Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Just an hour to go....

'Till the start of the over and above challenge!

I'm gonna go to bed now, but it's nice to know I (almost) could start...if only anticipation hadn't made me so sleepy...

I wish everyone good luck on your projects!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Oh my!

The hair ornament. The lace. I may not be able to resist this one.

Portrait of Eleonora Ganzaga
Pourbus Frans il Giovane, 1602-1603
Polo Museale, Florentino, Palatina Inventory Item #391


Who cares if it's a wee bit post period for the SCA?!?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

I like new pages.

I've finally gotten a clue about just how helpful it could be to use the additional pages in this blog as a place to store my favorite images for projects and ponderings.

One of my upcoming projects (2012 if I can!) is to make myself a pair of great tall venetian shoes...but how tall? And how does the added stature change the balance of an outfit?

Latey I've been finding pictures of Ladies in their chopines so I'm gathering them together here.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Another Idea for the Over and Above Mini-Challenge

Portrait of a Woman
Unknown Tuscan Artist, 1590-1610
Uffuzi, Inventory of 1890, Item #2300

It's really too bad that I don't need another heavy outer layer, at least not right now. There are so many interesting possibilities!

Maybe I'll have to upcycle my winter coat in the spring...

Friday, January 27, 2012

Cinderella = Gypsy?

Zingarella, Boccaccio Boccaccino, 1504-1505
Uffuzi Gallery, Florence
Inventory of 1890 item number 8539

Apparently Zingarella is an Italian word for Gypsy. This leaves me wondering about the connection between Zingarella and Cinderella. Was she actually a Gypsy? Were her step-family merely trying to insult her...perhaps for being poor and dirty (a conventional prejudice about gypsies)?

If Cinderella were an abusive nickname what was her birth name? And why didn't she use it later in life? Or did she, and perhaps that's why we think of Cinderella as a myth?

I am at home sick today and it's clearly leaving me too much time to think.

Like, what is the connection between brazziarie (sp?)--the Italian name for partlet--and brasserie/bra. I've read in numerous books that 'the origin of the name bra is unknown' but the connection seems pretty plausible/obvious to me!

The erie absense of black folks

I found another Portrait of Maria Salviati
the one in the frame is by Jacopo Carucci after Pontormo, 1543-1545
Inventory Number 3565 from the 1890 inventory of the Uffizi collection.

Looking at the second painting I can't help wondering...is there another little bi-racial girl hidden under all that black paint?


Haven't you always secretly wanted one?

Portrait of Victoria Colonna
Cristofano Dell'Altissimo, 1552-1568
Polo Museum, Fiorentino
Inventory of 1890 Item #204

I'm poking about the online inventories of the Uffizi in Florence today. It's a bit confusing because they maintain their info based on the cataloging event, which means you have to search each group seperately.

I found the search engines through: http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=it&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.uffizi.firenze.it%2Fmusei%2F%3Fm%3Dcostume

Click on "Digital Archives" in the menu on the left. Searching the inventories has been working for me.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

And Whooppee! They have another shoe!

Zoccolo Zoccolo. Calzatura formata da una parte in legno composta da un elemento orizzontale lanceolato sorretto da due rialzi di forma triangolare. In una delle due estremità superiori è fissato con tre borchie metalliche su ciascun lato, un tessuto, Gros de Tours a pelo strisciante, di forma romboidale con piccola nappina dello stesso filato a decorazione. Accessori
XVI-XVII 1580 1620 fine/inizio

(Per google translate "Socket socket. Footwear consists of a wooden part consists of a horizontal lanceolate supported by two triangular elevations. In one of the two upper ends are fixed with three metal studs on each side, a fabric, Gros de Tours sleeping creeping, diamond-shaped with a small tassel of the same yarn decoration. Accessories")

OK, carving and covering cork chopines kinda scares me but I think even I could probably make these!

OMG. I apologize.

For years I have been muttering inside my head about people who inserted permenent puffs into their clothes rather than pulling out their shifts, smocks, shirts, camicias, or what have you.

I though the static puffs were a modern costumers' convience.

I stand corrected.

Maniche Su fondo ocra piccoli motivi di tulipano marrone disposti secondo teorie di fasce parallele sfalsate. Ai gomiti e all'attaccatura della spalla "sbuffi" di raso di seta bianca. Piccoli lacci nella parte alta della manica. Abiti (which Google translates as "Sleeves on small ocher brown tulip motifs arranged in parallel bands staggered theories. Elbow and shoulder to root of "puffs" of white silk satin. Small laces at the top of the sleeve. Clothes"}
XVI-XVII 1580 1620 fine/inizio
Ca' Mocenigo Centro Studi di Storia del Tessuto e del Costume

Clearly, I don't spend enough time doing research.

I just discovered that many of the Venetian museums have pooled their artifact collections together into a single, searchable, database at: http://www.archiviodellacomunicazione.it/Sicap/opac.aspx?WEB=MuseiVE&LNG=ENG

I searched for "tessuto" and found this!

"Arte spagnola
Tessuto Velluto chermisi tagliato ad un corpo con applicazioni in raso di seta prodotto dall' orditura di fondo in seta gialla e da una trama di fondo verde Tessuti
XVI 1500 1599 inizio
Ca' Mocenigo Centro Studi di Storia del Tessuto e del Costume "

It's very like the applique work I am doing on my pavillion and it's giving me some great pointers for how I can use the couched thread for detailing overall.

I'm such a happy camper!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Macrame Sample: What do you think?

I noticed while I was working on my test sample that the pattern for the points in the extant piece is clearly a few threads larger than the blocks-and-knots section, and the original blocks are proportionally larger (wider) than mine. Maybe 12 or 16 threads wide instead of the 8 threads I use.

Still the sample is finished and I'm pretty happy with the result.

I'll probably try crossing the threads at the top and bottom of the knot sections to help the illusion that they are loops of cord and I might make the crossover in the center of the point shorter by 1 square knot. I'm generally not interested in making exact copies of anything so I think I am content with my symetrical pattern. It will certainly be easier for me to work!

It looks like I will need to fringe about 18" of my fabric to get enough free thread to work the macramé and tassle. I'll end up cutting off about 5" of thread in the end but I think I'll need that much (plus the 4" from the tassle) to be able to manipulate the threads.

Providing that I can lay my hands on a 4 yard piece of sheer-ish linen fabric I think I've found my Over and Above Mini-Challenge project.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Extant Italian Capes

For those who are looking for ideas for the Over and Above mini-challenge.

At the Los Angeles County Museum of Art:

Man's Cape
Italy, last 1/4 of the 16th Century

Man's Cape 1480
Italy, Florence

Over and Above, It's a go!

The Realm of Venus "Over and Above" mini-challenge is officially going forward so I guess I'd better decide what I'm going to be making.

I've been working on a test version of a macrame pattern using the thin crochet cotton I'm using for my partlet project. It's a bit thicker than the threads of my linen fabric would probably be, so I think it will be a pretty good gauge for figuring out how much of the fabric I would have to fringe to be able to work the macrame, as well as if my looking and pondering and counting and planning enabled me to come up with a reasonable version of the pattern.

Image #377 from Ricci's Old Italian Lace, Volume 1, 1913

As you can see the pattern is basically a series of tasseled knotted points depending from a band of alternating blocks and knots.

I've gotten the band portion finished in my sample but I'm not quite happy with it. I think it needs more of a gap between the blocks of Diagonal Hitch and the knot. Maybe if I crossed the sets of starting threads on the knot? Hmmn. Something to ponder while I work up the point and tassel section.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Concurrences: Being my musings on project ideas for the "Over and Above" Challenge at The Realm of Venus

The focus of the challenge is on outerwear, mainly coats of various sorts, but since I already have a stunning loose gown which I rarely get to wear I'm going to be working on a Venetian-style veil.

Poking about for inspirational pictures on the web has shown me that while Venetian veils share a common theme as to size (huge!) there is a great deal of variety in shape, color, texture, opacity, decoration and manner of wearing.

Shape: I see evidence of rectangles, triangles and half-circles being common veil shapes. Additionally I find several illustrations that suggest the veil may be a rectangle which has been folded across the breadth and stitched together along one of the long edges. (Thus making a 1/2 open pouch shape rather like a coif) Admittedly, the pouchy bagginess of the drape of these veils could have been achieved in other ways--such as the judicious use of pins--but I find the possibility of a structured veil intriguing.

Color: Along with black, white, and the legendary yellow, I find evidence beige, blue, gold, red, pink and green. Notably, one example appears to be a two-color shot silk organza whose overall effect is a coral-pink.

Texture: I see evidence of veils in a variety of textures, fine to coarse, plus both smooth and textured weaves. In addition, the veils appear to have a variety of 'hands' from a liquid drape to a rather crunchy stiffness.

Opacity: While I had believed that the veil would be slightly-translucent-to-opaque in most cases, it appears that the reverse may be true. In the majority of illustrations I have seen the veil material is in the translucent-to-sheer end of the range and it is frequently very nearly transparent. It should be noted, however, that once removed from the head an opaque veil simply looks like a shawl, tablecloth, or random piece of fabric drapery so it is likely that I have misinterpreted some objects that a period viewer would have recognized as opaque veils.

Decoration-Overall: In addition to the many examples of various types of woven stripes, I find hints of more elaborate patterns. Whether these patterns were confined to bands at the edges of the veil and whether woven or applied is unclear.

Decoration-Edge: Plain hems, fringe, plain lace, tassels and ornamented lace are all seen.

While there may well have been meaning ascribed to veils of different colors, etc. (the language of the veil :) ), it seems likely that, in some cases at least, the color, shape and materials of one's veil were a personal aesthetic decision.

So, I have been mulling over options for a new veil. I am on a personal mission to bring more pattern into SCA events so I rather like the idea of of a striped veil. I also really like handwork and trying new things so I've been thinking a lot about edge treatments. Hmm. What to do?

Which brings me to the afore-mentioned concurrences...

Veil Option 1:

Sheer with woven textured stripes

Mores Italiae, 1575

Mores Italiae, 1575

Agnolo Bronzino, 1550

Corded silk Organza (available on e-bay)

Veil Option 2:

Sheer with woven gold stripes

Cesare Vecellio 1589-90

Bartolomeo Veneto 1520's

Silk organza with gold stripes (available on ebay)

Veil Option 3:

Translucent with an amazing edging

I'm thinking a sheer linen with lace edging...maybe in knotwork?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Just one more from the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore

Kitchen Interior, Dirck de Vries, Netherlandish, ca. 1600

And this is why we love the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore

Because they have Great Stuff! For Example:

Gondola Ride (A page from a larger work "Book of Italian Costumes")Niclauss Kippell (German) 1588

And they plan Great Exhibits! I know where I'll be this fall. In celebration of my birthday I'm going to their upcoming show:

Revealing the African Presence in Renaissance Europe

This is particularly timely for me because I have spent the last few days working on a page of black folks in period art. One of my personal challenges as a reenactor of color has been finding a plausible persona which *includes* (rather than ignores) my actual ethnic heritage. I've been scouring the web looking for the occasional images I can remember seeing of people of African heritage just living their lives in Venice, or Amsterdam, or wherever. They are there, yes, but terribly hard to locate...and then here comes The Walters Art Museum with an entire show which not only discusses the history and art of the period but also what has happened to the works over time.

(Apparently the little Medici girl in the painting below was painted out in the 19th Century and rediscovered during cleaning. Wrap your head around that.)

I can hardly wait for the show!

Portrait of Maria Salviati de Medici and Gulia de Medici, Jacopo Pontormo, 1600
Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, Maryland

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Fantasy shopping....

They have the most wonderful Spanish case/traveling desk for sale on ebay...

I want!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Have you ever heard of Matthaus Schwarz?

I hadn't until today. Trust me, you must go read the last two paragraphs on this page, look at the pictures and then tell me if it makes your little seamstress' heart beat faster!


(Can you imagine? There are more than 130 little pictures of him in his new outfits...I can only dream of the day when I can say the same!)

We Were There: Stripes!

Do you ever wonder what is going on with all the outfits in solid colored fabrics at events? I do!

I understand that an opulent damask or brocaded velvet in 100% silk or linen may be out of the reach of the average renactor's pocketbook, but what could possibly explain the absense of of that most basic of woven patterns-stripes?


I've heard some people claim that 'they didn't wear stripes in europe in period' but the pictoral record would seem to disagree.

So I decided to start a page on which I can post some of the lovely evidence I find for stripes!

Startng with this lovely at the Brookly Museum;

Portrait of a Lady as Mary Magdalen, Barolomeo Veneto, 1520's

Brooklyn Museum: Portrait of a Lady as Mary Magdalen

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Well the ACC show-off-your-work-&-announce-the-winner event (otherwise known as 12th Night)is over...

Is there a winner? Is judging still going on? Did someone declare Internet silence until some later date?

I, for one wanna see some pictures!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Two Things

Thing One: Artemisians are starting to scare me.

I've been reading the project write ups the participants in the ACC are putting out on-line and after my initial reaction of amazed delighted awe I keep coming back to their lists of items and interesting tendency towards saying something on the line of:

"For the challenge I made one piece for each of the required four layers--oh, I made 2 versions of my layer three, one in linen, one in wool but both entirely hand sewn--and these seven additional accessories...oh and here I am, wearing the full outfit with the pin and bag and (insert 27 other items here) I made to go with it. I guess that makes a total of 41 items. Oh yeah, maybe I should include the 7 things I made which I'm not wearing because I decided they weren't *quite* the right color..."

Who are these people!?!

Where do they find the time!?!

Seriously, I keep thinking of what Anya said: "Nobody could do that much decoupage without calling on the forces of evil!"


Artemisians. Yes, they're better than the rest of us.

Thing Two: Partlet progress report

As you can see, I have stitched together a great deal more of the seams to create the neckline of the partlet. It feels a lot better and looks better too, I think, so I'm now working on adding the additional pieces to finish the back of the partlet. I'm also still considering the question of bust support and coverage. I'm currently considering the potential of making a white linen partlet based on the bust supporting ideas posited by Robin Netherton with her work on the Gothic fitted dress. If I made it waist length and laced it closed to just the top of the bodice I wonder if it would work to support a bust my size? The pondering continues as I work on the stitching at the edges of my lacis pieces...

Monday, January 2, 2012

The partlet is starting to come together

As you can see, I have begun attaching the lacis squares together to create my first partlet. I'd been thinking that if I only stitched the squares around the neck opening 1/2-way it would make a good neckline and the beginnings of a standing collar. I still like the concept but this picture shows me that I will need to close the seams a good bit further to get the fit I'd like. Maybe 3/4's of the way...?

I like it that the shoulder squares will clearly provide plenty of coverage down into the sleeve of my gowns...not so sure about a single square providing enough depth to the back of the partlet but I think I'll need to get the neckline fitted before I know if I'll need to add another row to the back (rather than just squaring it off as I had planned.)

My new quandary is the transparency question. This is clearly a racier style but I'm beginning to wonder if it is racier than I am comfortable with. I feel a lot naked-er in the lace than I expected. After some pondering I've come to suspect that my cafe-au-lait skin tone provides so much contrast to the lace that it screams "she's naked under here!" while the portraits I was inspired by (which are all of women with much lighter completions) merely hint at it.

I'm planning to continue on the partlet and see how I feel when it is finished and part of a complete ensemble. If it turns out that I am just too modern to wear it with a 1590's bodice I can always wear it with a gown with more fabric to the bodice, but I notice that the photos don't actually look nearly as naked as I feel...interesting.