Sunday, March 9, 2014

Ladies and Gentlemen of the 1860s Conference: Day 1

My original plan for Thursday was to arrive around 7:00 in the evening; however, my friend had a change of plan at work so I took an early train and arrived at the conference Thursday morning. Our room was ready so I was able to get right in and leave my things. I had not planned to take a workshop on Thursday but was able to get a last minute seat for the afternoon in Moving With the Times presented by Kelly and Robin Dorman.

This workshop went over the ideal and the reality of physically maneuvering our modern bodies in the 19th century manner. They also went over the etiquette of introductions. I really enjoyed this class. I knew there were rules about introductions but really never understood them. The best part of the class was putting our new knowledge to use. Robin and Kelly came up with scenarios where we all took on different personas and then acted out different situations that required introductions.

This was great fun. I was assigned as a Mr. McCarthy, an importer. A table mate was my 16 year old son. We were meeting the widow of a gentleman I had done business with and their 24 year old son. One of the rules for gentleman is do not recognize a woman on the street if she does not recognize you first. So our first attempt the widow did not recognize me and I walked past. The rest of the room thought this quite funny thinking I was intentionally ignoring her. So we then received additional instruction and proceeded with the exercise.

Another exercise dealt with a lesson on how to walk taught at period finishing schools. It required a pattern worked out on the floor and one was to walk between the spokes of the floor placing the ball of the little toe, followed by the heel and then the rest of the foot. It was intended to keep the skirts from swinging too much. Kelly demonstrated this and it really did keep her skirts fairly motionless.

The final exercise with play with a shuttlecock and battledore. This was so fun! Rather than compete against each other and hitting the birdie between two people, the goal is to see how long you can keep the shuttlecock off the ground by bouncing it off the battledore. The Dormans made the set they brought and Kelly will blog about the construction when she has a chance after the conference. 

Thursday night I attended the social. There was cake for the 20th anniversary of the conference, punch, snacks and a bar. During the evening individuals or groups performed period appropriate skits, songs, and readings or played music. This is always a lot of fun. There are several very talented individuals that attend this conference. Some individuals attended in their wrappers.Usually a "parade" of wrappers is held after the entertainment, but not this year...except for one:

Polly Steenhagen's Bubble Wrapper! Her son gave her 30 yards of bubble wrap while she was laid up and she made a wrapper. That is wrapping paper under the bubble wrap down the front. And it fits her! This was just too hilarious!

Thursday was fun. The conference officially started Friday, but first more workshops.

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