Wednesday, 13 June 2012

New Library Addition

Thanks to my lovely wife Lady Avelyn, I have a new addition to my leatherworking library. One of the key books from a research perspective that I was missing was "Knives and Scabbards (Medieval Finds from Excavations in London)". Missing no more, since as an early birthday present it has now been added to the collection.

I haven't had a chance to look through it yet, but I'm sure there's going to be lots of interesting information.

From a recreating the objects point of view, I don't think you can beat the Goubitz books ("Purses in Pieces" and "Stepping Through Time") just because of the quality of his illustrations and the fact that he often shows you the shapes for the actual leather patterns to make the object, but these Museum of London books (I also have "Shoes and Pattens") seem to have a lot of historical research in them that could be useful.

The title has been added to my LibraryThing list in the right-hand column of the blog if you'd like to see what else is on my leatherworking bookshelf.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Research Links - Money Changer's Stick-Purse

This is a link dump of URLs for paintings, woodcuts and other illustrations of the stick-purse for ease of printing later. Some may go a bit later than period but I'll pick and choose what I use once I'm pulling together my documentation. A lot of these sources will likely be similar to those that Mistress Elizabeth has used for her class notes.

1) Vanitas Still Life
Edwaert Collier

Post-period (dated 1662)

2) The Rich Man from the Parable (Moneychanger)
Post-Period (dated 1627)

3) The Moneylender
Gerrit Dou
Post-Period (1664) or

4) The Miser
Hendrick Gerritsz Pot
Post Period (1640's)

5) Old woman with a candle
Matthias Stomer
Post Period (1640's)

6) The Moneychanger and His Wife
Marinus van Reymerswale
In-Period (1539)

7) The Banker and his Wife
Marinus van Reymerswale
In-Period (1500's) or

8) Beware of Luxury
Jan Steen
Post-Period (1665)

9) Avarice
Workshop of Abraham Bloemaert
Post-Period (1625) (engraving) or

10) Woodcuts & Pictures of Extant Examples
Goubitz reproduces woodcuts from Brugel and Amman in Purses in Pieces but I am still looking for links. He also has pictures of the two remaining examples of the purses, found in the Neatherlands.
In-Period (1500's)

Update: Dec 2012

11) Backgammon spelend paar,
Jacob Matham
In Period (1600)

Monday, 4 June 2012

Planning my research - money changer's stick-purse

So I've been putting some thought into how I want to go about the work on my next Kingdom A&S project - the money-lender's stick-purse. Given all of my other projects I don't think it will be ready for this year's A&S event, but who knows.

Other than Purses in Pieces and a few period paintings, there is very little information about the stick-purse that I've been able to find. However, I had a really lucky discovery last week in stumbling on the LiveJournal of Mistress Elizabeth Vynehorn of the East Kingdom ( who, it turns out, has already done some research into the stick-purse and developed a Pennsic class on how to make them. She's actually planning on teaching it at Pennsic this year, so that will be going on my to-do list for sure. Mistress Elizabeth was kind enough to share her course notes with me, which totally rocks. I'm looking forward to the class.

Now, what I need to figure out is some of the details of how I want to go about recreating the purse.

Based on my comments from last Kingdom A&S, there were no real concerns with my research. I got very high marks there. The comments were in two main areas:
  1. Non-period materials being used
  2. Cleanness of the detail work
I'll do my best to fix up the second point but a lot of that is going to come as I get more experienced with leatherworking techniques. But I can do something about the first point, so I think that's where I'm going to focus.

Mistress Elizabeth's class notes revealed some interesting info that she got directly from the one museum on the Netherlands that has a surviving stick-purse. I think I'll likely send the museum an e-mail and see if I can get a bit more information about the specific materials used for their purse to supplement what Mistress Elizabeth provided.

I'd like to know if they can tell me anything about the thickness and type of the leather used (for both the pouches and the handle braiding), whether there is any evidence of colouring or other ornamentation (which would confirm the artistic renditions that can be found in period paintings) and any information about the measurements of the various components so that I can get the scale of the handle and pouches as close as possible.

On the assumption that the period paintings are accurate, I've started doing some research into period leather dyes to verify what colours would have been available in the period for leather. I may not be able to use actual period dyes (I have some recipes but not sure I want to go there yet) but I can probably replicate some of the colour tones by watering down some of my modern water-based dyes so they give a more translucent colour. That will help with the judging I think, as they had concerns about my use of chrome-tanned leather with a colour that wasn't entirely period.

I think I'll do as much research as possible pre-Pennsic, and then I can focus on construction after I've taken the course and hopefully heard back from the museum.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Leg Armour Modifications

While Avelyn has bought some new metal knee armour we haven't figured out how we want to mount them yet. We'll probably wait until she has her new padded gambeson and pants ready and then work it out for her new armour.

In the interim, we've decided to modify her old leg armour to make it easier for her to armour up. Right now all of the straps buckle behind her legs, making it almost impossible for her to get into her armour on her own given how bulky it is.

Last night I popped the rivets on all of the leg straps and moved the buckles so that they are at the front. It increases the chances of her getting hit on a buckle a bit, but it also will hopefully mean she can actually get out on the field more often to get hit in the first place. :)

Of course, by moving the buckles, the straps themselves needed to be replaced since they are not long enough any more, so that all got done as well. Tonight after the Canton meeting, I'll get her to put them on so I can figure out where to punch the holes in the straps, and where to trim the straps so they don't dangle too much.

I also checked all of the other straps and lacing and everything seems to be holding up well. The kidney belt I made is definitely doing the job, so it's possible we'll re-use it for the new legs. She's been using this set-up with very few repairs for at least three years now so I'm pretty happy with its durability.