In October 2019 the 2nd LFGI event was help on the K-State Campus. Nearly 40 attendees learned about the project, and listened to Dr. Sherry Haar and Kelsie Doty speak on natural dyes. All attendees got their own visible mending kits which included sashimi thread and needles, coconut buttons, and instructions.
Addie, Lauren, & Claire touring the costume collection with Marla Day.
When someone says ‘It takes a village’ they may be talking about teaching Fashion History from the Renaissance until present day for the first time. Taking on this course, which is also the department’s core writing course, was exhausting and rewarding.
Step 1 – I contacted my mentors Abby Lillethun, Linda Welters, and Margaret Ordonez. Abby shared advance copies of their research, made sure I knew the latest teaching trends in history, and gave the best advice – which was to start the class with an overview of ethnocentrism. Dr. O kindly sent me files, advice, and answered lots of questions throughout my semester. (I had no idea that she started the historic collection here at K-State!)
Step 2 – I reflect on my personal knowledge and my personal bookshelf. I’ve been teaching for over 6 years at the college level, and have been obsessed with fashion since I was 8. I have a lot of books. From my own experience, I started the class with a review of the pillars of culture, as presented by Either and Evenson. This gave me a format, that I applied to each history period as I moved forward. I’ve only formally taken 20th Century Fashion, so I had a lot to learn along with my students. For every period I didn’t know I went through our interlibrary loan to gather sources upon sources.
Step 3 – In person resources are so valuable! It never made sense to me why teachers don’t tap into the skills of others at a university. Marla Day, our costume collection curator, was an invaluable resource. She gave guest lectures, employed interested students in the collection, introduced me to the teaching collection, and offered a lot perspective throughout the semester. Ellen and Tom became our course librarians. They stepped in on on research days, writing days, and when I had a death in the family. They even reached out to students, who I knew were stuck to offer extra guidance. The writing center introduced the class to the world of annotated bibliographies – not a fan favorite, but absolutely a mission critical assignment.
Step 4 – Fashion history requires a lot of images. When I build a lecture I look for high quality resolutions and accurate citations. If you don’t use Google Arts and Culture, why aren’t you? It connects you to collections from thousands of museums across the world.
In summary, this class took over my life. I couldn’t tell you how much progress was really made on my dissertation during the Fall 2019 semester. I can tell you that I have a new found passion for history, and the utmost appreciation for my colloquies.
Science on Tap is a regular event held at the Tallgrass Taphouse in Manhattan, KS. It is a great opportunity for graduate students and faculty to share their work and a fun time for the community who get to grab a local beer and learn something new.
Science Communication Week is an annual event at K-State and other partner universities. For SciCom Week I was invited to present a little about my research area. For this evening, titled [Imagine]ing Impact, I walked participants through the ‘3 Ps’: People, Planet, Profit, and my personal 4th ‘P’. Participants shared stories about their clothing, what they knew about who made it, where it was made, and its environmental impact for 3 hours! It was a great experience and I’m thankful to Sunset Zoo for the opportunity to share my passion. I’m also thankful to my student, Gigi, who acted as my personal ‘Vana White’ and helped showcase my photos.
My photos on display to help create dialogue.
On one of the lovely evenings in the Kansas Fall a group of students, community members, and zoo supports gathered at Sunset Zoo for the showing of River Blue on the outdoor big screen. River Blue is a documentary that shares the impact of the fashion industry processes on rivers around the globe. I had the pleasure of introducing the film and answering the public’s questions at the conclusion.
Thanks to the K-State Green Action Fund the LFGI project continued into its second year with a new group apparel production and design specialization students in Dr. Sherry Harr’s AT300 course. Madder root, cochineal, titanium oxide, and logwood came to life on hand-woven cotton made by the weavers in Choa Cruz, Solola, Guatemala. The outcomes from this year’s group will go up for auction in 2020. All funds will return to the project, which includes sustaining our relationship with our weavers.
At the end of July 2019 I went back to my favorite city for the Fashion in Sustainability conference at Regents University London. At this event I presented two posters and held a discussion on sustainable design. I was also able to listen and meet up with fellow LCF MAFE alumnae and lecturers. Other highlights included seeing the new Design Museum (above) and the Colliding Cultures exhibition at the Imperial War Museum. The IWM is always my favorite visit and never fails to leave me with lots of fashion/sustainability inspiration. It is never not worth the visit to Zone 3.
Much love to my original co-panelist Karl Aspelund and Natsai Audrey Chieza who were unable to attend due to family matters. I am very thankful to the group who attended my session, ‘What can we learn from Mars?’ who made it amazing experience.
Indigo Flower, photograph of the chemical reaction in a fructose indigo vat.
The Science to Art platform, supported by BioNexus KC, is a program focused on raising funds for STEAM programs in Kansas City. Photographs are submitted by regional scientist, and juried by an art and science panel. Selected photographs are displayed at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City.
Photographs were auctioned online until the BioNexus KC Annual Dinner in October, 2019. My photo, Indigo Flower, sold for $500.00. The bid was matched, and a total donation of $1000.00 went to STEAM programs in Kansas City.
This sums it up, I’m now Emily Oertling.
Winners from K-State Research and the State Graduate Research Forums go on to present at the Capitol Graduate Research Summit (CGRS) alongside other Regents Universities at the Kansas State Capital.
This was a great experience. I was able to talk to legislators from across the state about creating sustainable supply chains, environmentally friendly dye processes, and the impact of fiber crops. Although my project focused on natural dyes in India, it also utilized hemp. As this was a Kansas – centered event, I highlighted this aspect on my project, to easily talk to about the differences in water, pesticide, and land usage between corn, cotton, and hemp.
After the forum, I was asked by my local Representative, Sydney Carlin, to create documents to help the members of the House understand hemp as a fiber crop. These documents were also shared in the Kansas Senate.
Want to learn more about industrial hemp? See for yourself: Industrial Hemp
Recently receiving a notification from the Textile Society of America (TSA) made me realize that I never shared my presentation from the 2018 TSA Conference in Vancouver, BC.
First, I want to say I loved TSA! There was plenty of great chats on identity, appearance, and textiles. Plus, I got to see my lovely friend Dr. Margaret Ordonez and a fabulous presentation by my former Dean, Dr. Gerry Craig. I met some great textile/identity junkies like myself, including Jen from https://aana-jaana.com/ who works with Himalayan wool handicrafts. Overall, it was a great experience, and I hope to share my work in Guatemala at the conference in Boston.
A warp speed presentation for TSA consists of 20 slides, shown for 20 seconds each. My talk was a summary of my master’s work. It focused on the complexities of wear, and the relationship between wear, the body, and society.
To see the presentation: Local Wear, TSA
This work was shared with Eleanor Hannan, at Wilson School of Design in Vancouver, who requested its use in her Art of Mending course in May 2019.