and other exotic locations with Arte Umbria

JUDY BENTINCK is joining us to run a week long residential course in Brittany, France in February 2020.

Fabulous Fascinators and Millinery!

Pour tous les détails en français s'il vous plaît faites défiler vers le bas pour lire.

Hold onto your hats! We are so excited that celebrated Milliner JUDY BENTINCK is joining us to run a week long residential retreat in Brittany, France in February 2020. We will be staying in a charming Breton complex of cottages nearby to the studio for the week and all delicious French meals and wine will be provided.

Has an art or craft ever brought you out of a tough time? Often, the meditative and creative aspects of arts and crafts can be just what the doctor ordered when it comes to coping with grief, depression, or just to give you back your mo-jo.

14th February to 21st February 2020

We are running in February and it's something for us all to look forward to after Christmas and to cheer you through a long dreay winter with all the gorgeous food and wine that France can offer! Also, we start the course on Valentine's Day so the perfect Valentine gift for your partner!

GIFT VOUCHERS are available to purchase ahead of the course so perfect as a gift for your partner or friend.

In these stress filled days, it's being confirmed by counsellors, psychologists and mental health support teams that it's better to learn a craft or skill than go to counselling or take tablets. A real skill can relax, and uplift you as you feel empowered and this is just the course to do that. AND you go away with a beautiful hat, fascinator or flower that only you could have made. Exclusive, individual, YOU!

The week is flexible and open to residential and non-residential students. You are welcome to join for the whole week and stay with us, or if you are local in Brittany, come and join in for a 1 or 2 day course, or even every day but go back to your own home at night. Just contact us for what will suit you best!

Judy's background is tremendous!

From theatre costume design to haute couture millinery

With a background in Textile design and an initial career in theatre costume design, Judy trained in the craft of millinery with Rose Cory, who was the Queen Mother's own milliner. With Rose she learned the secrets of traditional couture millinery, gaining an appreciation for true craftsmanship, well-balanced design and exquisite detailing.

With this expertise, Judy established her eponymous brand at Cockpit Arts studios in central London, where she has built a loyal and ever-increasing following since 2002. Clients include celebrities such as Clare Balding, Amanda Redman, Alexandra Burke, Dillie Keane and Jenny Agutter, Countess Bathurst and the Marchioness of Aberdeen. Most recently HRH Princess Beatrice wore a Judy Bentinck headpiece at The Queen’s birthday 'Trooping the Colour'.

HRH Princess Beatrice wears a Kiyomi headpiece by Judy Bentinck at The Queen's Birthday and the 'Trooping the Colour' 2019

Judy has also collaborated with fashion designers during London Fashion Week’s catwalk show, and with PR companies to produce unique creations for Royal Ascot Ladies’ day.

Judy's design inspiration is all-embracing from natural forms through floral motifs, architecture, historical references to mythical tales and mathematics.

To pass on Judy's millinery expertise

Judy teaches millinery skills at Central St Martin's University of the Arts London, and has recently demonstrated at the British Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Museum of London.

Her Millinery courses run regularly in her Cockpit Arts studio. Please see here for the latest dates.

Judy 's book "Designing and Making Hats and Headpieces" was published recently, and is available on Amazon. See it here.

Her week with us will break down into a choice of 3 fantastic courses. You can choose to take part in all 3 or a mixture to suit you.

Price for the whole week, residential with all accommodation, food and wine, tuition and materials £1875

Fabulous fascinator - 2 days 15 and 16 February

Can't take my eyes off of you!

In this fun and creative class you’ll learn:

  • How to make a fabulous fascinator with a wired and bound base.
  • To create some dramatic sculpted shapes, to manipulate sinamay, curl feathers, use millinery wire, decorate with veiling and learn the traditional stitches that will become an invaluable part of your creative journey.
  • The headpiece will also need a headband or comb and elastic to secure it to the head so it can be worn confidently. This depends on the scale of the piece and the wearers hairstyle. This will be discussed in class.

Silk flower making - 1 day 17 February

Let your creative talents blossom!

In this 1-day course you will learn to create:

  • Two styles of fabric flowers: an organdie Oriental poppy and a silk organza English rose. Flowers like this are perfect for trimming your hats and headpieces or to use as a garland or corsage or boutonniere.
  • First you will create an organdie poppy in a colour of your choice. You will hand paint the poppy and shape it into a delicate and deeply cupped flower using traditional millinery techniques. It will also have a stem and a poppy style wired silk leaf to complete the beautiful look.
  • Secondly you will create a silk organza rose created using traditional millinery techniques and without the need for expensive flower tools. You will have the option to add handmade stamens, a velvet leaf and calyx.

Both flowers can be made in different sizes by adjusting the patterns. You will receive a copy of both flower patterns.

Materials needed for this course are:

  • Half-metre cotton organdie
  • Half-metre silk organza

If you would like to supply your own materials, please contact us, or if you have a specific colour in mind please let us know well in advance so we can supply it for example if you need it for a special occasion, wedding, Ascot, Garden Party. . .

Day 4 - 18 February

We will be taking a break to visit the famous Megaliths and Museum at Carnac and take lunch at the beautiful port of La Trinite sur Mer after which we will have the afternoon to explore and shop before we return to our cottages.

Wool felt cocktail hat - 2 day course 19 and 20 February

During this 2 day workshop :

  • Gain experience of working with a wool felt cone and learn the qualities of material.
  • Learn about different types of hat blocks
  • Learn how to block and stiffen a cocktail hat and how to correctly remove your piece from the millinery block provided.
  • Learn about different couture stitching methods, which are appropriate for different parts of the hat.
  • Work with different bindings: You will be shown 2 methods.
  • Learn how to form and manipulate your leftover felt into interesting trimmings to decorate your hat.-Add a comb or elastic to secure the hat to your head.
  • In fact, you will learn all the steps necessary to create your own individually designed hat, ready to amaze everyone!
  • CHAPEAU! - as they say in France!

Imagine the thrill of wearing a couture hat that you have made and designed yourself and people will be asking you 'Who is your milliner?', and quite possibly singing 'Where did you get that hat?'.

Won't that be a feather in your cap?!

Des Bibis fabuleux - 2 journées, les 15 et 16 Février €325 y compris la pause sucrée et le déjeuner et tous les matériaux.

Quelle élégance!

Créatif, pratique et amusant, ce cours de deux jours vous permettra de créer votre propre bibi et d'apprendre:

-Comment créer un bibi de A à Z, en commençant par la base liée et renforcée de fil.

-Comment sculpter de belles formes en manipulant du sinamay et du fil de chapellerie.
Vous apprendrez les vraies méthodes et points de couture traditionels de chapellerie, des techniques utiles pour vos propres créations à l'avenir.

-Vous pourrez décorer votre bibi de façon individuelle, en manipulant des plumes ainsi que du voile. Enfin vous ajouterez un peigne ou un élastique pour tenir le bibi en place, selon vote préférence, à discuter pendant le cours.


Création de fleurs en soie - 1 journée, le 17 février €175 y compris la pause sucrée et le déjeuner et tous les matériaux.

Laissez votre créativité fleurir!

Durant cette journée créative, pratique et amusante vous aurez la possibilité de créer deux styles de fleur en soie: un pavot Oriental et une rose Anglaise. Les fleurs en soie sont superbes pour garnir chapeaux et bibis, pour une jolie guirlande ou simplement comme boutonnière.

Vous commencerez par créer le pavot en organdi, dans une couleur de votre choix. Vous peindrez chaque pétale avant de lui donner une jolie forme de coupe et de l'assembler grâce à des techniques traditionnelles de chapellerie. Ensuite vous ajouterez une tige ainsi qu'une jolie feuille renforcée de fil, pour compléter votre pavot.

Ensuite vous allez créer la rose en organza de soie, vous allez découvrir des petits trucs de professionnels qui gagnent du temps, et ne nécessitent pas d'outils compliqués. Vous aurez la possibilité d'ajouter des étamines faites main, ainsi qu'une feuille en velours et un calice.

Ces deux ravissantes fleurs peuvent être faites de différentes tailles, en ajustant les dimensions de chaque patron, dont vous recevrez une copie.
Tissus fournis pour cette journée de création de fleur en soie:
-50cm d'organdi de coton
-50cm d'organza de soie
Si vous souhaitez apporter vos propres tissus, ou si vous recherchez une couleur particulière pour un événement (mariage, course de chevaux etc), merci de nous contacter en avance.


Création d'un chapeau cocktail - 2 journées, les 19 et 20 Février €325 y compris la pause sucrée et le déjeuner et tous les matériaux.

Un élégant chapeau cocktail en feutre de laine, pour ne pas passer inaperçue!

Voici ce que vous aurez l'occasion d'apprendre pendant ces deux journées créatives, pratiques et amusantes.

-Vous allez vous familiariser avec le cône de feutre de laine qui sera le point de départ du chapeau, ainsi qu'avec les qualités propres a ce matériau traditionnel de chapellerie.

- Vous découvrirez les différents types de formes à chapeaux et comment les utiliser.

-Vous apprendrez comment mouler et rigidifier la base de votre chapeau cocktail, et comment l'enlever de sa forme a chapeau comme les professionnels.

-Vous apprendrez différents points de couture de chapellerie, en particulier lesquels sont adéquats pour quelle partie du chapeau cocktail.

-Vous découvrirez deux types de ganse et comment les appliquer.

-Vous aurez l'occasion de manipuler et sculpter des jolies formes en feutre de soie pour décorer votre création. Enfin vous ajouterez un élastique ou un peigne pour tenir le chapeau cocktail.

A la fin de ces deux journées vous aurez crée un chapeau cocktail unique de A a Z, fin prêt pour impressioner tous vos amis!


Judy Bentinck week long residential millinery retreat in Brittany, France in February 2020

Date: 14th to 21st February 2020

Place: Brittany France

Course Price: £1875 Residential Week including all meals and wine, tuition and materials.

Duration: Seven nights or a selection of your choice as a day student. Contact us for day rates for the 2 and 1 day courses if you live locally.

How to book

Book now and pay your deposit online:

There are 3 ways to pay.

If paying by Pounds Sterling UK please see our UK Bank account details when you click the payment button below and make a bank transfer.

If paying by Euros please use our French Bank account. Contact us for the current exchange rate and correct Euro payment amounts.

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(Please be aware there is a 3.5% PayPal Surcharge)

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Or...Download the booking form and email back to us and we will send you details of our UK bank to make a transfer.

Please click on the button below to download the booking form in pdf format of all of our courses

Booking Form

Photo Gallery

To tempt you to this exciting opportunity to explore the wonderful world of Millinery, and a delightful region of France, here are a few photographs. Please click on any of the small images to see a larger picture.