Finding my people

Long time, no blog! I hope you have all been having fun while I have been away. I had a wonderful time at the Leeds International Medieval Congress, both in the sessions and in meeting wonderful people and socialising. It was so lovely to meet people who were interested in the same things that I am. I made some very useful contacts including some people who sent me their research which was very kind of them. It is brilliant to know that there are people out there interested in the same things that I am and I came home very enthused about my doctorate.

It was wonderful to be in such a lovely environment. I stayed in student halls which took me back a bit, though they were much more sophisticated than in my day, more like Travelodge rooms. Leeds University campus is very similar to ours with a mix of different period buildings and these were my favourite ones. Quite fitting given my interest in textiles as they were the Clothworkers’ Court.

IMC Buildings 1

IMC Buildings 2

IMC Buildings 7

In the lobby there was a display of dyeing samples. I can just imagine the workers in the local textile industry coming to have lectures all about the different processes.

I went to quite a few really interesting presentations on textiles as well as ones on pilgrim badges and manuscripts. In total I attended about 36 separate presentations so I had a very busy week.

One of the most fascinating was about how they make facsimile manuscripts. There was a presentation and display by a company based in Germany, Zeireis Facsimiles,¬† where they showed the very complex process which was really amazing. They had some gorgeous reproductions including one of Mary Stuart’s book of hours below in the velvet cover.

IMC 6 Manuscript

IMC 1 Manuscript

IMC 3 Manuscript

IMC 2 Manuscript

There were also displays every lunchtime from the Brotherton Library, which is based at Leeds University. Those were fascinating, though some were not as ornate as others, but just amazing that they have survived this long.

IMC 10 Manuscript

IMC 9 Manuscript

I would love to go over and look at some of the manuscripts there so will try and factor that in to some free time after completing the doctorate.One other interesting thing was that they hold the collection of drawings from one of the major sources we use for costume research for re-enactment, by Herbert Norris, so I would love to look at those.

On the last day there was a medieval market with displays and stalls including one of my favourite textile people, Tanya Bentham from Threads of Time. She has the most amazing embroidery on her blog, Opus Anglicanum.

IMC Market 10

I also saw the lovely Jim of Trinity Court Potteries who I buy all my medieval ware from as well as one of my favourite thread suppliers, the Mulberry Dyer, who were doing a rope making demonstration. There was also book binding and falconry, it was just like being at a re-enactment event!

IMC Market 9

IMC Market 1

IMC Market 8

The combat displays were done by a very good group called Three Swords, you might recognise the heraldry on this shield as Jamie in our group also portrays De Warrene.

IMC Market 6

IMC Market 7

I loved the outfits that the Eran ud Turan group were wearing, such amazing fabric! They have a blog here which I am going to devote some time to as they have information about all the wonderful places that I want to travel to when I retire.

I have had a busy week since getting back from the conference, I made a shirt for Jamie as well as doing lots of sorting out and catching up from being away for nearly three weeks and then was off to the wonderful Tewkesbury event for last weekend. I will post about that next time as I need to collect some more pictures of the event first.

In other news the boiler has been poorly, it is nearly fixed but it is going to be quite expensive so I am glad that I have not got much else planned to do this summer. Jake is off in London today sorting out his visa for Japan which is very exciting, fingers crossed all will go well and he can start getting the final arrangements made.

I hope you all have a good week ahead, I shall be mainly working on the doctorate with a bit of work admin thrown in but plan to have some time at the weekend to craft. I seem to have quite a long to do list and really need to decide on an outfit for Lincoln at the end of August.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

 

A step back in time – Rothenburg

Our last trip while in Germany was to Rothenburg ob de Tauber, a gorgeous medieval walled town on the Romantic Road. Not only was the setting perfect, surrounded by forests and rolling hills and fields, but the town itself was so pretty.

I felt severely underdressed and should really have been wearing traditional dress at least if not a Belle outfit, it really was like stepping back in time.

Bavaria 2014 Rotenburg 2

Not only was it gorgeous but there were so many lovely shops, food, gifts, weapons and armour (and embroidery and Christmas shops as I mentioned in my earlier post). We spent so much time shopping we didn’t get to see all of the town so would love to go back someday for longer.

Bavaria 2014 Rotenburg sausage shop
Bavaria 2014 Rotenburg 1

Bavaria 2014 Rotenburg 4

Bavaria 2014 Rotenburg 3

All of the shops and hotel had beautiful signs outside them as well, this was the weapons’ shop sign.

Bavaria 2014 Rotenburg weapons sign

Bavaria 2014 Rotenburg town hall

The wells in the town had all been decorated for Easter, these were all real eggs, hand painted and they looked beautiful.

Bavaria 2014 Rotenburg eggs 2

Bavaria 2014 Rotenburg eggs 1

Bavaria 2014 Rotenburg eggs 3

A wonderful sunny day out and a perfect end to our trip.

Thanks for visiting.

All shiny and bright!

Sorry I have just found this post in drafts from a couple of weeks ago – thought I had published it – oops senior moment!

Hello there, how are you all?

I have had a lovely weekend visiting Leeds Royal Armouries and going to the Imbolc Festival in Marsden so have been looking at lots of lovely shiny armour and watching fire juggling and fireworks.

It has been very cold and windy but we have had a lovely time nonetheless and kept warm by visiting some nice hostelries and sampling lovely ales and ciders on our way round.

Have got a few pictures for you, the Leeds Royal Armouries is free to visit and well worth it if you are into history.

As well as the medieval collection (which is very good) they also have Oriental armour, a tournament section with Tudor armour and hunting and gun displays.

Armouries

Armouries 2

Armouries 3

We also watched the sword fighting display and had to smile when the very nice young man taking part asked us if we wanted to feel the weight of the sword – we didn’t tell him what we do for a hobby ūüôā

Imbolc is a festival that celebrates the coming of Spring, there is a procession led by lanterns then fire juggling accompanied by drumming and it culminates in Jack Frost being chased away by the Green Man. Then there were lots of fireworks which I love.

Imbolc

Imbolc 2

Apologies as pics are not brilliant quality – there are some brilliant ones at this person Gary’s Flicker site

I am looking forward to the start of the re-enactment season now – all that armour and fire has made me long to camp in a field and sit round the fire of an evening with friends.

First show is in 3 months so not too long to wait. Better make a start on all that kit I have promised people for this season ūüėČ

Meanwhile I have a couple of bunnies to finish!

Take care and thanks for visiting.

More kit and castles!

Hello there

Thought I would post a picture of kit I have made recently and tell you about my latest castle visit!

This is my friend Jamie in the shirt I made him, I have lots of requests for shirts now so will be busy in the off-season and will get lots of practise at making holes!

Jamie - new shirt

We did a lovely show this last weekend with some friends, it was a countryside show just outside a town called Bewdley in Worcestershire.

I was dressed as a lady all day (a very rare sight and I didn’t get any pictures!) and Kerry and I did head-dress talks and the boys had a tournament. Luckily the weather was great.

After the show I stayed on for a bit and went castle visiting. This is Stokesay Castle in Shropshire which has been on my wish list to visit for a while.

It is a fortified manor house in most beautiful setting and we had a lovely day.

Stokesay Castle outside 1

Stokesay Castle outside3

Stokesay Castle house

Stokesay Castle House 2

Stokesay Hall

Most of the rooms were bare apart from this very lovely 17th century panelling in the tower.

Stokesay - room 2

Stokesay - room 3

There is also an old church next door with beautiful wall paintings – sadly none of my pics came out well as it was dark.

We did find some old graves with lovely textures on the headstones where the lichen had grown over them

Stokesay church 1

And we finished the day having some very nice cider in a pub in the centre of Bewdley, these are the views of the River Severn.

Bewdley 2

Bewdley 1

I do not have any shows planned for a few weeks now so will be getting on with rabbit knitting, shirt making and some house fettling, I have some bits of painting to do.Will have a new rabbit to show you at the weekend!

Thank you as always for visiting.

Medieval art anyone?

Well the trip to Florence with my lovely mother was fantastic!

I think this has to be my favourite city so far – the churches and palaces full of frescos and medieval art, the Uffizi Gallery with even more medieval art, the beautiful buildings and views over the Tuscan hills and the gorgeous food.

View from the Ponte Vecchio looking at the Arno River.

View from bridge

Some of the 80 ice cream flavours to choose from in the shop near our hotel.

Ice cream

I loved the display at this shop in one of the side streets, We came back with pasta, herbs and oils, yum, yum!

Fruit and veg

And there are also lovely shops if you are into that, personally I am not going to pay 10 times the price I can here for a pair of designer sandals but we did a little window shopping and marvelled at what some of the so-called fashions were priced at.

We stayed at the Albergo Firenze, another one of my fantastic finds from Expedia. Although it was rated only 2 star it was a gorgeous room, really good value for money and the location is excellent – 5 mins walk either way from the Palazzo Vecchio and the cathedral so exactly where you want to be.

Hotel

I have put a tiny selection of pics here and included many more in the slideshow below if you are interested.

Angel mosaics in the Baptistry.

Baptistry 8

Detail from one of the Madonnas in the Palazzo Vecchio.

Palazzo Madonna 2

Detail from one of the Annunciation frescos in the Santa Maria Novella church.

SMN angel detail

One of the chapel paintings from the same church.

SMN chapel with polyptych

We also saw some beautiful silver and goldwork, this was an altar piece frontal in the museum of the Santa Lorenzo church dating from the late 1700s.

Goldwork at St Lorenzo

Goldwork 2

Goldwork 3

Goldwork 4

Goldwork 5

I also loved this ceiling painting from the Plazzo Vecchio with its depiction of women spinning, weaving and sewing.

Palazzo ceiling crafts

Palazzo ceiling crafts 2

I had seen some of the fresco paintings from the churches before as many are in medieval costume books – look at these two beautiful gowns from frescos in the Santa Croche church.

SC Fresco - gown detail

SC Fresco - gown detail 2

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I have come back with loads of prints and a new icon with one of my favourite Madonnas by Filippo Lippi so have put up some new art in my bedroom to remind me of the trip!

Thanks for visiting and see you soon.

A lovely day out in Derbyshire

Hello everyone

I hope that you have been having a lovely and happy week in this run up to the festive season. This has been my last week of teaching for the year so we have had some Christmas dos and I have now finished teaching for the next few weeks ūüôā

I have been spending this weekend with my lovely friend Kerry, we had a very nice relaxing night in last night having a few glasses of wine and a catch up and today visited a Tudor house, Haddon Hall  near Bakewell, that we have had on our wish list for while.

It was absolutely beautiful, not only was it a gorgeous day but the house itself was so lovely, a wonderful place with a great hall and plastered long gallery as well as a wonderful chapel with original wall paintings and the  kitchens had been restored and really well interpreted.

Since Ellie started working for the National Trust I have paid even more attention to how things are displayed and labelled in the historic places I visit, listening to her has made me think more about all these issues about the visitor experience.

I think Haddon Hall have done a wonderful job, especially of the Christmas decorations – we loved them, see what you think in these pictures.

As well as all the Tudor things the drawing room had a lovely old hexagon quilt which I think dated from the 1920s.

Haddon Hall 1

Haddon Hall 2

Haddon Hall 3

Haddon Hall 4 jpg

Haddon Hall 5

Haddon Hall 6

Haddon Hall 7

Haddon Hall 8

Haddon Hall 9

Haddon Hall 10

Haddon Hall 11

Haddon Hall 12

Haddon Hall 13

Have not done a huge amount on the crafting front this week due to all the festive dos, had a lovely meal out with my Marsden Knitting group this week where we all exchanged hand-made ornies Рneed to take a good pic of the lovely ornie I got on my tree.

Still working on the knitted hat and on an Xmas gift for a family member. I finished another gift this week but can’t reveal that till after Xmas.

I am spending this week working from home then we go to Powis Castle for Xmas Рam very excited and am hoping for snow! Jake has just arrived home for the holidays so we both have a few more dos this week then we shall be off!

Will post next weekend to wish you all a Merry Christmas – till then thanks for visiting.

Pretty things from Tewkesbury

As well as the lovely battles there is also the market at Tewkesbury which is always the biggest and best re-enactors’ market of the season. My lovely friend Kerry bought me this new bag as a birthday present.It will hang from my belt.

Tewks - new bag

It is from Phil Fraser’s stall ¬†– Phil also sells pewter badges and I bought some with my initials on.

tewks - badges 1

I also treated myself to some more pilgrim badges from Lionheart Replicas Рthese are the Virgin and Child and St Albans badges.

tewks - badges 2

The thing I love about buying things for re-enactment is that you almost always know who has actually made what you have bought. Some things are imported but most of the time you know the person that has made your boots, your sword ¬†and your drinking mug etc. In today’s mass market economy that is very special.

Thanks for visiting – see you soon.

Tewkesbury 2012 – mud, flood and so much fun!

Hello there

Have had a brilliant weekend at our biggest event of the year which went ahead thankfully despite some initial uncertainty about whether the site would be ok , a great deal of mud, a very near escape for friends who were on the encampment nearest the river and the sterling efforts of all involved in organising the event. Thank you so much to everyone for what was possibly my best Tewkesbury ever.

I have always wanted to go to one of those festivals where mud is a central feature like Glastonbury and wear festival wellies so this weekend I got my chance. I bought a new pair of wellies on Thurs having only tried one on at the shop and it was not until Friday when we got there that I put both of them on to discover that I had two right feet lol! Had to just go with it as I did not have time to buy any others and managed ok.

Despite some rain most of the weekend was bright and sunny and we had an excellent time. This was my very good friend Kerry’s first time as a water carrier on the battlefield which she loved (despite the very loud cannon!) and it was great to catch up with lots of friends I had not seen since last year.

We went to the Abbey service on Sunday morning which was beautiful, it is a very wonderful place anyway but the service is ‘high church’ with incense and sung gospels, a¬†fab choir¬†and very moving.

Here is me outside the Abbey – I was in peasant dress all this weekend.

Tewks - me

The slideshow is of various parts of the Abbey.

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Hope where you are is not affected by floods – will be back later in the week to share some more Tewkesbury with you and to update you on Ellie’s progress at Powis Castle.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Harewood House Medieval Faire

As promised here are some pics from our weekend away. This was a new show for us as it was the first time that the event had been staged and we had an excellent time. We did some activities for kids – knight’s training and joust and a short tournament. It was my first event with our new group Swords of Mercia and it went very well.

Here is a slideshow of some of the best bits.Thanks for visiting and see you soon.

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Medieval Art

Well the very busy week at work did not go as planned as I have had an ear infection, not good for workload but this meant that there has much stitching been done and catching up on missed TV. One of the things I have been watching this week is a BBC series called  Illuminations РThe Private Lives of Medieval Kings  which has had me drooling over the art.

You may remember that a while ago I shared with you my latest purchase from my very talented friend Pat of  Buckles Medieval Art  and I promised to take some more pics if I could. Today we have had really lovely sunshine (which is very good as there was snow last night!) so I have been able to take some nice pics of my other bits of her art.

My first piece from Pat is a triptych Рa three section religious painting, in this case of St Andrew and his fisherman.

Buckles Tryptich

I also have this beautiful painting hanging above my bed of Archangel Michael. She has painted one of my favourite castles  Castle Coch  in South Wales in the background. Castle Coch was rebuilt in the 19th century by the Marquis of Bute (who also at one point owned Cardiff Castle) and both buildings have some wonderful recreations of medieval decoration.Well worth a visit if you are in the area.

Buckles painting

I also have a facsimile of a medieval bible from the 15th century which I bought as a real bargain some time ago from the  Museum Selection  (one of my fave catalogues) , here is a peek at one of the wonderful page decorations.

Bible art

This is one of my favorite books Рagain another real bargain from Waterstones one day when I was in Leeds. It is available cheaply on Amazon as well at the moment at only £13 which is really good as it is huge book.

Illumination book

It has copies of illustrations from so many wonderful manuscripts including one of my all time favourites the Bedford Hours which was featured in the second episode of the Illuminations series.

Bedford Hours

I love looking at medieval art, as well as being great for research on costume and artefacts I just marvel at the wonderful richness of it all. I have so many ideas for embroidery designs based on all my lovely books and museum and church visits. All I need now is a few more hours each day to get them all down on paper!

Below is a pic of the finished Snow Poem piece, all I need now is a nice silver frame for it. It is very appropriate that I am able to post this today as Google informed me when I logged on that it was the 125th anniversary of the world’s largest snowflake today which was 15 inches across!

Snow poem finished

Now I am trying to decide on my next piece, maybe another snowflake or I might start one of the Spring Quaker ornies that I mentioned in the last post.

Hope you have all had a lovely week and have a nice week ahead of you. We have Ofsted coming to visit us at work, those of you who work in the education system may well know what that means! Suffice to say that there may be lots of need for stitching for sanity in the next few days!

Take care and see you all soon. Thanks for visiting.