Trisha Moran may have used the Japanese style of crochet to make her ladies' hats, but they would be welcome at any Southern tea party.
The Cartersville artist's collection of 15 elegant crocheted hats is being highlighted through the end of March in the Cartersville Public Library's art gallery at 429 W. Main St.
The pastel-colored hats, along with some crocheted dreamcatchers, grace the walls of the gallery while a sample of her crocheted ornaments fill the display case.
"My goal is to make people here cheerful," Moran, 60, said at her artist reception Tuesday. "I just wanted to share."
For almost a year, the native of Saigon, Vietnam, has been turning thread and yarn into delicate wide-brimmed hats adorned with ribbons and crocheted flowers, which incorporates another one of her loves into the artform.
"I think they're gorgeous, and we've seen a lot of foot traffic through, looking at them, since she hung them at the beginning of the month," Library Director Carmen Sims said, noting she couldn't recall having any other display similar to this in the past.
Moran, who showed her wood-burned and acrylic paintings at the library in 2018, said she loves the hats' soft shades of peach, pink, lavender and yellow.
"I love the trip to Hobby Lobby because I love the color so I walk back and forth, back and forth to see the colors," she said.
The self-taught artist also taught herself to crochet "a couple of years" ago, and when health issues forced her to cut back on her painting, she started to focus on creating hats."
"I sit on the bed [to crochet]," she said. "I don't do much. I don't go out. I don't go to party. I don't date. Dating give me headaches. If I sit and stare at the ceiling, that's depressing so I have to find something to do. This cost me money, but they give me passion. It give me incentive to be happy. I don't use TV. I watch kung fu movie on the tablet, but I don't watch it all day. One little thing, and then I feel bored already so that's when I do this."
Moran, who left Vietnam by boat in 1980 at age 20 and ended up in the Pulau Galang refugee camp in Indonesia, taught herself to crochet from books she found in an old-book store in Virginia years ago.
"I went to the bookstore, and I look at section like cooking, baking and sewing, and I was lucky enough to see seven books Japanese-style crochet," she said. "I don't understand American language. They say like 'chain here, chain there.' I don't understand those. I only understand the picture. They draw out a picture. Then I brought it home. Believe it or not, I crocheted 80% of what in the books. And it says after I did all of that, then I'd be able to do it."
Sometimes she's "fortunate enough" to find a pattern on Pinterest, but she often alters it to make it unique to her.
"When I see this, I don't want to do like them," she said, noting it takes large amounts of patience and imagination to crochet. "I want to do it my way."
Crocheting is one way Moran keeps her mind occupied.
"The whole idea is I do it just to make me feel happy because I'm disability of depression so I always want to be cheerful," she said. "When I feel bored, then I just have to find something to do. I just like what I do. I think it's fun."
Each small hat takes about five days to complete — two days to crochet, one day to dry, one day to make the flowers and one day to put it together — but larger ones take about a week, Moran said.
"Generally, it's five day each, but sometime I cannot do continually," she said. "Like I have to go to the doctor, have to go to something else then I have to stop."
Making hats is a "lot of work," Moran added, but she's retired, "and I do what I want."
One reception guest said the hats were "beautiful" and asked Moran if she wears them, to which she replied in the negative.
"I just love to look at them, but I do wear a hat, but it's store-bought," she said.
As for the ornaments, each springtime color has its own pattern in its crocheted cover, Moran said, noting she can make two or three covers a day.
"My idea is to put like a bowl of fruit," she said. "That's my idea because it's not Christmas. I don't want people to think it's Christmas. I want people to think it's spring so I put like a bowl of fruit here."
Moran, who is a retired instructional assistant from Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia, said she also has crocheted queen-size bedspreads with peacock and rose designs that took five months each as well as large doilies to hang over her windows.
Sims was thoroughly impressed with Moran's work.
"Now hearing the process behind it that she taught herself, it's just amazing to me because I can't do any of that," she said.