Arts and Sciences

Posted by on Tuesday, August 15th, 2006

As you can see, I did a lot of hand-sewing while we were in the woods.

I also finished the mother of all inkles for Drac.  He loved it.

Despite its flaws.

Oh, that edge is killing me.  If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t weave silk and wool of alternating thicknesses during such a humid spell in DC.  It was an interesting challenge.  I think my loom needs some serious attention.

But I’m glad it’s done and I’m happy to have pleased a friend.  And, because he’s a true friend, he’s promised to inform everyone who asks where he got it that his dear friend Lanea made it, and then tragically lost all of her fingers in a tuba-related accident.  Oh, the humanity!

I am actually really excited to do some more weaving, just not to repeat that particular project too soon.

Anubh taught a class on flax preparation:

(Ignore that hideous tent in the background–we are apparently still not permitted to force the neighbors to get canvas tents.  Sigh.)

We also had classes on Bodhran (a type of frame drum used in Celtic music), the role of Bards in Celtic Society (guess who taught that one), Nalbinding (taught by our favorite new professional Viking Gullveig), and foods at ancient Celtic celebrations.

We also have a friendly little competition, wherein folks bring in things that they’ve made, explain the techniques used in creating them and the research behind the objects, and then we gather together some smarty-pantses and have them pick winners in experience-based categories.
Theses tables are full of the entries:

Here are some wonderful nalbinded (I want that word to be nalbound, but the -ed is correct) socks and a hat that Keva made, some handmade shoes and a satchel, a small felted carped, and a handmade stola, which is an overgarment a Roman woman would wear.

Each year, we see some amazing things in the competition.  This year, it seems like most of the early period re-enactors were really obsessed with Scandinavia.  Raginheld the Moneyer (she makes great coins) made these beauties:

Which are cast silver repros of some great Viking pieces.  She wore the one on the right for us, and I immediately begged her to make me a set.  So cool.

And here are some great Viking-style lampwork bead and wire-knitting necklaces, and amazing set of turtle brooches with the attendant necklaces and accouterments (winners, both).  I wish I had had a chance to take more detailed photos, but I was running out of memory and had to run off to teach.  Sigh.

At the far end are some display items, including a sprang sweater Gullveig made.  A few people just display some things they have that are likely to assist other folks in their research:

Like the wonderful natural dye display that Etaine’s sister Michelle made for her.  Each of those hanks (I believe they’re hand-spun) is dyed using natural dyes available relatively early in history.  Michelle raised most of the plants herself.  Michelle is a master weaver, and she is currently in Kyrgyzstan teaching the Kyrgyz their own lost weaving techniques.  Repressive government destroys folk culture.  Awesome artist returns it, because she’s just that kind of person.

Let’s just think about that for a second.  The thinking may involve either jumping up and down with excitement or abject jealousy.  For me, it involves both.

I need to go lie down before I can write anymore.  I learn so much on this trip every year that it takes my brain weeks to process it all.  And I also wake up in our Cape Cod thinking I’m still sleeping in my tent.  The brain-space all of this stuff takes up is immense.

Filed in Celtic | 2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Arts and Sciences”

  1. --Debon 27 Aug 2006 at 9:25 pm 1

    Wow, I’m impressed. That fair/display must be so much fun every year. (And so educational, too!)

  2. The Purloined Letteron 28 Aug 2006 at 10:27 am 2


    My brother, an ethnomusicologist, went to Turkey to show musicians there about early Turkish folk music. He really struggled with the politics of what it means that the tradition had been lost there, that a nerdy American was bringing it back, and that he wasn’t even absolutely sure that it was “their” tradition anymore. But when he saw how it was received–how deeply resonant the sounds were–he felt unbelievably proud. What your friend is doing is wonderful.

    I’m eager to learn to dye and love that chart!

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