Carved Horns? (Part 1 QPT preparation)

Last QPT I decided to figure out how to do brass etching. It involved a highly toxic acid solution and provided some challenges given that it was too cold to work on my balcony.

Since I need to figure out five different ‘things’ to do in five different ‘categories’ for the Kingdom A+S Pentathalon, I’ve decided to start experimenting with one of the ‘harder’ categories. I’ll make a note that just because Ealdormere has decided to do away with the categories, does not mean I’ll edit my entries to suit. I would prefer that our Kingdom hold itself to the same standards as the rest of the Known World so that if at any point, I am lucky enough to be judged as the ‘winner’ of an Ealdormere competition.

Since horn-carving was something I’ve always been interested in that I haven’t tried yet, I’m going to give it a go for QPT. The Queen’s Prize Tournament is always a great place to take risks and get great feedback…if my carved horn works out? Wonderful, I’ll have completed one of my Pent entries, and if not…I hopefully will receive enough constructive criticism to know how to fix it for my Pent entry.

After working without a respirator for QPT last time, and after reading about how deadly and abrasive horn-carving dust can be, I have acquired some of the proper safety materials that may be required for this project!20160622_193742.jpg

 

I have also acquired 2 cow horns from the Fan Expo Tandy Leather Booth. I went out and bought a range of wet/dry sandpaper grits from 320-2000 to polish them up, and I have a wonderful rotary tool bit set that was a prize for Queen’s Choice which I won at Kingdom A+S last year! While I’m aware that those in medieval times may not have used a rotary tool and autobody sandpaper….like many of my current projects, I seek a final result, as opposed to an entirely period method of ‘getting there’. In this case, the ‘ends justifies the means’.

While most people associate carved horns with the Vikings, since my persona is not viking I did not necessarily want to do a celtic-themed horn. If I ever was to do a ‘viking’ horn, I would likely end up succumbing to my Marvel Fandom and do something entirely anachronistic with Loki/Thor related designs.

Instead I began my research at the Victoria and Albert Museum, The British Museum, and the MET Webpages which are amazing resources for quality photos of extant examples. I quickly discovered that there are not a lot of surviving horns that a) Fits my time-period and b) are actually made of cow-horn.

Herein lies dilemma #1. Most of my favourite examples of carved ‘horns’ are actually carved tusks. Elephant Ivory. Which from what I’ve read so-far, handles quite differently than horn, is super-illegal (and not something I’d want to touch even if it weren’t) and is also on a size-scale, significantly larger than my cow-horns.

I have decided that one of my ‘deviations’ from the period examples will be the material used. My second deviation will be a sacrifice of detail due to inability to reproduce it on a smaller scale, and the third and most obvious, tools used, will be modern.

All of that being said, I’m pretty excited to start working on them…I have begun to draw out the templates on a scale-able vector art program which I will print off and transfer via carbon-paper onto the horn so I can see how it looks before starting to carve.

Since I will not have an elephant (oliphant) sized horn to work with, instead of covering FRAGMENT.jpgthe entire surface, I will work off an early 14th century example from the Louvre which has decoration mostly at the top and tip, but in the style of carvings of the Borradaile Oliphant horn which is either 10th or 11th century Byzantine. The reason I’m attracted to the byzantine designs is because they include plenty of animals carved in relief with a variety of birds and monsters in interlacing circles. As my previous A+S projects attest: I’m kind of ‘into’ bestiary variants.

I’m not sure yet which beasts I’ll end up putting onto the horn, but because my own personal heraldry has a Stag on it, I will likely include one on the horn. I also really like peacocks, and I love the one that can be seen on this example on the right.

 

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Hungarian National Museum

My parents have been always on the edge of accepting my interests and quirks. They were supportive (emotionally and financially) through two theatre degrees and while I think they might have been happier if I’d pursued other avenues of study, they’ve always been there for me. When I joined the SCA, I think they were resigned to the fact that I was starting in on yet another hobby where I could justify my ‘hoarding’ of crafting materials.

All of that being said: They recently took a trip to Hungary. They asked if I would be interested in anything ‘historical’ there and I immediately suggested a trip to the Hungarian National Museum to see the Dress of Queen Mary of Hapsburg. Mom thought this was a great idea, and Dad was kind enough to document it as much as he could! As such, I’d like to share some wonderful photos as provided by my patient and loving parents.

Click on the thumbnail and you should be taken to a larger image!

Needless to say I’m pretty psyched by all of this. The belt plaques I think are my favourite piece that Dad photographed, but everything is so amazing, I wish I could have been there to see it in person! I’m debating using something here as an idea to inspire me for one of my Pentathalon or QPT entries.

An Excuse for Peacocks

 

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I like peacocks…like in an uncontrollable way. I -really- like peacocks, I love their haughty attitudes, their obnoxious crying noise, and their ugly women. I love the way they shake their tails, and the iridescence of their feathers. They are the most pimptastic of birds.

I have been looking for an excuse to make peacock-themed garb for quite some time. In fact, I’d been planning on making some for one of my medieval larp characters, but never got around to it.

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Their Majesties recently announced that the ‘theme’ of their reign would be ‘historically accurate fairy tales and folklore’ which is super-exciting to me.It means that I’ll likely make an accurate disney princess, but it also opens up the avenues for other folklore exploration.

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I might allow myself a ‘splurge’ and recreate a ‘Cranach Gown’ (debate on the historical accuracy of this dress to come later if I end up choosing to do one) as a version of Snow White.

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However, in my initial research into Russian and Slavic legends (as inspired by her Majesty’s persona) I discovered: The Firebird. Prince Ivan usually ends up chasing the damn thing out of garden of golden apples owned by the Tsar but in most illustrations, the firebird is a Peacock.

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I don’t know how I’m going to justify it, or what form it will take…but I WILL have peacock garb. Soon.

Coronation 2016 “Dirty Dozen Derby”

At Coronation it was asked that the populace compete in a “Largess Dirty Dozen Derby” which was hosted to help try to collect additional largess donations for the Barony and newly crowned Royals.  I had plenty of boxes stockpiled for such an occasion,  so I did up a bunch of bestiary-themed ones!

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The whole collection
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Owls, Rabbits, and Crocodiles!
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Parrots, Foxes, Goose, and Owls
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Bear, boar, wolf, and horse!

I hope that eventually these are gifted to deserving people who will appreciate them!

Post-dated Trillies (2016) Prep

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(View from the ‘front gate’ of Camp Arrochar)

I took some progress shots of my ‘boyish clothes’ for War of the Trillium 2016 and never got around to writing about any of it on my blog. I figured it was probably time to attempt to show off some construction of my bocksten tunics. I made them a bit longer and more fitted than ‘normal’ in order to attempt a slightly more feminine figure. While I believe I’ve failed to actually take any pictures of me in the final result, I was pleased with how cool the linen was to wear, given the heat of Trillies.

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Here’s one of them mostly put-together before I did significant ‘fitting’ but it’s a longish tunic that comes down almost to my knees. My braies were shorter than ‘usual’ so in some cases, if I didn’t belt my tunic to help it ride up a bit, it looked like I was scandalously going around without much on down below!

Gores and gussets are awful. I’m better with gussets than I am with gores, but the installation of such creatures will continue to plague and frustrate me. I attempted to show my progress and methods in a series of photographs, but I fear they do not do justice to my struggle for clean seams.

I also completed a gomlek, salwar, and an entari that I’d had ‘in progress’ since LAST (my first) Trillies! Since I was concerned about heat (I loved the pattern of the entari but it was a poly-beast fabric) I did not do a full lining, but wanted to stay true to the ‘flash of color’ that these garments are famous for, so I did a hand-stitched faux-lining at the edges of the sleeves, bottom hem, front opening, and collar.

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I shall endeavour to make a point of getting at least one decent full-body shot per event so I can start a better record of what these completed garments look like on a person!

More Hoods! This time as gifts.

Since their Majesties Nigel and Adrielle are stepping down today, I wanted to do something special for both of them to thank them for their service and to give them something to help remind them of their third reign.

I couldn’t think of what to make them, but since it is often said that people are often intimidated to make a Laurel (or somebody married to a laurel) any garb because they’re afraid it will not be up to their standards. While I also share this fear, I also have heard that it doesn’t matter, as long as it is a gift freely given.

I looked at my stash, and luckily figured out I had enough wool in the right colors to make ‘heraldically inspired’ hoods.

Lozengy pur pure and argent, a fox rampant sable pizzled azure and on a chief argent two compass stars sable

Ermines, on a pale embattled gules two towers argent

 I think I’ve spoken enough about my dislike of ermines in previous posts to express how much I dreaded the idea of somehow replicating Duke Nigel’s heraldry. That being said, I had gorgeous red-wool from Jo Anne’s and got another idea. Since I intended to line both hoods (to hide my seam-work on the gussets) I decided to make his a little bit more ‘special’ by being inspired by one of Nigel’s ‘quirks’.

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His Grace has a thing for spiderman. So much so that he’s jokingly referred to as ‘The Spider Duke’ and a variety of other things. I figured….why not! I used a cotton blend that I happened to have in my hoard and made a lining with Spidey’s webs on it with Jacquard brand textile paint. It’s my fabric-paint of choice as it has amazing staying power and a lovely soft finish.

Doing the web-painting and patterning it out on both sides of the hood actually took longer than everything else.

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The black ’embattled’ trim around the face-hole is black linen which has been applique’d on (by machine) with white ermines painted with (yet again) Jacquard Textile Super Opaque White. The castle is white linen, and is once again, machine-applique’d to the front.

I wanted to give him something he could wear in public, but that had a special personalized touch on the inside. Who knows, he might be able to wear it spider-man side out at a Twelfth Night celebration at some point.

For Duchess Adrielle, I had a beautiful purple wool that I fought a granny for at the Textile Museum Sale. Seriously, that old woman was out for blood. I let her have the grey wool I desperately wanted for myself, but wouldn’t let her take this gorgeous purple heathered wool. There was JUST enough for a hood!

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I did a black linen lining, and added a white linen band of facing around the opening of the hood. On that, I hand-embroidered the black compass stars.

Lozengy is ALMOST as bad as ermines. That being said…I was deeply satisfied by the way the machine embroidery worked to go around the outsides of each white diamond, each right-angle traced out the outsides and it made for an extremely clean embroider!

The fox was applique’d on after the Lozengy was done, and white detailing (and blue pizzle) were done with Jacquard fabric paint. It’s ironable, washable, and generally the best-stuff on the market! I machine-finished the bottom edge of both of the hoods and then turned it all inside/rightside out and finished the face-hole with a purple silk yarn. (Courtesy of me raiding my mother’s yarn stockpile last time I went home and asking for all the linen and silk yarns she had).

Overall? I’m delighted with how they both turned out, and I can’t wait to give them away. At first, I was really anti-liripipe, but…I think I’ve come to appreciate them. I think hoods are going to become a specialty of mine as I feel that I’ve finally begun to master a neat gusset!!!!

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Feast of the Bear 2016!

This past weekend was Feast of the Bear in the Barony of Septentria. This amazing event was held in downtown TORONTO, which, I’ll be honest, is an extremely big deal for me as for once I didn’t have to do insane amounts of transit and carpooling in order to get to the event. I was lucky to spend my time on Entourage for Their Majesties which gave me a great front-row seat to two very special elevation ceremonies, a Laureling and a Knighting.

As the end of the third reign of Nigel and Adrielle come to an end, I’ve realized that I haven’t really been contributing much to the Barony of Septentria so I made a few boxes for their Excellencies Septentria as Largess, which were, of course, bear-themed!

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There were quite a few awards given out at court, and I continue to be impressed with the artistic skills of our wonderful kingdom, the scrolls were all works of art!!! I think I’m going to have to get back on track for making some worthy blanks for somebody else to fill out with text since uhh…yeah, me with a calligraphy hand? That’s simply not going to happen.

A friend from Lost Hemisphere snapped this photo of me while I was waiting to go in to speak with AElfwyn on her vigil.

 

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Since it was technically the Emprise at Feast of the Bear as well, I wore my heraldic cote, but with the humidity and heat of the day, I was seriously regretting my veil decisions. I think a new head-covering will be on the priority list.  (As seen below, I have an alternative..but despite my self-depreciating smile, I hate the way I look in it.)

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I made a stained-glass boar box as a little elevation gift. It’s based off of a boar on stained glass in the Church of St. Mary and All Saints, Fotheringhay.

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The two elevations I witnessed were breath-taking and incredibly emotional, but both were so different from one-another. What I love about the SCA is the diversity that can be found in historical and regional traditions, and the creative ways that our talented word-smiths can create such varied ceremonies that are so well tailored to the recipient.

The first was the Laurel which ended up as a japanese ceremony granting the vigilant the title of Master Artisan, releasing her from the bonds of her apprenticeship in amazing Japanese pageantry and costume. While much of what we see is western, it’s neat to see other cultures researched and explored in depth!

The second as an Anglo-saxon knighting for Ealdormere’s (as a kingdom) first female Knight. While we had other female knights made while Ealdormere was as a principality, and some Masters of Arms, (Sir) AElfwyn is our first to be elevated and it was a good and proper thing to do. The cheering from the audience was deafening. The ceremony itself was incredibly moving and highly emotional. It was so incredibly serious, and yet, I want to describe the moment as elating and almost energizing even if I was only watching, peeking from behind His Highness’ throne as I was standing up with Her Majesty for court. I am almost always moved to tears by Elevation ceremonies (I’m a sap) but there was just something so….alive and real about this one, it’s practically impossible to describe. A photo can say one-thousand words, so perhaps it’s best to simply show you this, an amazing ‘in the moment’ shot by Eirik Andersen of Two Ravens Photography.

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Feast afterwards was incredibly filling, I seriously thought they were done when a young server came out of the kitchen and reminded us we had 3 removes still left to go. Insanity, but delicious. The cheese course (goat with fruit) and the beef were phenomenal.

I regretted not bringing a change of clothes to get out of following the event so that I might have been more helpful for clean-up and packing, but….I was just so happy to be close to home that I hadn’t bothered to bring one. I shall remember that for next time.

Overall? Wonderful event and I’m so happy for those who received their due recognition!