Saturday, 18 July 2015

Updating the workplan

I haven't done a work planning post since January so I thought mid-summer was a good time to re-evaluate my projects and make sure I have a list of things I want to get done. I'm not making much progress I'm afraid.

This list below is copied from my last post in January. I'll strike through on stuff I've done and add in new postings in bold. List is in no particular order:

Personal A&S Stuff
  1. Finally finish the stick-purse (potentially for A&S in April)
  2. Finish developing and teach my class on period leather dyes (submitted for Practicum in February)
  3. Publish my leather dye research and experiments more formally online so people can access it for their own research and use
  4. Decide on next major project for future QPT/A&S and start planning (possibly leather filigree work based on the period Islamic book covers we saw at the Chester Beattie Library - maybe as a scroll blank?)
  5. Do groundwork research on possible Pent theme to see if its feasible (does it hit the right categories etc.) Update: It's doable but I'd need to learn woodworking, metal casting and probably a few other things so seems unlikely anytime soon.
  6. Get the helm padded and strapped, and finish modifying my kit so I can finally start working towards getting my armoured combat authorization
  7. Get Avelyn's leg armour back in shape so she can get back on the field
  8. Finally make some banners or pennants or something for events.
  9. Make garb
  10. Continue uploading my UK artifact pics on Pinterest for people to see (still several thousand pics to go). Update: Still lots to go but have a few dozen posted.
  11. Try to find a blue leather dye recipe that works (in the summer when I can work in the garage and vent it properly) Update: Recipe selected, just have to try it out.
  12. Make a pouch with a kraken design on it
  13. Make a rainbow badge for Maggie :) Update: Badge design done, just need to do the tooling and such.
  14. Figure out orange leather dye recipe and dye leather for Giovanni so he can do the vigil book for Catherine
  15. Make rapier sheath as prize for Emelote's fundraiser
  16. Make Herald's binder for Barony as per Her Excellency's request
  17. Make sheath for Constance's snips
  18. Make axe covers for Christiana
  19. See if I can get any other interesting leather dye colours (purple maybe?) to work 

MOAS Stuff
  1. More consistently get the Twitter account going and do up a plan to promote it.
  2. Investigate idea of setting up group "research days" at local university libraries.
  3. Continue to add pictures of people's work to Pinterest

Saturday, 11 July 2015

A&S at/for Trillium War (with pictures)

So over the Canada Day quasi long weekend (the holiday was mid-week this year so we took a couple of extra days to link it to the weekend), Ealdormere's Trillium War took place. This is our big local camping event for the year, usually with a couple of hundred people there - give or take.

Approaching Trillies there was a call for teachers to do classes. I offered to teach my period dyes class from Practicum, and it generated some pretty good interest. I had four people in the class, but there were a number of people who asked for the handout beyond that since they couldn't be there Friday afternoon, so I'm glad there's some good interest in the topic.

I also had a number of projects I was trying to get done for Trillies, some of which got done and others that didn't. And of course, the problem with secret projects like these is you can't really blog about them. :)

The big one that got done was that I was asked by HE Giovanni to help him by using my period leather dyes for the vigil book for our current Baroness, HE Catherine. He was going to do the bookbinding but wanted to use the period dyes for the cover.

This was the first time I'd use my dyes for an item for anyone other than myself (the stick-purse was really the only other item I've done using the dyes so far). I thought it was a pretty big deal and was really happy to help.

There was just one thing. Catherine's favourite colour is orange, and its also a popular late period colour. That's great, except I don't actually have a period recipe for an orange dye, so I had to do some experimenting.

I had a red dye, and a yellow dye, so I figured I might be able to over-dye them to get orange, but of course things are never that simple. Fortunately the yellow dye includes alum, and with the red dye I need to pre-soak the leather with alum to get it to bind, so that looked like it could work.

Once I got the leather it had a sheen to it and wasn't absorbing the dye properly. You can see the shine in this picture:

After consulting with Mistress AElfwyn, I tried sanding the surface of the leather. She figured the leather had been processed and that the surface had been compressed to look like it was the skin side instead of suede. Can't say I've ever sanded a piece of leather before, that was a first. The next pic shows the skin after it had been sanded:

That seemed to work, so after my tests were done on sample pieces I got down to the real work of dyeing the cover. The next two pictures are the wet leather after I'd applied the yellow, then the red. It's more of a terra cotta colour than a true orange but it's in the orange range for sure. The second pic is to give you a compare with the original tone of the leather:

And then a picture of the piece after it had dried. It faded some (as the red dye tends to do), but its still orange-ish.

And finally a picture of the end result at the Vigil at Trillium War. It actually looks way more orange in the daylight than it did in my workshop, which is great. I think Catherine was really happy with it. 

And the winner is.........

So you may remember that this spring I offered up a prize of a custom tooled leather rapier sheath to help raise funds for Lady Emelote's trip to cook in the Tudor kitchens at Hampton Court. Well, she's just a few weeks away from heading out on the trip, so I thought it was about time to do the draw.

All people had to do to get into the draw was make a donation (and I had to know they had made a donation obviously, but thankfully the online system kept track of that unless the donation was anonymous).

For every $25 dollars donated, I dropped a ticket into the draw, so if you donated more you got more chances to win.

Here's the link to my original post about the fundraiser.

So with no further ado, the winner of the custom rapier sheath is (drumroll please): ..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

Their Excellencies Percival and Christiana!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Insert dancing winged snail and bee here)