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Mendhi hands by Pushpa Jain. Photographer unknown. All rights reserved.Fish decoy. Photo by Pearl Yee Wong. All rights reserved.Embroidered dress detail. Photo by Pearl Yee Wong. All rights reserved.Cedar bird by Glen VanAntwerp. Photo by Al Kamuda. All rights reserved.
Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Awards

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Celeste Smith and Marva Brown
2017 master artist and apprentice
Highland Park and Detroit (Wayne County)

Celeste Smith has been interested in the art of millinery since childhood. Her mother was a seamstress and performed in fashion shows. She taught Celeste how to sew. After completing home economics classes in high school, Celeste went on to train in millinery with Wilma Rae Gordon in Los Angeles and Rose Cory in London. Her work has been displayed at the Kentucky Derby and in films and magazines in the Detroit area. She sells hats through her company, Celeste Couture, and is one of only three practitioners of this art form in the Detroit area.

Apprentice Marva Brown has experience with making accessories. From an early age, she was inspired by the hats her mother wore in church, experimenting with trims and ornaments to give them her own unique twist. She runs a business selling decorative shoe clips called Set It Off and makes hair accessories as well. This apprenticeship will afford her the opportunity to create hats from scratch, from the blocking of the pattern to the final trim details.

-Micah Ling

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