Friday, May 23, 2014

2014 Conference Fabric - Fabric for the Ladies

One of the annual highlights of the Ladies & Gentlemen of the 1860's conference is the Saturday morning reveal of the "conference fabric" - each faculty member receives a piece, a dress length for the ladies and a different fabric for the men, typically enough to make a vest. It's always amazing to see how different the same fabric can look made up, depending on the choice of trims, placement, etc.

I always have both a sense of excitement and apprehension when I open up the package- like it or not, it must be made into a garment and worn. I'll admit u front, this is not a fabric I would have chosen for myself, but it has grown on me a bit as time has passed.

The fabric is a fine Italian cotton, with a lovely hand. I felt the colors would have been more typically used on wool or silk in the period, which was confirmed by Carolann when she described the fabric during the "Reveal".

With a fabric this bright and bold, there's only two options: attempt to tone it down or embrace and enhance the color. Most participants went with the tone it down option.

But when I went through my fabric stash and found this perfectly matching length of silk poplin, my choice was made: Embrace it or as a friend described it, "you bear- hugged it into submission".

I used a fashion plate (the lady on the left) and a sleeve detail from an original garment as inspiration.

My approach with the fashion plate was not to create a duplicate, but instead to interpret the details into my garment; I believe this is more the way fashion plates were used at the time, as opposed to being literally copied.

I did not have fabric to create the double skirt, but did have enough to place trim with the same dagged shape - I did not have this done for conference but added it later.

The bodice has a slightly pointed front and is trimmed with fancy buttons. I'll be posting more about the buttons in a subsequent post.

The sleeves are bishop style, with a twist - ending in points and brought back together at the cuff. The require a full undersleeve to hang properly, in this case, made of black spotted netting. Yes,I combined plaid and polka dots.

It wasn't clear in the fashion plate if the jacket was a true jacket or trim applied to look like a jacket. I decided to go with a true jacket, to give a little more versatility.

So there it is, the "diamond dress" - I'll be wearing it at Greenfield Village this weekend, see you there!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Places of Mackinac Exhibit

I'm very pleased to have had  a piece accepted into the 2014  "Places of Mackinac" art exhibit at the Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum... and a photograph no less, the first time I've had a photo on public exhibit.

My photo is entitled "Winter Blues" and depicts foot thick slabs of ice, piled on the shore of the Island. This ice is bright blue and glows against the gloomy grey sky, absorbing and reflecting every bit of ambient light.  

How is this a "place" of Mackinac?

Well, every island is ultimately defined by water and for the year round residents of Mackinac, winter's ice and it's impact on our lives,  is most certainly a "place"!

If you're visiting Mackinac Island this summer, do try and make time to visit our art museum - the permanent collection is fabulous and the seasonal, juried exhibit is always a pleasure too!