Northumbrian Milliner To Share Her Expertise With A Global Audience

Northumbrian Milliner To Share Her Expertise With A Global Audience
Northumbrian Milliner To Share Her Expertise With A Global Audience

A Northumbrian milliner is preparing to share her craft-making expertise to a worldwide audience as well as helping a charity for the homeless and needy in New York City. 

Margaret Woodliff Wright set up her business, The Northumberland Milliner at Doxford Newhouses near Alnwick after graduating with high distinctions in Couture Millinery from Leeds Arts University. Her reputation for inspirational and fashionable couture millinery has seen her designs exhibited worldwide, with her creations being frequently seen on international catwalk shows, and nearer to home at the prestigious London Hat Week. She has been shortlisted in the North of England Wedding Awards for her customer service skills and also has a Gold Award for her millinery teaching skills, awarded by the UK’s leading craft teaching website,

Now, the St. George’s Society of New York – the USA’s oldest charity established in 1770, in partnership with the UK Crafts Council is preparing to stage a series of online craft masterclasses. The classes are hosted by experts in their field and will help to raise much-needed funds for the work of the Society whose aim is “to help those who cannot help themselves”.

Margaret was invited to submit a proposal for consideration to the charity detailing her plans for a 90-minute virtual event where masterclass attendees could learn about her craft as well as make an item under the care and guidance of her expert eye. The theme of the workshop was to incorporate some of the typically British heritage themes which feature strongly on the Society’s website – such as a London bus, a crown, telephone box and a red rose. The colours of red, white and blue dominate the themes and Margaret choose one of the more subtle British icons featured – the red rose.

Her masterclass proposal was accepted, and Margaret is one of only three UK expert tutors who have been selected to run the online craft classes. Her course is entitled “Roses are Red” and attendees will create a contemporary headpiece inspired by the poem,” The Rose is Red, the Violet’s Blue” written by Gammer Gurton in 1784, just after the Society was founded.

“I’m really looking forward to sharing my Northumberland millinery skills with people from all over the world,” said Margaret. “The class is ideal for all abilities and any beginners will enjoy the step-by-step process I’ve developed for the event. We will be using traditional techniques to create a small hat, which will feature a red felt rose all enhanced by a froth of ivory veiling. The rose itself can either be attached to a beret button (which is also included in the kit) or worn as a lapel brooch.” 

Margaret designed a special kit for each delegate containing all of the materials needed for the masterclass. The kits, each packaged in a red box and badged with the Red Rose symbol of the Society, have now been shipped to New York. During the class, delegates will learn about millinery, the fashionable art of creating hats, headpieces and their decorations. The May 25th workshop, which is limited to just 15 attendees, is now completely sold out.

The master class has inspired Margaret to create similar online courses for others too based on the national emblems of the United Kingdom. Her courses will help people to make designs based on the Welsh dragon (green and ivory), Scottish Saltire (blue and ivory), as well as the English red, rose.

“Having been selected to work with the charity in New York creating the kit has given me a number of ideas to home in on local pride and emblems. I’m now looking at new designs based on regional variations including the Lancashire and Yorkshire roses and of course something closer to my home in Northumberland.” 

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