Veronica Main MBE is the most experienced traditional straw hat plaiter in the UK. For more than forty years she has researched the hat industries of the UK, Europe, and the United States, unlocking information and learning how to recreate plaits using authentic techniques by working as a forensic curator.
After running a successful business selling at craft fairs, and teaching straw work around the world, she begun research in straw plaiting for the hat industry. She took up the role of Straw Plaiter in Residence at the Wardown House Museum, and then went on to study an MA in Museum and Gallery Studies. Until her retirement in 2015, Veronica was curator for Luton Culture for 15 years, and she continues work as a forensic curator today.
Describe your approach to teaching:
"A gentle but precise and guiding learning. My aim is to provide everyone with sufficient information to understand not only how to do the required movements but why it is necessary to do it that way.
I believe teaching should be based on the senses: seeing, hearing, feeling; so I try to ensure the learning environment always provides these opportunities."
What inspires your work?
"The passion and dogged determination not to lose these heritage crafts. These were amazing skills that provided employment for hundreds of thousands of men, women and children. These workers were under appreciated when these trades were at their peak and yet from a very humble material, straw, they created most beautiful, long-lasting work."