We have been discussing materiality a lot in the fibres cluster this year. This term, the second level fibres class was asked what materiality means to them, to be expressed through the projects they would complete for the class. I've also been thinking about my up-coming comprehensive exams next Summer and Fall and what I would produce as far as work is concerned for the fibres exam.
I will be working through an extensive book and article list with my primary advisor over the Winter term on the material culture of the eighteenth-century. I will be writing that first comprehensive in the beginning of the summer months, probably discussing the goods that were available to the colonies during and after the Revolution. It seems appropriate that my fibres exam will be next. Over the past few years I have been thinking a great deal on the artifacts that make up a life, the things I need in my living history programs that are very much a part of me, who I am as a living historian. Going to Fort Ticonderoga this summer made me realize how much modernity we still take with us to living history events. Then going to Saint-Jean in August, I wanted more to be more fully immersed in the historical period, but it didn't quite work. When talking with my friend Vicki about a WWI era event she went to, where they even had historical nightclothes, it got me thinking even more.
Buying historical goods is difficult. There are very few suppliers, and some of the things offered for sale, still aren't quite right. Sometimes, like with my glasses frames, you have to deal with modernity to have lenses put in, and the modern labs don't know how to deal with your historical piece and they break them. What do you do? Much of what we need, we have to make ourselves. This isn't really all that different from our historical counterparts. But what do I need to live my life as a historical person? What are the things that make me, me? I will be working through these things as I continue to create the artifacts that will make up my historical self. For my fibres exam, I will be writing a paper on these items, and presenting them to my committee as my work of art. Over the Christmas break, possibly Pierre can help me begin this project. I will need a sea chest to hold everything. made by hand, using period techniques.
Yes. I know. I'm crazy. But isn't that what a PhD in Fine Arts is all about? Being a little crazy?