Unveiling the New Town Crier Uniform for Lloyd Smith

SLR_4_3472-005The Town Crier Uniform, that I have been working on for Lloyd Smith, these past almost six months, was unveiled on May 18, 2013, amidst much to-do at the Convocation Hall at King’s Edgehill School in Windsor, Nova Scotia. It was a most appropriate place for this event, which was well attended by Lloyd’s many supporters.SLR_4_3471-010

The Hall is almost one-hundred and fifty years old, so a very good setting for this 18th century Uniform. So wonderfully Gothic, it is stunning both inside and out. I had never visited this building prior to this event and I was so impressed with the beauty of this old place, that I had to do some research about it. The Convocation Hall at Kings Edgehill School is renowned as Canada’s first library Museum building. Made of sandstone it was designed by architect David Stirling, and built by George Lang, who was a Stonemason.SLR_4_3641-003

This incredible building took six years to complete between 1861 and 1867 and was built on the original campus of King’s College School which was founded in 1788. In 1923 King’s College moved to Halifax but the school continued at it’s present location. Originally a school for boys, King’s Edgehill School is the oldest private residential school in Canada. This is a beautiful place, lovely buildings, beautiful expanses of green and even a great view.

Convocation Hall is valued as a rare example of nineteenth century Gothic Revival stone architecture. It, and all land within a distance of 10 feet surrounding the building is designated as a Provincial Heritage site.SLR_4_3648-002

Today it continues to function as a library and is the oldest library built for that purpose in Nova Scotia. SLR_4_3528-002It is also used as a gathering place for various events.

Although King’s Edgehill is a private school you can tour this building by appointment, as well as several other nineteenth century buildings on the property including a lovely Chapel, and the Head Master’s home.

Lloyd Smith is celebrating 35 years as the official Town Crier for the Town of Windsor. He is also the official Town Crier for the Apple Blossom Festival, where he will be wearing this new uniform in public for the first time at the Coronation of Queen Annapolisa 2013, on May 31st. He is Honourary Town Crier for Kentville, Kingston, Greenwood, New Minas, Hantsport and Wolfville, as well as the Counties of Kings and West Hants.

SLR_4_3526-003Many dignitaries were present for the unveiling of this new uniform. MP Scott Brison was not able to attend but sent along a very nice congratulatory letter.  MLAs Jim Morton and Ramona Jennex spoke, so did Windsor Mayor Paul Beazley and Kentville Mayor Dave Corkum. Many more supporters and council members, past and present, of the various communities that he volunteers his talents to, were also present.

Ed Coleman, who is the official piper for Acadia University and a well known columnist in the valley, was present to pipe and escort Lloyd into the hall. There was an honour guard from King’s Edgehill, and fellow Town Crier Gary Long and his wife Sara. Gary is the official Town Crier for Berwick and Canning. His wife Sara accompanies him to most events and is always dressed in period costume herself.SLR_4_3543-002

Roger Taylor and the Horton High School Senior String Ensemble were present to provide beautiful period music which everyone very much enjoyed, and which did certainly lend a certain ambiance to the occasion. Jason Calnen from Light and Lens Photography was there to take the official photographs, and David Bannerman served as Master of Ceremonies. Even I had a role to play and was there to speak about the construction of the uniform.

Lloyd’s oldest uniform was presented and donated to the Hants Historical Society.

It was a rather fine afternoon and my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Don’t forget to click on the pictures to view them in full size; and come again, for I will soon be writing a post that will focus on the construction of this beautiful uniform.SLR_4_3558-002

French Provincial At The K.C. Irving Centre

The 65,000 square foot K.C. Irving Environmental Science Centre at the Acadia University in Wolfville, has to be one of the most beautiful buildings in the Annapolis Valley. I really love this place and it’s wonderful architecture. Built in a classical almost Georgian styling, it nonetheless offers state of the art research and technology. There is a grandeur about it that is unsurpassed, yet all the while it maintains a comfortable and homey, well lit, conducive to learning environment. study irvingFirstly it is a place for study, research and instruction of the natural sciences, but it is also a place of gathering for both the University and the surrounding communities, and is a well used event and conference centre. It is a lovely place for a wedding reception for example.

The K.C. Irving centre was constructed in 1999 and along with the Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens was built and donated to the University by Jim, Jack and Arthur Irving in memory of their beloved parents. The Irving family’s attachment to Acadia University began many years ago with K.C,  (Kenneth Collin) who attended there, and has continued with sons Jack and Arthur who are graduates there-of. Arthur is also the present day Chancellor of the University.

I had always wanted to do a shoot in this fantastic building and upon the completion of my 18th century French Provincial/Colonial Gown and matching Gentleman’s Coat, I once again began to imagine how wonderful these pieces would look with the Irving Centre as a back drop.

So,…I asked Man The Capstan crew members, my son David and good friend Katherine, to model these pieces and it did seem quite right, since, after all,  they are both Acadia University Alumni. Katherine gained permission from the building’s manager for us to take some photographs there. It was great fun and such a beautiful and appropriate setting.

This 18th Century gown and coat were created using a printed and embroidered fabric which I found locally at a home decor place. I have often found that the greatest fabrics to make 18th century clothing from are drapery type fabrics. Such was the case with this beautiful striped Antoinette blue and embroidered gold cotton. It caught my eye the moment I walked into the shop and I had to have it! As a matter of fact I bought enough to make two gown and coat sets! Which is indeed a good thing since they have already both been sold. I am obviously not the only one who loves the blue and gold stripe combination.

I trimmed the gown with ivory and gold Venise laces, beige Chantilly lace and satin ribbon. It is paired with an ivory brocaded petticoat or underskirt which is also trimmed in gold Venise lace. Also sold with this gown was a matching ivory chiffon fichu or neck scarf. I did purchase a plain 18″ flat crown straw hat to go with it and this I decorated with matching fabric, ribbon, Venise lace and one ivory ostrich feather.

When I make these gowns I try to make them so that they will fit at least several different sizes and I accomplish this by lacing the back of the gown and using about a three inch modesty panel so that the laces can be worn completely closed or open to varying degrees. I also do not attach the over skirt fully to the bodice and allow a portion of the skirt to remain free at the back closure. Using ribbon drawstring the skirt can be drawn tight or loosened and I find this feature effectively prevents the unsightly gaping and/or pulling that one often sees with these dresses. The bodice is fully lined and boned as well which gives it good shaping and structure. The matching Gentleman’s coat is lined and trimmed with matching gold Venise lace and brass coloured nautical anchor buttons and sells with a jabot. The pockets are faux. David is wearing his own breeches, waistcoat, shirt and boots.

We had a great time at Irvng Centre, and really, it was difficult to get any bad shots, the setting is so spectacular! Above is a photo of the wonderful winding staircase.

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A Costume Update, The Privateer’s Coat

The Privateer's CoatMan the Capstan’s latest costume, The Privateer’s Coat, came about quite by accident.  I was browsing through some patterns on the internet and came across a Burda numbered 2459. This is a pirate’s or french type court coat and I immediately fell in love with it and had to make it.

The one pattern comes with all the sizes which is definitely a nice feature and so I decided to purchase this. I have not sewn with a lot of Burda patterns but this is definitely a great one.  I don’t suggest that someone who has not sewn a lot use this however, since the instructions do take for granted that the seamstress has a certain amount of knowledge and skill.  Still this pattern sewed up very well and the pieces all came together perfectly.

I have had for a number of years about three metres of a vintage fabric in my closet that I really didn’t have any plans for until I acquired this pattern and the vision for this coat.  My mother-in-law had a garage sale about five years ago that my husband and I helped  out at.  Among the things for sale was an almost unused tapestry gold and green bed covering that she never used and that she had decided to part with.

Various views of the Privateer's CoatI love beautiful fabrics and asked her if I might rescue it and take it home with me. She seemed please that I liked it and let me have it.  At the time I didn’t know what I would do with it but it was lovely, rich and exotic and I knew I must keep it. Something perfect was bound to turn up for it and of course something did. In my boxes of sewing goodies I had some beautiful metallic lace and I also had two dozen brass anchor buttons.  That was all I needed to complete my vision for this coat.

The Privateer's Coat is Gender FreeI have named this The Privateer’s Coat, but it would also serve extremely well as a governor’s or french nobleman’s court coat, I can quite easily imagine it worn with a pair of buff breeches, buckled shoes and a powdered wig. The other really awesome thing about this coat is that it can be worn by a man or a woman.  Sometimes it’s more fun to be a man and this gives one an option or two.

I am also going to use this post to introduce the latest Man the Capstan song.  It is a very old Irish tune called “The Water Is Wide” recorded by Johanna. Click the “play” button below to hear it! The lyrics are included below, as well.

The water is wide, I cannot get over
And neither have I wings to fly,
Give me a boat that’ll carry two
And both shall row, my love and I.

Where love is planted, oh there it grows,
It grows and blossoms like a rose;
It has a sweet and pleasant smell,
No flower on earth can it excel.

The ship there is, and she sails the sea
She’s loaded deep as deep can be,
But not so deep as the love I’m in;
I know not if I sink or swim.

The water is wide, I cannot get over
And neither have I wings to fly,
Give me a boat that’ll carry two
And both shall row, my love and I.