Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Back from the 1860's Conference

We spent the weekend in Camp Hill, PA at the Conference of Ladies and Gentlemen of the 1860's, and boy did we have a wonderful time! It was preceeded by before-conference workshops, one of which was a behind the scenes visit to the Gettysburg National Military Park archives and collection. It was incredible. These pictures are from the dinner we had Saturday night and most people dressed in their best period correct finery. Maggie and I made our dresses at the Genteel Arts Academy summer camp in 2008 so it was great to see that beautiful blue silk dress finished. I hadn't yet worn the dress I brought for the dinner and wasn't sure if it would fit since I used Maggie's cage crinoline for the initial fitting of the skirt panel length, but it worked out just fine! I made the collar and cuffs in our class in January, so it was all new to me. There were other friends that were at summer camp with us, but we didn't get to take pictures of everyone. I'm hoping that there will be a lot of post-conference digital picture sharing going on. :)
This next one is of me, Dee, and her friend from the 8th Georgia, Kerry. Dee made her dress of Vintage silk at summer camp, and she made Kerry's dress sometime in the last month or so since we saw them on their "choosing fabric" day in Gettysburg. We had a wonderful time together, it was almost as much fun seeing friends as it was partaking in the seminars and research talks of the the Conference. The conference is for serious reenactors, historians, researchers, and people with an interest in the civilian fashions and material culture of the 1860's. It was wonderful to see everyone dressed so appropriately and so beautifully on Saturday night. There were period parlor games set up in the lobby for after dinner, but next year we'll be having a Saturday night ball.
Who is that handsome man? That would be my dear Mark who was wearing his incredibly wonderful Civilian Outfit that he got for the balls that we love to go to. No, I didn't make his clothes, although I do want to learn to make Civilian clothes for him. His clothes were made by Cara at Corner Clothier's in Gettysburg, and honestly it's going to take me a lot of time, study, and practice to get to the level of quality that Cara put into her work.
Mark took over 400 pictures of the original garments, fabrics, and accessories while we were at the conference. The majority of them are posted on Facebook, so if you are a reenactor and you're not already one of my friends on Facebook, send me a friend request with a note if I don't know you, and I'm happy to let you see the pictures. I can't possibly upload them again, it's too time consuming.
This one of us was taken after dinner and the lighting isn't the best, but we did pose for our portrait with the professional photographer before dinner. It won't be a wet plate like in the 1860's but we wouldn't want Mark's blue eyes to show white in the photo, do we? After seeing everyone dressed so appropriately, I'm going to be sure not to ever go out to a reenactment missing a vital piece of the outfit. Even the cuffs look so nice and add so much to the outfit, not to mention the fact that they were essential to outfits of the time. I think it's important to respect the people whom we are reenacting, and for me, that means learning more and improving all the time.


Rabid said...

Wow! I love the work that goes into those dresses :D

Jody said...

I luv history. It must be alot of fun to dress in beautiful gowns like that. Do you ever get the feeling that you are really in a different time and do you find your personality changes too?

Historical Ken said...

Thanks for sharing! Great article and great photos!