Thursday, March 11, 2010

1860s Conference

Pictures here.

I left Thursday morning from Austin to Houston. Met up with Nancy in Houston and we flew onto Philadelphia. Nancy was upgraded at the last minute and gave the seat to me. I was so excited to fly first class and will be ever grateful to her for the gift. We arrived in Philadelphia and took a taxi to the train station to take the train to Harrisburg. I love taking the train even if it was full and we ended up sitting in different rows. We took the hotel shuttle from the train station to Camp Hill and checked in. Once settled, we went down to the reception to check out all the wrappers and men’s jackets. To bed early as it had been a long day and tomorrow would be the beginning of a couple of full days.

Friday morning we checked in and got our binders and badges, went to breakfast and checked out the Marketplace. There was great stuff this year. So much I wanted and not enough money for it all. It was really hard to choose. But we had workshops so off we went. My first workshop was for a needle book. I didn’t finish it though. But I now know how to couch. We had lunch and then I went to practice with the projector clicker and find out how things would be set up for the presentation.

My second workshop was fabric flowers. It was a lot of fun. Unfortunately I’m not sure I’ll be able to do this on my own as it requires specialized tools that are hard to find or no longer available. Martha McCain’s husband made the tools for her for the workshop.

In the evening there was a staff and faculty supper so Nancy and I went. Had some interesting conversations with other presenters. The conference began with a presentation on material culture with “Senator Galliday”. It was so funny and included wonderful photos of material culture items. Following that presentation I attended a presentation on period sanitary protection. That was interesting to hear about the how things were done. I knew a bit but there were some interesting photos of patents for belts and such. Also a discussion on “is this a knitted pad or knitted suspenders?”. And of course the originals on display!

Saturday morning started with the showing of the conference dresses and vests. Nancy has these photos on her camera so I will have to post them after she gets them to me. Everyone did a great job. Following that I attended a session on special clothes such as riding habits and traveling clothes by K Krewer. It was very interesting. The interesting point was trying to figure out just what was meant by traveling dresses. It was really hard to figure out; it was almost an arbitrary classification. Following K was Anna Worden’s very interesting talk on period ribbons and how to duplicate the look with what is available now. After lunch was a talk on Francis “Frank” Johnson and some dancing demonstrations by Karen and Briant Bohleke. Following that was the Wildcat Brass Band performance. I love brass bands! I purchased their CD and was able to get the band leader’s autograph on it.

Dinner was very nice and everyone looked beautiful in their ball gowns. Unfortunately I did not finish mine and so attended in my conference dress. Not only were the 1860s represented but the early 1800s and one last 1800s dress were worn for the ball. Before the conference K Krewer joked on a forum about dressing in her husband’s frock coat. I answered back she should as men were usually at a premium thinking she would not seriously do such a thing. She did!! It was hilarious. Right down to the 5:00 shadow! And she made sure everyone lady who wished to danced. Such a gentleman. After dinner we retired to the lobby of the conference center while the ball was being set up. The ball was lovely, dance cards, great music by the Wildcat Band, great dance masters. I didn’t want to dance much but it was great fun to listen to the music and watch all the beautiful gowns and dances. We left the dance about 11:00 as my presentation was the next morning and I wanted to get a good night’s sleep. But as is usual with me and Nancy we stayed up until about 1:00.

Sunday. My presentation was first thing in the morning. I really wasn’t nervous, more apprehensive not knowing how interesting my presentation on Texas would be to an audience made up mostly of easterners. But it went over splendidly. They got the joke about Frau Blucher from Young Frankenstein, laughed and clapped for the Carol Burnet curtain dress photo and I heard comments about other pieces such as the price of things and the delay in freeing the slaves. I added some comment about Elizabeth Neblet as well. One of the quotes I used from Kate Stone was about men wearing knitted suspenders, which allowed for a comment about the presentation on the knitted sanitary pads. Several people came up to tell me how much they enjoyed the presentation. One participant, a professional military historian who works with the pentagon, told me that the presentation was a graduate level paper and that it could have been presented the pentagon. Others stated they really had no interest in Texas but found my presentation interesting none the less and enjoyed it very much. Following my presentation was Carolann’s on genre painting. I loved it! The pieces were lovely and now I’m on the look out for genre paintings.

After the conference ended Beth Chamberlain took me to the train station to catch the train for Philadelphia to DC to visit Angie. I have a separate blog entry for the DC visit.

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