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Thistle Cottage Studio in N. Providence, RI Inspires Creativity

Thistle Cottage Studio's new Nantucket line of organically grown cotton crochet hats with hand sculpted ribbon flowers, is now available in our shop at:


Thistle Cottage Studio Blog

Thistle Cottage Studio’s New Nantucket Hat Line on ETSY.com

           I confess!  I’m an incurable “hat-aholic”!!!!!!  Is there any hope for me??  If it’s any consolation, this is how Coco Chanel got started!  Millinery is very addictive, whether you’re making them, or you are a collector of hats. I happen to be guilty on both accounts!  The two hats pictured here, are the beginnings of a new line of organically grown cotton crocheted Breton style hats, with my own hand-scultped ribbon flowers.  They are detachable for dry cleaning, but can also be worn on a bag or jacket lapel.  More colors are on the way, including espresso, pimento, pink and white.  The rolled back brims are softly boned in a poly/acrylic boning to hold the shape permanently.

 The idea for the style came from a beautiful Madagascan straw hat that I bought several years ago, by the Australian milliner, Helen Kaminski, who’s hats are still popular today.  Hillary Clinton was spotted wearing one while on vacation in Nantucket in the 80’s.  

I sometimes think of hatmaking as a lot like baking a cake!  Once the “cake” is done, then the fun part of decorating, or “frosting” as I like to think of it, comes next. I have been doing embroidery now, for 35 years, and silk ribbon embroidery is an art form unto itself! Instantly gratifying, the most basic embroidery stitches quickly blossom into a magnificnet garden of flowers right before your eyes.  I have used this technique on clothing, necklaces, pillows, and now this Nantucket line of hats.

 Here are a few examples of applications of silk ribbon embroidery.  Classes in this lovely art form are now enrolling at Thistle Cottage Studio, in N. Providence, RI.  Anyone interested in learning this skill can contact us at 401-231-4343 for more information.

Nantucket Hats are now available in my online retail shop at www.orsinimedici1951.etsy.com


Silk ribbon embroidered chokers available at

Detail of silk ribbon embroidered pillow

Silk ribbon embroidered pillow available at

                       Thistle Cottage Studio’s Students Win PPAC Summer Arts Scholarships

 For the second consecutive year, Thistle Cottage Studio, in North Providence, RI, has produced winners!!
TCS is a working and teaching design studio, creating fine one of a kind millinery, contemporary, period, and ethnic inspired fashion, and accessories.  We are also a teaching studio, offering classes for adults, teens, and children in apparel design, sewing, and a myriad of crafts.

  For the past two years we have sponsored more than a dozen students for the Providence Performing Arts Centers’ Summer Arts Scholarship.  Last year, our 11 year old, Rachel Oliva won, for her amazing cherry red organza party dress, which she designed and made! This year, TCS was blessed with two winners!!  Julia DePalma of N. Prov., and Sarah Upton, of Smithfield were the lucky winners!!

  Julia has logged an impressive 200+ hours of class time at TCS, taking several sewing and pattern drafting classes.  She is a 2010 National Junior Honors Society inductee, and has never been off the honor roll!! She is a talented fashion designer, with aspirations of going to RISD. I’m sure I will be sitting in the audience watching her gradutate one day, with honors!! Julia will use her $500.00 scholarship to study at TCS this summer, furthering her sewing and drafting skills. I look forward to seeing her ideas unfold, and make them a reality.

   Sarah, is an incredibly talented artist, from Smithfield. She loves to draw in the style of Japanese animae, and will further her drawing skills in a new way.  As Sarah is also a talented seamstress, she will explore new territory, applying her brilliant artistry to fabric, using fabric dyes, paints and markers, to silk, linen and cotton.
Ultimately, she will create a textile of her own design, and turn it into a kimono.

  Thistle Cottage Studio’s mission is to inspire creativity, even in people who think they have no creative talent.  We believe that it is a matter of searching for the key that unlocks creativity in all of us.  

  Our Mommy&Me; classes have been so successful and productive!  At the moment we have three sets of Moms and their daughters!  Two pairs have seven year olds, who have made everything from tote bags, to pillows, and even capri pants, and a matching top!  The third pair are adults, and have made a tailored jacket, a skirt, and a summer dress!

  TCS’s demographic runs the gamut.  We have taught students as young as seven years old, and as old, but young at heart, as 70 years old! Male and female!  Our Young Designers Program now has several serious repeating students, who are destined for fashion design school, and are working on their portfolios to apply to colleges.  

  Project Runway has been an enormous inspiration for the younger generation, and we are seeing children, boys and girls, who watch the show regularly, and have already made their career decison! Tim Gunn sayings are common language here at TCS!!  Our students know how to “Make it work!”

  Summer Sewing and Crafts Camp is NOW enrolling!!  We teach 2 sessions per day, from 12-3pm, and 3-6pm, Wednesday, through Sunday. Space is limited, as we take only 3 students per session, for maximum personal attention.  Our popular Extreme Beginners Sewing Skills class runs for 4 weeks, and is an affordable $150.00. More advanced classes run for 8 weeks, at $250.00. Our rates are consistantly the lowest in the tri-sate area!
There is ample free parking, and we are conveniently located at 58 Waterman Ave. in N. Providence.
  Please call 401-231-4343 for an appointment to register, see the studio, and get started on your first project!
You can see a full menu of courses at craigslist.org, and see the work of TCS’s Artistic Director, Elsie Collins, at www.orsinimedici1951.etsy.com.
Ms. Collins’ work has been recognised by the RI State Council on the Arts and Humanities (2002).


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