For Maria Curcic fashion is all about finding one-of-a-kind pieces.
As a milliner, the Colwood resident creates unique hats of all shapes and sizes, which she sells online to people around the world. But they aren’t just your average baseball caps – Curcic creates ladies hats and other head pieces such as fascinators, as well as top hats from a variety of fabrics.
“It’s relaxing. It allows me to be very, very creative,” said Curcic, whose work will be on display as part of an annual tour this weekend.
Growing up in Paris, Curcic spent the first eight years of her life immersed in Parisian culture. Her mother always dressed her in hats and special outfits whenever they would go out shopping or simply to get bread and cheese at a local market. Curcic’s mother taught her how to sew and that no matter how you dress, an accessory will always finish an outfit.
Several years later, and after graduating from the Alberta College of Art and Design and Mount Royal University and making hats for a friend’s store, Curcic opened her shop Le Chapeau Rouge, which stocked hats from Canadian, European and Australian designers.
But after a few years of running the store full-time, as well as creating hats for her own store, the work load eventually caught up with her and in 1997, Curcic decided to close her store and focus on creating one-of-a-kind pieces.
Since then, Curcic has collected thousands of types of fabrics, including wool and felt, throughout her travels or online and transformed them into unique hats.
“I just didn’t want to make mass produced anything,” she said. “I was more interested in the art form of it, creating and making something very different that you wouldn’t find in a store.”
Curcic is one of several artists whose work and studios will be on display as part of the Stinking Fish Studio Tour this weekend.
As part of the annual event, participants have the opportunity to tour the studios of local artists in Metchosin and East Sooke. Artists work with a variety of mediums, including painting, pottery, sculpture, fibre such as wool.
Artists include Angela Anderson, Bonnie Coulter, Frank Mitchell, Wendy Mitchell, Jocelyn West, Marlene Bowman and Beverly Petow, as well as guest artists Rebecca McClure, Joanne Parker Robertson and Diana Smith.
Event co-ordinator Ann Semple, whose work will also be on display, said many artists on the tour are not ones that normally show in galleries.
“It’s just another way of getting people together from the community,” she said. “Most of our artists are environmentally conscious. Metchosinites are in generally very community oriented and they appreciate having this here.”
The Stinking Fish Studio Tour takes place July 27 to 31 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information visit stinkingfishstudiotour.com.