Pronunciation and definition of dirndl.
Pictures of traditional dirndls and their modern misconceptions.
The Dirndl Project began as somewhat of a lark. I was halfway through my residency at the Grünewald Guild, when I got the idea to make my own dirndl. To fully explain the significance of the project, I must first share a little local history...
Leavenworth, WA is a very interesting and picturesque place. Set back into the Cascade Mountains, its main tourist draw is that it is a perfect replica of a small Bavarian village. Every street name is German, every store looks like a mountain chalet, even the McDonald's and Starbucks are built in the Old World style.
At first glance, one would assume that the area must have been settled by Bavarian immigrants whose descendants still have a strong sense of heritage and cultural pride. The truth is that in the 1960s, after a catastrophic downturn of the local economy, the community leaders decided to make a last ditch effort to save their livelihoods by reinventing the city completely. Because of the surrounding environment's striking resemblance to the Alps of Southern Germany, the plan was to recreate a Bavarian alpine hamlet and bring tourists (and their money) in with a variety of cultural programming.
Amazingly, it worked. Forty years later, over two million tourists come through Leavenworth every season--a feat which is made even more impressive by the fact that its population hadn't even reached 2,000 people in time for the last census. Major cultural events, like the Autumn Leaf festival, Christmas Market and tree lighting, Maifest, and Oktoberfest, draw hundreds of tour buses into the middle-of-nowhere Washington every season. It was living in this small city, and experiencing one of these festivals that sparked the idea for this project.
<<Blah Blah, I'm biracial and no one believes I'm Swiss, BLAH BLAH. The idea comes together, then we talk process. Enter some pics of the dirndl being made.>>