My teaching box is wide open at the moment, spilling its secrets. Let me give you a photograph.
Not everything is there. This is because of the reason it’s open. I’m teaching a course on writing using your own voice, and that requires objects from the box. This means those objects are out of reach tonight – they’re gaps in an otherwise-overcrowded hatbox.
Those gaps aren’t terribly visible because they’re hidden by white soft plastic. Inside that bag is one of my newest teaching items.
It’s the model for a dress and has (to the best of my knowledge) never been worn. A one-off made to show the manufacturer what the dress would look like. It was made in Melbourne for a firm that had a warehouse in Flinders Lane, just off Swanston Street.
The waist is 62cm and the height about 104 cm, so it’s for a non-existent tall, slender woman who likes black. There’s so much potential for story in this. I envy my own students.
Because this dress is new to me, I don’t know much about it yet. I think this dress is from the 1950s. It can’t possibly be earlier than 1933 or later than 1971, because I know a bit about the firm that ordered it and those were the critical dates.
I’m very happy to hear your thoughts on it, and can take photographs of particular details if that will help. This is one of the great things about my hatbox: it’s for me to learn from as much as it’s for my students.
These pictures will help with the discussion, I hope.