Monthly Archives: December 2013

Sposa Dantiscana: update

I have a secret checklist – things I feel like I need to know I can do at certain levels of mastery of my craft.

One of these is “make an intermediately complex piece of garb between one event and the next.” Themed garb for made specially for a given event is definitely A Thing in the Outlands; but until fairly recently, I’ve been so busy building newbie kit and doing stuff in other fields that the timeframe from “X is the next piece of garb on the to-do list” to ready-to-wear has been about six months. A year ago, when I contemplated (around the first of November) making a dress for Caerthan 12th Night, the prospect was overwhelmingly daunting, and I ended up deciding against trying. But I’ve made a lot of progress on time and project management since then.

I decided on December 2 to make this ensemble, bought the bulk of the fabric on December 8, and started sewing on December 14. Last night, I tried it on for the first time. There are a couple of bobbles, of course. I don’t like the profile of the dress over the (also new) Elizabethan corset, and think one of my Victorian corsets will match the profile in the woodcut better, so I’ll be wearing that instead. And the sleeves are just a titch short, so I’ll be removing the interfaced cuff and putting an added cuff on. But other than that, it fits perfectly and looks amazing. I’m hoping to get some really good pictures at 12th Night.

My plan is to wear the ensemble as-is – just fabric construction – for this event, and then to spend a couple of evenings, before each future event I wear it at, adding sparkle to it. Goldwork embroidery on the velvet edging of the doublet bodice, then next time maybe adding piping to the panes of the sleeves, or edging out the bands on the skirt. Eventually it will be very heavily worked over indeed, but it can be worn in the meantime and look perfectly fine.

previously: Sposa Dantiscana.


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Statement of purpose

I spent some time recently going through some old Livejournal posts, looking at old project lists to see what I’ve let fall through the cracks and what I’ve accomplished, and I came across this, written about fifteen months ago (and lightly edited for publication here). It was a refreshing, needed, perspective-altering re-read.

What do I REALLY want out of the SCA?

1.) I want to build a community of friends and associates whose company I enjoy. People I respect, and whose respect I want to earn. That means going to events, and having the energy and free time at events to actually enjoy the company of my friends, which means a sufficiently well-equipped and smooth-running encampment and self-aware and responsible choices about when and when not to camp. It means maintaining my own house as a social space. And it means socializing, and maintaining social relationships, with these amazing people, outside the game as well.

2.) I want to contribute, in a meaningful and personally satisfying way (if only in my own small corner of the world) to the overarching ever-evolving self-definition of the Game and Society. That means seeing the shire on a stable and lasting footing. That means fealty to my Laurel and my Crown, not just in word but in deed. That means representing, with honor and dedication, every order to which I may be honored to be made a Companion and every office which I may hold.

3.) I want a context and an audience for research that I think is important and valuable, but that I will never have the professional background to perform formally. That means, as in any research practice, not just doing the work, but presenting it through teaching, competition, and durable venues.

4.) I want a context and an audience for an art practice that I find creatively and spiritually satisfying. Again, that means not just doing the work, but presenting it through documentation, competition, and gifting.*

*(I have academic background in fine arts and also in sociology and ethnography. At various times in my life, I have been a working artist and planned a career in the social sciences. My life took a different course, obviously, but I believe that there is a place in both the social sciences and the arts for passionate, autodidactic amateurs, and one of the lovely things about the SCA is that it offers a space for those amateurs.)

What grounds you? What is it that you want and find in this game, and what do you consider your responsibilities to it? How does the relationship between big-picture desires and satisfactions and the (sometimes tedious, tiring, or daunting) labor to accomplish those desires play out for you?

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Sposa Dantiscana

I’ve been wanting to expand my garb outside Iron Age tribal, while staying in persona, for a while. The two projects I’m most excited about, but have found most daunting, are 16th century Commonwealth and 14th-15th century Lipkowie Tatar (which will be my fighting garb when (if? when?) I eventually get my heavy kit together.

I’ve been poking about the research on both in fits and bursts for a couple of years, but I’ve been having a hard time finding anything with a distinctive “look” – something that’s obviously not Western European or German. Recently, I came across this crazy awesome 1590 woodcut of a Polish matron, and I knew that it was THE DRESS. I happened to be in Denver the following weekend, and they happened to have apple-green silk on sale for $8/yard, and it happened to mate well with a bronze-and-green damask I already had, and I was off and running.

I have a Big Sewing Weekend planned for the weekend coming up: personal banners, some garb promised for a friend, but mainly THIS DRESS. Process photos to come!


image source: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
MFA for Educators online educational collection
Sposa Dantiscana,” plate from Gli Habiti Antichi et Moderni di Diversi Parti del Mondo

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Gratification, instant and otherwise

I’ve been working on a lot of projects lately that will have hundreds of hours invested in them by the time they’re done. The Motiño translation/feast/KA&S research and presentation.  A heavily blackworked 16th century shirt. Weaving. Spinning. The Great Baltic Mapping Project. The costume directory.

I love the process involved in these crazy, massive-scale projects, but I also get frustrated and discouraged sometimes with them on a more abstract level. Mostly it’s when I’m talking to other people about my work – when our A&S officer is collecting anecdata for the monthly report and it’s, “yep, still working on that same thing… again…” Or when I realize, while sitting companionably with a friend sewing at an event  in the fall, that I was sitting with the same friend, working on the same project, at the same event the previous year – that happened this weekend! Or when I see something really cool come across the works-in-progress Facebook group my Laurel administers, and once again, I have nothing to contribute.

Last week I started a new spinning project – the first step in a bigger endeavor, of course – and in the course of a 110-minute movie, I spun up 70 yards of size 2/3 silk embroidery thread. It was so satisfying to just see something come together, to hold a finished skein in my hand at the end of the evening.  I think I need a little more instant gratification in my life! Convenient, then, that it’s coming into the holiday and feast season. So! Banners. Cosmetics. Spice blends. Small gifts of block-printed stationery. I suddenly have so many ideas!

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Filed under meta, sca life, textiles