Monday, August 8, 2011

An inauspicious beginning...

I started this blog with the intention of documenting a project that I was working on for the Spring of 2011. It was a "special project," so called because it didn't have a proper curriculum and dangled precariously outside the bounds of acceptable, "normal" collegiate scholarship by a narrow tether of relevance to a course I was enrolled in called "Southern History." The course in question dealt closely with the history of the American South-East and so I constructed a series of garments that corresponded with what my 5 months of research suggested that a woman in late 18th century America may have owned and wore. The project progressed without the benefit of this little blog and I confess I rather forgot the idea at all until...

The new project. Same teacher, slightly elevated sense of legitimacy. No measly "Independent Study" for me this time out! I skipped right ahead to "Internship with the History Department" and began work on an (overly) elaborate series of garments that would (hopefully) represent items of dress potentially worn by the myriad of persons associated with the South Carolina island Jehossee in the year 1850.

This is a massive undertaking which is only compounded by the fact that I am basically making it up as I go along. Research? I've done loads. As much as I could feasibly manage while still sewing my little heart out. But the issue is complicated by the fact that the island inhabitants in question were comprised of A) Slaves, who didn't leave much in their wake and B) the William Aiken family who somehow left even less. Add to this a weak grasp of 19th century pre-war American society and a burgeoning but decidedly amateur interest in hand-sewing and you get a recipe for the bizarre.

But at least I have scars to prove just how much fun I'm having! No, really! I'm pretty sure I'll never feel my fingertips again. But who needs that anyway? Overrated.

This latest and most masochistic of undertakings is supposed to culminate in a finished array of garments to be demonstrated in a gallery showing in two months time. I've been working since the early summer, so I've got a nice head start but this is the sort of project you never really feel could be complete. The list of garments that I'm making (and have already made) is ludicrous, and the pile of associated fabrics in my home is threatening to reach hoarder proportions.

Which brings me here, where I plan to air my dirty laundry (or at least the dirty laundry of the good folks of Jehossee) for months to come. And then, perhaps, I'll bore the 5 people who ever find this blog with more poorly executed stitchery and sarcasm from Horrors Yet To Be Sewn.

A most exhausted Stitch-Wench

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