May 20, 2012

The Beginning

The first step toward my goal is to decide on a persona.  The next step is to begin researching and documenting whatever I may need to.

On the surface, these both seem pretty straight-forward.  I have an interest in a few different crafts from the time period.  The easiest thing to do, then, is to create a persona around one of these interests.

I began by jotting down ideas in a notebook.  While I have an interest in military history, I’m not really interested in creating a military persona, or joining a military group.  My interests lie more in the artisan/craftsperson direction.  Because of this, I’m going to work on a civilian impression.

Here’s where things already start to get interesting.  What sort of civilian do I want to create?  Unlike military units, where a person may be constrained by what their historical unit was like, the world of civilians is wide open.  Obviously, I needed to set some constraints for myself.

I jotted down a few job descriptions that might interest me:  Printer, Bodger, Book-Binder, Carpenter, Cabinet-maker.

After this, my thoughts turned toward what I might need for each impression.  Clothing and equipment would need to be based on the profession.  Based on the re-enactor lists that I subscribe to, though, there are some basics that every man would have.  I jotted down a quick list of what I could remember.
  • Shirt
  • Stockings
  • Breeches
  • Shoes
  • Waistcoat
  • Coat
  • Hat
  • Glasses
  • Neckstock
 Then I started making lists of possible tools for each profession, again based on previous reading.  My lists looked like this:

  • Needle
  • Tub
  • Press
  • Paper
  • Lathe
  • Tools
  • Shave Horse
  • Draw Knife
As you can see, my lists weren’t very long, as my thought process shifted back to clothing.  My thoughts actually wandered all over the place at this point.  I’ll try to describe my thought process as I scribbled notes into my notebook.

To do this right, I’d want to hand sew everything.  This led me to wondering what sort of materials were used for sewing, in particular, what needles were made of.  A quick Google search for “18th century needles” led me to a vendor’s webpage.  The page listed all sorts of things that I hadn’t been looking for: needle cases, thimbles, scissors, and so on.  I had suddenly expanded on my list of things that I may need to obtain, and document.  Do I need to document a needle or thimble?  Probably not. But if I can, why not?

Okay, time to reign in the thought process before I get too far ahead of myself.

I stopped making notes and wrote down two goals:

Main Goal: Portray an 18th century bookbinder
Secondary Goal: Make as much as possible using period techniques

Of course, this second goal kicked my brain into high-gear again, and I began wondering what “using period techniques” meant to me.  How far do I want to go to get into this persona?

My first thought, since I was already writing in a notebook, was to keep my project log by hand.  After all, computers didn’t exist in the 18th century.  What would I need to keep a log by hand?  Well, handwriting.  The time-period had a different style.  I’d also need a journal.  Easy right?  After all, I’m going to be a bookbinder, I can make a journal.  I’d need to journal to document the making of the journal though.  Okay, stop thinking in circles.  What else?  Oh. Language.  In addition to proper handwriting, it should be written with period-appropriate language.

Sudden thought jump.  This is a hobby for me.  I wonder what people at that time had for hobbies?  Did they have hobbies?  Did my bookbinder have a workshop full of wood-tools at home?  Why not?  Okay, must research hobbies of the time.

As you can see, for a newbie, even brainstorming is not simple.  Time to stop now, and take it once piece at a time.

No comments:

Post a Comment