I got a call today from one of the gift shop staff. There’s a lady here from Australia, and she wonders if it’s possible to see the jacket? This sort of thing is becoming more and more common, as more people find out about the jacket and of course want to see it. Work on the jacket happens almost completely behind the scenes. A few of us have done some embroidery in front of the public in the Crafts Center, but that is unusual and special. Many people who find out about the jacket here don’t realize the work isn’t ordinarily on display.
We try to accommodate these requests when they come up so I said I’d meet the Australian visitors in the Crafts Center. Because we’re behind the scenes we can’t just give museum guests directions to find us, they need an escort. And if you’re planning a visit to Plymouth particularly to see the jacket, please, please get in touch with me beforehand. There are days when no one is in the office, or times when we’re “in” but unavailable. You know where to find me.
Anyway, I met Mary and David from New South Wales and walked with them up to the office. Turns out that Mary didn’t know about the jacket before a day or two ago, when she was visiting the New Bedford Whaling Museum. Mary, a lace maker, was chatting with someone at the museum, staff or volunteer she wasn’t sure, about ivory bobbins for lace when that person, also a lace maker, told her about “what’s going on over at Plimoth.” Thank you to the anonymous lacer from New Bedford for spreading the word.
Mary told me about a lace teacher and researcher in Australia, Rosemary Shepherd, who is currently working on a book about metal laces. Definitely someone we’d like to get in touch with. It was a pleasant episode in a busy day, and another example of how this project is making connections among those who love historic dress and the techniques that created it all over the world.
Here’s a picture for today. This is the cover of Catherine’s workbox. There are all sorts of goodies inside, but this will whet your interest.
For the past few days Penny, Arianna, and Penny’s mom Betty have been preparing for a two-day dye demonstration that will happen outside the Crafts Center at Plimoth Plantation tomorrow and Sunday. They’ve been skeining, washing and mordanting, and preparing an indigo stock solution. Tomorrow will be the “hot” dyes, dyes that need to be heated to work, like madder and cochineal and fustic; Sunday will be the magic of indigo. I’ll take some pictures to share, and Penny and Arianna are planning to write about the experience. I promise no one’ll be wearing flip-flops this time.