How to begin? At Maison de Papier, the exhibition that closed my residency at Danny House last year, I was approached by a volunteer from The Regency Town House, Brighton (TRTH). TRTH is being developed as a museum/heritage centre focusing on the history of no.s 10 & 13 Brunswick sq circa.1780-1840 (please see: rth.org.uk). I was asked if I'd be interested in exhibiting there. Conversations with TRTH curator Nick Tyson followed & from that the idea for a new residency was born. At the start of this year I began researching the possibilities of gaining the necessary funding to go ahead. If the project detailed below & in the blogs that follow this sounds interesting please watch out for further information.
Accordingly I've begun a phase of research into the Regency era in general & Regency fashion specifically. Of the latter, as regards what I thought I knew, I've probably been influenced by costume dramas. But I’ve begun to form my own library of books, related material & of course online images see: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/houseofempaper/historic-fashion-regency/
On visiting TRTH for the first time I could immediately see the possibilities of working there and of creating a collection of garments; The Regency Collection. Alongside gradually striving to hang flesh on the bones of that initial excitement, that is, by laying the ground-work necessary for a year and a half of hopefully designing, making, sharing, teaching on & off site, I’m allowing my imagination to float me into that proposed period, on the hems of empire line, sheer, embroidered dresses, Brunswick jackets & Pelisse with decorative military appendages.
Overall the plan is to design and make The Regency Collection for exhibition throughout no. 13 (+ the basement of no. 10), inspired by the house and it’s Regency inhabitants + society, culture & the popularity of (paper) art/craft during that period. TRTH holds some fascinating archive material including collections of letters from the time that give unparalleled insights into family life “covering topics from the everyday domestic, to war & the death of a child." In addition TRTH has conducted a massive heritage lottery funded body of research into the histories & stories of the past inhabitants of homes across Brighton & Hove (mhms.org.uk) & into silhouette production during the Regency (profilesofthepast.org.uk). So not only am I envisaging paper garments that include black/white silhouette motifs as decoration (or maybe something grader) but that the designs of the individual pieces will be influenced by fascinating remembered/recorded details re. real Regency lives.
The quilling workshop I reported on in my last entry was just the start. The plan is to work with paper again with Mymarc students and with TRTH volunteers and visitors.