As new readers stumble along here, I thought it might be helpful to explain a few things, to explicate the process, if you will.
The images I post are, wherever possible, linked back to the holding institution or owner. When a full caption appears, chances are good there is a catalog record for the image. If the holding institution doesn’t have a database, or doesn’t have a good way to link to the image, there will be clues to the source in the text or caption. That way, if you want to share an image, you can click it and get the source to share elsewhere. Check Pinterest as well, usually there are even more images than I can fit here.
While I conduct research for what I write and for the events I am part of, this is obviously not an academic blog. It’s a personal blog, and a conversation. I think by writing, so my posts tend to be process-oriented and more about questions than answers. The longer I live the less I know, and the more I am comfortable with uncertainty and the search for knowledge and understanding. You may not see the snow leopard. It’s OK. (I do recommend Matthiessen’s book if you haven’t read it.)
I try to give my sources (sometimes as footnotes, sometimes in the text; this is a blog, I don’t always follow the Chi Man of Style) so that you can verify what I find and reach your own conclusions. Most sources I use can be found on Google Books, or the Internet Archive so that everyone can enjoy the digital surrogates; I also try to link to holding library catalog records where digital sources do not exist. Please forgive me: I am not the greatest proofreader at 5:00 AM when many of these posts are written.
Talk about your work in progress! I’m still figuring all of this out, and I expect I always will be. Grab your popcorn, I will be doing something stupid any minute now on a garment I need in very short order. Again, what I think is true is that 18th and early 19th century tailors and sempstresses had a vocabulary of stitches, materials, and techniques that they commonly used in a variety of ways. There will be typical constructions and idiosyncratic assemblages. Some garments will be a mix of both. Welcome to idiosyncratic central. This is about the process of figuring things out, gaining knowledge and increasing ability and understanding. I try to understand how I would have sewn in the 18th century, which means not even as well as an 8-year-old would have constructed clothing in 1770.
I have my obsessions, you have yours. Historic laundry processes, living history, poor women, cats, museums, art, books, construction, the spectacle of the art and antiques market…you’ll find I jump around. Think of it as a restaurant with a varied tasting menu built around a few key ingredients.
Snotty and snarky? Yes. But because I know some folks read this at work, you are spared my customary in-person profanity despite the mighty effort it takes some days to resist writing like Rebecca Schuman. Especially when I write about the art and antiques market.
The Philosophy or Mission
Be excellent to each other. Practice kindness. Share your knowledge.
Thank you for reading and commenting. I really do appreciate it. Now, where’s that snow leopard?