Amanda Sutherland, our Speaker for the evening, arrived carrying several interesting bags and boxes. She then slowly and carefully displayed a very colourful and enticing array of decorated hats, fascinators, wraps and jewellery. Amanda told us that her creative journey began when she was a child at school; she sold her first pieces of jewellery, made from a selection of inner soles, to her Teachers!
After completing five years in Fashion, Textiles and Accessory Design at the London College of Fashion she went straight into the West End as a wardrobe assistant. Her role as a buyer at The Opera House led her into freelancing for many ballet and Operas, then eventually into a number of long-running West End productions.
Amanda met many famous people and had lots of amusing experiences. One in particular involved painting the blood onto the loincloth for the actor playing Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar. It wasn’t until the actor had completed his costume change and rushed back onto the stage that Amanda’s heart sank as she realised that the green brillo pad she had used, was still clinging to the bottom of the cloth! Fortunately, the audience didn’t notice.
After a few years of many long hours and late nights in London’s West End Amanda decided to bring her theatrical knowledge into the bridal wear industry. For a couple of years, she worked alongside two of London’s top bridal wear designers assisting in sourcing fabrics, design concepts and the transition from paper to the catwalk. Working closely with the brides she skilfully created unique designs.
She then went to work for the world’s largest costume house. An exciting three years followed where she worked on many period dramas, commercials, films and many television programmes. It was an amazing experience for her to see the costumes that she had created being worn on the screen.
In 2003 she felt ready to launch her unique range of accessories and, after many years of business, set up courses and millinery workshops where she found a totally individual style. Amanda and her husband then felt they needed to move out of London and find a house in the country.
They now live in Haverhill where her husband built a large workshop and showroom where she holds demonstrations and day workshops. Completely by accident, she discovered All Saints market in the middle of Cambridge where she managed to get a stall.
Amanda sells very creative hats embellished with men’s ties, unusual neck wraps using ties and fake fur and 40’s-style turban headbands. Also, beautiful jewellery made from coke cans and stunning fascinators made from melted down milk cartons, balloons and tights, crystals and pearl beads.
We could not help but be inspired by Amanda’s ingenious and stunning creations. (See more examples on her website).
On Tuesday 22nd May, Deborah Brady will tell us about her experience as A Female in Fleet Street. Details of all meetings and speakers are on the calendar of the home page of this website. If you would like further information about PAWS please ring either of the following committee members: