2017 in review and looking ahead to 2018

Whew! Where did 2017 go?

I think I know! After a whirlwind of costuming madness, our year- end custom commissions tally comes to a whopping 155 garments over a 9 month production season! In addition, I led 2 professional development workshops and participated in an 8 week Arts leadership institute. What an amazing year!

In celebration , here are a few pictoral highlights from our year of costuming!

Favorite garment of 2017!

Runner up for Favorite Garment of 2017!

In March, I traveled to Historic Traveller’s Rest in Nashville, Tennessee for ALHFAM’s Southeastern Region’s annual meeting. It was lovely to see old friends and meet new! Attending these conferences always brings a breath of fresh air and keeps me in touch with the needs and interests of my open air museum colleagues. While there, I conducted a one hour workshop entitled “Basic pattern alteration for historical costumers.”

In July, I traveled to Historic Exchange Place in Kingsport, Tennessee to give a full day workshop on the sartorial heritage of Southern Appalachia and lead a hands on workshop in basic sewing. The Junior Apprentices (ages 10-18) each took home a hand stitched half apron or winter cap.

In the Fall, I was selected as one of 30 candidates to attend an Arts Leadership Institute in Chattanooga. We met once a week at different arts based locations around the city and learned the importance the Arts have played in the revitalization and rebranding of the Scenic City. This was an exceptionally meaningful experience as I had the chance to increase my repertoire in Arts Advocacy and fraternize with Arts professionals and supporters across the region. This too, brought great inspiration as the conversations and collaborations from this Institute generated ideas for much needed expansions (as outlined at the bottom of this post.)

Images from the Holmberg Arts Leadership Institute

Back where it all started! When I was 12, I attended a summer drama camp at the Chattanooga Theater Center! One of the sessions involved the a costume design session. It was at that moment, I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life!

Listening to a variety of Chattanooga- based Arts professionals speaking about the barriers, challenges, and opportunities of being an artist in the South. It was at this meeting I had an “a-ha moment.” For the first time in 20+ years, I realized just how far I had come.

A visit to Sculpture Fields on the Southside of Chattanooga where large scale sculpture artist John Henry et al. was instrumental in converting what was once a city garbage dump turned abandoned ball fields into world class outdoor museum. 

Our Institute traveled to Nashville to meet with the directors and staff of The Tennessee Arts Commission! I was excited to meet the Director of Folklife- a new program aimed at preserving the cultural heritage of our state through financial support, archival work, and apprenticeship programs! We also spent the afternoon at the Frist and toured their exhibition on WWI. Our tour guide was a retired MI6 officer.

And after 2 months- we all graduated! A mixed group ranging from independent musicians, lawyers, bankers, realtors, veterinarians, Emmy award wining designers, and entreprenuers! We all had one thing in common though- a commitment to strengthening the support and recognition of the Arts and Artists of the Southeast!

And finally, in December, my family volunteered as a Victorian Era family at the Craven’s House Christmas Carol (NPS) on Lookout Mountain. This was special for us as there are limited programming opportunities in our area. My children loved it! My daughter really got into her impression! My little boy (3) even got into “pretending!” I hope to find more interpretation and education events in the future!

!!!!! NEW FOR 2018 !!!!!

And now looking ahead, it is with great excitement we announce we will be expanding our services in 2018 to include a collection of high- end, authentic rental garments and props for photography projects, museum exhibitions, short term interpretation and educational events, and other limited engagements! We will also be increasing our selection of ready made and one- of- a- kind garments.  We will be extending our catalog to include 18th century clothing. And, we will be REESTABLISHING our sales of historical fabric by the yard. We will also be retiring some of our older designs and introducing new! Please be sure to check our website frequently to keep up with the exciting new additions we have planned for this year!

Here’s to another fabulous year of historical costuming!


-SJ and the team at Maggie May Clothing Co.