Art, fiber art, making things, TSKW

The Many Hats of Judi Bradford

A veil can bring on more shenanigans than forgetting your silk underpants – anonymous


Judi’s studio at TSKW is a tactile delight. It’s impossible not to squish tulle, run fingers across sequins, try on hats.



I remember lusting after Judi Bradford confections back when TSKW was at the armory.  One fine evening at Walk-On-White, everyone seemed to be wearing one and I just could not justify buying one, foolishly wondering if I would ever actually wear it, or worse – could I pull it off?  I guess I hadn’t really embraced my inner diva.

Endless entertainment can be had by watching a small parade of women try on a hat and flirt with the image in the mirror.  A couple of weeks ago that small parade of diverse personalities was me.

A wistful and dreamy diva…

“You can flirt with a fan in your hand. You can flirt holding a cigarette, too.  But a woman can really flirt with a hat.” (Dolores Foster)

Judi’s hats are the stuff of fantasies and perfectly designed to bring out your inner alpha which probably explains their success in Key West.

Inspired by Margaret Atwood, (I myself have 12 hats, and each one represents a different personality.  Why just be yourself?- Margaret Atwood)

I almost  bought two.

Judi’s hats were juried into the prestigious American Craft Festival at in New York, in June of 2013.

A comprehensive selection of her work can be found here.

But what I didn’t know is that Judi is also a very accomplished watercolorist and sketch artist. Oh yes, she said, when we spoke about writing, I won a PEN for an essay or something I wrote – but that was a long time ago. She is actually very modest about her achievements, preferring to discuss the work, not the recognition.

Ribbons, awards, certificates of merit are displayed in a haphazard manner around her studio.


Here’s a typical Judi Bradford ribbon, vying for space with shibori silk and scarves.

Clearly Judi is fascinated by many artforms and understands them by taking them apart and interpreting them herself. It’s unusual to meet an artist so accomplished in multiple disciplines.

I spied these three without really searching and know there are many more. Judi leads with the work, not the award.



Even non fabriholics would probably love to root through these cabinets.


Here’s her latest creation: An accordian-style watercolor book depicting scenes familiar to Key Westers.



Judi continues to gives back to the Key West community. She has co-ordinated 19 FantasyFest parades (mostly on roller skates)  and recently stepped up to oversee the Smallest Parade in the Universe, which began in 2015 and benefits the MARC House.


A float from the Smallest parade in the Universe


This fabulous red Race Day hat was a serious contender for my affections.

Judi will be teaching a class on Race Day Hat Making  at The Studios Key West on Friday May 5, 2017


And finally, here’s what came home with me.



2 thoughts on “The Many Hats of Judi Bradford”

  1. Katie says:

    OMG what I wouldn’t give to be in Judi’s Race Day Hat class! Or, for that matter, in the smallest parade in the universe.

    1. jessica says:

      Of course, Judi had a float in the parade as well….sheesh!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *