We’ve moved to Sacramento! I took an Assistant Professor position with the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences. We’re six months in, and I can confidently say I made the right decision. The students here are excellent, and I’m nestled within a large and lovely fiber network.
The year marked more than a new job for me and our second cross-country move. We also welcomed our daughter, Hope, who arrived in January. Amongst this positive chaos, I gave six conference presentations, completed my first book chapter, and submitted my first article.
In summary, I am tired and will eventually continue posting my usual project updates in this space.
I spent every day of the first 5.25 months analyzing data and writing my dissertation. Then the following 3 months, I translated that information into Spanish. This feat would not have been possible without the Lonely Writers Club, a daily online meet-up group I began in December 2020, or my San Pedro sister, T.
From May onward, I started a new journey. Owen and I prepared for our first child, who arrived in January 2022.
In the 9 months before entering the world, we defended a dissertation, interviewed with 6 universities, officiated a wedding, and finally walled (more like waddled) at graduation.
The Local Fashion Global Impact project has continued under the supervision of Dr. Sherry Haar. Although I am no longer a part of this project I am thrilled to see that the funding I secured through the K-State Green Action Fund has allowed sustainable design work to continue. This year students are creating sets of aprons using the fabric we import from our cooperative partners in Choa Cruz, Guatemala. The first in-person auction will be held in the Spring.
Special thanks to Dr. Haar and this year’s students for having me in class. I am excited to see the outcomes.
To see the start of this journey view previous posts from year 1 and 2.
After 5 wonderful years I finally defended my dissertation. I am extremely proud of this work and have continued to fall in love with San Pedro and its’ residents. I am eager to return once it is safe, and maybe once I have the funding. I am very grateful to all of the people who have supported me in this journey, especially O & T.
You can watch the public portion of the defense here.
If you are interested in reading the document (it’s really fun, I swear) please let me know and I’ll send you a copy. I have versions in English and Spanish.
The semester is wrapping at K-State, and it has me looking back to the previous semesters. One of my favorite tasks as a graduate teaching assistant is to document undergraduate student work. Photos from the last documentation day are from Spring 2020. This was the last time I worked on campus, before heading to Guatemala and then, of course, COVID.
It always a great day when the sewing studio can be turned into a photo shoot. The undergraduates here are truly amazing.
This year I am excited by the conference track options provided by the Costume Society of America. Regional and national conferences are offering the option to present in-progress works. The opportunity to present incomplete, but still valuable work is refreshing. I’ve just completed data collection and I need outside perspectives!
CSA Southeastern presentations aren’t juried, but the reviewers offered constructive feedback to shape the upcoming presentation titled,
Between the huipil and the T-shirt: The importance of tipica blusas in San Pedro La Laguna, Guatemala
1) The considerations between why women choose to wear blusas típicas rather than huipiles are very interesting and seem to reveal many aspects of local reality that need to be studied. This abstract does not seem to look into the history of the huipil and how it has evolved since the arrival of the Spaniards in Mesoamerica. I wonder if there are ideas about “modernity” informing women’s dress choices. I would suggest taking a look at Joanne Eicher’s “Dress and Ethnicity” and Linda Welters and Abby Lillethun’s “Fashion History: A Global View” for models on how to study Indigenous dress in contemporary history. I do think that this research is very valuable and needs to be done, so I look forward to seeing the presentation.
2) Interesting and worthy research. I look forward to hearing it.
3) Topic does demonstrate diversity in subject matter and research and fits well into the symposium theme. The argument is clearly stated, but the research methods are not as clear outside of the interviews and the sample stated. The presentation should reveal more about the sample in San Pedro (assuming from abstract), and also the contextual factors causing the community to see the garment as described.
I’m so thankful to good reviewers! This information really pushes me to work on the things that challenge me! The suggestion to look at Eicher, Welters, and Lillethun gives me some faith that I’m going in the right direction.
Louisiana State Textile and Costume Museum is showcasing work inspired by Mayan artistry. Traje: Mayan Textile Artistry Creative Design Exhibition will be up from mid-September to mid-May. My mask, titled Na chajijj, which means ‘to protect’ in Tz’utujil will be included in the exhibition.
The Quetzal (wearer’s right) is the national bird of Guatemala. This bird is heavily present in Mayan heritage and is a reincarnation of a Quiche warrior. The hummingbird (wearer’s left) is the namesake of San Pedro, whose Maya name Tzunun Ya’ means the land of the hummingbirds. The birds were selected in the thought of the national and local influences on the community. In the center is iconography from the Maya calendar. This symbol was included to represent the pandemic’s longevity and the lasting effects on this area, which thrives on tourism. With outreaching threads, the flower symbolizes the spread of the virus through breadth, when not harnessed by a mask.
The Local Fashion Global Impact (LFGI) project made it full circle this July!
Hoping to push our project forward mid-pandemic, I opted to use an online platform to auction off the skirts created by the students. Over the month the project raised $803.00. These funds will be used to order cotton from our weaving partners in Choa Cruz and to restock the natural dye laboratory. Skirts were purchased by members of the K-State family but also wonderful new people – thanks to Linda Lee at the Sewing Workshop – in New Mexico, Florida, and Ohio.
The project will continue in Textile Surface Manipulation course during the Fall semester. Students in this course will create goods inspired by the region that can go up for auction next year.
See the progress of this project through previous posts:
Yes, those are follow up questions taped to my computer.
Technology is fueling my study.
I am on WhatsApp, Facebook, Skype, Google, Zoom, and Outlook a good portion of everyday. I am taking Spanish lessons online and using Spanishdict for language support. I use Sonix for quick translation and transcription. I compensate my participants using Xoom. I used Survey Monkey for scheduling.
These technologies have made my data collection much more flexible. Interviews are at 7:00AM and 9:00PM, and all hours in between. If I was in person, I wouldn’t have been in people’s homes and I certainly wouldn’t have been there late at night.
There is something about talking to a stranger online that is socially easier. From a practical perspective, I can look up words and ideas more quickly, and I can type to clarify both sides of the conversation.
I, of course, wish I was in Guatemalan highlands. Online interactions can’t replace in person relationships. However, for my first study – this process is working. My rough goal was to leave Guatemala after 5 weeks with 10 – 15 interviews. I’ve completed 8 in the past two weeks, and am scheduling follow-ups. There are another 18 on the calendar, and ever few days more people sign-up.
Depth is still an issue for me. The reality is that I’m a new research, these are the first questions I have ever wrote, I am doing this online, and there is a language barrier. Guatemala isn’t expected to reopen to foreigners until at least January. So, for now, there are always follow-up interviews.
This award feels especially moving on days like today. I know my students are stressed, my research feels ‘up in the air’ and there is a giant 6 ft X 5 ft face mask waiting to be completed on kitchen table.
I feel humbled to be recognized by my department and alongside my fellow graduate students, many whom I’ve wondered around Justin Hall with for four years! I can only cross my fingers that it won’t go into year six. (Year five is seeming inevitable right now.)