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“The Bridgton Collection” is inspired by the women in my family, rooting back to the early 1900’s when my grandmother, Martha and her sister, Natalie attended Bridgton Academy.   My mother, Judy, and her family summered in Waterford, at their camp on Bear Pond for many years, and as young children my siblings and I and our cousins also enjoyed summers at the camp. Fast forward some decades later, my husband and I recently found our way back to Bridgton and bought a home. Moving from the noise and chaos of big city life to the calmness and beauty of Maine has been thrilling.  That, and retirement have given me the time and opportunity to think about and focus on my hobby of twenty-plus years. I have always been a lover of hats and other ornaments worn in ones hair.  On a business trip to Newport, Rhode Island in the early 2000’s, I went into a shop and spotted one the greatest hats I had ever seen.  I wanted that hat desperately, but the cost was much more than I should have spent at the time.  I decided to wait a day or two and think about it, instead of being my typical, impulsive self.  I did go back to Boston, without the hat, but still could not stop thinking about it.  I was obsessed, so I convinced myself that hat was meant for me.  I called the shop in Newport, with my credit card in-hand, and low and behold was told by the shop-keeper that somebody had purchased the hat!!  I was devastated.  I decided to go online and locate the designer, to find out if there was a duplicate out there, somewhere ….  During my online detective work to locate the lost hat, I discovered something very interesting, which was a woman who lived here in the USA, in Wilmington, North Carolina who actually taught Millinery lessons.  And that was the beginning of my training.  I knew that Millinery was much more prevalent in Europe and Australia, but here in the United States, women and hats had become a fashion of the past.  I went to work with my new friend, one weekend a month, for several months and learned some vital lessons in hat-making.  Since then, I have been beyond fortunate to have studied Millinery at the School of Fashion Design in Boston, gone to workshops in England, sponsored a milliner from Australia at my home, and spent time in Paris and the South of France working with trained professionals in the art of Millinery.  I am trained to work with most anything that can be shaped into a headpiece. For “The Bridgton Collection” I decided on a fun, wool-felted project that could be worn après-ski or simply to keep you warm when out and about.  I truly hope you enjoy, and remember that “HAT-atude” is what it’s all about!  Nancy Corcoran-Murphy (aka:  NCMurphy)

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