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Friday, July 28, 2006

Shopping 19th Century Style!

Well, cruisng the library for something else I found a wonderful book in the business section: 'Shops and Shopping 1800 - 1914'. Yes, it really is a book about what it says. I've just dipped into it so far but I've decided that I have to find a copy for my own library in my studio.

Women have been hanging around to see and be seen, to pick up the latest fashions, to drive up and down (albeit in carriages) and so on, for centuries. This book is a wealth of information on anything to do with clothing in the 114 years before the first World War. I'm learning more about the vendors of silks, gloves, parasols, how they were made and marketed. I learned that the sewing machine, which I thought was invented in the US in 1832, was first shown in France in 1829 by a tailor by the name of Barthélemy Thimmonier, it was viewed with outrage by tailors when he introduced it into his Parisian clothing factory and smashed. Though the French Revolution ruined him in '48 he showed it at the Great Exhibition in 1851 but no interest was taken in his invention.

Now, being of the knitting persuasion, I found the chapter on The Woolen Movement to be most fascinating. Dr. Gustave Jaeger expounded his theory on humans wearing animal materials (wool) instead of vegetable (cotton) and that this was'sanitary'. The illustration shows Harborow's which, in 1887, had a 'worldwide reputation for their pure British wool underclothing for gentlemen'. Seems to me men were made of sterner stuff back then!!!

At that time men were wearing hand knitted 'Jerseys, Cardigans, Vests, Spencers, Combinations, etc...' However, these were of the finest, hand spun Shetland and anyone who knows has felt the softness of that yarn. Growing up in the '50's (... no, no, no, the 1950's ... I'm not that old!!), babies and kids wore woolies. Before central heating and in a damp climate there's nothing better.

Still wandering through this tome and loving it. I'll post from this book again.... fascinating for anyone in clothing and wearables.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Busman's (knitter's) Holiday

That usually means going away and doing just what you do in your everyday life....well I sort of just did just that this past weekend but as my shows are over for the Summer it was different! I stood in for a friend.

Friday afternoon was spent in a show tent in a park, something I had done two weekends in a row earlier this month, but it's so different when it's someone else's artwork, there's a certain freedom when it's a different medium and totally different work. My friend Susan Watson Ellis of Paradigm Designs was teaching in Haliburton but had the local Summer show, I manned her booth while she was unavailable and thoroughly enjoyed looking at and talking about jewellery with it's silver and unusual stones...(the gold was left safely in the studio). The responsibility for selling is the same, especially as we both work in 'adornment', but I didn't have to 'take home' the ups and downs of the day as I do with my own work, hence I think I might have had a lighter spirit during my 'gig'.

The setting was beautiful, a stream with willows and other trees as a backdrop behind the tent. Except for some of the artisans I knew none of the people who came by so lots of new faces and new surroundings.

Before heading to the park to open up the booth we were shown around the sculpture garden (a wooded walk) at Flemming College by Susan's husband Jeff, himself a silversmith. The pic shown here is Jeff, my other half, Clint, and me standing with a moose of all sorts of metal bits. (I'm not describing this well not being a metal sculptor). I'm always amazed at other artists' work.

We got to explore Haliburton for the first time, the village and it's food!!!

Especially the buttertarts!!!!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Show Surge Over... again...

It's been a long time since my last post.... too long. Show time again is the cause of that. Yes, That's me in my booth at the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition last weekend. Another hot weekend though not quite as bad as last year when it seemed to be 100 degrees in the shade and there was preciouse little of that.

We had to compete with the usual Yonge Street fair and the races (what used to be the Molson Indy) but this year was the most beautiful game in the Lots of Italian fans in TO meant they were probably in the bars and not looking at artwork.... There's always something but sometimes the planets align and a show is incredible. Anyway, I had emailed clients and a lot of folk showed up Friday and I got to see people I hadn't seen in ages.

The weekend before was Fanfayr in Kington, ON. The powers that be have decreed that there are so many people in the one lakeside park downtown for the 15 minutes of fireworks on Canada Day night that all we hard working artisans have to pack up our tents and get out!!! Forget that Sunday might be a great day for us to add to our income and that there is probably a bunch of folk showing up and wondering where we were (I've spoken to some).... 'cause all craft shows go both Saturday and Sunday, eh? Not Kingston. Now they want to move us out of the park completley... where the show has run for 24 years!

Now I'm just exhausted from the workload of orders from the Spring shows...which I'm still working on, the prep for the two shows back to back and trying to keep my ladies happy... not always easy when you're the chief cook and bottle washer!!!

I think, on my other half's advice, it's a break at the beach tomorrow...aaaaaah!

Now I'm just exhausted