Heather Dodge models the first hat she created in 2016, made with flowers, foliage, ribbon and Christmas decorations.

Heather Dodge has worn many hats in her life. A former English teacher, creative writer and director in advertising, and a graduate program administrator at Rice University, Dodge moved to Patagonia seven years ago, where she has been involved in many community activities and organizations and assists local businesses through her company, Amaranth Productions.

But the newest hats she is wearing are her
own creations, decked out in flamboyant colors and sporting flowers, ribbons and figurines. She calls her business “Crowning Glories,” which she describes as “floral profusions for your head.”

She made her first hat in 2016 for the 50th anniversary of the Patagonia Nature Conservancy. She wanted to attract customers to the booth advertising the newly opened Visitors Center in Patagonia. “For some reason I thought a big, brazen hat would draw attention to our tent, so I pulled a dusty funereal felt hat with netting from a closet shelf, shopped the Dollar Stores for artificial flowers, foliage, ribbon and glue guns, dismantled a decorated Christmas tree, and set to work on my patio with no idea whatsoever of how to transform a plain black hat into a mini nature conservancy for my head,” she said.

She realized that she really enjoyed hat decorating, which she could do sitting on her porch, saying, “I enjoyed the process, especially outdoors on those balmy spring days, with hummingbirds at the feeders and dogs at my feet, far away from the computer within four walls, the workplace scenario that’s occupied most of my adult life.” One of her hats was a finalist in the derby hat contest held on Kentucky Derby Day at the 2016 Sonoita Races, and she sold several hats there.

She was motivated to turn her hat making hobby into a business after entering four of her hats in the Santa Cruz County Fair in 2017 and receiving three first place ribbons. “I’ll be launching crowning-glories.com soon and I’ll be selling hats for the Derby in mid-April in Sonoita. I’m in production now and am planning a stable of about 50 hats to be made available for purchase,” she said. “For years I’ve been looking for a unique product I could create and market with some success. Even though today’s fashion has bypassed hats, for the most part, I hope to bring them back,” she said. “Historically, stunning headpieces have topped off the world’s most famous women, proving there’s power in the chapeau. From Cleopatra to Queen Elizabeth and Audrey Hepburn to Cher, distinctive headdresses have long reigned as a designation of female status and style, and talented milliners were in high demand.”

Dodge will be conducting a make-your-own floral hat demonstration for the Patagonia Woman’s Club, Thursday, April 12 at 1p.m., at Cady Hall and another at the Dream Weaver shop in Sonoita, Monday, April 16 from 10a.m. to 1p.m. She can be contacted at 520-732-0598 or hsdodge712@gmail.com. These workshops are free and open to the public. Bring your own hat. Decorations and glue guns will be provided.