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Ready for My Close Up

If you follow my Faceboook page, you may have seen me posting about the fact that I was modelling last weekend. But I figured you guys wouldn’t want to hear about that.

Kidding. Course I’m going to blog about it. It was excellent.

So frequent readers may remember my friend Maddie. On this blog, you’ll have heard about the travelling we’ve done together, like Bucharest, Berlin and Prague. But this time it’s a blog post based in England. In south London to be exact.

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Maddie and Kyle looking very professional.

Maddie’s doing an MA in fashion and as a fashion student she has to create a final collection. And how else to show off a final collection but with models. Now, as you may be thinking, I am not a model. But part of the inspiration behind Maddie’s collection was the idea that clothes should be able to be worn by anyone, rather than just models. Radical, I know. So she asked friends to model, and I am one of those friends.

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Who wouldn’t want me to model?

She also asked our friend Beth who you may or may not remember from my Grand European Adventure, parts 2, 3 and 4 and so after I finished work on Friday, me and Beth headed down to the Big Smoke to pretend like we know how to act in front of a camera.

On Saturday, it was all hands on deck as there were some last minute clothes fittings. There were five of us in total who were modelling. Me, Beth and Maddie, who you guys already know, as well as the very lovely Lucy, who has actual modelling experience, and the fantastic Rosie, who you can read more about here at her blog. Me, Beth and Rosie submitted ourselves to Maddie and Lucy, who were far more agile with a makeup brush, and eventually we were all primped and preened and ready to kick ass.

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Lucy had a steady hand and make up skills.

That first day we did a standard photoshoot, with a white backdrop and some excellent pouting. The photographer was Kyle Jones who you may remember designed the Facebook banner for my Facebook page. An excellent photographer, film maker and graphic designer who’s just moved to London and also happens to be the brother of one of my university housemates. But I’m totally unbiased. Seriously, he’s good at what he does. Check him out here.

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Kyle really liked this picture. I impressed a photographer with my photo off a phone, guys. 

While I felt like an idiot in front of the camera, I felt like less of an idiot than I had at graduation in a motorboard, so that’s good. Maddie’s clothes were a) amazing and b) super comfortable. Putting my own clothes back on was really sad, though I was far less concerned that I was going to spill something on them or rip them or something.

Maddie pouts

Photo credit: Kyle Jones

When in doubt, pout.

On the Sunday, we were filming. That’s right. We made a video too. Maddie’s collection is called Where is May Morris? and focuses on the erasure of women in the design industry. Therefore, she decided that in the video we were going to be a guerrilla girl gang, in a feminist den.

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Pink spray paint is a lot of fun.

Making the den was ridiculously fun. There were heels and nail polish every, as well as books and weaponry and generally everything you need to smash the patriarchy. Good times. And when we’d sufficiently made our den look kick ass, then we had to film. We did various things. Planned our next moves on a map with a knife through it, painted nails, read A Vindication of the Rights of Women by Mary Wollstonecraft. All kinds of stuff.

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I have so many photos of the den. It was so cool.

Oh, and Rosie gave us a crash course in how to fight LARP style. LARP, for those unaware, stands for Live Action Role Play and you get to attack people with foam swords. (Obviously this is a very brief summary. For more, you should check out Rosie’s blog). And so, in wonderful clothes, and with Kyle greatly amused by our concern about hitting each other, we learnt how to kill. Well, I suppose hit would be a more appropriate verb.

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Rosie hacked a plant to pieces at our encouragement.

Eventually though, the fun was over and we had to give back the clothes and head home. Not before we’d taken apart our feminist den. It was a truly great weekend. Maddie’s made some incredible clothes and I’m really glad that I got to help her out.

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Maddie was very happy with us.

If you want to know more about Maddie’s collection there are posts on the UCA MA Showcase 2015 Facebook page, or come to the exhibition of all of the students’ work between 18-23rd September at The Rag Factory, 16-18 Heneage Street, London, E1 5LJ. If for nothing else, to laugh at me pretending to be a model.

I leave you with the nerve wracking video of Maddie spray painting a professional camera.

#WhereisMayMorris?

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Suhl’s Cool

In my last post, I mentioned that Suhl (a town in Thüringen) has a weapons museum. This is because Suhl was initially a base for metal processing, which led naturally into gunsmithing, armoury and cannon making. It was very important for the German weapon industry, which is a covert way of saying it was one of the centres of weapon production during World War Two. Nowadays, it has Germany’s only school for armourers and, I believe, still produces rifles etc for sport and hunting.

I’m a huge weapon fangirl. Not so much for the damage that they can cause, but the mechanics and intricacies of them. Swords, guns, crossbows. You name it, I’ve probably fangirled over it at some point. I think my parents took me to too many historical re-enactments as a kid. The main reason I want to go to New York is the Arms and Armour exhibit at The Met. (All contributions to my ‘Kat goes to New York’ fund are gratefully received.) So yes, me plus a weaponry museum equals kid in a sweet shop.

So to the weaponry museum. It cost me €5 for entry and the privilege of taking photos. The bottom floor is a display about the geology and history of Suhl, which basically explains how it makes perfect sense for Suhl to have been an industrial town based around metal working. I did not read most of it.

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A pistol and knuckledusters. What more could you want?

The first floor is much more interesting. It’s a display of many different kinds of guns, from teeny tiny pistols to ones taller than me. They’re arranged by use, so there’s a section for hunting, a section for sporting activities including a subsection on the Olympics, and a section on war. There were a couple of other sections as well, but they weren’t as interesting.

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Actual swords hidden in canes.

I spent most of my time skipping (not literally) from display to display case, getting weird looks from middle ages men and taking all of the photos. I also got to shoot an electronic rifle. There’s a tiny shooting range. You have the choice of two rifles and I naturally picked the biggest. It was super heavy, but I still managed to score fairly highly. The woman in charge thought I’d shot before. Which thinking about it, yes I have. But I sucked at clay pigeon shooting and that was…oooh, 7 years ago. So yeah. She also asked where I came from and said my German was good. I like people who tell me my German is good.

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Guns from WW2. I have no wisecracks.

 After hitting up the weapons museum gift shop – no, I did not buy a gun, yes, I did by alcohol billed as weaponry oil – I met up with one of my colleagues and her husband, whose name I believe is Dettcliff. He’s a blacksmith in Suhl, and works at a forge, naturally enough. The forge has been there for at least 150 years, and the main part of it is now a museum. But I got to see the actual workshop as well. It was all kinds of cool, though trying to follow an explanation of the smithing process in German was super difficult.

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My hosts – Maidlin and Dettcliff

Once we’d had the full tour, we headed to their house, for coffee and cake. Well, tea and cake in my case. I met their middle daughter who was all kinds of lovely, and we generally chatted and it was really nice.Then me, Maidlin and Dettcliff went on a walk up a frankly gigantic hill, to the ruin of celtic settlement. The sun was setting and the light was phenomenal. It was definitely worth the effort, though I haven’t climbed a hill that big since I finished Duke of Edinburgh.

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Dat panorama.

To round off the day in a truly German fashion, we had bratwurst, beer and potato salad. Basically, it was a fantastic day. I can’t sum it up better than that. Yay for lovely people and decent places.