I actually completed this banner back in June and gave it to her at Pennsic in August, but I never posted about it. Maybe I didn’t want to spoil the surprise before, and then forgot to post after? Anyway, my friend Shirin al-Susiyya was being elevated to the Order of the Laurel back in May, so I decided to make a banner for her as a gift.
The fabric is some nice navy blue raw silk. The paints are acrylic fabric paints. It took me a little longer than I was hoping, so it wasn’t finished in time for her elevation, but she has it now. Some words on process:
A good way to get repeatable complex shapes (like heraldic animals) if you are bad at freehand art (like I am) is to print out a picture of the shape at the exact size you want it. Then, cut around the outside of the template, place it where you want the shape, and trace around the outside with chalk.
Fill in the basic shape with a coat or two of paint, then cut the template apart so you can use the pieces to trace out the interior lines in pencil. You can probably freehand some of the smaller details, but sometimes I get pretty small with my template pieces.
Then, use a fine brush and some black paint to outline the shape and ink the interior lines.
I’ve used this method a bunch of times, and it really produces good results for me. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for setting the paint!
A good friend of ours, Mistress Master Baroness Illadore de Bedegrayne, was being elevated to to Order of the Pelican in the SCA, so I decided she needed a new banner to display during her pre-elevation vigil (which was not really a vigil, but there was a tent, so banners were needed).
This banner was made with acrylic fabric paints on blue linen. The unicorn rampant in the center was one of the more difficult charges I have painted, and the repeating fleur-de-lis border was challenging.
I printed out a stencil for the Unicorn. That helped me to get the outline and fill that in with white paint. Then, I cut the stencil apart to help me get the internal lines of the design in the right places.
I made a stencil for the fleurs-de-lis, too (you can see it in the “Stencils” photo), but it turned out to not work so well with the dauber, due to how non-flat the fabric is after painting with the white base coat. I wound up cutting a small stamp from some craft foam, and that worked great. I still needed the daubers that I bought. One became the handle for the stamp, and the other was used to apply a nice coat of paint to the stamp for transfer to the banner. This work so much better than the stencil that I will certainly use this technique again for the annoying repeating patterns that Europeans seem to be enamored of.
After I made the two Kaminari kataginu last year as prototypes, I ordered a whole roll of red linen so I could make more. This linen sat in the closet for basically a whole year while I worked on other stuff. With the news that there might be some SCA activities in the medium-future, I realized that I had to get started on this project.
So, I made six more kataginu and embroidered them with the Yama Kaminari clan mon. They are the six you see on the left in this picture. The two to the right are the prototypes from last year.
The ones that look smaller folded up are 36 inches from shoulder to hem. The larger ones are 48 inches to accommodate those who are taller or otherwise larger. I seem to remember that the prototypes used 54-inch wide fabric, so the panels are 18 inches wide on those two. The new ones are constructed from 45-inch fabric, so they use 15 inch panels.
I can’t wait to seem them adorning my firends in some kind of procession!
It’s 15 inches wide and 6 feet long of cotton duck fabric in this wonderful deep-yellow color. The black parts of the design are painted on with Jacquard Textile Color, with details on the bunny in gold Jacquard Neopaque fabric paint. The textile color is a really thick pigment type paint, that doesn’t forma film the way the acrylic Neopaque does.
I made a simple 8-strand suspensory braid in some polyester yarn, so that I won’t have to worry about it, either.
Recent experiments applying the mon of Clan Yama Kaminari to fabric have demonstrated to me that I am most happy with machine embroidered versions. They are durable, attractive, and can be made by a robot. This last is handiest because I want to embark on a project to make probably several dozen of these so that when we do something like march in a festival parade or rocess into court as a group, we can have a uniform look. Here are two prototypes I made over the last few days.
Even with a robot to do all of the embellishment work, it’s still labor intensive to get the fabric loaded onto the machine just right to get good results exactly where you want them. It also takes about ten minutes to complete each mon, so that’s going to be a lot of time if we make a whole bunch of these.
When you are recognized for your achievements in the SCA, you are typically inducted into an order, and you receive both a scroll and a piece of regalia. Usually, the regalia is a medallion or belt favor that displays the heraldry of the order. Making belt favors is one of the main uses to which I put my embroidery machine. I’ve designed stitch patterns for most of the kingdom orders, and try to set aside some time and resources each year to make some for donation.
New for this batch is the Gage. The symbol of this order is actually a black glove, and the regalia given is often an actual glove, but I figured someone might prefer a belt favor.