Friday, November 20, 2015

Apron Strings: Ties to the Past {Part I}

You are cordially invited to an exclusive showing of Apron Strings: Ties to the Past, a virtual tour from the comfort of your chair!

As I mentioned in the last post, I have been heavily involved in putting together a museum exhibition focusing on aprons.  Part of the show is a nationally traveling exhibit from ExhibitsUSA, which will be a separate post .  The other part of the exhibition is a spotlight on a local collector...which just happened to be me!  All of the items contained in the cases are from "my collection". I also assisted in designing many aspects and plans for the show (such as the flyer seen above). The museum's curator knew I had an interest in curating along with some past experience from doing my fine art degree exit show. 
So let's get this apron party started!
This is the view coming into the space.  "I" greet the visitors with a raised rolling pin.

Another view showing part of the left side.  (There are many more views in upcoming posts.)

I did a total of seven cases.  I was going with an idea inspired from vintage embroidery dish towels where housewives set each day for a particular chore.

I will take you on a tour of the cases, each day of the week!

~*Cleaning Day*~
The largest case in the exhibit I loosely based on the theme of cleaning.  The mannequin is wearing a scarf on her head, hence she is cleaning. I don't own any vintage cleaning apparatus deals or packaging...yet.  So that's as far as 'cleaning' went.  (Except for me cleaning the cases.)

Other items in this case are kinda a hodge podge of cookie cutters, a cook booklet, a vintage apron sewing pattern , and of course aprons!  In each case I chose aprons with colors or styles that looked well together.  This case has a black, yellow, pink thing going on.

To the right you can see the apron I got several years ago which has attached potholders to the sides.

~*Sewing Day*~
The sewing day case is my favorite.  I think it turned out looking the best and is able to be viewed from all angles.  Trying to design cases to be viewed in the round is a real challenge.

I really like how there are so many different areas of the show that can be viewed from all angles.

I love the bakelite foot pedal from the sewing machine so I left it exposed.

The additional items include a 1950's Singer Sewing Machine, several wooden thread spools, packages of rick rack, and an instructional paper on making a 'Curvet' apron.  I really like the color combo with these aprons.  You may have noticed that  a non-vintage apron made it into this case.  The Lime Head Cutie was an apron made by me as part of the Tie One On Sew-a-Long.

~*Ironing Day*~
The Ironing Day case was my second favorite designed.  It can be viewed from all sides as the Sewing Day case.  I was also going for a child's play additional theme.  I was able to borrow from the museum's curator (she collects vintage toys like I do!) a vintage child's ironing board and toy irons to really set the look.  

I also included in the case some of the doll furniture from my dollhouse.

I put two children aprons in this case and a few smaller ones draped across the top of the ironing board.  See the gingham apron better in this post.
You can also see the little itty bitty pie tin  and the spatula and mini food box from my Easy Bake Oven party. There is my little plastic dollhouse.

 Also used Fluffy Ruffles.  I thought it really worked well having aprons, a mom and daughter, and then a doll dressed in an apron too on the cover.   Off to the left is a reproduction I made of vintage paper dolls that featured them in aprons with specifics of ironing day, wash day, cleaning day, etc. on each page.  Talk about working perfectly! Example:

I printed out extras of the paper doll aprons and kinda scattered them on the floor of the case.

~*Wash Day*~  
The Wash Day case was one of two that were part of the preview show.

Seen in this case are vintage plastic clothes pins and an apron sewing pattern.

The blue-green floral apron can be seen better here

In the wash tub, but not seen in these photos, is a birthday apron that was made for me from vintage sheets.  It is more visible from the back of the case.

~*Baking Day*~
This case is based on a Baking Day theme.

I included vintage rooster canisters, cookie cutters, a hand-knitted pot holder, and a Vogart embroidery pattern featuring fun designs for kitchen towels such as "Stubburn as a Mule".  

~*Marketing Day*~
Let's go shopping!

For this case I included some vintage food packaging and green stamps.

Another view.

~*Hostess Day*~
Although 'Hostess Day' is not an official day of the week activity, I thought it still could work.

In this case are several hostess-ish aprons, a vintage dress, vintage paper coasters with an illustration of a woman wearing an apron, hostess and party cook booklets, plastic floral party picks, and a punch glass.

This case gave me the hardest time designing.  I think it had to do with it's size.  It is very wide but not tall.

Here is a weird down shot of it.

I can't begin to tell you the amount of work that I put into designing these cases and show.  I spent so much time scouring through my things, some packed up in storage and hard to get to, looking for the perfect thing.  I wanted every case to have some item that was kinda scattered to fill the case floor space properly: cookie cutters, coasters, green stamps, paper dolls, wooden spools, and clothes pins.  Some of the displaying items I used from the museum, such as the mannequin,  I had to rebuild her boobs with one of my own bras.  I had to clean all of the cases and apply a 3 part scratch repair solution to the top sections because they were in bad shape. I spent several hours writing my bio and a whole day doing the photo shot of me with the rolling pin along with photo editing.  Lots of work but I am very proud of how it turned out.

Up next is the feature aprons from the traveling exhibit!

Apron Strings: Ties To The Past {Part II}

 Welcome to part two of the virtual Apron Strings Exhibit tour!

This post will focus on the part of the exhibit I helped curate that is from a nationally traveling exhibion from ExhibitsUSA which is on tour until 2018, so check the dates to see if it may be coming near you.  But don't count on the show looking as amazing as ours did...yes, I am bragging and rightfully so.  The exhibit that arrives to the museum is just the aprons (dating from 1900-1990) other images, mannequins, or props. Most of what you will see is the work of myself, the museum curator, and carpenters.
 Seen above is the entry foyer to the show.  It looks a bit sparse but that was because we were under the assumption that the exhibit had several large text and informational panels to be hung here.  No.  Only those two small flat model signs in the middle of the wall.

 I love this apron!

And I love this apron too.. That's why they got to be in the entry!

 Once in the exhibit space we arranged the aprons chronologically, starting with the ones from 1900-1930.  The apron on the mannequin is the oldest one in the set.  The wash tub is from my "collection'.  The show also includes a few "try on' aprons that we put in the wash tub.

 Aprons 1900-1930

 Love this 1920 apron.  All of the images you see on the walls are the result of hours of scouring and selecting them from old magazines that are part of the museum's collection.  We looked for ones that covered each decade up til the late 1950's (that's the newest they had) and had men, women and children in aprons.

 This is the 1940's section.  I am not pleased with it's look.  We had to have the images and clothesline hung before the aprons arrived and this caused a challenge since we didn't really know the sizes of what we were getting.

 A handkerchief apron. 

 Love this rooster one.

 1940's images, apron clad.

 Moving into the heyday of the apron...1950's!

 The aprons for the 1950's and 1960's had a bunch so I tried to group ones that looked good together, color-wise and shapes.  I liked the colors of this group and it's symmetry.

 Cute!  Did you notice the little birds we put on the clotheslines?  (my idea!)

 This large scale 1950's kitchen was the main thing I wanted to have in the show and the first idea that came to me.  The image came from an advertisement found in a magazine I got from an estate sale from 1954 for kitchen flooring.


 Love the frilliness of this one!

 Check out the pocket that is a window with curtains with a little felt butterfly swooping in!

 One of the best aprons in the show.  I need to get some close-up images still.  It is a plastic 1950's Girl Scout Brownie apron for a girl.  It says "Sweeping, washing, drying, cooking. My how spic and span she's looking!"

 The last of the 1950's aprons.

 Of course this was a favorite of mine with it's sewing theme.  It has a measuring tape used as the hem and an attached needle sharpening strawberry on the band.

This was my favorite apron of the show.  A lot of it had to do with the description, it was an inspiration for something in the next post: 

"Tulle, a sheer netting, was often used when making matching aprons for a group, such as party favors for every woman attending a function or "uniforms" for every woman serving at a church supper.  Aprons were also given as gifts-from guest to hostess, from a bride to the woman helping with the wedding, or from hostess to every woman at the party.  This apron has an unusual ruffled waistline and silver rickrack accents."

Another thing about this show was it came with it's own informational cards to go under the aprons but some had typos or wrong info, or had several aprons on one card from drastically different decades.  I had to edit the descriptions and we had to have new cards typed and mounted.

Heading into the 1960's.

 1950's ads

 These were not my favorites. There were 1960's but nothing really special.

 More 1960's aprons.  At this point aprons are more mass produced and sold as tourist souvenirs or gag gifts.

Such as this "If you don't like-a my cooking' I break-a you head!"

 The last of the 1960's aprons.  I really loved how these looked together.

 I have this same apron and included it in my Marketing Day case.  I did a little research and discovered it was a mail order craft kit from 1969 called Flock-o-Fun Perky Birds.  I rewrote the description card with the new information pertaining to this.

 Pretty and elegant.

 Love the gores and color combo.

 For the other corner of the room we had a 1960's kitchen, couldn't find one without humans in it though and it was a bummer she wasn't wearing an apron. But love all the pink!

 I picked two fun aprons to go on the mannequins. 

 This 1960 apron is a reversible gag wedding gift kinda thing.  One side, as shown here, is men's boxers.  The other side is a pair of yellow lacey woman's pantaloons.  I had the guy wearing the woman's side at first because I thought it was funny but the blue paisley print matched the lady mannequin's apron better.

 1960's Big Boss

 Love the appointment list pocket!

 And the rest....Ugh.  The few aprons of the 1970-1990's. I mean, seriously....a glittery christmas bib apron and a Home Depot apron.  Blah.  But I did try to look at them in context as being the unfortunate present day versions we are more in contact with and they are part of the history. The top row ones are not too bad.  There is even a little doll apron in there.  The bonnet apron, pictured second from the right, top row is pretty cool.  Check out what it does!:

 The next area at the exhibit is a place for the viewers to write down their 'apron memories' and pin them to the clothes line.

 Also nearby is the Children's education section.  I designed the paper doll aprons seen.

Next to this and near the entry of the space is a television with a continuous loop of the 1950 education short "Let's make a meal in 20 minutes" all about Sally Gasco whipping up something for the gang after a football game.  I found a collection of educational shorts called "How to be a Housewife" which had this gem on it.  The rest of the videos were apparently about fashion styles in Africa?

Next up..extra features!

P.S. Click "Older Posts" down on the right bottom corner to see part III.  I apparently made part I and II so long they shoved part III to the next page.