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I'm John Plowman an artist with over 40 years’ experience making, including sculpture, installation, performance and drawing. In September 1995 my two-year-old son Billy died following surgery for congenital heart deformities diagnosed only 10 days before his death. My spouse Nicola and I entered an intense period of grief and despair at the start of which we shaved our heads; a symbolic act indicative of the fact that our lives had changed forever. It was also very cold so we each bought a hat. From that day onwards I have worn a felt hat every day. 


25 years on I have acquired a large collection of hats, mostly felt, some straw, all cherished and each one right for specific moods and events. The majority are my preferred style of the Pork Pie Hat. In 2019, as an extension of my sculpture practice, I began making felt hats. Starting with designing and making the hat block, I perfected the process of blocking the felt and hand-finishing the final trimming of the hat. As I’ve refined my technique I have viewed each hat I make as a unique stand-alone artwork.


When friends began asking if I’d make hats for them, the idea of Billy Boy Hats was seeded. I invite you to join me and have an exclusive hat made for the distinct person you are.

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