I’ve been neglecting my fledgling blog lately since I’ve been in Europe all summer, first on a two-week study tour of London and Paris with my university, and then a two-month stay in Finland while I interned at the Helsinki University Museum, where I was cataloging parts of their fashion and textile collection (I mainly worked with objects from the 1940’s-80’s.). I’m back home now, and hopefully can get back in the habit of writing regularly again before school starts at the end of the month. To facilitate a schedule of regular posting, I’m going to be taking part in CoBloWiMo aka Costume Blog Writing Month. I may get around to writing some bits and pieces about my adventure in Europe, but honestly right now my priority is just to focus on writing anything at all.
The first prompt for CoBloWriMo is Introduce Yourself, so here’s some background info for those of you who don’t already know me:
My name is Grace, I’m 20 years old and have been sewing since I was seven. My passion and career aspiration is costumes, but due to various (mostly logistical) reasons I’m currently working on my Bachelor’s degree in fashion design and merchandising, with plans to go on and get a Master’s degree in costume design. This semester I will be starting on my undergraduate thesis, which will involve designing costumes for Tolkien’s Legendarium while avoiding influence from previous depictions.
I’m the Costume Manager/Master of the Basement for my local historical society (http://www.washcohistoricalsociety.org) which means that I’m in charge of keeping track of the costume collection we keep for use by our costumed volunteers and living history interpreters, overseeing laundry and repairs, purchasing commissioning or making new pieces when needed, selecting and altering costumes for new volunteers, instructing volunteers on details like historical hairstyles, and providing help and resources for anyone who wants to try making their own costumes. I also teach dances from the Regency and mid-19th century to our volunteers and to the public.
My siblings and I were all homeschooled through high school graduation, so my transition to college life was quite difficult and jarring. I suffered a severe burnout in my freshman and sophomore years, leading to me being diagnosed with autism almost two years ago. I realized that I had been unconsciously suppressing my autistic traits almost my entire life in an effort to appear neurotypical and “fit in,” which worked just fine during my carefree childhood but got to be EXHAUSTING in highschool and in college I just couldn’t keep it up any more. Since my diagnosis I’ve been relearning how to be visibly and proudly autistic: letting myself stim in public, embracing my echolalia and “raptor hands,” recognizing when a meltdown or shutdown is imminent and giving myself permission to take a break instead of pushing past my limits trying to Keep Up With The Neurotypicals. As for being an autistic costumer: I’m very detail-oriented, I tend to conceptualize certain ideas in my head as clothes instead of words, I touch ALL THE FABRICS, and I can sit for hours at a time researching. On the other hand though, I have horrible executive function (https://musingsofanaspie.com/executive-function-series/) and most days very little actual sewing gets completed. It’s a struggle, but it’s the way I am and I’m learning to love myself. My special interests (https://www.theodysseyonline.com/an-autistic-view-on-special-interests) are costume design (no surprise there!) Finland and the Finnish language, Tolkien, and the bands Nightwish, Genesis, and the Bee Gees.
Lately I’ve started collecting vintage clothes from the 1960’s-80’s, which I’m beginning to wear on a daily basis. I also love music so I try to share a song or album that I’ve been enjoying in each blog post. Here’s my record collection:
Before I end this post, I’ve seen some CoBloWriMoers introducing their pets, so I thought I’d share some pictures of mine. I live on a small hobby farm so I have a lot!
My sweet and rambunctious baby girl Gala: (an old photo from Instagram because she wouldn’t stand still for a picture today)
Apple the elderly gentlepig:
Dior, Olórin, and Noam Chomsky:
As well as Ferdinand the dog, Aztec the Sewing Room Turtle, 4 guineas, 8 ducks, and about 30 more chickens not pictured.
Soundtrack: since this post is about getting to know me, here’s my favorite album of all time, Imaginaerum by Nightwish (I’ll provide a link when I’m not blogging from my phone, but in the mean time you should be able to find it on spotify)