On Brain Weasels and Their Ilk

In an effort to make sure I’m talking about more than the actual art I make, and also about process, let’s talk about brain weasels. (which, incidentally, are what’s kept this post in draft form for too long!)

 

Anyone who thinks there is little of anything but joy in art really has no experience in the field. Yes, it can be fun and rewarding and relaxing and enjoyable, but it’s never always that way. Ever.

Brain weasels (a term I first heard from a dear friend) are a general blanket term/idea for those ideas that sabotage being able to complete work.

Continue reading “On Brain Weasels and Their Ilk”

Thoughts On the Standards for a Laurel

(there have been a few edits made for clarity)

I’ve been thinking for some time about what the criteria of a laurel are. Mostly because that’s the path that I’m on, and I feel like having a clear-cut goal is a really good thing. A standard that you can reach to feel as if you’ve made it, and be pleased with yourself.

That out of the way, my criteria are simple: could you have made a living, in-period, out of your work. Put another way (thanks, Wolf!) – ‘would people in period spend the money they need on food on what you make/do?’

I am aware that this is perhaps rather strict, and a narrow definition, but hear me out.

Continue reading “Thoughts On the Standards for a Laurel”

Reset Time

I tend to view my year as Estrella to Estrella. It gives me a nice, solid, easy, timeline that I can follow and helps to make sure that my projects are completed completely in time for when they’re needed. (At least in theory.)

 

(This is almost a month after war – I am well aware of that fact. But I’ve been both busy and getting some things taken care of, and the Plaurican is now off at Gulf, so… yeah.)

Absolutely nothing was done by me at War. Seriously. It was *excellent*, and while I feel kind of guilty, it was also exactly what I needed here. The brain is still in a state of flux (I’ve learned – though experience and lots of professional help) and so that’s also been the cause of the laziness. Sort of letting everything reset, and realizing it was good.

So, anyway – I ended up spending a large chunk of time hanging out with people I like, talking art and food, my A&S plans, and A&S in this kingdom (and others) in general. I’ve got a rough idea of what I want to do over the next year and some things that I want to put into place. I’m going to try and make myself remember to write about those and work on setting into motion.

 

So this is just a check-in post, really. A reminder that I’m here, and that I do have work I need to do and plans to fulfill. For now, though… I’ve got a naalbound hat to finish.

Summer/Fall Update

It’s been awhile, for those of you who are interested, hasn’t it?

I haven’t been lazy, however! Just working on projects that weren’t my own. The big things were that the husband got Plauricaned (what we’ve determined the combination of Pelican and Laurel on the same day is), and that went mostly swimmingly, and I’ve spent the last few weeks living and breathing the stepping down clothing for Ailgheanan and Amber, who just stepped down as King and Queen of Atenveldt, with a side-trip down the land of a cap of maintenance for a friend’s Pelican elevation.

That last one will get an update when I redo some aspects of the cap. I want to talk construction more in-depth in reverse. It’s modern, all things considered, but I do like it.

This brings us to where we go from here. I really should keep up the momentum and work on things, considering that I took a few days off to completely reset and do absolutely nothing but snuggle the pugs and watch shit on YouTube.

Major fall/winter plans (that don’t include finishing up projects I already have) are:

  • Beer! I’m planning on making a sahti
  • *Finally* appliquéing my apron dress for crown. Because I don’t care how inaccurate it is, I want it.
  • A new fighting tunic for the husband (because I like having multiple for him).
  • Figuring out a version of the Kostrup dress. This will be my first time smocking/pleating like that, and I want to make sure I’ve got a good idea for it.

Naalbound Socks!!

(note – parts of this post are taken from documentation i wrote some time ago for arts and sciences competition entry. dear gods, i need to work on my writing! if anyone is interested in the full text, though it’s not much longer, let me know!)

Naalbinding can be described as the precursor to knitting, and is the art of knotting or looping fiber together to create usually an article of clothing. I promised Dom a pair of socks years ago, and while there’s a story involving one pair, Mammen stitch, and not putting them on properly… he’s never gotten a set.

Well, if this isn’t a time to make them, I don’t know what is?

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Continue reading “Naalbound Socks!!”

On Peerage Projects

When the husband was offered his peerages, a good friend told me something to the effect of I’d get a crash course in project management. I laughed, agreed with her, and didn’t think much about it.

 

But she’s far from wrong.  As I’ve learned. Am learning. And am probably causing the laurel and at least on auxiliary laurel to have headaches.

 

So, project management, let’s talk that.  To oversimplify it’s the art of making sure that everything is done and done on time. In this case, that means coordinating clothing, items of regalia, people for the ceremony, stuff for the plaurican party (location/help/food), and whatever random things show up and get thrown at us. It’s the matter of moving things from one spot to another, and making sure that everything gets done on time.

The biggest thing with this is that I had to realize I couldn’t do it myself. That doing it myself wasn’t even close to sensible and that I needed to step away from the start and delegate. I’ve also had to realize that maybe my initial plans of doing three things counted as a bit ambitious. (Well, more that it was doable, but my sanity may not be.) Mercifully, I have SCA family that will help. It’s not in the least possible to have done this without them, and without the occasional text of ‘oh my gods, could you do this?!’

This post is a placeholder of sorts. It’s a reminder that I need to do a few posts about the projects I’m working on for this, and how things are going.

 

And now, back to the grindstone for me!

On backlogs, non-Viking arts, and ‘oh, shit!’

This has been half written for about a month. I have no excuses for not posting..

One of the downsides of having spent awhile not actually making art is that I have various things I’ve promised that just haven’t actually been made. And now, I’m trying to get them finished before I move onto other things.

This is hard, because when I have so much I want to make, I want to dive into new things. However, I think that it’s important to finish what you have done before moving onto new things. It helps to make sure that you know what the problems you’re encountering are, and to figure how best to work with it and improve the next time around.

I have, recently, finished up several things that were in my queue for… way to long. Specifically, the print for a scroll and the embroidery for the award to go with it. A very good friend had long ago gotten an award, but not associated pieces. My husband asked me to take care of it, and I did – again, finally. Now, all I have left are two bags (one of which was a Christmas present… I should have it done by the end of the month).

 

Now, in an earlier post, I talked about the goals this year. They have, however, become rather muted as the next several months are to be spent working on some projects for my husband. At Atenveldt May Coronation he was asked to join the orders of the Laurel and the Pelican. Yes, both of them. He’s answering in early September, and so I have some sewing to do.

I’m learning about SCA project management, which is useful, as sewing everyting myself is *not* an option here. I’ll be spending some time rummaging through Russian clothing and sewing for myself (as I have been told that I need new clothing), and a kaftan for him. My goal is for that to only sew aforementioned kaftan and my clothing.

And *that* I will be documenting.

This Year’s Goals

So, because I am in the SCA, I tend to organize my life around major events. For me, that is Estrella – it’s a large event that I go to every year. Plus, as it’s in February, it means my ‘end of year rush’ is in January/February, instead of November/December.

Much more sane.

This year, as I’ve decided to take things slow and start with the basics, I have a few projects that I want to start with. Things that will help me have a basic, simple, kit that I can then build off of. They’re also going to either teach me new skills (like the bone carving) or will push my current skills further (hand-sewing an entire dress). All photos taken from Spurensuche Haithabu, which will be my bible for the forseeable future.

 

1: A hand-sewn linen dress. 

I have a dress pattern that fits me, and I’m going to use that. While perhaps not completely accurate, it’s one I’m familiar with machine sewing and I feel good in. Being as I’m on the larger end of the spectrum, I want something that I will be comfortable in and not feel as if I’m just wearing because I should. The particular pattern is one that I like, and I can work with.

 

2. A Thors hammer pendant.

For the moment, I’m going to need to hold back on my bling, which means my treasure necklaces aren’t going to be coming out as often. However, that doesn’t mean I need to go completely without. Small amulets (and probably some glass out of my stash) will help me feel a bit more complete.

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3. Several bone pins.

I need pins. They’re useful for just about everything, and I want to see where I can use them. With the variety that’s available, I figure I can make a few and use them for various items from holding stuff together to hanging items from my dress to keeping my hair up or securing a headwrap. (This is something I need to play more with as well.)

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4. Another set of wooden bag handles and the bag to go with it.

I’ve actually made this before, using a bag pattern for one pulled out of Birka harbor in the last few years. I love the bag, but it does need to be remade, and there are several things I would change on V2. I’ve been meaning to do this for awhile, and this is a very good reason to do so. Specifically, I’m likely going to make one of the ones that’s curved, instead of jagged, like the bottom one.

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Why Bother?

At this point, I’ve been playing in the SCA for about a decade. I’ve made clothing from several regions and places (there was a 14th century kirtle at one point, and I do have something middle eastern and ostentatious), but I find that I keep coming back to the Vikings. There’s so much to research and learn, that I admit I’ve also found myself a bit overwhelmed. Where do I want to begin? I want things from Birka and Gotland and everywhere! And I want it all in one outfit!! After all, it’s all Viking, right?

Well, as I’ve started to do more research and talk to more people, I realize that’s a bad plan.  If you want to do things properly, you should probably pick a time and place and focus your attention on that. The SCA means that I can throw lots of things together, and so long as it looks good from a reasonable distance, there’s pretty much no reason to worry. Creative is in the name, so we might as well make use of it!

This is in comparison to the reenactment mindset, which (to put it incredibly simply/generically) would like you to be as accurate as possible, from as close as possible. It means that there are some things you will need to pass on, because they just don’t work. (For me, this means the Gotlandic fish pendants are out – which is probably a good thing for my wallet. I lust after those things…) And it also means that you will try to look like someone in that time and place, and live how they lived.

So, why have I decided to try and go from broad and semi-generic to a very specific time and place? Isn’t that going to be limiting? And in the end, don’t we do this for fun, and shouldn’t the shiny and pretty be fun?

Well, there are two reasons. The first is that it limits me, and in a good way. I have a bad habit of deciding that I should try to make something considerably more complex than I am actually capable of making. This then causes me to give up and hate what I’m doing, put it aside, and repeat this whole process again a few moths later. By picking one location, I’m forcing myself to focus on a very specific group of a culture I’m fascinated by. It has the added bonus of being a place where  one can find everything from simple items to complex ones that will challenge me and let me  actually grow as an artist and maker (gods, I hate that term in this context, but it works).

The second reason may, at first, seem to be completely opposite. It gives me enough space to explore. As in reason one – I can find simple and complex items that interest me and will allow me to work at my skill level. But it’s also going to give me a breadth of material culture that will allow for exploring. I can dabble in various aspects of a single culture and not feel like I’m abandoning my big picture goals.

See, the final goal for me in this journey is to have the skills and clothing suitable for a middle-class (and possibly lower-middle-class by modern standards) woman. I want to be able to feel like I could survive in circa-10th-century Denmark/Germany.

How Hard Can It Be?

This is the blog/story of one Eyvor Halldorsdottir, otherwise known as Willa. A member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, or SCA, residing in the Kingdom of Atenveldt (Arizona!), this is intended to be a place for me to discuss both my journey in the arts and sciences, as well as the possibility of general observations about the Society and how things are done both here and elsewhere.

My tastes run very heavily Viking, and after much thought, I’ve decided I’ll try and focus my interests on Haithabu/Hedeby. This gives me a place to start and to keep my efforts focused around. Specifically, I’d like to try for a middle-class woman impression.

(My husband, meanwhile, is interested in Russian culture, and seems to be lurking around Novgorod a few hundred years after I. You’ll certainly end up finding things that I do for him here as well.)

So, in conclusion, welcome!

-Eyvor.