Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Reference research via computer chair

The wind is wuthering outside, kicking up fine snow in all directions. We are due again for another blast of bone-chilling negative temperatures. School is already cancelled for tomorrow. It seems very appropriate to be working on a book set during an Alaskan winter, although I think we have that state beat on arctic climates this year.

On extreme weather days, my mind wanders. I often get mired in researching a visual detail. Like a saber-tooth tiger caught in the La Brea tar pits, the internet's endless resources sticks me fast to this computer chair. But today, because of this intenet digging, I am grateful to know (and be able to show) more accurately how my characters might have dressed. What kind of snowshoes did they use? Thanks to a great website (and it's director) that preserves, collects and sells vintage snow sport equipment, I now know the sinew-laced, unique pattern of an historic snowshoe.  And what style of cold weather boots might a lady wear in 1918? After a visit to an antique clothing website (with a serious boot affectionado on staff), I have a better idea of what my female counterpart, circa 1918, would have been tromping Hickory Hill park in! Not a bad day in terms of searching through "the stacks". Now to put this knowledge to the pencil.

Early 20th century Women's boots with a "walking heel".

Native-made Athabascan snow shoes, used turn of  the last century.
Elders talk of these craftpersons making shoes unique as snowflakes. 
http://divineantiques.com/vinsh1.html

http://www.vintagewinter.com/collections/antique-snowshoes-and-vintage-american-snowshoes


3 comments:

Julia Kelly said...

Can you imagine the pre internet days...in art school I was still being taught how to build reference files by buying old books and cutting things out of magazines! Stay warm!

Claudia said...

Julia- I had the same files! Still like finding reference in a book from time to time though:)

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