Sunday, August 11, 2013

Don't mess with a Missionary Man.....

So, it has been over a year since I have posted. I will get to what I have been up to in that time, later. For now, I will introduce you to my human avatar, which has been shown in these virtual pages before. Her name is Calamity Juana. Yes, it is much easier to keep my alter egos with variations of the same name, and I have been answering to Juana now, for ages and ages it seems. Calamity Juana is a member of a Steampunk fusion dance troupe called "Ladies of Arabella Rose" and we've had a few shoots and some events lined up.

Today we had a photoshoot at Mission San Jose, in San Antonio. I wore this outfit. My Steampunk character is supposed to be from South Texas, (specifically the defunct Republic of the Rio Grande) and I have taken  pains to give her outfits that kind of flavor.  Many of the people in that area are technically criollo Tejanos, and not Mexican.  It seems like a slight distinction but one my relatives are very fussy about. Touchy points of pride and all that.

in front of the mission doors by juana manuel

The Mission is still in use and in this image I was wondering if I would have to escape because parishioners were still coming out the doors. I wanted to go inside but our outfits were a little too risque for that. We did go into several rooms that were obviously kitchen and living rooms. The walls are pretty thick for defense and for primitive A/C.

Here's a different shot of the same outfit.  I had a long discussion with my mother and examined two photographs of my great-grandparents during the early Edwardian Period.  There's not a great deal of visual evidence for what Tejanos wore but my mother was able to give me some anecdotal guidance based on the old people she saw and knew.  Generally clothing was very simple and somewhat vaguely kept to the style as best as they could.  My personal preference for a blouse and a dark skirt is apparently very much in line with what a lady of Juana's background would wear.
My preference for flashy colors and flamboyant styles was not at all typical of a Tejana lady apparently.  I was annoyed to find out that the custom of wearing all black to mass was not common in this area.  At any rate, the effect I was after was a neat elegance, with a bit of an equestrian flavor tossed in.  The bolero was a horror to assemble--the pattern is from 1863 and people were TINY then.  The pattern as it was unaltered would barely fit a child. It took some screaming and continual muslin making and even now it still needs a little work in the form of darts for more shaping. The grey lace mantilla on my head belonged to my grandmother, and I figured why not, since I was technically in a churchyard. The two bracelets on my arm were given to my by my grandfather when I was about 14, during a shopping expedition in Laredo. 

The Pious Leather Calamity Juana wears:

Black headband veil and mini top hat, from Claire's.
Leather corset from
Leather gloves from Amazon
Black linen skirt made from Burda 7894 patter
Beige lace shirt given as a gift from my mother
Bolero adapted from original 1863 pattern done in red silk chenille
Lunge whip borrowed from the barn
Megan wig by Sepia