Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Artemisia's Disney Challenge!

Some of the participants at Midwinter Knight's Dream (photo by Jennie Fauss)

Lots and lots and lots of pictures. And none of them mine, so things might actually be visible. :)

I am just so overwhelmed by the creativity and beauty of the outfits made as a response to the Disney Challenge I issued to the Kingdom of Artemisia back last May. Just think of this as gramma with a big book of pictures running you down, intending to brag about every one of them.
Patchwork Sally (photo by Carol Jensen)

First up we have Tabitha de Luna with her Norse inspired by Sally from The Nightmare before Christmas. The tiny details are some of the most fun. Her horn spoon, skeleton beads, and wormswort jar were adorable.  You can read more about the entire design process and see more pictures on her blog.
Finishing details (photo by Carol Jensen))

Tabitha debuted her creation at Toys for Tots in Arrow's Flight and fit right in with our Fairytale theme. I am especially grateful that she wore her outfit for Toys, because I was afraid the Challenge wasn't going to happen. I was so caught up in getting the feast ready, that I hadn't promoted the Disney Challenge in the weeks leading up to Toys. so seeing her outfit was really encouraging.

Their Majesties Raven and Sajah also dressed for the occasion coming as Robin and Maid Marion from Robin Hood.They joked about finding the outfit in their closets. I was so thrilled that they chose to support the challenge.
Ooodle-lally, oodle-lally, golly what a day  (photo by Tabitha Mounteer)

Vigdis of the Keep also made an incredible Norse with astounding details. She wasn't able to attend an event with her ensemble, but her write-up of the process is an inspiration. I adore her take on the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland. 
The Queen of Hearts (Photo by Vickie Lynn)
There's embroidery and tablet woven trim, hand dyed fabric, hand made beads and a pendant to bring everything together. Again, the attention to detail just floors me. Not to mention the creativity of translating the Queen to an early period.
Norse Wonderland (photo by Vickie Lynn)

Vigdis also made a monetary donation to the challenge and helped pay for some of the tokens given to the participants. They received carved stone hearts because "The Dream is a wish your heart makes."

There were a couple of other people with lovely ensembles who were not able to make either event where the Challenge ensembles were displayed. Hallerna Stjarnkona made a sweet Merida dress for her niece and posted pictures in the Challenge's Facebook group.
For a feisty girl. (Photo by Laura Lind)

Michelle of Harris-upon York made a Tudor gown based on Cruella DeVille's character concept. The acres of fur needed for the giant flip sleeves were just the place for 101 Dalmation puppy spots.
"Get me those PUPPIES!" (photo by Michelle Harris)

 I was most excited to see the small children who got into the act. My oldest daughter got tired of waiting for me to settle in and make her the Tinkerbell outfit I'd promised and got to work on her own outfit to wear to Toys for Tots. She cut some patches from scraps she found in my sewing room and convinced her grandfather to help her sew them into place. "I'm Cinderella before the ball." I was informed rather pointedly that I needed to get right on that bell gown, as it was still expected.

Here's my girl grabbing a broom, about to sweep the floor as part of the fairy tale obstacle course at the event.
Cinder-EL-LA!!! (photo by Tabitha Mounteer)

At Midwinter Knight's Dream, we had several children dressed up. A brother and sister arrived at their very first SCA event dressed as one of the triplets from Brave and Esmeralda from Hunchback of Notre Dame

Jingle, jingle, jingle (photo by Jennie Fauss)
"Tell that to my frying pa--" (photo by Jennie Fauss)
 Esmeralda was kind enough to give us a dance when I asked. Another brother and sister coordinated their outfits, coming as Rapunzel and Flynn from Tangled.  While her mom (Mistress Antonia) had made her outfit, I think Mychal was more excited about the opportunity to carry a frying pan than anything else. She certainly has the hair to be a perfect Rapunzel. Dame Varia Goff, pointed out that despite years in the SCA, making the outfit for Asher's Flynn was her very first try at a doublet. She has this crazy idea that garb should be comfortable. She showed off some of that comfortable garb with her Norse rendition of Han Solo in wool. Technically Disney owns Star Wars these days, so it counts. 
Han shot first! (Photo by Jennie Fauss)

Draaa-GON (photo by Jennie Fauss)
Another thing I was pleasantly surprised by was the number of people who started their introductions with "This was my first garb" or "I don't sew, but. . ." The great thing about the challenge was that it let people add accessories to create their character or just think about how they combined things already in their closet. It was wonderful to see people choosing to participate. We had a Mulan, who didn't sew, but had made a gorgeous mask and added some hairsticks to an outfit she already had in order to make an amazing ensemble.  Dumbo arrived as well, with a great mask, reminiscent of the Norse felt masks of sheep found at Haithabu.

"I can fly." (photo by Jennie Fauss)
The most outstanding "I don't sew" statement, however came from Kathleen of Otterdale. In addition to doing an incredible job as event steward (so she really had no free time at all,) she decided to come as the Sorcerer's Apprentice in her very first try at Burgundian. The pointy hennin and dress was fun, but her necklace was a stop you in your tracks stunner. She carved and cast a collar of buckets and brooms in pewter.

Yen Sid's Apprentice (photo by Jennie Fauss)
"You may think you're so powerful, well this is MY dream."
I think there were more than a few of us who wanted to quietly pickpocket it. Or just snatch it off her neck and run laughing maniacally into the night with our prize.

Or maybe that was just me. . .

One of the newest movies were represented, with an Elsa from Frozen turning up in wintery white.  Nessa Inghean Uilliam did an intricately appliqued and embroidered Norse Merida with horses running around the hem and across the top. The work was lovely and the colors were breathtaking
Captain Hook put in an appearance as well. Bearing his trusty hook (made from the bread mixer of a Kitchen Aid,) the captain brought along some crew, with Smee press ganged into an appearance. Hook was very clear to point out to us that he was wearing late period Dutch with some nifty knots around his collar, and not in fact 17th century as so often happens with those fancy privateers.

Queen Grimhilde, the wicked queen in Snow White, was the earliest movie represented. It is hard to beat the very first Disney villain. Morgan du Marc was regal in purple and gold.

Merin McTigert showed us all what stealth is like, keeping us all guessing as to who she was portraying until she revealed all with a smile. Her Cheshire Cat was well executed both in attitude and in artistry.  The butterfly hennin ears were a great thinking out of the box touch.

I guess that just leaves me, the ringleader of the crazy. The Magnificent, Marvelous, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad. Madam Mim.  We had people introduce themselves with their reasons for choosing their inspiration. I chose mine because it was all about things that I am afraid of. I don't wear pastels, I don't wear white, and I fully believe pink is evil. I'm also terrified of very fitted and tailored garments and how they will make me look like I'm squeezed in to a sausage casing. However, wearing bright springy colors to be a cartoon villain who "finds delight in the gruesome and grim," seemed just up my alley. After all, she's an ugly hag so no matter how much of a mess I made, it'd work for the character. I'm really happy with how it turned out. I love the lilac loose gown and the bubblegum pink petticoat was more fun than I thought. I also may have become addicted to late period waistcoats.

Anyway, there is is; beautiful work by some people who superlatives aren't enough for. Thank you all for making my dream a reality and coming out to play with me.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Pictures of Fia's dress

I still need to finish the write up on the sleeves (and finish beading them) but we did finally get some pictues of Fia's dress.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

And now for something completely different-- a Byzantine tangent

Artemisia's current Prince and Princess invited the populous to dress in Byzantine clothing for their upcoming Coronation on March 1st and an excuse for a new outfit always makes me happy.  Luckily I had at least a little bit of a foundation for research because of the Byzantine influence on Rus clothing and design. Unfortunately, that also put me in an entirely different century than most people are liable to be dressing in.

I'm pretty sure most people are going to be going with the early Byzantine look from the 6th century mosaics of Justinian and Theodora.  I love the sumptuousness of the mosaics, but the middle Byzantine look I've fallen in love with (10th-11th century) has something that they don't-- an incredible skyscraping hat. Don't get me wrong, the Empress has amazing hair with pearls and a crown and a whole lot going on. Not to mention the superhumeral of doom. But the noblewoman's hat is closer to the head with a large roll at the base, and superhumerals seem to be limited to Imperial dress until about the 10th century when they begin to be used by other members of the aristocracy (and become the Rus ozherel'e.) Pushing forward lets me put a giant fan on my head kinda sorta like my favorite Russian hats, gives me a great fabric belt, and adds a killer collar. Not to mention the nifty angelwing sleeves.

I'm using this miniature from a Psalter, Vatican Greek Manuscript 752 as my design inspiration. It was copied in 1059. That's an important date because it is really close to 1054 when the Western and Eastern branches of the Christian church decided to excommunicate one another and go play in their own sandboxes. Art always flourishes in times of unrest and you can see the turning from old Roman forms and toward more Eastern influences in the changes of fashion. This miniature is sometimes listed as "dancing girls" but the clothing worn is very specifically noble. The stripes on the hats indicate rank. The large amounts of gold decorative work is another clue that these are not lower class women.  To see what a dancing girl would more likely looked like (short sleeves with no long sleeved tunica underneath, uncovered head, and with much less opulence and gold) have a look at this miniature from an 11th century manuscript of Oppian's poem on hunting Cynegetica. It is from manuscript Z 479 held in the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana in Venice. Timothy Dawson has a reconstruction on his website Levantia.

You can clearly see patterns depicting the expensive silks popular among the nobles and onlt available in small amounts, if at all, in other countries. Byzantium used these silks as a diplomatic tool, letting them out in bits and pieces. If you are at all interested in this, there's a good discussion in Angeliki Laiou's book The Economic History of Byzantium: From the seventh through the fifteenth century.  Did I mention I did waaaaay too much research on Byzantine silk as I was examining Russian textiles and embroidery motifs. Yeah. Um. Anyway, although I would have really liked to have purchased something like Sartor's silk damask reproduction of the medallion patterns typical for Byzantine silks, the price tag just wasn't something I could manage right now. But drooling is fun. I love this Amazon pattern in the Met.
Amazon silk roundel from the Met

I'm actually sort of thinking about printing something very like the Amazons on the mantle I will be making for this outfit. We'll see, I guess. In the meantime, I went hunting for the costumer's solution for fabric when you want inexpensive silk with beading and embroidery: antique saris. I spent a couple of days searching through what was available on Ebay and trying to figure out what color I wanted. I love turquoise and magenta and was hoping for something with peacocks similar to what I made one of my Russian outfits from, but nothing turned up that I loved. I couldn't find anything blue that spoke to me. But then I found the most amazing green that shouted "Look at me, look at me! I'm Byzantine."
Silk-- check.  Roundels-- check. Gold-- check. The roundels are floral rather than animals or figurative. but other than that I think it's pretty darn perfect, And it has some gold beads on it already. It needs more. And pearls. And possibly more pearls.

I found another sari to cut trim from and I've got white linen for the tunica underneath. I need to get felt to make the hat, figure out the mantle, and generally get the guts to cut into my sari, but I'm feeling pretty good about the project so far.