Headgear!

This morning, as I was getting ready to go to an event, I had an epiphany on headgear.

To be fair, I had been stressing over proper headgear and if all else failed, I was just going to stick a couple veils on my head and just be done with it.  Until, well, I put a turban on my head, stuck a veil on it, and remarkably, it worked.

Many icons of Mary Theotokos have her veiled with a rather, well, bulbous head.  There’s not really a nice way to put it.  Her head is not a typical shape for humans.  Thankfully, this mosaic shows the wrap under her veil – a wrap that looks an awful lot like a turban.

There has been some discussion on other blogs on the shape of headrails, veils, and other things that go on the head.  Some have stated that there’s no way a rectangular veil could have lots of pleating as shown in paintings.  Of course the caveat goes that we don’t have photographs to base how things were worn, but we do a few have artistic renditions.  We have extant looms.  At the end of the day, though, we have few visual records due to Iconoclasm, so we are always conjecturing and experimenting and trying things out.  Also, this looks quite a bit like the headcovering of the ladies of Theodora’s court, only with a more sheer fabric to show the hair coiffed and curled and pinned into place, and not a round donut of fabric.
img_5042At any rate, the process is simple.  I braided my hair into a low bun (two dutch braids gathered together and wrapped together and held in place with a few Spin Pins – while these aren’t period, they work), and then made a turban to go over this.  The turban was made from a bit of a cotton sari, which is light and fairy breathable, and was big enough to wrap around my head.  It also looks quite a bit like the white wrap around Mary Theotokos’ head, just in coloured form.  To make the turban, take the rectangle of fabric, put it on your head and gather the long bits around the back, making sure that the fabric is pulled taut against the forehead.  Make sure your hair is covered, and then start twisting the excess fabric.  Once most of the fabric is twisted, take the twist and wrap it around your head as tight as you can personally stand.  You will then tuck the end into the rest of the twists.
img_5043After this, take a pashmina or a piece of fabric with similar dimensions (it’s recommended that you have a shorter width than the length, and place the selvedge edge of the middle of the fabric on your head.  Wrap the ends around your neck and over your shoulder.It doesn’t nicely pleat at this length/width, but I tried this same technique with a much larger piece of wool gauze, which gave a better effect.

This appearance of Mary is great for early and mid and I want to say *late*, but don’t quote me on that.

What did I learn here?  That it’s possible to create a look for pretty inexpensively.  Two, that it’s relatively easy, and that just the idea of adding headgear completes the look.  And three: did I mention it was cheap and easy?

So, there you go. Want to be lazy and not worry about your hair (too much)?  Try this out for your Byzantine persona, especially if you’re going for a persona from the 6th to late 9th centuries.

 

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Posted in clothing, hair, how-to, musings, persona, persona development, Roman, SCA, Society for Creative Anachronism | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Project Disco Ball; or how to really bling an outfit

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Remember this outfit?  It’s what I wore when I stepped down from being Principal Herald and I love it still.

Except it’s not blingy enough for my liking.

So, enter Project Disco Ball.

Bezants are little metal bits that are sewn to clothing.  They’re also called paillettes, but the main idea are bits of metal with embossed designs on them.  They were used as dress ornamentation as early as Ancient Greece and as late as Elizabethan England (see also spangles), so there’s a nice range in time in which using little metal bits could be used in customizing and making your pieces fun and sparkly.  Many of the documented bezants on clothing date from the 14th and 15th centuries, (though, check out this 11th c burse and these 12th c bezants!)  Anyhow, this article from the West Kingdom goes into some details about how and why these bits of bling were used.

Back to Project Disco Ball.

So, as much as I love my 11th c delmatikion, it’s still quite a bit plain.  However, after stumbling onto these Bulgarian beauties (with a minor complaint of not knowing how old the bezants are!  grr.  original link here – more on these photos can be found here), I wanted to augment my Byzantine with metal.

Here’s the process I’m using.  It’s not period as far as I can tell, as most of the bezants I’ve seen are stamped, however, my carving skills don’t exist, and these are the tools I have on hand.  If you have stamping tools, try them out.  Let me know how they work for you!

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Things you will need:
Sheet brass at either 36 or 44 gauge (I picked this up from my local art supply store and chose the .005 thickness.  Blick carries this, but you may need to special order it.  I paid about $13 for it this year, but this is also depending on metal prices.)
Embossing ball tools
Needle tool or awl
Files
Scissors (I feel like I have to say to not use your good fabric scissors for this project, but yeah, don’t use them.)
Cutting mat or leather padding

Optional, but helpful:
Stamps (try stamps meant for leather if you’re not good at freehanding shapes – warning – this can get expensive)
Hammer (for stamping instead of drawing on the metal)
Stamping machine, like a Sizzix (if you have this and the right dies, you can get some really interesting and pretty close to period embossed shapes, but this is expensive)
A small plastic container (for holding onto your finished bezants while you work on them)100_6498

To start, cut down your brass sheet into manageable pieces.  If you look at the photo above, the sheet I purchased comes in rolls of 12″ by 30″.  After you’ve cut out your sheet into smaller pieces, decide if you’re going to stamp or draw your outlines with your embossing tools.  If you’re stamping, you’ll skip past most of the instructions.  If you’re drawing, keep following along.

100_6499After cutting your metal, start drawing your design with your embossing ball tools.  Do make sure you’ve got a protective surface down – my first bezants were made on an MDF block, but I prefer the give of my cutting mat more.  You’ll get these really simplistic shapes without too much detail, but I promise that more detail will come later.  I find that using a smaller embossing tool makes it easier on this step and will give you finer lines, however, having a variety of sizes will come in handy later.  You can see the difference between the outlines (left) and a mostly finished bezant (right) in the dimension and texture of the piece in the photo to the right.  You will want the texture and dimension.  Promise.

100_6500After starting your outlines, flip the sheet over and consider using a slightly larger embossing tool at this point.  Go over the parts where you want to stick out with the tool.  In this case, I went over the interior of the wings because I wanted those to show up more.  One thing to remember – you will have a front and a back.  Once you decide which is the front and which is the back, stay consistent, as you run the risk of confusing yourself.  As you can see in this photo 100_6502to the left, the embossing adds quite a bit of dimension, however, one of the downsides is overworking the metal, which leads to warping.  I have found that the maximum size I can work and not warp the metal is about 2 inches across.  Your mileage may vary.

Once you’re done with embossing all of the details on this side, flip the sheet back and start embossing around the parts that are not already showing dimension.  This pushes the design out a bit more – makes it pop, if you will.

If you’re stamping your design, welcome back.  This is the easier of the two, but the more expensive, as individual stamps cost money, and finding them in the designs and sizes you want may be difficult.  Anyhow, when stamping, place your metal sheet above your cutting sheet/thick leather padding and below your die.  You’ll then take your hammer and evenly and directly hammer the sheet.  Tada!  You have bezants on a sheet!

100_6506Now that’s done, you’ll want to cut out your design.  Of course, don’t use your good scissors on this, as you are cutting something literally made of metal.  It will dull your scissor blades eventually.  If you’re stamping, try hammering harder to create a cut.  This, of course, does run the risk of dulling your stamp, however, you will end up with a much smoother piece.  If you’re using scissors, it is harder to prevent smaller sharp bits, so consider lightly filing the bezants so that they don’t grab the fabric and pull on it.

After cutting out your bezants, you’ll want to punch out holes so that it can be sewn on.  This is where I like having a self-healing cutting mat.  Even though the metal is 44 gauge and very thin (it’s like having a slightly heavier heavy-duty aluminum foil except brass), it still has enough thickness that punching holes can be tiring.

100_6505To do this safely, put your mat down first, then the metal, then line up your needle tool.  Press down evenly and gently, and then you’ll have a hole.  Flip your bezant over and punch where the holes are again.  This does two things: smooths the hole and increases the size.  Nothing sucks more than making bezants and finding that your needle is too big.

Really, you can do this prior to cutting out or after.  I prefer punching the holes before cutting out the bezants, but you may prefer cutting out the bezants first and then punching the holes second.  This is up to you.  If you have a hole punch, you could use this, however, I find that most commercial hole punches are too big for the bezants I’m making.

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Pro tip: save your bits of cut out brass from larger pieces.  As you can see, after cutting out the super tiny bezant (look down in the corner), there’s still a lot of left over brass.  Save this for later projects in a plastic container.  Depending on the size of your bezants, there’s plenty to keep using and you’re not wasting metal.  I’ve kept these bits for later use, as I don’t want them to go to waste, and there’s still plenty of usable space.

100_6512And now?  Tada!  You have completed bezants now!  Sew them onto your clothing!

Caveat: cleaning and caring for your clothing has now become more expensive.  I do not recommend throwing this into the wash.  While brass puts up with a lot more abuse thank aluminum or copper, it is still soft enough to deform in a washing machine.  Brass will also patina over time whereas gold (the period and clearly more expensive option) would not.  I have a local dry cleaner that handles a lot of special event clothing (wedding dresses and the like) and I take all of my beaded, silk, and special fabric garb to them.  By entrusting your garb to professionals, you could be wearing your clothing longer, especially if you’ve got a lot of beading or baubles.  Of course, the other option is hand-washing, which, of course, is more period, but of course, more time consuming.

If you’ve got questions about making your own bezants, feel free to ask!  I’ll be glad to answer your questions!

 

Posted in Byzantine, clothing, fashion, jewellery, jewelry, later period, medallion, ornamentation, Renaissance, Rus, SCA, Society for Creative Anachronism, supply list, tutorial | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Queen’s Prize 2016

Queen’s Prize this year is done!  It was a wonderful experience, and being able to sound out new ideas, areas to explore, and things to do was great.

For those not in Calontir (or with kingdoms that don’t have a similar competition), Queen’s Prize Tournament is a time for  Calontir artists that do not already have a Grant of Arms or above in arts or sciences (so, Laurels, Silver Hammers, and Calon Lilies cannot participate as an entrant) to make something and get feedback from judges.  Here’s my entry on the last time I entered.

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My display.  Thank you, Eynon!

This year, I entered with intaglio gem carving.  My documentation is located here (with clickable links!). Being able to create something with a few bits of rock and a Dremel that could have been worn by someone else in period is pretty amazing.

One of the cool things with Queen’s Prize is the amount of feedback that one gets, from documentation, to ways to improve, and even coming up with new ways to integrate the project into bigger projects.  My judges were great, and we were able to work together to think up some new rabbit holes to explore.

100_6491One of the other cool things is the neat encouragement gifts people give.  This year, I was blown away with the neat items I received, and it was such a boost.  The photo shows some of my entry, but also the neat items!  I am in love with the replica Greek amphora and the little vessel from Lochac, and I’ll definitely make use of the needle book, scissors, beeswax cake, and the beads (more Norse bling?  Maaaaaybe?)

100_6496Also, Queen’s Prize is the event where people give sponsor gifts.  Everyone must have a sponsor to enter.  That sponsor must provide a gift, which will be given to someone else later on and during court.  One of the things I love doing as a herald is reading off the names of the entrants, and seeing the excited squees and smiles of a fantastic day – and then there are times I am blown away at the kindness and the amazing talent of our artisans.  My gift for entering was this tiny little ring, made of rock crystal both shaped and set by Mistress Gillian Warrender.  This Byzantine loves her new bling!  Thank you, Gillie!

In short, this was an excellent day.  Court was fabulous (seeing my very first teacher in the SCA be recognised by the Crown as a Laurel was emotional and so very wonderful – and the ceremony made my little court geek heart flutter with joy).

Posted in Byzantine, calontir, ceremonies, ceremony, court, engraving, intaglio, jewellery, jewelry, rings, Roman, SCA, Society for Creative Anachronism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Secret Project Roundup

I mentioned in Teaser! that I had a lot of secret projects.  And most of them came to fruition yesterday.  So, this post will be all about those secret projects.

img_4864My house has been the Pelican medallion factory as of late.  One of those was presented last week at Master Mathurin’s ceremony.  It’s small, about the size of a quarter, and is inspired by a lot of French manuscripts, especially French Gothic style.  The process that I use isn’t particularly period, as it involves resin, however, the appearance looks like some extremely late period pieces that involve glass cabochons and vellum.  This little guy is about the size of a quarter, and I used gouache (Royal Talens and Holbein pearl gold.)  It went on a cord made out of twisted linen by Master Alan of Darkdale.  I thank both Alan and Mathurin for the indulgence of speaking in the ceremony.

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I was also asked to make the medallion for Mistress Svana, and this one I got to play around with.  Svana has a Norse persona, and while the medallions, again, aren’t period (same resin process as Mathurin’s medallion), it was something that I wanted to do for her that would key off her persona.  The large ring was so Their Majesties Calontir could place her medallion on her when presented and then when she went home, she could cut them off and use the bronze loops as a permanent solution.  The beads mostly came out of Svana’s stash, though, I did add a few smaller pieces from my stash (some carnelian, bone, and quartz), as the bigger beads would have overwhelmed the piece.  Learn from my lesson: don’t use 24 ga wire.  Use a wire that has a slightly lower gauge so that the beads don’t wear through.  Thank you, Duchess Susannah, Svana, and Sir Halidor for letting me speak in the ceremony.img_4847

I got to work with Countess Gwen on this project: largesse tablet covers for the kingdom of Northshield to help cover the e-tablets that are used in court.  These are commercially made covers which I’ve stripped down and repainted with leather paint.  Being able to help keep a more period Royal Presence always makes me happy.  (What can I say?  Presentation is everything.)

img_4816Lastly, this was a Lily (Calontir GoA-arts) scroll assignment I received.  The recipient has a Hungarian persona from the late 1400s, so it was off to find some Magyar pieces from that time period.  Thankfully, the Morgan Library has some pretty trippy ones (I’m pretty sure the 1970s got some ideas from some of these pieces), but there were some nice ones out there.  I fell in love with this one and used it for the scroll.  Being a lefty, I sometimes find that it’s easier to work on smaller scrolls, as there’s less of a chance for something to go awry with calligraphy.  So, this scroll is quarto-sized (~6″x~4″).  This was also my first time working with real gold leaf (my poor wallet), but I love the results.

So, even with all of the issues with being a lefty and calligraphy sometimes being a problem . . . sometimes having moments where forgetting what a letter looks like happens.  These photos were taken before I fixed the error (thankfully, it was the letter L to the letter F, so not as big of a problem), but unfortunately, I didn’t have time to retake the photo.  Ah, well.  I have a problem in that I really do love my stupidly tiny brushes, but I wouldn’t change it for the world!

There you have it.  Secret project round up!

Posted in beads, brag page, calligraphy, calontir, ceremonies, ceremony, court, french, heraldry, Hungarian, illumination, jewellery, jewelry, largesse, later period, medallion, necklace, necklaces, Norse, wire, wire wrapping | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Heralds Running Amok; or How to Put Together a Heraldic Retreat 2: Electric Boogaloo

Another retreat happened this year, and I am pleased to say that it was even better this go around!

Things I learned in between last year’s retreat and this year’s retreat:

Conflict is going to happen. I don’t mean conflict between people (though that can happen), but I do mean that the event will conflict with something. In this case, the retreat again conflicted with Pennsic, so we lost heralds there. On the other hand, we had nineteen heralds attend – up from last year’s numbers of around ten heralds, so the numbers got doubled.

That brings me to my second point: advertise often. Tell about perks of the site, what to expect, and what the classes will be. Look for connections. Advertising started with a Facebook event page that was launched in mid-May, with the event happening in mid-August. From May to mid-June, sporadic posts occurred, with weekly posts from mid-June point to the day of the event. Additionally, we set up a Google Form to have people sign up for the event so we would have a more accurate headcount.

So, I scheduled a lot of classes, and tried to make them all fit. This really didn’t work as well as I would have hoped. In the future, I would suggest a few key classes, and then leave time for people to hang out – a lot of work got started (including an impromptu session to register some things for the kingdom and a few preprints painted for Their Majesties to use), and I think by having more time to work on those things without the pressure of having to take a class helps.

We had tee-shirts again, with a theme of “Trousers of Nobility: Even Drunk, We’re Good at This!” In keeping with the theme, we had drunk OSCAR commentary Friday night after most the people staying the night had arrived. Make sure that if you have drunk commentary that you have 1) a sober person to type commentary and to filter out the drunken ideas and 2) a good (sober) moderator, as like with any commentary, things can get enthusiastic. And then, after drunk commentary, drunk star-gazing at the Perseids was quite a bit of fun, too.

Have an item that people can take home with them.  We had kazoos (mostly because I wasn’t going to purchase 19 vuvuzelas).  Speaking of vuvuzelas, they look an awful lot like a heraldic representation of a herald’s trumpet, so I made a new sign with two yellow plastic vuvuzelas, some paint, tape, and some foamcore to direct people to site.

In assisting with the post-mortem of the event, a survey (also done on Google Forms) was put out to those who attended so we could better gauge what could be done to improve the event. This can be shared with the organizers of next year’s retreat, and can help to figure out and zero in on things that the College needs to build on in the coming year.

Thank your host. Clean up things. Keep things clean, and respect the space. Thank people for coming. Basically, be a good human, and be aware of things.

I am tickled that this went relatively smoothly, and I hope that next year’s organizers do an even better job.  Thank you, Uji Gold Falcon, with entrusting me with the retreat.  Aine, thank you for letting us use your estate and for your hospitality.  Dorcas, thank you for setting things up before I could get to site.  Díarmaid, thank you for letting me bounce ideas off of you and for helping me set things up.  And to Calontir’s College of  Heralds, thank you for coming.

konstantia kaloethina

So, in Calontir, as you may know from reading past entries, I’m the Principal Herald.  This means that I lead volunteers within my regional group in heraldic activities ranging from vocal to sign, heraldic art to book (names and devices), and everything in between.

When I stepped into the job, I knew I wanted to build heraldic community as much as I could, so that heralds across the kingdom could ask questions and get answers from other heralds in their own backyard.  What a better way than to have a heraldic retreat?

In this blog entry, I’ll go through the ways that the heraldic retreat was put together, and how you can do one in your own kingdom.

My biggest help was having a deputy I could say, “hey, you want to help run a non-event?”  It was also good to have someone that I could bang out ideas with…

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Teaser!

Yeah, I’ve had a lot of secret projects on my plate (which means there will be post about them as things happen).  This, however, is a not-so-secret one, of which there will be an upcoming tutorial on.  I’m also procraftinating.

Bezants!

Or, enaBLING as it happens.

They are super easy and great for 14th c, Elizabethan (spangles, anyone?), and of course, my beloved Byzantine.  It’s also relatively inexpensive ($13 a roll for brass foil sheet) and pretty easy to do.

I’ll reveal the secret projects soon, but until then, enjoy!

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Facets

In the world of historical recreation, we’ve long been told that facets are not appropriate.  While true for rings, I am pleased to say that simple facets are indeed quite period on items such as beads and even creating a flat table for intaglio (which, yes, is a facet).

I’d like to show you this:

This piece is from the the Swedish Museum, and is dated to the 10th-11th century at Birka.  I love this piece, because it shows that multiple (but simple!) facets exist.  The cylindrical carnelian and the double bicone quartz makes for a classy, simple necklace – one that you might even find being worn by someone in an office situation!
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So, lucky me, I got to make a similar piece for my queen!

I did have to make a couple of concessions.  One, I had found what I call faceted rectangular beads.  In the example below, there’s a carnelian bead that looks like a cube with the corners lopped off, which is similar to the carnelian I used, except it’s a bit more rectangular.

Secondly, the quartz I was given to work with was a bit more faceted, however, just as pretty, and gives the intended look.
The other concessions I made were in construction.  One, the necklace was strung on tiger tail using crimp beads, and uses a clasp for ease of wear.  That being said, the clasp was handmade, and looks similar to some Roman clasps, and was made to the length that Her Majesty Calontir requested.IMG_4673
Here’s a photo of Her Majesty wearing it!
This is a piece that can be made easily in an afternoon, using many of the techniques that I’ve detailed elsewhere in the blog, and is flattering to many people and is wonderful for Norse reenactors.
While it doesn’t have the same rhythm as the extant piece, I feel it’s a close enough call.
Many many thanks to Her Majesty Ylva of Calontir for the inspiration and the encouragement!
Posted in beads, birka, brag page, jewellery, jewelry, necklace, necklaces, Norse, Royal, SCA, Society for Creative Anachronism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Making Norse Festoon Dangles

I’ve written in the last entry that Calontir is in a Norse reign, and as a result of that, I got to do some research in bits and pieces for Her Majesty Ylva to give as tokens.  As I can’t make all of them myself, this entry will serve as a way for those who would like to help to learn to make them, or is a great way to improve your Norse kit by making a bit more bling.

IMG_4598Speaking of bling, and is a bit offhandedly here, but the first comment I got from wearing my new Norse kit last weekend at Coronation was “Oh my gosh, you’ve Byzantine’d your Norse,” which amuses me to no end, because I suppose I am a bit of a Byzantine peacock, and there’s nothing wrong with blinging one out – add to your more period atmosphere: wear bling!  It’s a great way to look more like one has stepped out of a longhouse.

Back to the tutorial.

First, the things you’ll need.

Supplies:

Wire (I’ve had the best luck with 20-24 gauge coloured copper wire in either silver or gold)
Flat-nose and round-nose pliers
Wire cutters
Beads (more on this later)
Optional: Jumprings (4mm-6mm seem to work the best)

To start, these are primarily worn by Norse women on treasure necklaces and festoons.  The Viking Answer Lady has a great article on beads found in the area, as well as what they were used for, as well as demonstrating how they fit on a festoon, and the types of glass.  Additionally, please check out the numerous examples of Norse bling on my Pinterest page for this reign for some inspiration for beads, materials, and appearances.

100_6402.JPGMore about beads: What I’ve found being used varies.  I’ve found quartz, metal, foiled glass (with foil encapsulated in the bead), carnelian, coral, and others, all about 8 mm or larger (the largest bead I’ve used is about 20mm in diameter), and of various sizes and shapes.  For inspiration, please feel free to look at the featured photo, or this photo.  There is some variance, as I’ve included sunstone (not really known to this period or location, but the cut was right and it looks cool) and well as amber resin beads.  If you’re purchasing supplies to make your own, simple facets are period – hex cut, melon beads (not cut, but moulded into shape if glass), and other shapes similar to these look right for the time period/location.  There is even a rare version of a festoon using pearls (which makes my very Byzantine self very happy!)  One of my favourite shapes that I use is called a crow bead, and are made of glass or bone (these are similar to children’s plastic beads, also called pony beads) and is a fairly common shape (and nice on the budget).

Additionally, Fire Mountain Gems has a line called Deepak’s Gem Palace, which are hand-cut gemstones and often have simple facets.  I am also amused by these ridiculously small glass beads that also date from the period Their Majesties are portraying, however, I’m not seeing them attached to anything, so I would caution against using seed or E beads for this project.

This project will also show how to make two types of rings: one is a simple round with beads, the other is a frying pan shape made with the wire.

Both types of rings start the same way.

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Instructions:

Start by cutting a piece of wire long enough to place the bead(s) on, twist into a circle, and to wrap around itself with the least amount of wasted wire.  I’ve found that this is usually about 3 1/2 inches or so, but experiment and see what works for you.  With this particular (large) lampwork bead, I opted for a piece of 20 gauge wire that would allow the bead to move freely, but wasn’t too large – it was about 3 inches and I felt it worked well.  For the frying pan shape, you will need a bit more wire – 4 inches usually worked well for this.

Once you have your wire cut, put your bead(s) on.  With the circular, I’ve primarily seen singular beads used in period, though, I’ve found one with a bunch of different beads on it, so feel free to mix and match beads as you wish.  For the frying pan shape, there’s a bit more out there.  I’ve seen singular beads, multiple beads, and even an example using multiple beads with small rings in between the beads.  If you’re wanting to make one with the small rings, consider using commercial jumprings 4mm-6mm in size – big enough to not get caught in the beads, but small enough to not be the main focus of the ring.

At this point, decide what kind of piece you’ll make, as it will determine your next steps.100_6410.JPG

For the circular piece, cross the wires and wrap these bits around the ring itself, creating a self-contained ring. You will have a few sticky-out parts, and you’ll need to use your wire cutters to cut those down. To help keep the bead(s) out of the way while you’re working on the twisting, I usually palm them as best as I can and then twist that wire around itself.  It usually works well enough to make the process a little faster.

100_6413Try to cut the sticky-up wires down as close to the ring as possible to avoid future snags and to make it easier to smash the wires down.  You’ll also need to flatten down the edges with your flat-nose pliers after cutting the excess away, as these little sticky-out bits will get caught on hair, clothing fibres, or other bits of other festoons and can be quite pokey if you’re not careful.

100_6426.JPGTo make the frying pan piece, put all of your beads (with or without jumprings) on the wire, and cross the wires.  The difference here is that instead of wrapping around the ring, you will need to wrap the excess wire away from the ring.  I went about an inch away, however, this is personal preference.  Most in this shape do not have wires that stick out too much past the ring, stopping at most an inch or so.

100_6429.JPGAfter the twist has been made, now the bail needs to be made.  This is accomplished by creating a tight spring shape with the individual wires and wrapping it around a set of round nose pliers, doing your best to keep it around the same size.  This will need to be done to both wires (though there are a few in this shape that only have a short spring using one wire, but this is the easiest method I’ve found).  Once you’ve created this spring, take your excess wires, and wrap them back around the twist, cutting and flattening them back down once you get to the main circle.

I hope this makes sense, and I do hope your attempts at making basic Norse bling go well.  If you’re in Calontir, I want to see what you’ve made, and if you’re outside my kingdom, please feel free to post what you’ve made!  I can’t wait to see how you’re improving your kit!

Posted in beads, calontir, glass, how-to, jewellery, jewelry, largesse, Norse, Royal, SCA, service, Society for Creative Anachronism, supply list, wire, wire wrapping | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sailing Northward

The upcoming reign in Calontir is a Norse one, and I’ve been assisting a bit in researching largesse items.  I’ve also been working on some other items, so come along with me on what I’ve been doing so far.

First thing up is researching small token items that IMG_4540Her Highness could give out.  After putting together a Pinterest board, I got out my wire and started playing around.  Most are simple wire-wrapped rings, but there are some more complicated items.  I’ll be creating a tutorial soon so that you can make your own, and so those helping out with the upcoming reign can also help keep things moving (which I know I’d appreciate).  They’re pretty easy, once figured out, and relatively inexpensive.  I love that these add so much to a Norse kit without costing a lot of money – just a few inches of copper or brass wire, and a handful of beads, and voila, something that looks like it belongs to the Hon Hoard!

Also in that bunch of wire-wrapped items, I stumbled on a tutorial that replicated this 100_6353tiny length of chain.  This went to help bling things out a bit further, and I’ve got to get a second one completed soon.  It’s wonderfully delicate, but it’s deceptive, as the place where weakness may actually be located is in the loop, not the straight part in between (which has three strands of wire wrapped up).  I suspect this was used to dangle items from brooches, however, I did find a similar chain on this decorative brooch.  I need to do some delving and diving to see what else I can find.

I was given some fabric a few weeks ago; lovely twills that aren’t as period for my Byzantine kits, but perfect for Norse hangerocs (apron dresses).  With some help from a friend, I now have a more period hangeroc (my spare is made of dead dinosaur and flows wonderfully – but natural fibres are my friend!).  I did a lot of Norse seam treatments, using yellow and red wool crewel thread and a ginormous tapestry needle.  I also discovered that the lovely blue hangeroc with shot silk trim with a yellow tunic means I might bear a bit of a resemblance to a Minion, which is the exact opposite thing that I want to do. I thankfully have a blue tunic, though it runs a bit warmer than I’d like, however, once I get a bit of spare change, a red tunic may be in the works.

IMG_4566Lastly, I got some copal in the mail the other day, and was inspired by this mini Mjölnir carved out of amber.  I had a couple of project fails with this, however, what I ended up with makes me quite happy.  I ended up wire wrapping the hammers so they could hang well, however, I’m disappointed that I couldn’t make a more period solution happen.  Lesson learned here: copal cracks horridly when heated.  It also melts super easily when attempting to drill a hole out.  On the other hand, I’m happy with the relative size of the hammers.  Unfortunately, I did have some project fail due to trying to figure out the hole situation (I lost one hammer completely, and the other is a bit shorter than I intended because of the aforementioned cracking issue), however, these are close to the shape I was going for and the mini Mjölnir replication.  Next IMG_4567time, I think I’ll save up for a bit of amber, and really polish the jeebers out of it after I’m done with the shaping.

All-in-all, this has been a fun diversion.  I still love Byzantium, and once I figure out where my next project will be, there should be a post on that.

Posted in beads, calontir, jewellery, jewelry, largesse, Norse, rings, Royal, SCA, Society for Creative Anachronism, wire, wire wrapping | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sometimes, inspiration . . .

. . . shows up in the most interesting ways.

About a month and a half ago, I went to a local bead show, and found someone selling netsuke.  And found an adorable falcon-shaped one.IMG_4454.JPG

For those not in the know, netsuke are miniature Japanese sculptures used to help keep pouches and boxes suspended from an obi (or belt), usually wore by men.  Usually carved out of boxwood, ivory, agate, and other materials, they are beads in the form of animals, masks, and various other items. The first use of them is documented to 17th c Japan (or Edo period) – which unfortunately means that the use is at best grey-period SCA time period.

On the other hand, there are paternosters with intricately carved skulls, people, and other things of memento mori.

While I’ve been doing intaglio, I haven’t had much of a chance to do any bone carving (I should probably try and track down some bone for carving soonish) – and the abilities of the artist of the netsuke is incredible!  And with this little guy, I think I might make a Calontir paternoster, complete with relics from places and people around the kingdom.

Meanwhile, I finished the second item due for the Lilies Fireworks fund today.  It’s a heraldic banner, done custom for the winner, using the method I use for painting weather-resistant banners.  My hands and legs are currently covered in a couple splashes of paint here and there, but I am overall pretty happy with it, especially given the size of the banner: 2′ x 3′.  It’s pretty massive, though, that means that it can be seen from a sizable distance.

I also received some scrumptious fabric the other day, and with the upcoming reign to be Norse, I’m going to try and make something a bit more period than what I own right now.  So, I’ve got some linen and wool, and some lovely goose-eye fabric that will probably get used for this, once I get that all figured out.  We’ll see, and let’s see if I can get some help with it, because lord knows I’ll need it.  Here’s a peek of what I have!

Posted in beads, herald, heraldry, history, influences, Japanese, paint, prayer beads, SCA, Society for Creative Anachronism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment