onsdag 20 maj 2015

Where, when, who, why?

The first question to ask your self before taking the plunge into the adventure of creating a persona are where, when, who and, sometimes, why? These questions make the base for your research in material culture, first garb, then maybe feastgear, tents and pavilions, shoes, interior textiles, furniture and so on. The adventure might become a lifelong passion for knowledge.

After hanging out with Thora (http://www.morethancod.net/) for a week at Double Wars the thought of why we chose certain periods and regions for our reenactment/personas/geekiness hit me. I started out in the early nineties jumping all over medieval history making a little bit of everything, then decided to focus on the 14th Century, mainly because I live on Gotland and parttake in the Medieval Week that revolves around the battle of Wisby and Gotland in 1361. Anything 14th Century was game back then.

Since a few years I have shifted my focus to late 15th Century German. First out of pure love for mad headgear, the artwork from masters like Albrecht Durer and Master of the Hausbuch, then for the amount of sourcematerial coming from this region. My persona shifted to Renike Tucher, of the Tucher family, burghers from Nuremberg, and I focus on the time-frame 1470-1510. And believe me, I have so far only scraped the surface!

Thora has chosen another path, the one of digging where you stand, and focuses on the local culture of the far North of the entire medieval period in Norway. Fascinating and very much a contrast from mine, in terms of available sources, hardly any artwork but a material culture that would have been very much the same over the centuries.

So, have you decided on a where, when, who and, if so, why?

måndag 18 maj 2015

Buttons and frills

I bought a lovely lightweight wool fabric some years ago, one in a mustardy yellow and one in dark cherry red, both with a certain dress in mind. The yellow dress is now done and it was frequently used during the past week at Double Wars.

The model is based primarily on the dress shown in this little drawing by Martin Schongauer, depicting a young girl fanning a fire with a bird´s wing:

The dress looks fairly simple in cut, not fitted in the bodice but simply gathered by the belt in the waist and the lovely detail with a side-buttoned neck-opening. On the skirt a large frill shows, most likely a way of preserving some of the length to be used for a new bottom hem as the old one gets worn. These kind of frills can be seen on simpler kirtles during the 15th Century. 
Master of the Housebook, Children of Aristotle, detail

Master of the Housebook, Princess Kleodeline
I have not found many depictions showing a woman´s kirtle with a closure to one side but here is one that looks pinned.
Israel van Meckenem, Couple seated on a bed
I chose to cut my dress in four panels, and had to make a good mock-up before I found a satisfactory solution for the fastening. I was also a bit concerned over the frill, since the panels are more A-line than straight, but it worked better than I had hoped. For buttons I used some pewter buttons in the shape of acorns that I got as a gift for my fourtieth birthday. Yes, I love acorns. The dress is not lined other than along the neckline and top front to strengthen the buttoned part, and here I used an even finer wool in green. This dress will get used a lot, since it is easy to pull over a kirtle and use as a thin extra layer or as a simple dress to wear with ease when not feeling like getting into something tight and fitted.

The hat deserves a chapter of its own, I will see when I might get to that.