Irina Spasskaya is known primarily for her hats. She has numerous students in many countries, and they all are inspired by her method. The essential thing is that she makes the hats on a round template (beret template). The crown is layed out on one side of the template and the brim on the other side. It is amazing that the narrowest place then becomes the widest - the edge of the brim! Such a shape can be obtained by precisely laying several layers of wool, each of which follows a particular geometry (fiber direction). The technology is, of course, only possible with wool tops. In the felting process, when the fibers shrink as planned, the desired shape is created, which is then refined and transfotmed in a hat shape.
-Irina, you have an amazing biography: professional musician, modedesigner, felter - a multitalent!
IS Yes, I am a professional musician. Somehow I realized that I had reached my "upper limit" in the music. I then decided to try myself in fashion, an area that has always interested me. After five years, I had my own creative workshop and a good clientele.
Everything I did in life - music, choreography, photography, modedesign - arose from the search for magic. For me, the existence of magic in life is an axiom, a principle which must not be proved. Talent is also magic, it is like an antenna that captures many impressions of God and the world. In order to convert the impressions into a material form, one needs perfect knowledge about the material, be it clay, pigments or paper. And if it is a hat, it should be light, soft and comfortable, and the woman just stand. This challenge makes the challenge even greater!
- It certainly requires a lot of work?
IS- Follow any story of a success - you will always see a lot of work. Mental I always deal with my projects, even if I do something different. An important idea of how to put the brim on a round template came to my mind. When I decided to work with hats, I already had my ideal figure in mind: I wanted to create a felt which is finer and softer than rabbit hair felt and which has a soft, supple, smooth surface. I worked as an alchemist, and after about a year and a half I had discovered a laying system for the wool with which I could make such a felt. My system stands, so to speak, on three basic principles: the direction of the fibers, the number of layers (several thin layers: at least three), a fixed amount of wool. To this end, there are, as it were, several smaller supports: the angles between the fibers, a certain distance between the rows of wool, etc.
- Your system makes you think of higher mathematics. They nevertheless present themselves as a person who is more of a humanistic nature.
IS - Yes, quite funny. During my courses, the topic of mathematics always comes into play, especially spatial geometry. For me, however, there is another keyword: polyphony. Every fiber "plays" its theme, and together they create a new whole. And a false note (fiber in the wrong position and direction) can disturb the harmony.
-So, then music? ...
IS Music will always accompany me. I always hear an inner melody that influences my mood, ideas, associations. Today it may be Schubert and I make a romantic hat, tomorrow it can be Grieg or Chopin and there are other hats.
- Let's get to the point: why hand-felted hats?
It is presumably a tribute to my grandmother, who, though she was not a great beauty, possessed a genuine charism. Maybe because she always wore a hat ...
We compare their hats with classic fashion hats. What are the differences?
IS First of all, let me be clear: there are no "bad" hats. Not every one needs such refined hats as mine; Sometimes you need something funny, ironic, ethnic, or a status symbol, which is something completely different.
Felted hats, especially those made from wool tops, are much softer and more comfortable to wear than those made of rabbit hair (one of several reasons is that the wool fibers are much longer and therefore much less fiber tips come to the surface). I am free to experiment with colors and fibers at will. I especially like the blends of 80% merino and 20% mulberry silk; A layer of goat hair laid between two layers of Merinowolle, has also given quite good results. And of course the form plays a big role! Milliners cut a lot and make a lot of sewing together again, otherwise their freedom of design with the finished stumps from the industry would be quite limited. The seams must then be garnished and often a hat-lining is necessary. In contrast, I do not cut at all, and my hats, even if they have a wide brim, are seamlessly felted. My hats can be folded and still take their original form. The felt is also so tight that it does not allow wind or water to pass. Once it happened to me that my windshield wiper was broken. So I had to get water to wash the windows and had nothing but my hat: I could easily carry water in my hat!
I am busy working to create fashion for our cold climate. This is how the Transformer hats have emerged, which are sometimes an elegant hat, sometimes a cap. This way I came to the Bedouin collection….
Fragment of interview with Irina Spasskaya (full text in FUN magazine, #48)