Putting the Creative in Creative Anachronism

So, ever since I was a little kid, my favorite holiday has been Halloween.  I suppose it’s no surprise that the SCA would appeal to me, since the holiday for me was about being able to dress up and be someone else.  Now, since becoming an adult, I’ve tried to hang on to the fun by dressing up for work, decorating the house, and going to parties with friends.  But the last few years have seen a bit of a slump for me.  We don’t have a lot of kids in my neighborhood, and most of them do the Mall Trick or Treat instead.  Almost no one else decorates their house.  There haven’t been many parties local to me, and I’m not much for the amateur hour bar crawl.  Long story short, I just haven’t been feeling it.

This year, I came up with an idea for couples costumes for my husband and I.  Halloween is on a weekend, so driving up to one of the out of town parties with friends seemed possible.  I was getting excited.  And then my local group scheduled their event for that weekend.  Sigh…what’s a girl to do?

Now, my original idea was to do a modern day take on Hades and Persephone.  All black suit for the husband, bright colored dress for me.  Subtle accessories with asphodel and pomegranates and Cerberus.   But what if….what would Hades and Persephone look like in the 14th century?  And a plan was born.

Now, the husband loves black clothes, and he’s been joking about wanting a black from the skin out outfit for a while.  I’ve always argued, because we don’t have documentation for black under garments, blah blah blah.  But, well, this is supposed to be fun, and let’s be honest, 14th Century Hades would do it.  So for him, he’s getting the following: black linen hosen, black linen braise, a black St. Louis shirt in linen.  For his over tunic, I’ll be doing black wool with appliqued white asphodel flowers and dagging.  So, imagine something like this:

Spoleto, Rocca di Albornoz,

Spoleto, Rocca di Albornoz, “Camera Pinta” 1390-1410: si può notare l’affrappatura del fondo

But add a ring of decoration similar to this:

MINIATURIST, Italian Dante: Divina Commedia 1380-1400 Manuscript (It. IX. 276), 430 x 280 mm (folio size) Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, Venice

MINIATURIST, Italian
Dante: Divina Commedia
1380-1400
Manuscript (It. IX. 276), 430 x 280 mm (folio size)
Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, Venice

Then we’ll accessorize from there.

For my Persephone gown, I’ll be going with white undergarments.  I’ll do a black base dress to represent her role as Queen of the Underworld.  For the overdress, I found a gorgeous green/grey herringbone linen on clearance from Fabricmart Fabrics that is very spring like.  I was debating whether I wanted to do block printing or embroidery or applique and then I struck on a through.  I googled “Pomegranate trim”.  And I found 5 yards of 4 in wide sage green duponi ribbon with gold embroidered and beaded pomegranates.  It’s wired, but I should easily be able to cut the wire off and do a rolled hem on it. The look I am going for is a late 14th women’s Italian gown with wide trims, seen in this style of miniature.

Manuscript Bodmer 78 Historia destructionis Troiae Folio 28r Dating 1370 From Venice, Italy Holding Institution Fondation Martin Bodmer

Manuscript: Bodmer 78 Historia destructionis Troiae Folio 28r
Dating 1370
From Venice, Italy
Holding Institution: Fondation Martin Bodmer

In the later Italian art for the later half of the 14th C, you find a lot of uncovered women’s hair, so I will likely be shamelessly Italian and leave mine uncovered.  However, I have sneaky plans to make myself an additional laurel wreath, but work Asphodel style flowers into it.

So, that’s the current plan.  And because it seems like a fun project, I’ll be sponsoring a competition to encourage people to do the same thing for the event, for the best period garb representation of a legend macabre.  Happy Friday!  What are you working on?

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Dressing the Part

So, as I mentioned in my last post, I am being elevated to the Order of the Laurel (the SCA’s highest award for Arts and Sciences).  My elevation is happening in December.

Traditionally, one makes or has made new clothes when one gets elevated.  Currently, Duchess Aislinn, the most recent member of the Laurel before my announcement, is working on a dress for me.  It’s based off this late 14th century style:

From a Tacuinim Sanitatis manuscript from Lombardy, late 14th c.

From a Tacuinim Sanitatis manuscript from Lombardy, late 14th c.

Right now, I think we are just dagging the sleeves, not the bottom.  The gown will be a a soft, sage tone green fulled wool, with a vivid blue silk lining in the sleeves.

I have an sleeveless undergown that I am going to make some pinner sleeves for that is supportive, and an shift.

I am also working on making new stockings and shoes.

Not sure yet what I am doing with my hair.

So….That Was Exciting…

So, we are coming into the home stretch for Kingdom A&S Tri-Levels and Championships 2014 here in Calontir.  The deadline to declare intent to enter is tomorrow, March 1st, and the event is March 22.

In the past, the deadline for intent to enter has also been the deadline for Research Paper Entries to be submitted, since they tend to be long and require a lot of forethought for someone to read in an hour. 

Apparently, this year, there was an announcement I missed that they were extending this requirement to the Poetry and Writing in Period Style Prose entries.  I caught on to this on Wednesday of this week.  One of my entries was the retelling of a great Calontiri event in the poetry style of Dante.  For those playing along, my remaining 3 weeks just shrank to 3 DAYS.  Yikes!

While I had started my documentation (about 40% done) I had barely rough sketched the poem. I panicked for just a minute, and spoke with the Kingdom Arts and Sciences Minister, who said I could get a small extension if I really needed to (since we weren’t talking about 40+ pages).

Then decided that since I have always thrived under pressure, I needed to, in the words of Tim Gunn, “Make it work”.  Two nights and two lunch hours work later, it’s done.  And I am actually pretty darn proud of it.  It does not suck.

If you would like to read it, the documentation and poem can be found here.