Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Citizen's Forum of the 1860s: Monroe, MI March 23-25, 2018

It is here! After discussions, reflection, and more than one raised eyebrow, we decided to make The Citizen's Forum of the 1860's move forward another year. Get ready, this year is packed! We have more seminars, more workshops, more vendors, and certainly a more enthusiastic ME!
Look at all of this awesome learning 

I apologize for the lack of pictures in this post. They will be out and about in various videos and on the website. I'm hoping to just get the basic information out there!

All seminars will take place on Saturday, March 24th at Monroe Community College. Lunch and dinner will be served, and the vendor/originals area will be open throughout the day. I will write more in the future about each speaker. In the meantime, you can drool over admire their topics!

Removing Roadblocks from Research

~Elizabeth Aldridge

Where do you turn when you have inspiration for an amazing period project but can't seem to fill in "how" or "what" to get from concept to completion? How do you support your persona when you are just starting out? Learn about sourcing elusive "ingredients" for your projects, finding answers to period terminology that make your head spin!

19th Century Photography
~Robert Beech

With many technological advancements in the field of photography, Civil War
soldiers were able to have their picture taken. These tokens could be sent home
to family members as keepsakes. Many of these images can be found today in museums. as well as personal collections. Robert Beech will discuss different photography from the time period, as well as the authentic, wet-plate process he uses to create reproductions.

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly; Female Anomalies of the Civil War
~Jillian Drapala

​What is a female anomaly? Who were these women? How can I incorporate them into an impression? With so many opportunities for civilian presentations, there is a great interest the role that everyday women played in the war. From nurses to vivianderes, this seminar allows fellow historians and reenactors to discover women who were not considered the “norm” in society during the American Civil War. Primary documentation will give us the who, what, when, and where, of these female anomalies, the men that supported them, and how you can incorporate them properly at events.

Stitches, Shuttles, and Patent Wars: The Early Development of the Sewing Machine

~Jim Ruley

The practical sewing machine was probably one of the most important inventions of the 19th
century. Not only did it revolutionize the ready-made clothing industry, but it also pioneered
consumer advertising and installment buying. Rather than a single inventor, it was the product
of a number of creative geniuses who also engaged in bitter litigation with each other.
In this lecture we will trace the early development of the sewing machine through the
contributions of these inventors, many of them colorful larger-than- life characters as well. We
will study the legal and financial struggles that accompanied them and see how they shaped the
progress of the resulting industry. Finally, we will examine the different approaches of three of
the largest producers to the problem of sewing machine manufacturing.

Our Latest Number: Original Publications & What We Can Glean From Them
~Elizabeth Stewart Clark

In living history, we sometimes think of magazines such as Godey's and Peterson's as "fashion magazines"... but are they, really? Who was the target demographic of the well-known publications of the era? What can we determine from these primary source documents and the evolution of their content? How widespread was the reach of the "lady's" magazine? And how can we draw on historical publications to enhance our own living history context? Elizabeth Stewart Clark presents a fast-paced survey that will expand your thinking, and set you buzzing forward into your history goals.

Youth Workshop
~Kristen Mrozek, facilitator 

The purpose of this seminar is to create a comfortable space for youth to talk about their involvement with history. We may find that in a larger setting that they are shy or feel intimidated. This time is just for them! Young people are encouraged to gather in a group to discuss a variety of topics, ranging from advice to primary sources. Adults may be present for this discussion; however, they are being asked to step back and allow only young people to speak. This seminar will occur during the Saturday conference time.

A Tour of the Collection
~Glenna Jo Christen

Are you wondering just what you're looking at in that pretty display of original, 19th century dresses? Join Glenna Jo Christen at various times throughout the day as she answers questions and gives thoughtful insights into her collection and original textiles as a whole. Guided tours on mp3 players will still be available.

Workshops are available 8-4 on both Friday and Sunday. You must register for the conference before signing up for a workshop. Registrations costs may vary based on materials.

19th Century Cravats, $20
~Eric Smallwood

Have you been looking for the perfect accessory for the male civilian in your life? This workshop will show research about cravats, and then walk participants through the process of creating one from start to finish.

1860s Ladies Collars, $20
~Sara Gonzalez

You will receive a brief overview of period ladies collars, followed by a basic collar workshop. Learn how to adapt a collar pattern to fit your gown, and make it up by hand in this workshop! Take home sheets with information on variations will be available!
Optional Lace Edging, $5

Textile Identification: Period Fabric Selection for Living History Clothing $25
~Glenna Jo Christen

Join Glenna Jo Christen as she offers guidelines to follow to confidently select period appropriate fabrics for all your living history needs. Mid 19th century fabrics for men, women, and children will be discussed, including colors, woven and print patterns, and fabric weights. Attendees will have the opportunity to see and feel the differences between textiles and receive sources for modern equivalents. The workshop registration also includes swatch cards to help with future fabric selection. All levels of costuming and historical reproduction are welcome!

A Bead Bracelet: Interpreting Godey's Beaded Work Department $20 

~Kristen Mrozek

Have you ever looked at a 19th century magazine and wondered how to make an illustrated image a reality? This workshop will offer a practical interpretation of the Godey's Lady's Book (1859) beaded bracelet. Attendees will learn just what "the usual manner" entails for this simple, but charming adornment. The workshop registration includes all the materials to create 2 beaded bracelets, as well as store a small beadwork project.

Fitting From Patterns, $30 
~Elizabeth Stewart Clark

What do we look for in a great historical fit? Can we use the fit of clothing in interpretive endeavors? How can we get there using published patterns? This hands-on workshop will walk you through the process of fitting a pattern mock-up to your own unique figure, with plentiful individual Q&A time. Gain confidence, refine your skills, and have a great time doing it. Registered participants will be sent a list of pattern base options, and a short supply list; please come prepared to don your own well-fitted, historical-cut corset to get the most out of the workshop. Workshop fee includes personalized pattern consumables and an illustrated fitting tips packet.

Pattern-Making From Direct Draping, $30
~Elizabeth Stewart Clark

If your figure doesn’t work within “industry standard” parameters for whatever reason, you can have amazing historical clothing! We’ll walk through the process of draping a bodice and sleeve directly on the corseted body, all the way to a testable base pattern and personalized paper pattern to use for all your bodice-making needs. We’ll look at the key elements of historical fit, the use of clothing fit for interpretation, and how to use a personalized base for multiple style variations. Registered participants will be sent a short supply list; please come prepared to don your own well-fitted, historical-cut corset to get the most out of the workshop. Workshop fee includes personalized pattern consumables and an illustrated draping tips packet. (If you do not already own a copy of The Dressmaker’s Guide to Fit & Fashion, 2nd Edition, from which the tips packet is excerpted, you may opt to purchase one at a Citizen’s Forum discount of $25, to be picked up at workshop registration.)

Braidwork Sampler, $35
~Elizabeth Stewart Clark

Don’t be intimidated by the gorgeous and seemingly-complex braidwork designs on original historical items! In this hands-on workshop, you’ll learn the simple processes of choosing and scaling design elements from historical sources, practice hand-applied braiding techniques with the included sampler supplies, and even dive into your own historical braidwork project using optional template packets and your personal supply stash! Registered participants will be sent a short recommended “stash” list. Workshop fee includes an illustrated techniques workbook and sampler supplies kit.

Optional Braidwork Template Sets, $10 each (each includes US-published, sourced and dated designs): choose from Infant Items, Smoking & Lounge Caps, and Slippers

The Old Mill Tour
~$5 Donation Requested

Located in Dundee MI, (17 minutes from Monroe Community College), this 19th century mill turned factory turned museum offers a window into several time periods. Participants can learn about local history, as well as farm life from the time period.

Optional Ghost Tour, $5
On Friday at 10 pm after the Soiree, conference attendees can take part in a ghost tour. A minimum of 8 people from the conference is required. You can check out to learn more about the ghost tours, and the spooky happenings!

These will be announced within the next few months. The process of selecting, jurying, and accommodating takes time. For now, I'd like to just say we've added an extra room for vendors, expecting 5-10. We'll keep you posted!

Friday Night Soiree
~Historic Sawyer House

Last year we had a fantastic time. We danced to the music of the Peace Jubilee Band, snacked on so
many delicious springerle cookies (thanks again to Jillian!) and chatted under the gazebo. It's fun to spend time in a historic house. It's even more fun to pretend you were there during the time it was built! Similar to last year, period dress is optional. And yes, I have convinced Jillian to make more cookies...

Doll Party 2018
~Samantha McLoughlin

Join Samantha at the end of the day as she entertains with Lydia Ann, her trusted doll confidante. Bring your own doll or toy for a brief discussion and posed photo opportunities.

From the Feedback...

I'm a teacher, as was Glenna Jo, so we both understand that perfection is unattainable. One important tool in the field of education is feedback. As a new conference, we were delighted with any bit of advice given on the surveys, or offered online in the forms. We did our best to field as many as possible to make this year even better!

1. New hotel: The Holiday Inn & Express was built only 3 years ago. From USB ports in rooms to a filling continental breakfast, this will be a great spot to stay comfortable. It is about 15 minutes away from the college. My extremely serious and somewhat cranky Dad drove with me to check out the hotel, and he was impressed. He even cracked a smile under his mustache...

2. Conference Folders: As our survey suggested (with a whopping 98% in agreement), people don't seem to mind if the research from the speakers ends up in a folder or a binder. We were able to save money, and budget that to other things (*upgrade food choices yay!). However, if you are in the 2% group that want a notebook, just feel free to ask. We will have some on hand for you!

3. Lunch offerings on Sunday: If you are staying later for a workshop, we are offering lunch boxes if you don't want to leave to get food.

4. Signage: I've already purchased the materials, and we're setting a date for the "painting party."

5. More Communication: Within 24-48 hours, expect an email from my cheery self giving you information. Feel free to contact me at any time.

6. More Workshops: Last year we had two. This year we have eight. The people have spoken!

7. Sessions will NOT run concurrently: You will have an opportunity to see each and every presentation! I was surprised by how many people asked for this, but the people speak yet again.

8. Seminars with Suggested Topics: Cravats? On a survey. Research topics? On a survey. More time with vendors? Sure, anonymous survey-taker, let's make it happen!

9. More Vendor Time/Space: Both of these were requests from last year.

10. Lunch will be available for purchase on Sunday. For those of you staying for workshops who don't want to leave the campus.

If you've made it to the end of this post, you should probably just sign up! In all honesty, we've already had one of our workshops mostly fill (within 48 hours!). I would hate to see you miss out on class that you really want to take. Despite the fact that we still have 6 months left until the big weekend, I'm witnessing quite a difference in registrations from last year. I like to think everyone is just so excited to see my happy, smiling reality, it is the hard work, perseverance, and skill of the speakers/staff that make people want to come back!


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