) and (2) only members of Mad Hatters Society may participate (although anyone who wants to enter the contest may join MHS).  The first and second annual contests were both judged by Diane Feen, editor of Hat Life Newsletter.  The photos of all of the contest entries are permanently archived in albums in the Hatatorium Gallery:  See First Annual MHS Hatmaking Contest (2012) and Second Annual MHS Hatmaking Contest (2013).

In addition to the annual contests, throughout the year members devise various themed competitions.  In 2012 there was the Hawaii-inspired hatmaking contest, in which members created hats inspired by the photos Brenda took on her vacation in Hawaii.  Joe "Chapeau" who enjoyed the Hawaiian vacation first hand, was the judge. Anja Irgens of Norway won first prize. In 2013 the group held a Fourth of July Picnic themed contest, which was judged by prominent 1980s milliner Jeffrey Moss of New York.  Maureen Swiertz won first prize.  (Gallery album to be posted soon).

Contest now underway, ending October 10, 2013:  "Think Outside the Hat Box" a contest designed by Anita Hopkins, a prominent milliner from Los Angeles, who will judge the contest.

Think Outside the Hat Box Contest Rules

This idea occurred to me about a decade ago when I first started using found materials around the house, outdoors, hardware stores, & especially in nature. What would we use if there was a major catastrophe that destroyed everything and all we had left was our imagination and the few raw materials that were left. Well, I'm not going to take it that far but you get my drift....(; MATERIALS not allowed:... No commonly used millinery supplies are allowed, ie, millinery wire, buckram, feathers, straws, toyo, fur or wool felt capelines, hoods, flares, ribbon etc. NO RECYCLED STUFF. SUGGESTED MATERIALS: Plastics, wood, metals, glass, organics, rubber, latex, acrylics, string, common wire (any thickness) YES you can use Glue! Most of these alternative materials can be found in your kitchen, garage, bathroom, garden, local hardware store, garden center, local parks, garage sales and flea markets. ( If you prefer to work in fabrics, I suggest you snoop around in your kitchen, bedroom & closets. ) So put on your thinking cap and surprise the hell out of me! I know some of you may find this daunting but I know for sure that it will stretch your creativity to include shapes never before seen to crown your glorious heads! 'THINKING OUTSIDE THE HAT BOX" STARTS TODAY.........NOW!!!! DEADLINE: OCTOBER 10, 2013 the midnight hour. Also Lilly Dache's BD!! GOOD LUCK TO ALL WHO CHOOSE TO TAKE UP THIS CHALLENGE!!! Please feel free to contact me here at Mad Hatters Society FOR ANY QUESTIONS YOU MIGHT HAVE.....AND I'm SURE THERE WILL BE SOME! (: So looking forward to seeing your creations!!! Good luck Ladies and Gentlemen! Anita Hopkins L.A. Millinery & Design: (you may also "like" my Page here on FB if you feel so inclined.:) I hope you will.

Ciao for now,Anita Hopkins



(c) 2012, 2013 Brenda Grantland
Website Baker