Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Rapier Armor

I've neglected to blog about this because I've never gotten photos that I'm really happy with. But I've decided that sub-par photos will just have to be ok for this one.

My dear Sven decided to take up rapier fighting, and needed armor that meets the safety requirements of the SCA. Rather than come up with a separate persona, he decided to maintain his Templar persona with a bit of appropriate anachronism, using this adorable image of fighting monks.

The robes are plain and simple, based on his regular Templar robes, with shortened length to avoid tripping. It's made of heavy black cotton twill, lined in heavy red cotton twill. He also wears two shirts underneath it, to ensure he has plenty of underarm coverage. The robes actually turned out a little too short, in retrospect. I suspect a second version will be forthcoming soon. The length issue is not one of safety, but one of aesthetics.

He now fights with cotton pants beneath rather than the tights, and his footwear varies depending on the fighting surface. His period boots have a serious lack of traction, which is something we're working on.

Fighting masks are required to have a back drape to protect the back of the head and neck. I decided to do a full hood over Sven's mask instead of a simple drape, to fit his persona. This is also heavy black twill lined in heavy red twill. It was tricky to sew onto the mask so the hood will never slide off his head, but the final product works very well, protects as needed, and looks really neat. I rolled the hood fabric a little when affixing it to the mask, to ensure the red lining would show. This also hides the white bib that is attached to the fencing mask. The Templar Cross is red linen appliqued into place.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Persona Research Challenge - 2nd Prize

The second prize winner of the Artemisian Persona Research Challenge was m'lady Cheung Mei Wan for her article on Chinese hair ornaments.

She requested that her book have blank pages, and be bound in this lovely red brocade, which she provided to me. To bind books in fabric, you must use a process which will allow you to use glue on it without destroying the fabric itself. There are complicated ways of soaking the fabric in starch and paste, but I was afraid the Brocade would become water damaged from the pasting. It was also important to me to get this book done soon, as it's taken me longer to finish than I'd hoped. Life seems to get in the way of fun sometimes. I opted for a simple, quick and very not period method of backing the fabric with tissue paper using Heat 'n' Bond. I want to take the time to do testing on making book fabric "properly" in the future. 

This book is done in coptic stitch binding, which leaves the signatures visible on the spine, and shows a decorative stitch along the signatures. I did this using waxed cotton embroidery floss. It's a lot more wobbly than I'd prefer - clearly I need more practice. This book has 11 signatures.

The benefit to coptic stitch binding is that no glue is needed in attaching the covers to the body of the book, and books lay flat when open, which is great for writing and sketching. Incidentally, I'm supposed to be teaching a class on coptic stitch binding at Known World Heralds and Scribes Symposium next month. If you're there, come to my class or come say hi!

I used a heavy weight pearlescent paper with embossed floral designs for the inside of the covers. This reminded me of the papers used in the recipient's wedding bouquets, so I thought it would be a fun little personalized touch.

I finished the book off by adding metal corners to the outer edges. The inner edges could not be capped due to the binding stitches. I had some fraying problems with the fabric where the corners were turned in, so this helps keep everything tight where it should be. The glue used will keep the book from further fraying, but this looks much cleaner.