Shoemaking Workshop in New York

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on August 18, 2011

Even if you’re not up for the whole week-long workshop, Monday’s public seminar on eighteenth-century shoes sounds like lots of fun. I stumbled upon the event through the 18th-Century Blog: Fashion and Culture from the 1700s, which in turn links to A Fashionable Frolick. As for getting straight to the source, we have Nicole at The Mantua Maker to thank. The following description comes from her website:

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Workshop on Making Eighteenth-Century Shoes
New York, 20-27 August 2011

Led by Brett Walker, an apprentice shoemaker at Colonial Williamsburg

. . . There will be an eight-hour stitching workshop on the Saturday prior to the full class (20 August) that will be open to the publick. This part is a prerequisite, of course, to the full shoemaking workshop, and the fee is included in the total class fees for students of the entire class. However, this day will also be open to the general public as well for a stand-alone $60-per-person fee. We will cover measuring and making up of threads, attaching bristles, shoemaker’s stitch, round-closing, split-and-lift stitches, “subcutaneous” whip-stitches, stabbing stitches, & perhaps some miscellaney like how to make black wax, &c.

Sunday the 21st will be a short recess, and then the shoemaking class will begin in earnest at 8:00 a.m. on Monday morning, 22 August. The first hour-and-an-half or two hours will be a brief seminar on men’s and women’s shoe fashions, ca. 1700-1800, in which we’ll be attempting to “raise the bar” of the attendee’s awareness of stylistic and construction details in the various decades of the 18th-Century. This will most likely be open to the public for a $35 stand-alone fee, but that has not been confirmed.

At ten o’clock, we will take a brief break, after which those folks who are taking the full six-day class will dive right in to making instruction, wrapping up by five o’clock on Saturday, 27 August. When the workshop is completed, the students should have at least one shoe finished and perhaps a second one started.

Speaking of Food in the Eighteenth Century . . .

Posted in books, exhibitions by Editor on August 18, 2011

From the MFAH:

English Taste: The Art of Dining in the Eighteenth Century
Rienzi, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 17 September 2011 — 29 January 2011

Installation by Ivan Day

Elizabeth Raffald, "Directions for a Grand Table," illustration from "The Experienced English Housekeeper" (Manchester: Printed by J. Harrep, 1769), p. 361

The 18th-century English dinner table was a feast for the eyes. In order to impress their guests and assure them that they were dining amid fashionable people of consequence, hosts served sumptuous dishes, adorned with towering sugar constructions and amusing trompe l’oeil (fool-the-eye) jellies of playing cards or bacon and eggs, all on exquisite silver and porcelain.

Rienzi re-creates this elaborate dining experience in English Taste: The Art of Dining in the Eighteenth Century. The first special exhibition ever held at Rienzi, the MFAH house museum for European decorative arts, English Taste treats you to a dining-room extravaganza typical of a 1760s English country house. Lifelike fish, fowl, and flummeries—complete with lavish, Georgian silver fittings and place settings—grace the table, created with guidance from the influential period cookbook The Experienced English Housekeeper by Elizabeth Raffald, the “Martha Stewart of the 18th century.”

Eminent English food historian Ivan Day uses Raffald’s recipes to create the faux foods—perhaps shockingly realistic to 21st-century eyes—which include roasted pheasant, beaked snipe, flummery jellies, and a larded hare. The meal also features macaroni and cheese (yes, this dish did exist in the 18th century!) made with imported pasta. Raffald’s illustration “Directions for a Grand Table” from 1769 serves as the design template for the installation.

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More information and terrific images from Raffald’s book are available from Kansas State University Library’s online Cookery Exhibition.

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From the MFAH:

Rienzi is situated on four acres of wooded gardens, about three miles from downtown Houston in the historic River Oaks neighborhood. Formerly the home of philanthropists Carroll Sterling Masterson and Harris Masterson III, Rienzi was designed by prominent Houston architect John Staub in 1952. Opened to the public in 1999, Rienzi now houses a substantial collection of European decorative arts, including paintings, furnishings, porcelain, and extensive holdings of miniatures. Rienzi welcomes some 8,000 visitors a year for tours, family programs, lectures, concerts, and a variety of special events.

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