Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Beginning to hatch a plan

Some ideas have been percolating around my brain in terms of the projects I'd like to do for my Pentathlon entries. I've had an opportunity to discuss this with a couple people whose opinion I value. Sarafina Sinclair suggested that I work on creating a "persona" pentathlon, which means rather than scatter-shot picking various things from different divisions, I should choose things that have a cohesive relationship to a specific person in a specific time and place (presumably my persona). Although I originally tended to do primarily Elizabethan English clothing (with the occasional Italian or Burgundian thrown in), I recently have honed in on the Tudor time frame as my primary area of interest. So, my entries will all have to do with an English woman in the first half of the 16th century. Then, I was discussing this with Ercc Glaison, and he suggested that I look for a pair of books that he had seen at a used book store about Tudor architecture. The idea started to form that I should work on entries that revolve around upper-middle class Tudor home life. I could research Tudor buildings, or make furniture, or embroider an item that would have been used, or make a stained glass decoration, or make a child's toy. So, now I'm putting holds on a variety of books from area libraries about life in Tudor England. Tudor buildings, specifically the half-timbered style, have always fascinated me. When I lived in England, and later when I visited as an adult, I loved going to cities and towns with the old Tudor style shops with the upper stories leveraging over the street until they nearly met in the middle. The book that Ercc mentioned has detailed drawings and photographs of many Tudor buildings. Since the book is nearly 100 years old, some of these buildings may no longer the standing, though others may be significantly restored. For many years, I have wanted a reason to build a miniature Tudor building. After I made a dollhouse for my daughter's 4th birthday, I wanted to make another Tudor style one for myself. I'd love to do so now as a way to research the Tudor life of the time. The problem is how that could relate to an A&S entry. There's not really a place for a scale model alone. I used a scale model of my pavilion to support an A&S entry, but the item really being judged was the full-scale pavilion. I know that dolls were played with by girls of the Tudor era, but I don't know that doll houses were made. I could make it as part of a research project and use it in support of a research paper. But I'm not sure that it's worth the extra effort beyond the research itself. It would make a great A&S display at some point. So, these ideas as still in a rather nebulous phase, but I'm getting excited about how I can bring a variety of disparate projects together to make a meaningful whole. Philippa

Thursday, June 27, 2013

This is why I haven't been posting about A&S stuff...

So, I started this blog figuring it would help me be more consistent at working on my A&S projects and writing about them.  Then life got in the way.  My husband and I tend to take on a sizable renovation project each spring/summer, and this year is no different.  We decided to vastly modify the huge deck on the back of our house, and replace it with a smaller deck and a nice patio.  While we plan to hire someone to do the patio portion, I've been doing the rest myself, with a small amount of help from the kids and occasionally Mark on weekends.  

Here's the before picture:

Here's the progress I made just on the first day:

And here's the current progress:

And then, yesterday morning we awoke to water in our basement. The entire wall-to-wall carpet was floating on a layer of water, and in many places it was sitting an inch deep on top as well. The sump pumps just couldn't keep up with the volume of water that came down in a short period of time. We pulled out everything in the basement (including furniture, cabinets that we had installed, sewing room, and workshop) and filled our garage and piled up many other areas of our house. We had a flood restoration company come out and pull up the carpet, remove the pad, cut out the damaged drywall and insulation, and they're attempting to dry out the carpet in an attempt to save it. It'll be weeks if not months before we get everything back the way it was. And we now have no workshop, while we're in the middle of a big construction project (the deck), and I have no sewing room, when we're a month away from Pennsic. So, it'll be a while before I have the time to do anything useful on my A&S projects. Maybe I'll find time to write about what I'm planning, but it will be pretty sparse for a while.

This is the current state of my sewing room. :-(

Monday, June 10, 2013

Fingerloop Braiding Class

So this weekend at Border Skirmish, I gave a class on beginning fingerloop braiding.  Until now, all of the classes that I've given have been more lecture-style - that is, I stand up and give information about children's garb, or pavilion making, or whatever, using a Power Point presentation or handouts for pictures.  But for Border Skirmish, I decided that something a little more hands-on would be good.  I really enjoyed learning fingerloop braiding at Pennsic last year, and figured it'd be something that people would be be curious about and be interested in learning.  So, I put together a handout and pulled together a class.

Considering that the event had lots of outdoors stuff going on, and it was absolutely beautiful outside, there were few people coming in for classes and shopping.  So I was pretty pleased by the fact that I got three people at my class, a couple more asking for my handouts but who couldn't stay, and several more who I taught afterwards.  One of the women said she had been taught before, but never really quite "got it".  But after my class, she felt really comfortable with it.  I think it helped that I did a couple things that I had noticed as being kindof vague in the class that I took.  I started them off with pre-cut and pre-tied loops, so that we didn't have to spend ten minutes with everyone cutting, folding and tying their bowes.  Then, I had them take a single bowe and pass it from hand to hand, learning the difference between unreversed and reversed.  Then, we started with a 3-loop braid, rather than one of the more complex ones.  The class that I took at Pennsic jumped right in with an 8-loop spiral braid, which is much more complicated.  The 3-loop let the students feel comfortable with passing from one hand to another, through another loop, and get the feel of pulling the string through reversed.  Then, it was an easy jump to a 5-loop purse-string braid, and they could see themselves moving onto more complex ones by reading the directions.

So, I will definitely plan on giving this class again.  I'm going to convert it to HTML and put it up on my website.  Hopefully others will find it helpful, too.

I have to start somewhere!

So, I guess it's time to start a blog.  I'm not a big talker in person, but sometimes I do better putting things in print.  I plan to do a pentathlon for next year's A&S competition, so I'm going to start documenting my progress here.  This will hopefully provide some organization of my thoughts, eventual documentation for my entries, and ideally some useful input from anyone who stumbles upon this blog. Thanks for finding me!