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Victorian Orchards

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Blog - Threading the West

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!

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