Monday, March 10, 2014

Ladies and Gentlemen of the 1860s Conference Day 2

Friday. Started the day with a hands-on examination of original bonnets from the collection of Janine and Phillip Whiteman. This was such a great experience. She had dress bonnets as well as sun bonnets. And a few parasols.

To get that close to original bonnets and be able to photograph them and manipulate them and see exactly how things are put together...just fantastic!

One of the most exciting things was seeing not just one, but two bonnets made from fabric I have in my stash! I found the fabric in Oklahoma on the way back from an event in Missouri and have had it stashed away for quite awhile. More pictures are available on Flicker.

Between sessions I visited the Marketplace. This is always a fun part of the conference. There are vendors selling reproductions, antiques, supplies, accessories, fabrics and some ready mades. Brian Merrick was there with his leather pieces. He has developed a new piece, a lady's period hand bag. I had asked him to recreate one I had found, but the hardware could not be found. He ended up reproducing one another person suggested to him. I bought this one.

After lunch I attended Carolann's session on "The Rules Say..." Refuting Misinformation and Placing Guidelines in Context. The handout contains an extensive bibliography of research sources; I mean huge, over 15 pages. The session and handouts also examined several myths such as fabrics had no more than than two colors, a black dress or bonnet indicates mourning, all southerners wore homespun, and my favorite it took years for fashions to get from France to the US. The main message was to consider the context of "the rules" and then work toward correcting some of these, gently and with research.

Although I only attended these two workshops, there were several others offered. To see a complete list of workshops and sessions, visit the Genteel Arts website.

The conference officially began at 7:00. The first session was presented by Elizabeth Stewart Clark of The Sewing Academy. Elizabeth's topic was "Second Hand Plumage: The Used Clothing Trade." This was very interesting. I had never thought about this before. She not only covered the actual sale of used clothing, but also the reconditioning of clothing and the criminal element attached to clothing resale. The handout is quite extensive with a great bibliography.

The second session of the night "Boat Rides into History: the 'Arabia' and the 'Bertrand'" was presented by Nicky Hughes. Nicky's presentations are always entertaining; his focus is on "stuff" and how to properly and authentically use "stuff" in our impressions. This presentation included tons of slides of the artifacts on display at the Arabia Steamboat Museum, the Steamboat Bertrand Museum and of bottles from the recovery of the wreck of the Independence. I have been to the Arabia but not the Bertrand and really enjoyed seeing all the slides of "stuff".

Friday also starts the displays of originals.

The display of originals is one of the most popular aspects of this conference. While we don't get hands-on examination of the originals on display it is great to be able to see them up close. There were many different styles of dresses. There were also men's and children's clothing, undergarments, dolls, bonnets, hats, and outer garments. You can see the pictures I took of the originals here.

End of Friday. 

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