OCOC BLOG


OCOC14 - Saturday Workshops

So the morning of OCOC14 finally came and the day started early, as usual with coffee and welcome in the JCR where the programme was outlined, guests were announced, and goodybags and houserules were given out.  We had decided to run the programme along the theme 'making a corset from start to finish' which may seem basic to some, but this conference is all about learning from others and sharing information, so it seemed apt to have one year where we would literally start from the beginning of how to make a corset,  and work our way through to the finish.  And so, with such a packed programme for the day, there was no time to tarry and the first workshop with Alison Campbell commenced at 9.15 sharp.  Alison devised a fun, interactive class with paper dolls, colouring pencils, scissors and in the age of the smart phone, cameras.  Everyone was sent out for 20 mintues to find inspiration from the College itself and for the duration of the workshop, our teacher was "Miss Campbell" !

Seeking inspiration at Jesus - photo by Jenni Hampshire

paper dolls,  colouring pencils and beautiful surroundings bring out everyone's creativity!

Some fabulous ideas came out and people were surprised at how being made to do something they may not normally do,  re-invigorated their own practice.

All of the presenters bought their own interpretation of Jesus College inspirations and tied these in with the subject of their presentation.  Here is Alison's "Jesus Corset" which is ofcourse inspired by Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scotts.

My own workshop followed with an overview of the corset patterning process.  Having studied for years, the theory of having a 'forumula' for corset patterning - and succeeding in finding said formula - I realised that infact, you don't really need to know how to do it from scratch every single time, you just need to either find a good corset block or make a good block, and adapt each design from that one block.  The key is knowing how that block works and imposing your forumla onto it.  I illustrated this theory by encouraging those present to go forth and study something called "Anthropometrics" which is the study of the relationship between human size and the products we use.  It's fascinating and is the whole reason we can use 'standard' sizing to acheive a near perfect fit, depending upon the demographic we are working with and combining that knowledge with our own personal research.

My own "Jesus Corset" mid production before the Conference.  Made using techniques discussed during my presentation.

Jenni Hampshire took the corset block theory further in the next session, by talking about her modern Birdswing Corset patterns which were inspired by a trip to see antique corsets in the Symington Collection a few years ago with Foundations Revealed.  The original antique birdswing corset which we saw on display that day, comprised of as many as 22 panels per side and was boned on every seam - the name birdswing was given because when laid flat, the corset with all it's panels, looked just like a birdswing.  So Jenni has been working on a modern version ever since and during her interactive talk, she not only showed us her beautiful patterns, but gave away many of her trade secrets.  I must say, even I was a bit surprised at how generous she was on that front!

Just one of the multi panneled Modern Birdswing Patterns that Jenni put on show for the delegates to ponder.  This one is 16 panels each side.

The 'original' Birdswing corset on display at Snibston Museum Fashion Gallery, which inspired the modern Sparkelwren versions.

No day dedicated to corset making and theory would be complete without a lesson in grading.  Marianne Faulkner took the stage after Jenni's Birdswing session, to talk about grading standard corset patterns with a view to creating a line of a certain design.  This was quite a complex talk and covered many aspects of sizing and grading in great detail including how to deal with the different demographic groups which I mentioned in my own talk.

Marianne Faulkner talking about corset pattern grading with her Jesus Corset to the side.  Photo by Jenni Hampshire.

The day of workshops finished on a very fun note with Gerry Quinton's class on advanced surface embellishment.  For this class, Gerry wanted people to really think outside of the box as far as embelleshing a corset is concerned and to illustrate this point, brought with her the most beatufully embellished sheer corset with a smocked and draped overlay covered in metallic flowers and crystals.  In her class she taught those present how to create 'American smocking' and how to make various other embellishments using different methods and materials, including ribbon flowers, and different ways to attach crystals.

Gerry demonstrating advanced surface embellishment techniques

Gerry demonstrating advanced surface embellishment techniques

Gerry's 'Jesus Corset' incorporating some of the techniques she discussed in class.

Gerry's 'Jesus Corset' incorporating some of the techniques she discussed in class.

And so we reached the end of day one at OCOC14.  It disappeared at lightning speed but left us all fully inspired, bursting with new ideas and theories, some of which were perfectly mirrored in our 'wall of Mini Morgana's' displayed in the JCR for all to see.

All the ideas at OCOC14

Full sized, real life Morgana arrived on Saturday afternoon to find that she was omni-present!

Full sized, real life Morgana arrived on Saturday afternoon to find that she was omni-present!

The next installment covers what happened on Saturday night at Jesus!

Julia Bremble, September 2014