Monday, 13 August 2012

Hello Dolly

These are some photos of the new prop I have been working on for my work as Queen Victoria. She started off as a typically dreadful be-satinned, be-flounced and be-frilled reproduction 'Victorian' doll, and I picked her up for a couple of quid in a junk shop.

After a bath, a divestment and -would you believe it- an eyelash trim, I stitched up the bits which were coming apart and set to work researching what a real 19th century doll would look like.
It turned out that the gorgeous ones I had in my mind's eye were the French 'Bebes' . The authentically English versions were a lot plainer.

The costume I eventually settled on is based upon English Goss dolls and the dolls of Queen Victoria's daughter, Princess Vicky.

I wish I'd taken a picture of her in her original baby blue satin debacle and the enormously oversized and over decorated hat she was wearing, but sadly I did not. Here instead is the finished, 'nice' version, with and without her pinafore. All hand-stitched by my own fair fingers.

She doesn't have a name yet, so all suggestions are welcomed...   

Thursday, 2 August 2012

By Royal Degree

...Yes, it was deliberate mistake- I did say 'Degree'. This is just a quick note to announce the happy arrival of some letters after my name (BA Open (Open), to be precise, don't ask me why it says 'open' twice) following the successful completion of my 'final examinable component' with a Class 2 Pass.

I studied with the UEA and the Open University, and it has taken me seven years in total to gain this qualification, so I am very proud of myself for juggling studying, working at Gressenhall, freelancing, being a mum and maintaining a semblance of a social life for such a long time.

I began in the UEA history faculty with a history 'bridging course' - a sort of 'return to study' evening class, which was utterly brilliant. I then transferred from the UEA after two years' part time studying history proper, when they -most unreasonably- refused to organise their faculty timetables around my life (!). On joining the OU I opted to do an Open Degree which offers flexibility on subject choice and of course, when and how one studies.

I did another year of history which to be perfectly frank, was as dry as dust. For the next year I chose a module entitled 'Global Heritage' which seemed a sensible choice bearing in mind my working in the museum sector. This looked at things like world heritage sites, how they're chosen, who chooses what and where they are and what goes into museums. It also looked at museums and edifices' roles in society as places of collective memory and remembrance; how we remember stuff and why we choose to remember some things and not others, and so on. I found this side of it fascinating. The 'Global Heritage' module formed a bridge between my history studies and the modules I chose next: Sociology.

I spent a year learning the basics of sociological theory and getting my brain around the correct 'form' for sociological research and essays. Then my final year was one of  'Level 3' study, that is, equivalent in difficulty to the final year of a standard university degree. Now I was down to the nitty gritty in a module entitled 'Sociology and Social Policy', which looked, amongst other things, at the ways in which current social policy influences our actions and decision making in our daily lives. It was totally fascinating, and, aside from some blips with that darned Harvard Referencing they insist upon, my final year was the most challenging and interesting of all seven. Which, I suppose, is the way it ought to be.

All over now. I expect the job offers to come rolling in...*

*may not actually be expecting any job offers in current recession... but it's worth a try.