A partlet with two sets of sleeves (one black, one red), here modeled by the recipient:
Documentation will be added here when available.
An Elizabethan coif with red-work:
Here is Lydia's documentation:
I chose to make an Elizabethan redwork coif for two reasons. First, it was very suitable for the persona of my recipient and second, because I had never made one previously and it was a very appealing project.
I did an online search of the Victoria & Albert Museum website for coifs for inspiration and found many. The ones I particularly liked can be seen here:
I then selected my motifs for embroidery based on those examples, plus images from the following books:
- The Schole-house for the Needle, edited by Richard Shorleyker
- Festive Elizabethan Creations, by Shirley Holdaway and Valancy Stevens
- Exploring Elizabethan Embroidery, by Dorothy Clarke and Stephanie Powell
- Elizabethan Stitches: A Guide to Historic English Needlework, by Jacqui Carey
- Elizabethan Needlework Accessories, by Sheila Marshall and Valancy Stevens
The chosen motifs included grapes, to represent the College of Saint John of Rila, my home SCA group. It also included vines, as preferred by the recipient.
The fabric is pure linen and the embroidery is done in scarlet silk from the Handweaver’s Studio in London. All stitching is done by hand. The stiches used for the embroidery are stem, chain, and speckle. All of these stiches and materials were used in the extant coifs. The biggest problem I had was deciding on the size of the coif and the assembly methods. A number of the coifs on the museum site have been unstitched and are displayed flat, so it was easy to see the correct shape. I made a muslin based on that shape and fitted it to my head, with my hair in a bun. I seem to have an average head size, so hopefully it will fit the recipient. I made the decision to line my coif, so that the embroidery was less likely to be dislodged when the coif was worn. Several of the extant examples note that they had lining, although I suspect it was sewn in with a whipstitch at the edge, rather than the bag method I used. I have no information for either method, so I went with the one I felt looked better. I also could not find directions for the loops for the drawstring at the base of the coif, so I improvised based on the V&A photos.
If I were to make another coif, I would make the embroidery denser. Many of the examples looked crowded to the modern eye, so I spaced my embroidery a bit further apart. In hindsight, it would have been better to follow the originals more closely. I would also like to add some spangles, but they were simply not available here in Bulgaria during the construction process.
A wax tablet with stylus in leather case:
Bone needles and leather case:
Painted boxes (there were four) with a design evocative of her arms:
Documentation will be added here when available.
14th C Byzantine/Bulgarian earrings for Lady Tamara by Baroness Estrid
Baroness Estrid writes:
I was so very lucky to get Lady Tamara of Thamesreach as my Drachenwald A&S Recipient. the information I received about was in short as follows: "Lady Tamara is the widow of a Bulgarian wine merchant from the town of Melnik, born in 1201 CE. After the loss of her husband at sea, she began took the reins of the export business and travels regularly to Thessaloniki to send shipments of wine around the known world. She occasionally travels with a cargo personally and has visited the Venetian port of Dubrovnik to confirm trade agreements."
I knew very little about either era or area, so I really had to start with doing my research from the very basics. It took me a while to decide what to do, as I first wanted to make something outside my comfort zone and NOT do jewelry, but after much searching I suddenly came upon a great article called Middle and Late Byzantine Jewellery from Thessaloniki and its Region" by Anastassios C. Antonaras, and in this article was a picture of a gilded bronze earring from the 13th century, found in Thessaloniki. The fit with Lady Tamara was so good, I couldn't ignore it.
I decided to make a pair of earrings inspired by the Thessaloniki earring, but as I decided to use materials I had at hand, I choose to make them out of sterling silver. In the article the author describes the earring as "having a composite, filigree bead", which made me think that my initial hunch of how to make them was right, which was to make the vertical ornament/bead from stacked filigree sterling silver beads (which I'd bought ready made) soldered together.
I also made the two side spiral beads by winding silver wire around a thin round mandrel, thus producing a silver spiral, and then winding the spiral one more time around the mandrel and after that cut out little spiral beads which I then soldered onto the silver wire that forms the hoop. As I used the materials I had at hand, the wire for the spiral beads were of a little too heavy gauge, so the wire beads became a little too large, and my earrings did not end up with the exact same proportions as the originals.
The originals are made from gilded bronze, and my intention was to electroplate the silver earrings to give them a nice gold finish. But, even though I now own an electroplating kit, I didn't manage to master the process in time, so to not miss the deadline, I decided that the earrings would have to stay their original sterling silver color.
I'm quite pleased with how the earrings turned out. Even with the shortcomings described above, I feel they have a nice shape and proportion and they look nice when worn. I hope to get to see Lady Tamara wear them one day.
Embroidered pouch, hand-made naalbinding needles, hand-spun wool, and a leather pouch for Fru Þora Sumarliðadotter by Herrin Ellina dicta Vintdenwürvel.