Behind the scenes in the workroom
On this page, I will be highlighting some of the things we get up to behind the scenes in a job where there is never a typical day!
As Assistant to the Costume Curator, Charlotte Eddington works closely with me to manage the collection and produce the annual fashion exhibition. She’s played a vital role in the fashion department for over 15 years.
Charlotte has a wide range of skills which well equips her for day to day life at Killerton. Although we have routine tasks to attend to, every day is different and there’s always a new challenge.
A typical day might begin with a meeting or catching up with database work. Preventive conservation forms much of the department’s ongoing work, encompassing storage and packing, condition checking, pest and light monitoring, and mounting objects for displays. From time to time there are new projects, often tying in with Killerton's annual exhibition.
Charlotte explains a little more to me about the autumn schools project which she is currently preparing. The Schools Apple Quilt project has become a permanent fixture on the Killerton calendar.
‘It’s one of my favourite things’, says Charlotte, as she cuts fleece fabric to back the squares, ‘I really like going into schools teaching the children to sew. Not all of the children are academic, and it’s great to help them to have this opportunity to be creative’.
Some children might be reluctant to show interest at first, but after a few weeks Charlotte has them stitching enthusiastically.
" They might start off disinterested, but then they will tell me that Granny is buying them a sewing kit, or that they want a sewing machine for Christmas, and that’s brilliant! They get so much from having the opportunity to create."
The schools project grew from a very successful apple quilt project a few years ago, designed and made by Charlotte with an adult sewing group. Replica costumes are also made. In 2018, Charlotte designed suffragette sashes, outsourced them to volunteers to make up until 40 sashes were ready to dress the Killerton suffrage choir.
And the most important part of Charlotte’s role?
" Looking after the collections, and sharing what we have with people. Fashion is a very ‘sexy’ subject. It’s something we can all relate to."