Sunday, August 21, 2011

Kickstarting the Russian project

I keep looking at updates on the IRCC instead of doing what I'm supposed to be doing and getting started on my ensemble for 12th night and the Artemisian Costuming Challenge. It's daunting to start from a blank slate again. I have a stack of research material on the floor next to my bed and its taller than my 4 year old. Right now I'm trying to settle on the embroidery designs for the smock (called a sorochka or rubakha.) They're highly symbolic and are amulets for protection. Additionally, place is a big part of what patterns are used. I've been researching this for a couple of years and still feel like I don't really know enough to make the correct choices. Then I get overwhelmed. So, I've decided to start something else. Something small and fast. As I said before, the big pile of accessories is what kept me going to finish the IRCC. So, the new plan is to build up some finished items for motivation.

I've been watching Serafina and Jacquelinne's progress as they work on their Italian muffs. I totally adore the muff I just made for the IRCC and can't wait for winter. Since this ensemble will be worn at 12th Night making a muff for it seems like a wonderful idea. This one will be Russian, however. Russian muffs have some significant differences from the Italian version. The most obvious one is that they are more narrow. Similar to the Italian, they were made from silk, velvet, brocades, and gold cloths and were lined with the fur on the inside. That is totally in keeping with the Russian approach to fur in general. Only the poor couldn't afford fabric to cover their fur. Fur was common in Russia, silk fabrics were not. In addition to the fabric, the muffs were decorated with pearls, gemstones, and gold embroidery. (Info is from Giliarovskaia, N. V. Russkii istoricheskii kostium dlia stseny. (Russian historic costume for the stage) Iskusstvo, Moscow, 1945 p. 102.)

So, today I get to flip through my books and pick out some fun motifs for goldwork and pearls. I'm doing the ensemble in reds, greens, and gold so I'm considering using left over red velvet from the Italian dress for the Russian muff.

Here we go again. Wheeeeeee!!!!

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