Yesterday, I spent a gorgeous early Fall day at a local historic estate called Ashland. It was the home of early 1800's politician Henry Clay. This weekend, Ashland celebrated the 200th anniversary of Henry Clay's involvement in The Treaty of Ghent.
The current home on the Ashland estate is Victorian, but the floor plan is the original Federal style floor plan. It is unfortunate that photographs are not allowed inside the home. It is a truly stunning place.
While at the event, I met some beautiful ladies that are a part of the 2nd Regiment Kentucky Volunteer Militia.
I strolled the wooded grounds and gardens of Ashland, toured the home, and listened to a first person portrayal of Henry Clay's housekeeper. I met a group of quilting ladies who convinced me that I wasn't as bad at quilting as I thought.
But I spent most of my time at a tea table with my friends Natalie, Jill, and Emily, watching the golden leaves of the walnut trees around us drift down in the breeze like schools of fish. My official role during the weekend was to demonstrate embroidery. I have been working for the past month on a 1760's seat cushion crewelwork reproduction. Jill taught about the history of tea, and Natalie and Emily demonstrated wool spinning and weaving. The crowd was small, but very curious and keen to learn.
I am always surprised and refreshed by the number of children (boys especially) that are interested in learning about sewing, embroidery, weaving and spinning! Children truly do long for the hand crafts of our ancestors. They get so little time and experience with handmade arts these days. It is a way of life that is disappearing, if not already gone, for much of society. As someone who loves art and history, I feel like it's my responsibility to pass on this knowledge to the next generation. I hope that every historical costumer/reenactor feels and does the same. Whatever your craft might be, what you do should not be only for your vain enjoyment, but to lift up and pass on a way of life that is threatened to become extinct.
Because of the time portrayed, 1812-1814, I finally had the chance to wear the blue velvet spencer that I made a year and a half ago. The day was a bit warm for it, around 80*F, but it fit the era so perfectly that I couldn't resist.
Overall, I wouldn't have changed a thing about the day except to ask for more time. To say it was pleasant is an understatement.
P.s. - To see more pictures of the day (and the front of my spencer) check out THIS PAGE by a local photographer who took pictures of the event in 3D! 3D glasses are a must!