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The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

Style Profile: Catherine Atwell

Atwell models a Chinese tunic from her travels. Photo by Annabelle '15.
Atwell models a Chinese tunic from her travels. Photo by Annabelle ’15.

History and Social Sciences Instructor and Department Head Catherine Atwell has returned from her extensive travels with numerous unique articles of clothing. Her ensemble in this photo features silk brocade from Yunnan, a province in China, bought this past summer when she visited Southwest China.

“I think the cut is elegant, and I think the embroidery is really neat,” Atwell said.

In her closet she also keeps abayas and hijabs from Saudi Arabia, sarees and a kameez from India, a kimono from Japan, a traditional ceremonial hat from Mongolia and many other items.

“I am very interested in textiles, and I particularly like embroidery from Central Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. I like things that are a little more abstract,” she said.

Atwell explained that her travels and purchases have been shaped by her interest in history and that she has enjoyed learning firsthand about the cultures that she has studied and taught.

“Teaching World History is a great way to discover places that you might want to visit. For example, when I went to India, after having taught Indian history, it made the experience so much richer and also enhanced my teaching when I came back,” she said.

Everywhere Atwell goes:

1. Atwell lived in Kenya in the early years of her life.

2. Atwell lived in Prague, Czech Republic, right after the fall of the Berlin Wall. She  also witnessed the fall of the Soviet Union while living in Russia during graduate school.

3. During the summer of 2012, Atwell visited South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe with her mother and sister.

4. In the second semester, Atwell is teaching an elective for juniors and seniors called Costumes and Culture. Students will study how dress and ideas about appearance have changed over time across different cultures. Atwell plans to bring in many of her clothes from the different places she has traveled.

5. To date, Atwell has visited 51 countries. Currently, her most visited continents are Europe and Asia, but she hopes to explore more of the Americas, particularly Peru, Argentina, and Patagonia. She also hopes to visit Antarctica sometime soon.

6. Atwell brought her Jack Russell terrier, Humphrey, on a number of trips. Humphrey visited Morocco, Italy, Spain, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Austria, Germany, The Czech Republic, Canada and Mexico.

7. Her favorite places are Myanmar, which she visited five years ago, Southern Africa, which she visited during the summer of 2012, and Mongolia, which she visited this past summer.

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