Every now and then a news story pops up that make me giddy. This one, about finds of exceptionally fine, and well preserved, cloth from Bronze Age Britain is one of those.
There is more to being Norse than just the Viking era! For those interested in the Middle Ages, Norway has a wealth of finds from that period as well. You can check out some of the information on the SCA Medieval Norway Facebook group run by frú Þora Sumarliðadóttir:
You can also take a look at one of the very interesting finds from the period here:
Yes, this time period is totally on my to-do list ;-)
The Pennsic A&S Display is awesome. If you are going to War, you should plan to go (Middle Sunday in the Great Hall starting at 1pm). There will be things that are mind blowing in a massive way. There will be pretty things and tasty things and things with lots of documentation. There really IS something for everyone to see and be inspired by.
There will also be newer artisans displaying. You do NOT have to be a Laurel to display. You do not need to be a master at your craft. You need to have a love of what you do, have a piece you want to share, and hopefully get feedback on, and have the guts to put it out there. That is it.
My first experience with the display was in 2012. I had never, ever displayed before at that point (despite having been in and around the SCA for 20 years). I was not new to sewing, and was not new to documentation or teaching. I had only done one small competition in my Shire. All I had to show that first year was a hand sewn aprondress, which is quite possibly the simplest garment one could make.
Further, that garment (and its documentation) had (still has, lol) some flaws. But I was very proud of my sewing and I opted to put it out there.
The entire experience was fabulous. I made friends with those who had displays near mine. I met SO many people. I had fantastic conversations with several people about not only the dress I was showing, but the one that I was wearing at that time (which was the first Viking garment to which I had added silk trim). I spoke to Laurels from my Kingdom and I can say that those women were so very nice that if I ever even thought of having "Peer fear" that the very notion would have diminished on the spot. Mistress Rhiannon y Bwa even took pictures of my documentation to read later. I was completely flattered that she actually wanted to read it. Mistress Hrefna gave me her email address and I contacted her later and she gave me leads on some additional research (even mailed me a copy of an item I had not been able to source on my own). I somehow even ended up talking excitedly to Mistress Tseevia (I am sure I botched the spelling there) about linen mangling and it was suggested to me that that might make a good article for an AEstel AExtra (and while it never made it there, it did end up happening eventually and did end up an article on my blog and a winning competition entry). That was all at my very first display! I also came home with a handful of little trinkets and beads and favors that people leave as tokens when they like something. I did not even know that was a thing, but even today I look at my little bling box and am touched at all of the favors people gifted me with over the years.
I said there are things wrong with that dress, and I will also say that no one pointed them out as being glaring mistakes. It simply did not matter. People shared my geek and I walked around and shared theirs. I got advice, and compliments, and ideas on new directions.
I have gone to classes and demos run by people I met at displays, simply because I got a taste of their art and wanted more. Most importantly, it started me on building a network of other artisans with whom I can share ideas, share research, or refer others too if they come to me with questions on something out of my field.
I cannot encourage people enough to not only attend the display, but to engage with the artisans. You never know what you will learn or who you can help. Gasp in awe at the master works, but also take time to encourage the novices (as it takes far more courage for them to lay it out there than a more seasoned artisan).
And if you want to display at some point, start putting those ideas together now. If you want help making it happen, I will try to aid you or find someone who can. It really is an encouraging, incredible experience and it was, honestly, game changing for me.
THIS what A&S is the SCA is REALLY about.
Hope to see y'all at the display this year!
Last year I discovered that there was a pavilion set up at war dedicated entirely to fiber arts. There were a host of classes held there, including things like dyeing, fiber tools, and spinning. I stopped in and got to see first hand a communal weaving project. It was very laid back and seemed like a great deal of fun. (One woman showed up and asked if she could dye something, was told yes, and proceeded to slip out of her overdress and walk over to the dye vat!)
This year, the Pavilion is in a better location (as part of an easement that Atlantia Royal has granted to artisans) and will be having many get-togethers on a variety of topics. I highly recommend that those interested in fiber arts stop by and check it out.
Particularly of interest to me are two classes offered by THLady Fiadnata ó Gleann Àlainn, from the Barony of Flaming Gryphon, Midrealm:
Monday, August 8th, 10AM - 12 Noon: Preparing Flax for Spinning - Fiadnata ó Gleann Àlainn
We'll take freshly-retted flax and process it for spinning: Break the flax, Scutch the plant material and get rid of as much as possible, Hackle the fibers to get rid of the tow and more plant material, and finally clean the last of the plant material out using hand combs. (You'll be surprised how clean you can get flax!)
Thursday, August 11th, 10AM - 12 Noon: Preparing Wool for Spinning - Fiadnata ó Gleann Àlainn
We'll take freshly-washed wool (depending on conditions, we may wash some wool there), and using both hand combs and hand cards (and a drum carder, if we have time), we'll get the wool cleaned and ready for spinning. (And we may even do some spinning, if we have time.)
If you want to see more about what will be happening in the Pavilion before war you can check out the Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1692833997614226/
I also recommend just dropping by during war to see what all the artisans are doing!
I am mother to a billion cats and am on journey to recreate the past via costume, textiles, culture and food.
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Blogroll of SCA & Costume Bloggers
Below is a collection of some of my favorite places online to look for SCA and historic costuming information.
More Amie Sparrow - 16th Century German Costuming
Gianetta Veronese - SCA and Costuming Blog
Grazia Morgano - 16th Century A&S
Mistress Sahra -Dress From Medieval Turku
Loose Threads: Cathy's Costume Blog
Mistress Mathilde Bourrette - By My Measure: 14th and 15th Century Costuming
More than Cod: Exploring Medieval Norway