Showing posts with label SCA events. Show all posts
Showing posts with label SCA events. Show all posts

Saturday, January 5, 2019

A&S Documentation

I spent the last several days writing up A&S documentation for two items I plan to exhibit at an Athena's Thimble panel later this month at Birka, an event in southern NH.

The first was the write-up for the pouch and goldwork I created last month. (See my blog entries in December for the Or Nue Heraldic Bee project.) 

The East has a very nicely codified rubric for judging A&S projects that gives entrants a clear expectation of how their project will be judged, and also helps ensure consistent judging from one project or event to another. I found a useful write-up with suggestions about how to write documentation for the East Kingdom A&S rubric. 

It had been some time since I last wrote up a paper like this, so it took me a while to get into the swing of things. But, based on the rubric and the article I mentioned above, I eventually came up with a documentation format that includes:

  • An introduction, describing the item
  • A picture of the item, in case the item and documentation get separated
  • The historical context, describing the historic precedent for the item or methods used in the art project
  • A list of materials used in my project, including description of they are similar to or replace period materials, and why any substitutions were made
  • The methods of construction, basically a description of how I created the item
  • The bibliography of works I consulted or quoted in this project write-up
Based on this, I created this documentation for the pouch project, and was pretty happy with the result.

Once that was done, I felt I was on a roll, and decided to write up the griffin embroidery sampler I created a number of years ago. This recently got a very warm reception in the populace vote at Autumn's Inspirations, but the A&S score on it was a bit low because I had no formal documentation accompanying it. I decided to enter the display at the last minute at that event, so I hadn't brought any documentation with me. 

The format I created above leant itself well to describing this project as well. I was able to write this up pretty quickly, as it was quite a bit simpler in A&S scope. It wasn't really ever created with the intent of entering it into an A&S competition, so I'm not terribly concerned about that. But, as I am planning to panel this for competency in Laidwork, the write-up will be useful. My documentation for this project can be found here.

It will be interesting to see how this documentation is received by the judges at Birka. I'm sure I'll get feedback that will allow me to improve both my future projects and future papers.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Or Nue Heraldic Bee, part V

In my previous post, I completed the gold and pearl work for my embroidered heraldry, and appliqued it to the fabric ground. Now it was time to fashion a pouch out of the fabric.

I patterned the pouch as an alms purse, or aumônière. These purses are commonly seen in 13th-14th century artwork, and there are quite a few extant pieces showing that they were often embroidered, decorated with beads and tassels. It is thought, based on the name, that they started out as a purse for the distribution of charitable alms to the poor, but that they eventually became a standard purse for carrying around everyday items. I liked the alms purse idea, however, as a way not only to display my work, but also to carry around artisan-related items, such as personal tokens to give out when I see others doing great A&S work, as well as cards with my contact info that I can give out when I meet new artisans and would like to connect. 

My aumônière is not based on any single piece, but was instead creatively inspired by a number of extant pieces. A great article can be found online here with a number of photographs and descriptions of period pieces. I also found quite a few on Tumblr using a simple web search, and put together an idea of what I wanted mine to look like.
Half-silk velvet purse with tassels at the Museum of LondonAnother purse in the Troyes Cathedral10th or 11thc Byzantine relic purseParisian purse from 1340, other side

The first step was to sew the pouch. The front and back pieces are made of a very pretty mulberry wool fabric. The liner is black linen. The inner and outer halves were sewn together, then assembled and blind stitched together across the top seam. I then buttonhole stitched four holes across the top of the front and back to hold the lace string that would tie the pouch closed. This was my first time sewing buttonholes like this, but I thought they came out pretty well. 




To create the laces and decorate the seams of the pouch, I used cotton embroidery floss (more durable and easier to weave than silk) to create a cord. The cord was whipcorded using the Viking whipcording method as described by Mistress Eithni on her website. First order of business was to create a simple distaff to hold my cording. I created this from a 3' long dowel and a popsicle stick, glued and tied together.

I then wound the thread (two skeins of each color) onto some wooden doll form bobbins I picked up at Michaels. Dangle these off the distaff, and you're ready to weave!

The weaving was pretty easy and goes very quickly. I was using a diagonal stripe pattern. The only difficulty I had was that when I would pause to wind up the braided cord or to let out more floss from the bobbin, I would sometimes lose my place and ended up cording, then having to undo and redo the cording when I realized the pattern had gotten messed up. But, in an hour or so, I had more than enough cord to complete the project. 

The resulting green and yellow striped cord looked perfect against the mulberry of the pouch, and was a very close match to the colors used in my goldwork. Here's a closeup of the resulting cord. I was concerned as I was whipcording that the resulting cord would be too thin, but when I got it off the distaff and compared it against the pouch, I found the size was just right. 


I blind-stitched the cord down covering the seams of the pouch. There was one smaller loop going around the pouch opening (where the inner and outer pieces were joined together), and a bigger one going around the outside seams. 

The outer loop started in the middle of the bottom of the pouch, and was extended at the top to create a "V" that can be used to hang the purse from my belt. A third loop was used as the drawstring. I used some silver beads I found to create a cinch on the purse string and to tip the laces, then created some tassels to finish off the laces.



A couple more tassels for good measure, and the purse was finally done! 


I'm very happy with the final result, and plan to present it at a panel for The Keepers of Athena's Thimble for competence in metal thread embroidery at Birka next month.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

A Mid-Winter's Celebration

Although we live in the Canton of the Towers, which is part of the Barony of Carolingia (Boston area), we're on the far north-eastern edge of the canton. This means that events in Maine and New Hampshire are sometimes closer to us than our own Barony. Back in October we visited Malagentia in ME to attend Autumn's Inspirations, and had a great time and were warmly received. Yesterday, we attended an event in Stonemarche (New Hampshire), called A Mid-Winter Celebration. As it was our first time attending, we weren't sure what to expect, but it was only 40 minutes away from us, so we decided to attend and find out.

And, I'm glad we did! The event was attended by about 90 people, which was apparently larger than expected. The day was very sunny but very cold, but the main hall stayed comfortably warm. We were immediately greeted at gate and given a warm welcome. The event was of the "gather and visit for the day" type with a midday feast, a small area for heavy fighting, an Arts and Sciences display table, and a well-orchestrated series of activities for the kids attending. Feast was yummy, and at the short baronial court after feast, all of the children were given presents - from what I could see, a number received Nine-Man's Morris boards, and others received some fun stuffed dragon toys. The younger children who were sitting near us seemed perfectly delighted with their haul.

We were happy to be joined at our table by milady Kathryn and her husband Brian from Stonemarche. We met Kathryn last month on our scribal field trip to the libraries at Harvard to view some of the medieval manuscripts there. It was fun sitting with them and getting to know them better. Kathryn showed me some of embroidery in progress, which was quite lovely. She later entered it in the A&S display, where it seemed to be well received in the populace vote. Lady Rachel of Rochester and her family were seated next to us, and I had fun chatting with them as well.

While at the event, I was particularly pleased to meet Lady Astriðr Sægeirsdottir (the event steward) and Lady Amalie von Hohensee (running the A&S display), who are also both needleworkers. I hadn't really intended to enter anything into the A&S display at this event as I was still working on my goldwork and hadn't any formal documentation for it. But, Lady Astriðr positively squeed with pleasure at seeing that someone else was interested in Or nue, and eventually brow beat me into submitting my work. I had a nice discussion with the A&S judging panel about my work, and they gave me some positive feedback on it. I was also able to discuss it briefly with another artisan gentleman at the event who also does goldwork (his name, unfortunately, escapes me). He was busy working the feast so we didn't get to chat long, but I look forward to seeing him again. Definitely by far the best entry at the A&S display was a very extensive project someone (again, I wasn't able to determine who) was doing to illuminate, callig, and bind several books. He had his work on display, along with much of his supplies and equipment, so it was a great exhibit of the entire process. He seemed to be winning in the popular vote when we had to leave, and it was well deserved.

The event was a lot of fun, and we were very glad that we attended. We made a number of new friends, and it's good knowing they're just north of the border from us. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone again at Birka next month!

I broke out my boyar coat and hat for the event, since it was so cold that day. The hat was popular and got petted. I had to stop quick at the grocery store on the way to the event, and the coat elicited a question from a confused local as to whether I was wearing my bathrobe. Sigh. The jacket turned out to be quite warm. I may need to make some gloves/mittens before Birka, however. It was really cold walking to/from the car that day.

Folks sitting around and visiting.

They eventually had to commandeer more tables to accommodate all the attendees for feast. The event was more popular than the event staff had expected. 

Our new feastgear, including the mug I won at Autumn's Inspirations.

A small area was set off for heavy combat.

Action shot!

The children were gathered in court and given presents. 

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Trying this blog thing again

It has many years since I last tried blogging, and now that I've resettled in MA, gotten active again in the SCA, and am doing new things in general, I decided to give it a shot once more. I toyed around with Blogger and Wordpress before deciding that I still like Blogger best. This blog will primarily be focused on my SCA experiences and projects. If this works out well, I may start another page for my mundane stuff like gardening.

After playing in the SCA in Northshield for more than 20 years, we moved to Baltimore and lived there in Atlantia for 4 years. I never really "gelled" with the group in Baltimore. Practices were held in a location that wasn't terribly convenient, especially once Toni started working in DC and getting back home late. We did go to a couple of fun events in Virginia and the Carolinas and met some fun folks, but our events were few and far between for various personal reasons. One big factor was Trip was aging, and finding kennels for the dogs was difficult (also a hefty drive). 

Earlier this year we relocated to the NE Massachusetts area, and have started playing again. I now live in the Canton of the Towers, part of the Barony of Carolingia. So far I've been to two events here in the East. The first was hosted here in Carolingia in September. It was a fun outdoor event where got to enjoy the fall weather for a bit. My friend Mistress Dreda was kind enough to introduce us to some of the natives, and I got to see a few folks from college and Northshield that I hadn't seen in years. We brought Cooper along to his first SCA event -- he enjoyed the attention a lot, but was a bit spooked by the noise from the heaving fighting, so we ended up having to leave a bit earlier than expected. 

Our second event was Autumn's Inspirations, held outside Portland, ME. The site was a lovely church in a small town, and the city, surroundings and weather were all quintessential New England Autumn. The event was a lot of fun! It had about 70 people, and was a day of classes and A&S. I taught two classes (Bayeux Tapestry Stitch, and Intro to Icons), which were both received well, and we ended up making several new friends throughout the day. This is pretty much my favorite kind of event, and I had a wonderful time with a bunch of great folks. Looking forward to seeing the "bad folk" from Malagentia again!


Cooper at his first event, September in MA

Ivan teaching his Bayeux Tapestry Stitch class to a packed room at Autumn's Inspirations. I had EXACTLY enough kits to go around. Unfortunately the handout was mangled by the printers, but the class went well anyway.

Fun pewter stickpin site token from Autumn's Inspirations. I'm not sure who created these, but they were a great idea.

At the last minute at Autumn's Inspirations, I decided to enter one of the show and tell items I brought along for my Bayeux Tapestry class in the A&S table. The piece was very well received, and I was honored to receive the popular vote, which came with the grey ceramic mug you see at the top as the prize. The box to the left shows all the popular vote beads I received. A few personal tokens were left behind as well. Not sure who they came from though!