The skills of yesterday are valid tools for today
Interpretive Living History Presentations
As the hearth is the heart of the home, I will begin there. I can cook on and open hearth, on a spit, on a hook, in a Dutch Oven, Cauldron, Kettle or Spider. I can make a Tripod of wood and cook on the ground, and bake in a wood fired oven. As a scratch cook, I can peel it, pare it, dry, preserve, and serve. I can sharpen a knife; butcher a chicken, a deer, and pig. I can make hominy from wood ash and field corn, grind corn with mortar and pestle, and then grind to flour with rocks. I can then make corn bread and churn the butter for it. I can chop meat for mince; make a cherry or whatever pie, with the most tender lard crust ever. I can render lard to make it pure, creamy, and white. I can also render tallow for food or candles, the very candles that I have dipped using hand spun wicks of the cotton I have picked, seeded and spun. If it involves food preparation, I can do it.
Moving on to other skills of a frontier woman, I can leach lye from wood ash and water, make the soap to wash the clothes that I have made of my own design, using a hand crank or treadle sewing machine. In washtubs filled with water that I have pumped from the well or dipped from the creek, carried by yoke and bucket to scrub on a washboard and dried in the sun. I can weave the cloth from yarn I have spun, of wool, linen, or cotton. I have grown flax and processed it with break scotch and heckle then dressed a distaff. I can spin by grate or Saxony wheel, or spindle or rock and naturally dye the yarns I have spun. If this has given a headache, I can also fix a willow bark tea for ease, or a soothing salve to balm. There are so many skills for life on the frontier and tools to use and master. I can whittle with a pocketknife, drill with a brace, a crank or a bow. I can load and shoot a flintlock (left handed) and shoot with a bow and arrow (though not so well) I can flint knap my own point or knife and start a fire with flint and steel. I can make a debris shelter, make whistles from acorn caps, maple spinners and grass, and play a Lap Dulcimer. I can fly fish, sail a boat, knit, catch worms, and paddle a kayak, though none of these things at the same time. Oh yes, and I can use a lever can opener and a P38 in an emergency.
Interpretive Living History Presentations
Mrs. Clark as edutainer offers historical performances for education and entertainment.
Costumed storyteller Mistress Clark brings topics of women on the Colonial frontier of America, as an indentured immigrant, a wife, a necessary woman or a prisoner to life. As a guest speaker lecture or demonstrator Mistress Clark will touch your heart with stories that will perhaps inspire you today with the incredibly competent though anonymous women of yesterday. In the classroom, around a fire, or in the kitchen, the skills of frontier life are demonstrated in a hands on format. Therefore, whether it’s an hour a day or a weekend time, spent with Mistress Clark will hopefully leave you with a mark, a grin, a sigh, or a skill. Most of all you will part knowing that the skills of yesterday are valid tools for today.
First person interpretations of the following historical figures:
- Martha May from the Carlisle Jail: This is a costumed first person vignette, based on the actual letter written in 1755.
- From a Scottish cottager to New York nurse, 1745-1777: By combining the facts of history with human nature a real time woman was created for this performance.
- Abigail Adams, a moment of reflection of her life with John: Bits and snippets from the life of a woman torn between the trials of running a farm alone, and the national patriotic demands on her husband.
- The Colonial immigrant experience: As seen by woman from Scotland in the mid-18th century. Another created woman who tells the story of immigration from the perspective of the immigrant.
- Vignettes of an opinionated woman following her husband with the army; based on the individual campaigns: Battle of Carillon, Fort Necessity, and Moore’s Creek Bridge.
- New found freedom for women in Colonial America
- Domestic manufacture in spite of the Crown
- Working class clothing of the mid-18th century
- Various topics: too numerous to list.
If there is a particular topic of Interest I would be glad to research and speak on that also.
Hands on programs
- Flax preparation and spinning
- Wool working
- Candle dipping
- Traditional food preservation and preparation, (i.e. hominy, puddings, rendering lard, and beverages.)
Speaker at the following Historical locations:
- Ticonderoga War College, Fort Ticonderoga, Ticonderoga, NY
- Crown Point State Historic Site, Crown Point, NY
- Old Fort Niagara, Youngstown, NY
- Deerfield Village, 18th Century Women’s Weekend, Deerfield MA
- Historic Martin’s Station, Cumberland Gap, Virginia
- Indian Week: Native American Storyteller, Leipzig, Germany
- Schloss Palace, interpreting Native American history as a captive, Fulda, Germany
- Blair Castle, Spinning wheel repair, demonstrating, storytelling, and teaching Jacobite history, Blair Atholl, Perthshire, Scotland
To bring history and heritage into a real world experience, in an effort to put a face on the anonymous hard-working women and families that helped build this country, I have created a user friendly, hands on interactive educational programing for students to engage in historical analysis and interpretation. Students are there by able to compare and contrast differing ideas, behaviors, values, and personalities along with institutions by identifying differences and similarities.