Sunday, 6 February 2011

Beautiful Clothing, Beautiful Historic Clothing.......

Finally, I have got down to it and figured out how to use/write my blog.  First time user, that's me.  This space is all about my adventures on researching for my PhD and all that that entails.  Busy, busy, busy.  The RF3, for all who know about the trials of the dreaded RF3,  has been approved, with a few minor changes (they don't seem that minor to me but I am assured that they are) so hallelujah!  More will be revealed it is just too long to start now.  

So what has happened since October?  Lots and lots of inspiration.  I visited the 'The Threads of Feeling' exhibition at the Foundling Museum and having read the curator, John Styles work, was very excited.  The exhibition, for which I wrote a review, (will post) was both haunting and delightful at the same time.  The one single baby sleeve created from hand blocked linen set the sparks of my creative chain of thought and has well and truly launched me into my first project.

Additionally, I taught a workshop on smocking for the BA and MA students at Chelsea.  Terrifying and fabulous.  Me and a group of brilliant  women sat around a table talking and sewing at the same time.    I learnt so much myself.  Smocking, a wonderful and beautiful way to embellish fabric.  The agricultural smocks of the 19th century are truly exquisite and a far cry from the twee image we have of smocking today.  So skilled.

In fact, I am teaching my workshop two more times.  Viva La Smocking!  My next project, (other than learning French) is to be able be able to monogram.  I just love those tiny little initials that have been so delicately embroidered on the linen and cotton under garments of the 18th and 19th centuries.  They were put there so that people could identify them when they were being laundered.  I know of some out workers (via my Savile Row connection) who still do it, maybe I'll see if I can get a lesson.  Being my first post I could go on and on........ 

Before I go, will tell you what I have been reading this week.  'Foucault For Beginners' (embarrassing, I know that I have to go for the graphic, beginners version) however, now I've got the basics, I am ready for the real thing.  I also did Baudrillard (for beginners) equally brilliant.  'Emotionally Durable Design' by Jonathan Chapman - very, very interesting.  Fits in with Baudrillard.   Also, if you are interested in 18th century clothing read 'Pamela' by Samuel Richardson. It's very witty and gives very detailed accounts of her wardrobe and the cloth she hand stitched to make it.  Good stuff.

Will update soon.

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