Katie Gardenia debuts ‘The Hats Meow’ line at 2 Islands
Celebrated island artist Katie Gardenia has just introduced her brand new line of decorative and wearable hats – called “The Hats Meow” – at the 2 Islands Gallery in Chadwick Square.
Perhaps best known artistically for her whimsical soft dolls depicting enchanting mermaids and fanciful creatures, Gardenia is now creating hand-made head wear for women.
So, why did Gardenia go from dolls to hats?
“Because I’m a clothes horse!” Gardenia jokingly confessed.
But while Gardenia really is quite the fashionista, she says her decision to switch from her whimsical, soft dolls to these sophisticated pieces of head wear was more like a much needed change of pace.
“I just wanted to do something different from the dolls for awhile and I thought, well I’ll just go ahead and bring out a line of hats,” Gardenia said.
The name of the line, “The Hats Meow,” was inspired by Gardenia’s friend who just acquired a brand new cat.
Gardenia’s fashion forward hats afford the wearer an opportunity to express different styles depending on which hat they choose – a crocheted beret in dark, chocolate hues adorned with a soft, wool sea star; a bold bright sunflower accented with glistening beads affixed to a cloche-like hat or a pastel cowboy hat adorned with a fuzzy, multicolored fish.
“There’s no two alike. Starting from ball caps to cowboy hats to what the Queen would wear. It’s all hand-stitched and I mix the sheep’s wool from the Carolinas in. I hand-dye all of my wool with vegetable dye and then I make my flowers,” Gardenia said.
All but the baseball caps and cowboy hats are hand-made by Gardenia.
One hat which she made (modeled by Gardenia in the photograph on page one) was crocheted entirely by hand in addition to constructing delicate felt morning glories with a hint of antique beading as details.
For Gardenia, the details are essential.
“I always say, more is more,” she added.
In addition to her new line of hats, visitors to 2 Islands can pick through some of Gardenia’s unique bottle-cap earrings, cake-testers, cards and soft dolls.
Gardenia’s bottle-cap earrings feature mermaids and portraits of Frida Kahlo in addition to fanciful beads and charms.
“They’re fun and I like them because they’re recycled. I feel like I’m helping the environment by taking care of all the little bottle caps,” Gardenia said.
Also available at 2 Islands are Gardenia’s greeting cards featuring different designs knitted with toothpicks.
“I never make two alike. Once they’re stamped, and a lot of the stamps I’ve created myself, I color with chalk and then knit a design on toothpicks and embellish with beads and they’re suitable for framing,” Gardenia said.
Her cake-testers – bespeckled with various stones and beads at the handle – come attached to some of Gardenia’s personal recipes, including instructions for her famous red velvet and hummingbird cakes.
And in true Gardenia fashion, each tester comes with a special detail.
“At the bottom of the [red velvet] recipe, because I love to dance and I love music, it says, ‘Best to be baked listening to Simply Red’s “If You Don’t Know me by Now.’ I just thought that would be a nice feature for people,” Gardenia said, noting that the testers could make wonderful gifts for a shower or somebody who loves to back.
Each recipe features a different musical suggestion.
“The latest dollies I’ve been making – and I sell them as fast as I make them – are my ‘Good Ju Ju’ dolls,” Gardenia continued.
“Instead of a voodoo doll, I decided to do a ‘Good Ju Ju’ doll! Good ju ju is good luck, and we all need it now.”
Each of the colorful “Good Ju Ju” dolls are accompanied by a handwritten tag that reads: “This card was made by hand and if you throw it away, those same hands will make a doll in your image and stick pins in its butt!”
“I think they make you happy,” Gardenia said of her ju ju creations.
Also on display are the artist’s soft dolls and bottle-cap earrings featuring mermaid motifs and portraits of Frida Kahlo.
Katie Gardenia’s toothpick greeting cards, “Good Ju Ju,” bottle cap jewelry and hats are always on display and for sale at 2 Islands Gallery in Chadwick Square at South Seas Island Resort.
2 Islands Gallery is open to the public every day from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
For more information, call 472-5111 ext. 7633.