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.


Julia Kelly said...

Can you imagine the pre internet 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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