Music

I’ve always had a passion for music. Who doesn’t, really? My parents encouraged me to learn to play instruments and sing at an early age. In the mundane world I have played the violin, the guitar, the clarinet, and the saxophone… though the flute has always been my one true love. I started playing the flute at the age of eight and played through college, till the age of 21.

Despite the way my youth revolved around music, finding a way to incorporate this love within the SCA has been a challenge. I’ve attempted to learn music on more period instruments, though it’s been to little success. I always resolve to try harder and make more time to practice… alas.

The generous gift of a psaltry, from Master Marcellus.

I’ve had more musical success in the Society with singing, choir specifically. I’ve been a part of two choir ensembles in Northern Atlantia: The Ponte Alto Singers – our Baronial group – and Laydes Fayre – an interbarional women’s choir.

Ponte Alto Singers Performances

  • Chalice of the Sun God 2015
  • Ponte Alto Investiture 2016
  • KASF 2016
  • A Service of Advent Lessons & Carols (Columbia Baptist Church) 2016
  • Tournament of Love & Beauty 2017
  • Yule on the Bridge 2017
The Ponte Alto Singers at Fall Coronation 2016.

Laydes Fayre Performances

  • Night on the Town 2016
  • Battle on the Bay 2016
  • Holiday Faire 2016
  • Spanish Inquisition 2017
  • Love & Beauty 2017
  • Night on the Town 2017
  • Battle on the Bay 2017
  • Midwinter’s Feast 2018
  • Night on the Town 2018
  • Battle on the Bay 2018
  • Laydes Fayre 20th Anniversary Concert 2018
Laydes Fayre at our 20th Anniversary Concert. Total fail on my part to actually look at the camera!

Sadly, I have lost the ability to commit to singing with either of these groups for the moment. For now I will sing on my own or at events, when the moment is right. And maybe one day I will finally master a new instrument…

My Anglo-Saxon Lyre

Finger-loop Braiding

I first learned to finger-loop braid when I hosted a Newcomer’s Fiber Arts class at my home on January 15, 2017. Since then I’ve found it to be an incredibly useful skill to have, as finger-loop braids can be used for practically anything – medallion cords, lacing, ties, loops, etc.

A close-up of some braids that I made with DMC pearl cotton that were later used as drawstrings for pouches.

Most of the braids I’ve made have been used for drawstring pouches and garment laces – from early period Roman garb through late period Tudor.

Revenge of the Stitch

On April 28, 2018 I had the great fortune to be a member of a team of people competing at an event called Revenge of the Stitch. The parameters of the competition dictated that an entire period ensemble be made in 24 hours by no more than six people. As if this wasn’t enough of a challenge, we decided to get ambitious.

In November of 2017 we started planning to recreate the garment worn by King Henry VIII in his famous portrait, painted by Hans Holbein the Younger.

What I lovingly referred to as our Tudor Vision Board.

The results were as follows:

  • 6 crazy people
  • 10 pre-event meetings
  • 6 yards of hand-couched embroidery
  • 150+ hours of prep and research
  • 52 yards of fabric
  • 108 fabric pattern pieces
  • 74 post-it notes
  • 60 hand-cast and hand-decorated jewels
  • 52 hand-stitched puffs
  • 24 hours of constant sewing with 4 hours (on average) of sleep
The inspiration.
The result.

One of my many contributions to the project was the creation of some dozen or so finger-loop braided lacing cords, made of silk hand-spun by another member of the team, Lord Stephan Grimm.

The final braid with measurements.

For instructions for the lacing cords that I made, please visit:

http://fingerloop.org/patterns.html

I used Pattern 29: For to make a lace endented — c. 1475

Sources

Primary:
Manuscript Harley 2320, circa 1450. In the British Library, with scans on the web at
http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/Viewer.aspx?ref=harley_ms_2320_f052r

Secondary:
Arnold, Janet: Queen Elizabeth’s Wardrobe Unlock’d. Washington, pp. 220-221, 1988. On these pages are reproduced 3 pages from the following: To make pursestrings, T 313-1960, in the Textile Department, Victoria & Albert Museum; London, England, circa 1600.

http://fingerloop.org/bibliography.html#T

Fabric Painting

I was first introduced to fabric painting by Her Excellency, Countess Brigit of Mercia, at an Atlantian University. Since then I’ve become quite enamored with the idea of painting designs on fabric for use on garb, accessories, largesse, and more. It can be quicker and more precise than embroidery, another passion of mine for which I rarely (unfortunately) have time. Below are some projects that I’ve completed using fabric painting methods.

The Virtue of Chastity

The inspiration for the final dress. A painting of Laura de Noves Crowning Petrarch. 15th c. Laurentian Library, Florence, Italy

The theme for Spring Coronation 2017 was Vices and Virtues. After being selected as a “team captain” for the Virtue of Chastity, I decided to make a dress based on the writings of the Italian scholar, Petrarch. The final vision for the dress was based on the 15th century painting of Laura de Noves Crowning Petrarch, housed in the Laurentian Library in Florence, Italy. I dressed as Laura de Noves, wearing an Italian cottardita with affrappata (dags), painted by hand with fleur-de-lis or flower of the lily – a traditional symbol of Chastity. My friend, Vadoma, dressed as Petrarch, wearing an Italian mantello, giornea, and hood.

Petrarch, a 14th century Italian scholar and poet known for the Rerum Memorandarum Libri, wrote his work of prose in order to celebrate the cardinal virtues – including the Triumph of Chastity. It is a combination of this work, Petrarch’s Triumph of Chastity, and his personal relationship with Laura de Noves that inspired these garments. The figure of Laura de Noves in the attached painting is the personification of Chastity, crowning the Poet with a wreath of Laurels. For the event, we used a wreath of lilies – as, again, a traditional symbol of Chastity.

Sources
https://fleurtyherald.wordpress.com/2016/04/18/sartoria-storica-historical-tailoring/
Fabbri, Paola. La Moda Italiana Nel XV Secolo: Abbilgiamento e Accessori.

A progress picture of the fabric being painted. I used a stencil and gold acrylic paint. If I were to make the garment again, I would have cut the pattern for the dress first and then fit the stencil to the pattern, rather than attempting to mimic the look of block-printed fabric by the bolt.
The finished garment, with Vadoma and I attempting to recreate the pose from the original painting.
A less serious pose!

Largesse

One my favorite uses for fabric painting is in making items of largesse – for donation to the Kingdom and various Baronies or other local groups. Again, I find that stencils are often the quickest and most precise way to create intricate designs for pouches, chalice covers, fans, or similar items made in bulk.

A dozen of these pouches were made and donated to the Barony of Stierbach in 2018. The stencil was made by hand, inspired by the Barony’s populace badge. I used red acrylic paint on white linen. I also finger-loop braided the drawstrings using DMC Pearl Cotton.
A dozen of these pouches were made and donated to the Kingdom of Atlantia in 2017 at Pennsic. The stencil was purchased, inspired by our Kingdom’s populace badge. I used blue acrylic paint on white linen. I also finger-loop braided the drawstrings using DMC Pearl Cotton.
Progress pictures from the fabric painting of the Kingdom pouches. I’m a big fan of assembly lines!
A dozen of these chalice covers were made and donated to the Kingdom of Atlantia in 2017 at Pennsic. The stencil was purchased, inspired by our Kingdom’s nautical themed imagery. I used blue acrylic paint on white linen.

Teaching

Since becoming more comfortable with the art of fabric painting, I’ve taken steps to spread the love by teaching classes at both Atlantia University and Pennsic.

So far I’ve taught “Make & Take a Fabric-Painted Pouch” at both Atlantia’s Summer University, June 16, 2018 and Pennsic University, August 3, 2018.

I look forward to strengthening my painting skills even further and teaching another class when the opportunity arises!