Kat Crippen is a historian, writer, living history reenactor, costumer, and professional fiber artist. She holds both a B.A. and M.A. in History from Monmouth University, where she also taught as an adjunct professor in History. Kat specializes in economic history as well as the history of clothing and the wool industry.
Kat’s love of the performing arts began when she first saw the movie, “Singin’ in the Rain,” at the age of 13. She subsequently studied film history and credits the designs of Walter Plunkett with inspiring her to focus on historical costuming. She has worked in a range of theatre venues, including community, college, dinner, and off-off-off Broadway, costuming approximately 100 shows including musicals like “The Music Man” and “My Fair Lady,” plays like “Death Takes a Holiday” and “A Man for All Seasons,” and even Shakespeare with “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Taming of the Shrew.”
Occasionally appearing herself as an actress, Kat put her theatre training to a different use by combining her love of history with love of theatre. The result was the development of Cecily Tupholme, the Wool Merchant’s Daughter. Since every time period had a wool merchant, who’s to say the wool merchant did not have a daughter?
The Wool Merchant’s Daughter was originally a weaver, but somewhere along the line came the bright idea to weave with handspun yarns. Who knew that the learning curve was so long or that you never can weave everything you spin? So, knitting was added to the repertoire to break up the log-jam of yarns.
Every year, Kat and her husband take to the road, appearing at living history museums and events throughout the mid-Atlantic, demonstrating handspinning and weaving and generally emoting to the crowds about sheep and wool. She sells handspun yarn, historical costuming, and modern clothing based on historical designs.