Interview with Sherri Hrycay
Sova Millinery and Apparel
Introduction by Susan Robertson, ceramicist
Sherri designs and makes the most amazing hats and apparel in linen that any woman can wear. She wanted to be a designer since she was a kid and she started taking classes in design and sewing at night. In October of 2000 she started making hats. About 3 years ago her father finally located his father in France, who unfortunately had passed. What is really interesting is that Sherri’s Grandfather was a hat maker, and she began her hat making the month that he passed. It truly is a passion that is in her blood!
What kind of artwork do you create and what first drew you to your medium?
I create hats and hardware for men and women and one-size-fits-most linen clothing for women. I was always drawn to design and sewing and to hats in particular.
David Stobbe / stobbephoto.ca
Where did you learn your craft?
I am mainly self taught but then began to attend international master classes to perfect my art. I worked on home made wooden blocks and any felt I could find in my travels.
What is the inspiration behind your work?
I am very into the 1920s-1940s. Historically hats were very fashionable during this time so I draw a lot of inspiration from that.
What do you hope people will gain from interacting with your work?
Both my clothing and hats are for people who want to look stylish but comfortable. I hope that they gain confidence from wearing my product knowing they look as good as they feel.
Who are your mentors?
I really like Stephen Jones who is the milliner behind the House of Dior. John Galliano (former head designer of Dior) also has an amazing aesthetic when it comes to his designs. They truly call for amazing hats.
Tell us a story about a particular piece.
I very recently sent off a piece to France to be judged by Stephen Jones. It was a whimsical felt piece that drew from the cloches of 1920s. I did have some difficulty trying to incorporate the idea of “cycles” into the piece ( the theme) and decided only last minute to send it off to Europe.
How has your art/craft practice changed over time?
Through the years my standards have gotten only higher. Unfortunately my hands and arms are giving out and I don’t know if I can continue the 300-400 hats I turn our every year.
Who are your art heroes or current influences?
I think my current art heroes are my children. The art they are turning out and their level of talent truly blows my mind. I quite often ask their opinion on my work.
I am currently working on my summer hats as well as trying to master my straw braid machine. It is well over 100 years old and currently we’re having small arguments and personality clashes but I will persevere!
What is your typical studio day routine?
I press out hats in my studio in the evening and bring them into my shoppe the next day to finish off the handwork. Between that I deal with customers, orders and material sourcing.