Back

Meet the maker: The Northumberland Milliner

We are always excited to introduce you to our Makers and are proud of their achievements as they continue to inspire thousands of people across the UK each day. 

Our superstar, Northumberland millinery tutor, Margaret Woodliff Wright, promotes her gorgeous courses & kits with CraftCourses and has been awarded a Gold Student’s Choice Award, after receiving fantastic 5-star reviews!

CraftCourses crew member, Fran, recently caught up with Margaret to talk about her latest online workshop and Fran was so inspired by Margaret’s story she wanted to share it with you...

Margaret's popular tartan flower kit

An inspiring contribution to charity

On my regular catch ups with Margaret, I am always struck by how humble she is, whilst being blown away by the quality of her millinery creations, which are just stunning.

During a recent talk she mentioned that she was co-hosting an online tutorial for a group in New York, in connection with one of the USA’s oldest charities established in 1770. Margaret was ‘going global,’ and helping a worthy cause, I was hooked!!! 

Margaret runs her millinery workshops from her studio in Northumberland. She graduated from Leeds Arts University with high distinctions in Couture Millinery and has since built a fabulous international reputation with her creations regularly featured in world-wide catwalk shows and the eminent London Hat Week.

A 'tres-chic' style

 

Margaret shared with me that she was approached regarding an opportunity to provide an online workshop for the New York charity called St George’s Society of New York. Since their founding in 1770 they have given aid to hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people in the city and Margaret was thrilled to be asked to submit a proposal.

 

"What an honour to be asked to represent the UK for such a worthy cause and teach millinery skills from my Northumberland studio to people from all over the world!"

St. George's Society of New York (SGSNY)—one of the USA's oldest charities established in 1770—in partnership with the UK Crafts Council was staging a series of online Master Classes. The sessions, hosted by experts in their field would help to raise awareness of SGSNY and their three charitable programs which support some of New York’s vulnerable seniors, university students and British and Irish families of pediatric cancer patients in New York for treatment.

Margaret explained that she had to submit a proposal of what she would include in a 120-minute virtual event, she had to consider how to deliver the training but also ensure the participants could make the item remotely with her direction. The charity wanted a British Heritage theme and Margaret was only too happy to oblige. Her imagination and creativity know no bounds and she opted for one of the Society's British icons, the red rose.

Margaret was excited to submit her proposal and awaited the charity's decision with great anticipation.

SUCCESS!!

 

I was thrilled when Margaret shared that her proposal was accepted and that she would join just 2 others UK experts to run their courses. Her ‘Roses are Red’ workshop felt very appropriate being based on the ‘Roses are red, violets are blue’ poem written in 1784 just after the charity was founded.

Margaret designed a beautiful kit for each of the lucky participants; tickets went on sale to learn all about the fashionable art of millinery and creating headpieces, and the 15 places quickly sold out!

 

Gorgeous kits prepared for posting

 How did it go?!

I couldn’t wait to hear from Margaret after the workshop was completed, I knew it would be a fantastic success!

Due to the time difference in New York, Margaret had a brilliant evening/early morning with the participants. She was excited to find that some of the participants had got together in safe bubbles to complete the course, 4 were even sharing a glue gun! They had small ‘millinery parties’ and were absolutely thrilled with the results they had achieved.

One of the lovely participants, Rita modelling her design

“This past year technology has enabled us to be together while apart, and adapting our programming has been crucial for our community” said Clare Risman, Executive Director of SGSNY.  “The SGSNY Master Class series unites people around a shared experience. Participants from California, DC, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey joined Margaret’s live session from her Northumberland home. She enthralled and expertly guided participants and together we created something delightful”. 

 

We are excited to announce that Margaret has now adapted this kit for the UK audience, and you can book onto a session for yourself here.

Pembrokeshire is the home of CraftCourses HQ and Margaret teased me with the idea of a Welsh option in greens, reds and whites! In a flash the option was available on the CraftCourses site with ‘The Valleys are Green’ in addition to a Scottish ‘Saltire Blue’ and an orange ‘Northumberland Flame.’

Margaret's passion and enthusiam for creativity and design have really inspired me and I can't wait to join her for a 'Valleys are Green' workshop in the future! 

 

Inspired to try it yourself?

If you would like to set up a millinery party with your friends and family, or join in with other like-minded creatives, Margaret has availability on July 15th and looks forward to meeting you virtually. Margaret would also be very happy to make a custom colour option to suit your needs. Click here to book your place and learn more.

Share