Katherine Mansfield was one of my earliest introductions to New Zealand – we read some of her short stories (The Garden Party and At the Bay) in high school, and that, combined with learning poi dancing in primary school, was all I really knew or thought of New Zealand as a child or teen.
So when I moved to NZ, of course I was interested to visit the museum that has been made from the house she was born in.
For the last year I’ve been privileged to be involved with the museum – giving a talk about fashion and Mansfield last year, and lending items for exhibitions.
Last weekend I got to do a photoshoot at the Katherine Mansfield House & Garden museum: dressing two models up as characters from her life & writings, and posing scenes in the house. We imagined the shoot as Mansfield remembering her childhood and thinking up stories and writing up little sketches – a mix of reality and fantasy, memories and plots.
There was, of course, an official photographer, with the full equipment setup, but I got to take little candid snaps behind the scenes, and of the models when they weren’t on-set (and I wasn’t in the midst of changing them and re-doing their hair).
Here are some of my favourites, serious and not serious:
Many thanks to the museum for having me, and to the fabulous models for getting so excited about dressing up all day.
ZOMG, I want those shield-back dining chairs! The best part about museums is being able to see things that you love being cared for in such interesting ways. Your work sounds so interesting. What do you think of Lucy Worsley? I like how she has made museums interactive, and meeting people where they are.
Beautiful! I’m fascinated by that extra tie on the apron. Was that a historical way of getting the apron to sit just right?
The apron intrigues me too – I’ve never seen one like that. Shaped so you could reach your skirt pockets? All the aprons I have go nearly all the way round to centre back so don’t need that extra tie.