Crafts of the Past

Each weekend from June through September, Fort Nisqually offers Crafts of the Past.  A different artist is “in-residence” at the Fort with displays and demonstrations of their work. Most will also offer visitors the opportunity to try their hand at the specific art

This was my weekend. 

–photo by their mother.  The young boy on the left was my most enthusiastic participant!

I had my period watercolor sketching kit on display and I also worked on a sketch during each day.  I had modern watercolors for visitors to use.  A couple adults participated but it was mostly enthusiastic children who wanted to give it a try.  I taught a wet-in-wet technique in which they thoroughly wet the paper and then dropped in color.  As the color “magically” spread across the paper, there were a few oooo’s and ahhhh’s of surprise.

I very much enjoyed the experience.  I’ve only been a volunteer for about a year and have only been interpreting for a few months.  I would definitely do this again next year.

To that end, I had a few lessons learned.  The three palettes of watercolors were enough but I needed 2 jugs of water. I need more paper and for this very wet technique, it should be 140# paper.    It would be best to teach the youngest children how to use a brush. Fortunately, I had student-quality brushes as they really took a beating.  The young ones used them like crayons, pressing very hard into the paper.  Do not teach them the splatter technique!  They are very vigorous and there was nearly paint on Elizabeth’s new white
collar which she’d left on the table with the plan to work on embroidery.  Also, encourage others not to leave anything on the table that can’t stand getting paint on it.  Staff in the Fort shop quickly learned to ask children to leave their still-wet painting on a paper towel at the front counter so as not to get paint on the shop goods.

I did one sketch each day from my vantage point on the veranda of the Factor’s house.

Before opening, I wandered the period garden.


Giant Musselburgh Leek c. 1834

All the photos are here


About redharparts

Born in Michigan. Attended undergrad and graduate universities there. I've lived in England, Germany, Southern California and now Washington (state). I'm a retired Medical Social Worker with a past specialty in Oncology. I've enjoyed exploring historical re-creation through the SCA. I costume in several fandoms. Lately I've returned to Art and have taken up Urban Sketching, a version of en plein air painting.
This entry was posted in 19th century interpreter, KIt and Supplies, Sketches and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Crafts of the Past

  1. joantav says:

    I had to smile at the lessons you learned, especially with the spattering. Having been a teacher I could just envision that. LOL Great photos of the day and nice sketches. It looks like such a fun thing to do.

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