Sunday, March 27, 2011

Photo updates!

The doorways are assembled at last.



My darling husband says that, from a phenomenographic perspective, my focus has shifted from the doorways to the tent as a whole and that is why I am having trouble appreciating what fine doorways they are. I want the whole thing to be done!

I am progressing on the applique for the front roof. I've added some close-up pictures of the process to the feb post on the process of applique if you are interested. Now back to work for me!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Well, there's good news, and somewhat less good news...

The good news is that all of the major cream-colored canvas pieces are actually cut to fit together with the same (correct) measurements. As you have probably guessed...the blue-green parts? Not so much.

So... I've been piecing together the extra bits necessary to get it all to fit together...and sewing things into place!

Woohoo! We have forward movement again.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The doorways are finished! Well, almost.

As you know, I have been working on the black outlining for the top and sides of the back doorway of the pavilion, and the blue-green band on the bottom--or leading, depending on your point of view--edge of the awning flaps, front and back. I'm trying to get all the work I can done on each seperate section *before* I put them all together because each part will get *much* more difficult to work with as the other huge chunks of canvas get attached. (It's one of the basic rules of sewing: Finish what you can *before* assembly*) And I'm happy to report, success! By which I mean that the prep work is I just have to remember how it is supposed to go together


I'm thinking no pictures today , sorry.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Another site for extant tents

My mother has a bit of an adventurous streak in her, and in the late 80's she moved off to live in Turkey for about 10 years. Thus, when I told her about my interest in period pavillions she casually informed me that there is a collection of ancient tents and liners in the Turkish Millitary Museum in Istanbul, and then she gave me books!

(I can only find one of the books at the moment: Osmanli Cadir Sanati (XVII - XIX. yuzyli), Taciser Onuk, T.C. Kultur Bakanligi, 1998. In English: Ottoman Tent Art (XVII - XIX. centuries))

I, of course, devoured the books a gulp and rushed off to look up the Museum site, which I present to you here

Askeri Muse ve Kultur

Note: click on "Albumler" and then "Cadirlar" or, if you can find it, "Askerî Kıyafetler Salonu,' or "Üst Kat Salonlar" and then "Çadırlar Galerisi." I warn you, the links shown in the menu on the left of the page seem to change nearly every time I go to it. but keep trying. sometimes clicking on white space will make a whole new list of choices appear. (This works for me when the cursor, not the arrow is showing as the pointer.)

I managed to wend my way quite deeply into their photo galleries a few years ago, but then my computer crashed and I lost all the links so I am simply posting what I've got, for now.

I hope to get back to this on-line research project at some point, but for now I am making a pavillion! (Busy, busy.... :)

Note: see comments below for a bit more explanation of how I've found the pictures when the links aren't showing...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Pavillion Progress Update-1

In case you were wondering...

Yes, I'm still working on the pavilion.

I've finished the black couching on the second mottoe panel, and am currently working on the same outlining on the WATER panel for the back doorway. My hope is to get both back doorway panels done, and the two doorway/awning sections assembled this weekend. Look for pictures by Monday!

On other fronts, I am considering what to use to make the soft furnishings for the outside of the tent. I know I'll be making cushions for our chairs, and probably a mosquito netting screen house which I can attach under the awning flaps. (Mosquitoes really love me, but the feeling isn't mutual!) And I agree that we need standards...

Oh yes, and poles of course!

But all of that is for another day, right now it is all about the couching.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My chair plan

A question has been raised on the yahoo groups medieval encampments list regarding appropriate furniture for a late period, French, encampment.

I have been looking at extant examples of portable furniture from that period and have found variations of this chair from both England and Spain. I haven't looked at French furniture yet, but I suspect they also have a variation. (FYI, I took a brief look at French furniture yesterday and the form--"Caquetoire Garnie"-- does appear.) Some versions seem to collapse by removing the spreader bars between the sides, others may add or substitue hinges in the spreader bars, and some versions add hinges or other joints halfway down the legs for an additional point of collapse.

I'll add detail of my sources ASAP (NOTE: sources now added), but in the meantime I wanted to share my sketch-up model of a type of chair which I have never seen in my (admittedly limited) experience of SCA camping. To wit,

the Friar's (Monk's) chair

As usual, if you click on the picture it will take you to sketch-up where you can pivot the view or download the model to tinker with.

Folding sillon frailero of walnut (sixteenth century)

Musee Episcopal, Vich. Bacelona. "as in many early examples, the frame can be dismounted." From "Furniture Past & Present, L. Boger, Doubleday, 1966

Folding sillon frailero (sixteenth century)

Spanish Interiors and Furniture: Photographs and Drawings, Arthur Byne and Mildred Stapley, William Helburn, Inc. 1921

Monday, March 14, 2011

Update on the Mottoe

The second section of goldwork is finished! Amazing. I thought it would never be done and then--poof--FINISHED! OK, OK, I still have to do the black outlining on that section, and two of the doorway panels, but still, FINISHED!

I might--just possibly--actually finish this pavillion in time for Pennsic. (I sure hope so, or we'll be sleeping in a day shade!)

More about Sketch-up

I just discovered that if you go to look at my designs on the sketch-up page you don't *have* to download an object to be able to see the entire circumference.

If you look in the upper right-hand corner of the picture frame there are two buttons "Image" and "3-D View". Clicking the 3-D View button just let me pivot the trailer so I could see all the sides.


Downloading the trailer will let you actually go *inside* to take a look around there too.

(BTW, Sketch up items are shared by their creators to be *used.* Which means that you can tinker with things and make your own creation. I started my Tudor trailer plan by finding someone else's 7'X14' trailer to base my work on. Just like I would if I built it for real.)

But I'll get off my little "sketch-up is so cool!" soapbox for now.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

My Tudor Trailer

Last summer I learned about the existence of a free downloadable 3-d modeling program (google sketchup 3-d) and started working on a plan for my dream portable house for SCA Camping.

I decided to complete my pavilion instead--for a variety of practical reasons, including the fact that I could work on it thru the winter in our heated house instead of trying to work in the frozen garage--but I still LOVE my trailer plan so I am sharing it with you here.

Aurora's 7x14' Tudor Trailer (Plan/Visualization)

It will have both a queen size bed and an additional sleeping berth/daybed, a "working" fireplace (canisters of gel fuel only), an outdoor kitchen based on drawers which pull out from under the bed, and both a woodpile and stone water trough to cover the wheels.

I love-love-love it!

I based the shape on various other pop-up SCA trailers I have been studying on-line. The intricacy of detail is based on extant examples of historic housing, notably:

Staple Inn, Holburn, London, England


Little Moreton Hall, Cheshire, England

For those of you who are wondering about the trailer details just click on the picture to go to sketch-up where you can download it and wander about (it's a 3-d model, remember?) to your heart's content.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Funny Thing About Giving Yourself Permission...

NOT to do something, is that it sometimes has the opposite result!

After spending last night working on the design for the back roof of my pavilion, I got up this morning and promptly started to work on the second section of the motto. Go figure.

Giving myself leave to do something else seems to have put it back on the 'fun' side of the scale and I am already halfway finished with the ribbon-work part of the task. I'm not promising this rate will continue but to go from 2 1/2 letters finished to 15 finished and several others started feels great!

Maybe there will even have to be pictures soon...

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Roof at Last!

As I predicted, the--apparently endless--stitching on the mottoe has gotten be be a bit more like drudgery than I can handle, so I am commencing work on the dragon applique for the roof sections of the pavillion. (And can I just say, WooHoo!)

I'm hoping the first panel will be comparitively simple--since there is not much more actual applique than there was on one of the door panels--but you know how I am...

Anyway, here is

A close up of the pattern for the front roof

I'm thinking I will adapt it to make the back roof. Maybe something like this:

Proposed back roof panel

I think it's not quie busy enough--maybe she should be holding foliage to feed the dragons? (OK apparently they are wyverns, but close enough for me!) Still a work in progress, obviously.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

On Authenticity...and the art of shopping

I've been thinking a lot about 'authenticity' in the SCA context lately.

On the one hand it seems like a kinda silly concern, I mean, we've got personas from all corners of the globe, walks of life, and hundreds to thousands of years of human history all thrown together in a little itty bitty space carved out from the surrounding 'real world.' Even if said world wasn't encroaching on every side, our play space is a great deal more like Riverworld than Medieval Europe! So why bother?

On another hand, following my medieval interests/passions to the fullest extent I can (or care to) manage at any given time is one of the things that interests me about the SCA. I hand sew my garb and laboriously stitch my way through endless eyelets because I *like* it. Both the process, and knowing that I have done my best to make something both beautiful and as 'in-period' and inoffensive as I possibly can.

So, yet another hand! When I consider the probable 'authenticity' of my gear - projects - whatever, inoffensiveness is something I strive for. By which I mean that I work to reduce the likelihood of my person/encampment knocking someone *else* out of the dream. I am very concerned with trying to present plausibly 'in-period' manifestations of the material goods I need to make my SCA play comfortable for modern me, while keeping in mind another couple of concerns (more hands).

Hand 4: Can I afford it (in terms of money)?

Hand 5: Is this a sound decision for me in relation to the modern world I live in? AKA, can the earth afford it? This one is tricksy for me. I will often, but not always go for the product or material which seems the most ecologically sound, or safest, or most renewable even if it is the farthest thing from what my persona would have had, 'in-period.' Provided that it still looks and feels right to me.

And the list of hands just keeps on going...

I have my reasons for all of my decisions. The interesting thing to me is that those decisions vary from "I just don't really care about this item, at least not yet" (which would explain my choice of blankets for my encampment) thru "I chose to use this *totally* non period item because it presents a period appearance and fulfills some other need I have" (in example, my gowns made out of beautifully woven but largely synthetic upholstery fabric and my in-tent chandeliers with electric candles) to "I want to try to replicate the shape, use, method, style and feel of this authentic article which my persona could well have owned, and I'm going to do my very best to do it in a way which would seem within the bounds of reason for a person of her time" (witness my lovely folding table 'with it's chains' which will appear in the blog at some point in the future.)

It's all about balance and I find the process of considering and actively *choosing* the right item to fill a place in my list of necessary gear very interesting in and of itself.

Which brings me to the shopping...

My darling gave me a 2 burner Coleman stove for Christmas this year. Which was a perfect gift since it meant we *didn't* have to worry about either watching over a campfire, or starving to death at Pennsic. But I keep finding myself interested in having a second option sometimes for convenience--like a solar oven I could just put things into before I head out of camp for the day--and sometimes for pretty--which is how I wandered into these...

Couscoussier * Brazier * Cazuela

I keep thinking how nice it would be to have a neat little charcoal fire, make a little stew, do a little barbecue right over the coals...and the pots can be used on a gas burner too...hmmm.

I could order it all on line, all it would take is $$ and it's all perfectly plausible--and largely documentable--for late period Italy!

Believe it or not, only a small part of the point of this post is to show off the cool stuff I found (although it is cool!) Mostly I am struck by how a relatively small change in items can dramatically increase the authenticity and inoffensiveness of my encampment. I just switch out the cheap aluminum "camping" pans I was planning to buy for a couple of cazuelas and voila! Instantly improved authenticity of cooking experience and the look on the table. Someday I may decide to go with a fire instead of the Coleman stove and Voila! Completely inoffensive cooking. All without doing any kind of research into period cookware because, honestly, I'm just not there yet.

Which I guess is my point.

I think we have to give ourselves permission to be 'not there yet.'

Furthermore, I like to think that if we do that, and make our subsequent choices as inoffensive as we reasonably can, the 'authenticity' of our individual and collective journeying in these later middle ages will be much improved, quite painlessly!

Monday, March 7, 2011

More on the Mottoe

I have been overcome by the coolness of the way black outlining makes everything seem crisper, and somehow clearer, and so I have completely neglected moving forward on the second section of the mottoe while I outline each letter of the first section.

Black outlining in progress

I'm finding that it works really well for me to have the cord on a tapestry needle and the sewing thread on another hand sewing needle. I knot the cord on the back of the work, bring it to the front using the tapestry needle, stitch it down with the sewing thread/needle, bring the cord to the back of the work again and out at the next section. If there is a lot of space between sections I knot the cord on the back at the beginning and end for security but it is still much tidier than when I used to start each letter with a new segment of cord. Works for me!

Friday, March 4, 2011


The Plan

So I'd been thinking it would be nice to upload my sketchup version of the Pavilion so that people can see where I am going...of course it was at home and I was at work but I uploaded a draft version (too tall, not wide enough, etc) so that I could see if I can get it to work...


Ooo! Success!

Then I went home and figured out how to capture an image of the project, as well as uploading the real deal into Google sketchup 3d. if you follow the link by clicking on the picture you can download my plan and tinker with it to your hearts content--though I warn you that I am still learing how to use sketchup and I tend to just keep adding planes until the thing looks right when I've gotten things a

Thursday, March 3, 2011


It seems I wildly overestimated the time it would take to complete step two. (Especially if I ended up stuck at home with the stomach flu!)

The first 9' section of mottoe applique is finished. That piece is the section which will go over the front doorway just above the AIR and FIRE panels. After some elaborate calculations I have figured out where the text will fall on the 9' section over the back door, marked out the text, and started the applique work there too.

I hope to have both doorways finished by the end of this weekend, if all goes well.

The finished section of Mottoe

The second section

To give a better idea of the scale/construction of the Pavilion here is a photo of: the roof, mottoe and doorway panels laid out as they will be assembled

and finally, a picture of the source design for the dragon on the front roof of the pavilion

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Here be Dragons!...

OK, now couching down the black cord on the door panels goes really fast but the gold lettering on the mottoe? Not so much.

As you may remember, I am looking at about 29 feet of lettering. At my current pace of 2' on a weekend day and about 6" on a weeknight that would be....a long long time. About 2 months of a long lllllooooonnnnnggggg time.

My hands hurt just thinking about it.

...but... Oooooh!, SHINY!!!

So I will persevere. If I am a very lucky girl I will get better (stronger, faster) with this process also. I sure do hope so.

To keep myself entertained in the meanwhile, I have been pondering my approach to the top most part of the center section of the Pavilion. I know it is going to be 3'x9' with the upper 1' covered with a band of the same glorious blue-green fabric I have been using throughout. I also know that I am going to be appliqueing on a period motif of a man capturing dragons (on the front of the pavilion) and my adapted version of a woman capturing (luring) them (on the back of the pavilion). I've been putting it off because I wanted to be sure that I have cut all the large continuous pieces I will need from the applique fabric before I start on the little bitsies that make up the dragon motifs.

Since I'm going to need a break from all that mottoe stitching, I guess the time is near at hand.