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Victorian Orchards
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Victorian Orchards

“There is virtue in country houses, in gardens and orchards, in fields, streams and groves, in rustic recreations and plain manners, that neither cities nor universities enjoy.” – Amos Bronson Alcott 

This blog post is to introduce my latest costume and graphic design project ‘Victorian Orchards’ that I am currently prepping. 

My inspiration for this project was born of two strains of thought:  1) I felt that in the current climate in the world right now I needed to focus on creating something light, bright and cheerful.  2) As a former farm girl, I have always had a deep love for the harvest time.  

My plan with this showcase film project is to recreate a day in the life of a Victorian era family during a fruit harvest. It will be set in a beautiful orchard and there will be much fruit picking, playing, chatter, laughter and beauty.  After all the “work” of harvest is done, the short film will end with a picnic scene with beautiful quilts and scrumptious delights.   The timing will depend upon the completion of the costumes so I am not certain yet what crops will be in harvest at the time we shoot it, apples or peaches.  

I have always loved the picnic scenes in Edwardian and Victorian period dramas where the families gather on a bright day in the great outdoors and don bright neutral linen garments with yellow straw hats. The crispness and loveliness of such scenes is a sight to behold and so I plan to create all of my costume designs for this project in the same neutral light hues.  

Some of you may know that I lived on a rural farm in Arkansas for 9 years of my young adult life.  Along with our dairy cows and other farm animals, we also raised 3 acres of blueberry fields, a small orchard, grapes, a large garden and hay fields.  Every year was filled with a lot of harvesting. I can still smell the sweet smell of the hay during haying season.

Something I have greatly missed since moving back to Arizona is our Arkansas blueberries.  In Arkansas we raised the largest, juiciest sweet blueberries that I have ever tasted in my life.  Every summer when the blueberries ripened we gathered as a family and hand picked the entire 3 acres.  Though it was hot, sweaty, tedious work it also made for some of my most fond memories in life.  As a group, we chatted and laughed and sometimes sang our way down the rows of blueberry bushes. 

Those fond harvest memories are what I envision while I’m designing these ‘Victorian Orchards’ garments.  

Because I want these garments to be very delicate, I am in the process of hand making all of the lace for the gowns and I am doing some intricate hand embroidery on them as well.  The result, I hope, will be quite visually stunning.  

My hand embroidery in process.

Shown here is the “Pêche Pearl” which is the first of the 3 gowns designs that will be featured in this project. I am making this one of crisp ivory cotton muslin and it will have the accent colors of coral, wine, jade green and a hint of a slivery taupe.  

My sketch of the “Pêche Pearl”.

I invite you to join me as I bring this orchard harvest scene to life.  I will be posting regular updates on my progress here on my blog and my social media pages.  

The “Pêche Pearl” in progress.

“What is paradise, but, a garden, an orchard of trees and herbs, full of pleasure and nothing there but delights.”  – William Lawson

As always, thanks for reading!