Sunday, 25 March 2012

Sunny Weather

What beautiful weather we are having.  How lovely to see all the spring flowers and to feel the sun on my face but what I haven't been doing is any work!

Brief run through for my own sake!  I have started writing up my research on the Nancy Pawsey's dress and have realised that I haven't been as thorough as I should have been in examining and writing up my study information.  I suppose that is how one learns.  I have missed some really obvious things.  Why did I count the stitching on the 18th century bodice but not the 1840s bodice or even 1880s dress?   Arghh!  I despair at my self.

Whilst at the Museum of London, Hilary Davidson, who incidentally, is speaking at York University, CECS study day entitled, Desiring Fashion:  The Consumption and Dissemination of Dress 1750-1850 this 23rd June, gave me a paper written by Jules David Prown to read  It was published quite some time ago,  1982,  but it has been very helpful in re-enforcing my methodological practise.  The title of the paper is 'Mind in Matter:  An Introduction to Material Culture Theory and Method' and is published in Winterthur Portfolio, Vol.17.

From reading this, I have realised that I am probably too biased in the examination of my garments.  I take the garment out of the box with the anticipation and knowledge that it has been re-fashioned or altered.   Therefore with a sense of urgency, I am expecting and wanting to see what I hope to be there.   In my case,  a major altering or customisation of the original garment.

 The bibliography was most informative and I have highlighted various books to read.  First on my list is a classic, Flugel, The Psychology of Clothes (1930).

I participated in a work shop on memory with Dr Jen Brockmeir which was fascinating and I need to read more on this subject.  I might even join the 'Memory' reading group that another student is planning to set up.  Dr Linda Sandino has given us all a reading list.

Lovely section of cotton lace from the petticoat of Nancy's the 1880s dress 
Last Thursday, I thought that I would learn how to adapt the print from Nancy Pawsey's dress.  My intention is to design a contemporary dress and adapt the print from her silk into my own textile design.  A sort of 18th century silk modification.    I thought I would have a go in Illustrator.  Well, I spent three hours trying to teach myself using the book 'Digital Textile Design' by Melanie Bowles.    I only got through half of the first tutorial.  It just kept going wrong.  My ineptitude with technology drives me insane.   I am such a dummy around computer programmes.  It's so frustrating!

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Nancy Pawsey

I spent my third day at the Museum of London photographing the dress of Nancy Pawsey.  I managed to get some really great photos owing to the fact I took along a tripod and a macro lens.  It was a wonderful day and as per usual Hilary Davidson was very helpful and gave me some information that she had found out about my dress.  This dress seems to have captured her imagination as well as mine.  Nancy Pawsey, the dress's first owner appears quite a character.

Whilst researching Nancy's dress,  I saw some 17th century sailor's slops.  Hilary was showing them to some experts so  I was able to have a look too.  Amazing.  They were rather large and brown in colour. They were very patched with numerous repairs and what looked like a big button made from bone on the front opening.  The experts were impressive.  I wish that I had got their names.  They are part of the Living History movement and specialise in the ordinary clothing of the 17th century.  These two people were amateur historians yet are classed as specialists (which of course they are). Many years have been spent studying material culture, old documents and what ever they can lay their hands on to inform themselves.

Nancy Pawsey was born Anne (Nancy) Wilton on November 6th, 1747 and died September 27th, 1814.  She was a very skilled embroideress and apparently taught Queen Charlotte and her court ladies to embroider.  The dress was given by Queen Charlotte to Nancy who re-sized it for herself.  It was altered and re-fashioned twice by members of her family in the 19th century.  The 1880s alteration was done by her grandson's wife Helen Deare who died in Hove, Brighton in 1891.  I think from there it was kept in storage until it was sold to the Museum for £5 in the 1950s.

What is interesting is that in 1788,  Nancy was a witness in a trial at the Old Bailey in London.  Two gentlemen Thomas Dudfield and Hart Levy

 'were indicted for feloniously stealing on the 17th December, one hair trunk, value 3 s. the goods of Sarah Wilton, spinster, one silk gown and coat, value 4 l. one pair of satin slippers, value 4 s. one linen handkerchief, value 8 d, one paire of stays, value 20 s. one silk cloak, value 12 s and one pair of silk stockings, value 6 s. the goods of Joseph Pawsey'.  

The goods actually belonged to Nancy's sister.  The trial is fun reading.  The two poor men were found guilty and were transported for seven years!  Let's hope they made it!

I am about to start my writing up procedure so more will be revealed.

This photo shows the arm hole of the 18th century bodice.  Note the  different linens used.  The linen in the sleeve itself has such a fabulous weave.  It is much thicker.  Note all the 18th century hand stitching

This is the inside of the 1840s bodice.  These are three bone channels .

Work Shop at TED
I went to a workshop at TED run by 'Red Jotter'  She was very impressive and I learnt a lot from her about presenting and interactive workshops .  Very importantly I now know what 'blue sky' thinking is and where I can find a 'hash' tag.  She is suggesting maybe I should learn how to tweet or twitter.  I think I should but can I be bothered.  Is it just another thing to do?

I also met a woman, Sian Weston ( ).  She has written two very interesting papers which can be viewed on her blog, one about heritage branding and another about Burberry.  I found them extremely interesting and really poked interest in British manufacturing.
Additionally, I went to hear Lucy Kimble talk on 'design thinking' which was inspiring.  She's an academic who works at the Young Foundation.  Really need to explore her work further.

Books That I am Reading
Still the same ones as last week.  But for fun I 'No such thing as Society' by Andy McSmith.  It's a general overview of Thatcher's Britain both politically and culturally.  It's an easy read and is filling me in on all the necessary bits as although I was alive then I was a teenager and to be honest it all passed me by.