Thursday, 27 September 2012

Planning for Kingdom A&S

Once again, Kingdom A&S is just around the corner. This year, the event is being held in Brampton (, so I don't expect that we will be going.

That being said, in some years they will accept entries in absentia, and Eluned has already said she could bring my project down if I want to send it with her. As last year's Pentathalon champion, she pretty much has to go. :)

The thing is, I have enough on my plate that I don't really want to start a brand new project and try to get it done in the next month, so I think I have a plan.

If they will accept entries for people who are not on-site (still need to confirm that), I'm going to put together all of my leather carving badges as a beginner-level leather carving project. The whole point of doing them was to work on  my leather craving skills, so they are definitly beginner level, but that project was a significant amount of work over the past 6 months so I think it would be a good entry.

It also shows practical, modern-SCA applications for skills and tools that were used in period. It would have been entirely period to carve, emboss and stamp heraldry and other patterns on leather. All I was doing is using Ealdoremere's approved award badges as my patterns instead of replicating existant examples of other people's heraldry.

In my resources from the Pennsic class I took, there are examples of heraldry carved in leather. I also have my Knives and Scabbard's book, which has a section on the tools they would have used (which are basically the same as the ones we use now).

I'll have to look at the badges and see if there are any I would like to redo (I'm thinking the Scarlet Banner and the Crucible maybe). Beyond that, I'd just need to pull together beginner-level documentation - I can probably use the forms from last year since I haven't seen anything go out from the A&S Minister yet about this year's competition.

Of course, since I won't be there to talk to my judges, hopefully my score sheets will actually be sent to me this year, instead of Dafydd ap Sion, so it won't take me six months to get their comments.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Shopping List for Leather Dyes

So the other day I went through the recipes in my leather dye book and sorted them into categories. There are some that I'm not going to try to do, either because they use ingredients that are toxic, super expensive or the yuck factor is just too much (yes, I know using urine is period but I'm just not going to do that - I'm not that hardcore).

However, I still have a good handful of the colour recipes that I can do fairly easily. I haven't gone through the black/grey ones yet.

I'll need to do some research on where I can get the ingredients I need, but for the time being, here's my shopping list:

Ripe buckthorn berries
Roche alum
Gum arabic
Live lime
Alum of lees (??? maybe substitute Roche alum from other recipes?)
Litharge of gold
Walnut oil
Sweet lye

Some of these will make duplicate recipes. So, for example, the ingredients listed would make two or three different blue recipes so I can compare and see which one I like best for specific purposes.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Badge Photo - Order of the Crucible

Well, this weekend I finished the last of my planned badge patterns. As expected, the Order of the Crucible badge was the toughest of them all, and I'm not really happy with how it turned out. The star in the middle is OK but I really don't like the way the concentric rings around the outside turned out. The red rings are supposed to be much narrower and the yellow raised rings should be much more prominent. 

The problem is my tools won't really let me make the rings much narrower, so I may have to rethink how I do them. Maybe if I use cuts instead of embossing the rings? It might help with the evenness of the rings as well.

Because the lines on the star and the rings are so narrow, it also made it really hard to paint it cleanly, even using my smallest brush. 

That being said, I got the weave of the star lines right and it looks not too bad so it isn't a total write-off. 

I think this will go in the "needs-work" category before I do it for anyone for real though.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Leather Dyes - Old School

So, the copy of "The Plictho of Gioanventura Rosetti" that we ordered through inter-library loan came in the other week. It is a really cool book.

I've managed to go through it quickly and I've photocopied the relevant sections. Most of the book is about fabric dying but there are about 30 pages relevant to leather, including about 50 different recipes for leather applications. This includes nine that are instructions on how to prep the raw leather (not something I think I need given that I'm buying pre-tanned leather).

Colour-wise, it includes: nine recipes for blacks and greys, two for browns, eight for various tones of red, nine for different blues and five for various greens. There are also recipes for yellow, a dark wine colour and two for gilding.

Some of the recipes will take some work to decipher, either to figure out the ingredients and steps or because they are using odd units of measurement (exactly how much time does it take to say 6 paternosters?)

The good news is there are at least a couple of recipes that should be pretty easy to do, as long as I can get the ingredients.

The yellow uses what the book calls curcuma, which means nothing to me. Fortunately, the chart at the back says this is turmeric, which I know about. :) Wonder if it's the same grade of turmeric that is used as a spice. This colour might actually work nicely for the stick-purse, its supposed to be a brownish-yellow.

There's also a blue that seems fairly simple and uses indigo, so I'd just need a source for that.

A number of the recipes call for roche alum or other types of alum.

To the research-mobile!!!!!! Time to find some merchants with pigment supplies.

It's funny, all of my work with period recipe books is going to come in handy, because the recipes here are formatted and explained the same way as a cooking recipe would have been. Now I just need to learn the terminology and I'll be set.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Leather Carving - Thorbjorn's Hammer Badge

I'm really happy with how this one turned out. I thought it was going to be more complicated than it actually was. I can probably clean up the handle of the hammer a little bit and I'd like to get rid of the little ridge that formed at the top of the circle from the tooling, but overall I think it turned out pretty well.

This is the second last badge to work on. All I have left is the Order of the Crucible. That one's going to be a pain, I can tell. I may also try to redo the Scarlet Banner badge, see if I can work on the wolves a bit.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Photo - Scarlet Banner Badge

I'm now starting to get into some of the harder badges to carve. This is the badge of the Scarlet Banner. The two black shapes are supposed to be wolves. I think the one on the left doesn't look too bad, but the one on the right looks more like a panther or something.

I think I'll have to work on this one some more, but it's not a bad start I suppose.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Pictures - Orion Badge Pattern

I managed to finish the carving pattern for the Orion award badge this weekend. The carving itself turned out pretty well, I'm happy with it. I painted the background around the badge a dark brown and I'm not so sure I like it, but I thought it would be a good idea to try something other than black.

The Orion badge pattern was fairly simple to do. The hardest part was figuring out how I wanted to the the harp strings since they are supposed to be yellow surrounded by the purple background. They are too narrow to carve properly so I just did decorative cuts that I then filled wit the yellow dye. Turned out not too bad I think.

Here's the badge fieldless:

Here it is with the background painted brown:

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Pictures - Latest Badge Carving

After my first failed attempt at doing the badge for the Order of the Wain, I did some more work on the pattern last night. I ended up reversing the pattern so that the light coloured section is pushed to the background, the dark is embossed. I think it turned out well.

Here's a picture of the badge "field-less", before I coloured around it.
Fieldless - Order of the Wain badge

 And here is the finished badge with a black background.
Order of the Wain badge on black background

Next up is the badge for the Orion. I've got most of the carving done, so I just have to paint it.

General Updates on Various Projects

Not really enough news to do an update on individual projects, but its been a while since I've posted so I thought I would do a general update note on a bunch of things.

I've written to the Fries Museum in the Netherlands about their stick-purse. This is the museum that Mistress Elizabeth spoke to about how the pouches are attached to the handle. I'm hoping they'll be able to provide me with information about the specific dimensions of their purse, as well as some details about the construction of the pouches themselves.

The picture in Purses in Pieces doesn't show any seams on the pouches so its hard to tell what pattern to use for the pouches (are there seams on the back and bottom, or is it a single piece of leather gathered at the mouth of the pouch). Pictures of the other extant example show that the pouches are standard rectangualar pouches like I've made in the past, so I can always go that route as well. Obviously there are different ways of making the pouches so either option would be appropriate, but I'm still curious about the construction. I'm hoping the museum will either have additional pictures from other angles, or can tell me about the pouch construction.

It's been about a week or two since I e-mailed them but the web site for the museum says they are opening a new location in September so they may be delayed in responding to enquiries. Hopefully my note won't get lost in the shuffle. All I can do is wait I guess.

Badge Project

Last weekend I did some work on developing my next badge pattern, this time it was the badge for the Order of the Wain. Unfortunately, I'm not at all happy with how it turned out. While the pattern itself was OK, the four stars didn't turn out right and ended up just looking like white blobs. I'll have to try either carving them differently or possibly reversing the pattern so that I can use my star stamp. I'll have to figure something out because the same stars are used in the badge of the Orion (although I think based on the colour pattern the stamp will work for that one).

On the bright side, I've already had a couple of people ask me about making them badges, so that's kind of cool.

Leather dye project

I'm in a bit of a holding pattern on this project while I wait for a book to come in via inter-library loan. If it doesn't come in soon, I may have to go to the University of Ottawa Library, as they have a copy of the book I'm looking for. I'll just need to get a new library card that lets me access all of the local libraries, including the colleges, universities and federal collections.

This is the book I referenced in my previous leather dye posts that apparently contains recipes. Hopefully, I can pull enough details out of it to work with Lyda on figuring out how they would work using illumination pigments.

Other Projects
At Pennsic, Eluned asked me if I would be able to make a small archer's glove for one of her girls, since she wasn't able to find one at any of the merchants that would fit a child's hand. I did some research online and found some instructions, which included what measurements to take. I may modify the pattern a bit but the measurement information was certainly helpful. I sent the instructions to Eluned so she can take the measurements. Once I get them I'll start playing with the design and see what I can come up with.