I recently had the most wonderful opportunity to work closely with Karen McLaughlin, owner and milliner (fiber artist) of Bluemoon Design Studio located in Wethersfield, Connecticut. Karen makes the most beautiful handmade hats and shawls for every season. Kentucky Derby style hats and hats for that special lady who just wants to look and feel wonderful any day of the week.
Karen is on a journey to design and create timeless pieces of wearable art. All her items are handmade with exquisite detail going into each and every piece, which also makes each piece unique in and one of a kind. She carries hats for both casual and dressy, free-formed felt bodies, and nuno felted. Summer straws as well as fabric constructed. She is now starting to produce a line of hats for men too. Her prices range from $30 dollars to $300 dollars…but averaging around $100. She firmly believe in the philosophy of repurpose, reuse, and recycle. I love that about her! I’m all about that myself. She also promotes the use of natural fibers.
Some of you may wonder, as I did…why the name Bluemoon Design Studio? After talking with Karen I found out she decided to call her business Bluemoon Design Studio because a blue moon occurs about every 19 years. For Karen, after 19+ years of supporting her family by working in the corporate world, and raising their children, she entered the next phase of her life. Hence…the blue moon phase has come again to her life and was ready to rejoin fellow artists in the art world. She has always been doing something artistic or creative. She ran a business of manufacturing and designing fine gold jewelry when she was in her twenties. She then raised her children and like many, was faced with financial responsibilities so she accepted a corporate position working in retail management. That position brought her from her homeland of Vermont to the state of Connecticut. But as with her art, so was her career. She spent 10 years in retail then moved into the banking industry as a financial analyst. Luckily her creativity allowed her to think outside the box and to solve problems that would stump others. At this phase of her life, she went into the mortgage industry helping people to achieve their dreams of purchasing homes that seemed unobtainable. However, the rug was yanked from beneath her only 2 years before she planned on retiring.
Karen being such a hard worker and positive person with her creativity, decided instead of waiting 2 years, she saw this as the hand of God opening the door to another new phase of her life. I love that about her…always looking at the positive side of life. So she dusted herself off and returned to her gift of art again! We are all blessed that she did!
Karen is preparing to create a website to market her hats but for now she attends art shows to increase her exposure and to promote hat wearing. She has many shows she will be attending this summer and fall. Doing shows for Castleberry fairs and festivals, Art rider shows, Old Deerfield show, and the Roseland Cottage show in Woodstock where I first met Karen. She also markets to many private organizations as well. She has been approached to place her hats and other products in retail locations but at this time has chosen not to.
For Karen…what started as a passion for hats, has become an obsession to create them! You may follow Karen on Facebook at Bluemoon Design Studio.
Please enjoy some of my favorite pieces she has recently made. Thank you Karen from the bottom of my heart for the opportunity to work with you in creating these images that will help to promote your business and for your friendship along the way. I wish you the very best in your business!
Here is Karen making adjustments to the shawl by adding a pretty pin. I love how many of her hats are sold plain and you can add a bit of “bling” to them with flowers of your choice.
Love all the variety of hats and the beautiful colors.