Friday, November 9, 2012

New ad-hoc shoes for Landsknecht outfit

Well, projects fall behind schedule and the debut of my new outfit has been moved up a week.  I was hoping to go to Crystal Ball to debut my outfit, but I won't be able to make it to that event so I'll be attempting to finish the outfit one week early.  That will likely mean I won't have the garters done and the cow-mouth shoes I'm working on won't be done.

So, what do I do for shoes in the mean time?  Head to Salvation Army!

I purchased these shoes from Salvation Army.  Had a nice period looking sole with visible stitching, so I thought that these would be a good starting point.


Step one was to slice out a much larger opening.  This was easy enough to do with a simply box cutter.


Next step... test for fit and of course snap a few photos.  Here is what the shoes will look like with the hose I made.

Next step, darken the leather a bit.  Was originally thinking black, but after seeing the way these looked with a coat of polish, I really like that look.

Next I took some blue leather from a chopped up coat, also from Salvation Army, and used it to make some strips which would be used as trim for the opening.  I had some green and purple leather but chose the blue since it matches the blue wool trim everywhere else on the outfit.


Final step is to add some straps.  The shoes surprisingly stayed on well enough without straps.  I plan on doing some dancing in these and want to ensure they stay on comfortably though.  I took some scrap leather from the Tandy Leather scrap bundle I had bought in the past.  I polished it up a bit to make the leather match the color of the leather on the shoes.  I used an awl and leather needle to stitch the straps on.

 I am aware that the buckles are not period and the strapping should have done differantly, but my focus right now is getting passable shoes as quick as possible as I hope to wear the outfit in less than two days.  I still hope to revisit the cow mouth shoes I started previously.  In the mean time... I think these will do.


Purple Fret scroll for Heather Marie Hall

Another scroll assignment and another first for me.  I was given a scroll assignment to create an award scroll for a person with Japanese persona.

Name;  Heather Marie Hall  (Heather Rocchi) Midlands/Foxvale
Award:  Award of the Purple Fret
Reason:  for her prolific and steadfast service to Our Kingdom

I was sure I wanted to make a Japanese scroll, but not sure how exactly to go about it.  As it turns out my children are enrolled in a dual language Japanese elementary school.  One of the other parents that has become a friend to the family is a professional writer and Japanese translator.  I provided her with some text which I wanted on a scroll and she reworked it and translated it for me.

Here is the information I provided her with along with a quick translation from Google Translator (which as it turns out kind of sucks).

Let it be known by all that we Dag, King by right of arms of the Middle Kingdom, and AnneMarie our Queen, do recognize the dedicated service that Lady Heather Marie Hall hath freely given unto the Middle Kingdom, specifically as an exceptional scribe.
We do here publicly praise her and are pleased to bestow upon her the Award of the Purple Fret.
We grant unto her all rights and responsibilities of this rank and the right to bear the badge without hindrance from any person.
Given by our hands this 10th day of November, A.S. 47, at this, our Known World Academy of Rapier and Costume Symposium.
本シンポジウムで、既知世界レイピアとコスチュームアカデミシンポジウム、本日、A.S. 471110日これを成立します。
She wrote the text out in a format more consistent with an actual period notification of this sort.  Without her help I would not have been able to put this together.  This is the text she provided me with which in in Japanese.  The following text includes the Furigana in parenthesis  which is the Hiragana characters included to aid in the pronunciation of the Kanji for those that may not be able to read all of the Japanese characters.  Those are not included in the scroll as they are simply an aid to the reader.  I can actually read a bit of Japanese and this, for me, was very useful.  I now had a scroll which I could actually read and properly pronounce.  I added the Romaji which is the pronunciation written out in English letters.




anata wa yuushuu na shokikan toshite, 

既知世界(きちせかい)レイピアとコスチューム アカデミ

ni rippo na ekimuteikyoushi,

PAAPURU FUREETO shou ni oite takaku hyouka saremashita.

soshite, kono RANKU no kenri to sekinin tomo,


shishyou naku BAAJI o mini tsukeru kenri o ataemasu.

yotte koko ni hyoushyoushimasu.

A.S. 四十七年(ねん)十一月(がつ)十日(にち)
gojunana nen juichi gatsu junichi


taiketsu de katta chuuseikokuoo to

我々(われわれ)の女王(じょおう) ダーグとアーン・マリー
warewareno shyoo DAGU to AAN MARI.

Now that I had the text I could begin the layout and design.  I knew that I wanted a Japanese image, hopefully of somebody doing artwork.  I found a Japanese woodblock print from the 17th century (I believe) which had a woman painting.  I chose to add that image in the middle of the scroll with a minimal border at the top where the royal seal would be added along with the Purple Fret badge.

The scroll will read from right to left, from top to bottom.

Here is a picture of the image I drew and the printout from the image I found.

I purchased some bamboo pens and brushes, but as it turns out my skill in the use of these new tools was very limited.  I could not write in Japanese well enough to be satisfied.  I could use the brush to write, but the smallest I could manage and still be legible was about three times larger than I wanted for the scroll.  I backed off the authenticity and simply used a quill pen to do all the drawing and writing.

All of the text and drawing in the following photo was done with a crow quill dip pen with India ink.

Here is the layout with the signature boxes and the Purple Fret badge layout.  Yup, I messed up the fret but I think I can fix that later.... I hope.

I'm really VERY happy with the look of the scroll at this point.  Here are some close ups of the the writing.  My wife is Japanese and read this for me.  She can read limited Kanji, but not write it well enough, which is why I didn't ask her to translate it.  She reviewed the text at this point and I got the green light to proceed.


I purchased some Chinese water color paints to use for the color.  I know that the image was based on a wood block print and therefore wanted the overall look and feel to have that same tone and brightness.  I like the look of the water colors as they have a vibrant look but at the same time slightly more muted than the gauche that I've been using.

All in all I couldn't be happier with this scroll.  The image of the woman painting is some of my favorite artwork I've ever done.  I really hope I get to do more Japanese scrolls in the future.

Award of Arms scroll for Michka of Blackhawk

Recent scribble assignment.  I was given an AoA to create and here is a very limited documentation of what and how I did it.

As with all my scrolls, the design in a free hand sketch using a mechanical pencil.  I chose Pergamenata as the material to make the scroll from.  I had little information about the recipient other than the fact that the person was currently the exchequer for the shire of Blackhawk and so I chose to add the badge to the top of the scroll.  Little else was known about persona or interests so I chose to make a "generic" middle period style scroll.

Calligraphy first... I used a metal tipped dip quill pen to do all the work on this scroll.  I used a crow quill tip to clean up some of the lines and improve the sharpness of some of the letters.  Still don't care much for my calligraphy but I guess that's part of the game.  Illumination is by far my favorite aspect.

After calligraphy is completed and cleaned up I started inking in the trim.

I was thinking of using green ink for the vine-work as I have on other scrolls, but opted to keep it more like the illuminated manuscript that inspired this design.


All the inking done.  I actually sketched the illuminated letter on a separate piece of paper and then traced it onto this page.  Tried a few designs so rather than sketching over and over on this page I wanted to finalize the design before transferring it.

I used all gauche paint for this scroll.  Base coat of two distinct shades of green for the trim was applied first.

More details and colors added...

Illuminated letter completed and white work just about done...

Completed scroll.  Well, almost.  Turns out that the scroll assignment was given to me for a woman.  The text I used included three references to "her".  When I witnessed the award in court I then found out that the recipient was a man.  Oops.  Felt like a fool and offered to try and fix the problem.



Here is the stamped and signed scroll after the fixes were applied.  My calligraphy isn't as good as I would like, but it turns out my talents at fixing calligraphy sucks more.  Oops.  The "her" references were updated to "his" but are clearly visible.  Pergamenata is more forgiving that Bristol board, but still doesn't take a second coat of ink all that well.  When I tried to write the fixed letter the ink bled very quickly and looked smudgey. I guess I shouldn't make mistakes in the future.  Ick!


Monday, November 5, 2012

Landsknecht Hosen

Just about done with the hose for the Landsknecht outfit.  There portion of the hose from the ankle up was made from 10 strips of alternating black and green.  Here are the images of the hose before adding feet.  I trimmed the opening and the length of the two to be about the same.  Since I started with scraps from a woman's cotton shirt the ten strips were not all the same size.


To get a proper foot piece I placed a flat square over the top of my foot and tacked it together with the hose.  After assembling the top to the leg I then placed my foot onto another rectangular piece for the bottom.  I simply pinned around the outside of my foot.  Never did end up with a pattern at this point, so I did the same exercise twice.  I made one foot green and one black, just to be a bid odd. :-)

Here is what the foot of the host looked like.  So far so good, turned it inside out again and ran another set of stitches around the edge to help prevent fraying and then on to the black footed other hose.

The finished hose.  I know they garters are wrong.  These are my garters from my other Circa 1200 outfit.  I wanted to wear them around the house for an hour or so to check the fit and comfort.  Worked great.  Next I'll make a set of garters which match the rest of the brightly colored outfit.


Here is the concept sketch which shows the garter I have planned to go with the hose.  At least that's the plan...

Kingdom Craftspersons Faire

Got to display my Landsknecht outfit in progress as well as my Circa 1200 outfit and a couple other items hand stitched items I made.  This was the first time I got to see the outfit as it will be seen by others.  Kind of shocking.  So far I've seen pieces of it on myself, but only in the mirror.  I was able to borrow a mannequin to display the outfit on and it looked pretty cool.  I am very happy with the way it is turning out.  The outfit is almost wearable.  After the event I'll continue to tweak it and finish it for the competition, but getting close to wearing it in public for the first time!

PhototakenbyPhilippe de Lyon