My sweetie made some fancy Japanese garb for the current Sovereign and Consort of our SCA Kingdom. She did all the work on both outfits except for one part. Eboshi are kind of my thing, so she let me make eboshi to go with his outfit.
From left to right there is a soft linen nae eboshi, a tall linen hikitate eboshi, and a tall mesh hikitate eboshi. So far, I think I have only seen him wear the mesh one, but I think it is always good to have options. Here’s what the completed outfits look like:
These outfits probably would look awesome even without a hat, but the eboshi really sets the mood, I think.
Speaking of regalia, I have made enough regalia for my current Baronial office that I was starting to worry about keeping it all together. When you have three storage boxes full of surplus fabric, no problem is unsolvable provided it can be solved with fabric! I decided to make a simple shoulder bag big enough to hold the banner, belt favor, and medallion of office. Then I decided to add a populace badge and A&S badge. Soon enough, I was finished.
It’s just a simple fabric satchel with a flap closure and a wide fabric strap for shoulder wear. The whole thing is linen, including the strap. It’s about 15 inches deep, so I can tuck the banner all the way in. It’s only about 14 inches wide inside, so the banner won’t fall all the way to the bottom. I thought about adding some pockets to the inside, so that small items like the medallion won’t fall to the bottom, but I realized that if I got into designing a pocket system inside, I would never get it done.
A “baldric” is a type of sash, typically used in the SCA to show heraldry, denote an award of some kind, or designate the wearer as a holder of an office. These are similar to belt favors (link, link, link, link, link, link) but they are a little more formal and are visible from the front. Anyway, I was told that until I made the Arts and Sciences Belt Favors, the office of Kingdom Arts and Sciences Minister had possessed absolutely no regalia. Since this is a serious office that sometimes requires participation in court, I decided to at least partially remedy this lack.
These are linen baldrics about seven feet long total, though of course they are doubled over. I guess they are about seven inches wide. The Kingdom populace badge is one of the professionally embroidered patches I had made, and the A&S badge is machine embroidered. this kind of baldric is meant to be worn from the left shoulder, draped diagonally across the body to the right hip, with the badging over one’s heart.
Back in October, I was idly searching eBay for Japanese antiques, and I found a kanmuri for sale at a very reasonable price. So, I bought it. This one is not as old or as nice as my other one, but it was less expensive and is in better shape. I won’t be as afraid to wear it or lend it to others. However, it should still have a better storage container than the corrugated cardboard box in which it was shipped to me.
I made two separate boxes to hold the parts of the first kanmuri. This was partially because of the shape of the tail, and because the body of the first kanmuri does not break down into parts. This second one comes apart much better, so I could build a single flat box to hold the parts.
This kanmuri-bako is a simple rectangular, lidded box. The top and bottom are thin birch-faced plywood, and the edges are maple scants. I put a couple of coats of shellac on the outside for protection, but I left the inside unfinished so that the wood can absorb and release moisture as needed.
Inside, there is enough room that the pieces of the kanmuri can be individually wrapped to protect them from rubbing. There is actually enough room inside that I am able to store some other formal accessories in there to keep everything together. I can fit a shakuin the bottom, my sekitai, and my hirao. There’s probably enough room to add my gyotaiif I ever need to.
Because I just realized that I never posted to my blog about the first kanmuri, here is a picture of the assembled second kanmuri. the tail removes easily. When you remove the horizontal pin, from the hat part, the upright tube can also be removed.
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.
A few months ago, I was once again elected to the position of Arts and Sciences Minister of the Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands. this position used to have a few pieces of regalia associated with it, but most of them have been lost since the last time I was minister. I decided a new belt favor was first on the list.
The fabric is a navy cotton twill I bought online. The populace badge is one of the embroidered patches I had made a few years ago. The A&S badge is machine embroidery designed by me and applied with my embroidery machine.
One of the martial activities in the SCA is called “Thrown Weapons”. Participants throw handled metal weapons such as axes and knives at fixed targets for scores. If you can achieve certain scores during a timed exercise, you qualify for different ranks. These belt favors are meant to be given to those participants who have achieved the required skill levels. The background color of each favor denotes the rank: black for Thrower (0-29 points), blue for Verfur (30-59 points), purple for Caster (60-79 points), green for Huntsman (80-99 points), and red for Marksman (100-120 points).
Each is machine embroidered on cotton twill fabric. The favors are about 7.5 inches wide and 18 inches long, meant to be doubled over a belt. The badge is 3.5 inches in diameter. The fabric is doubled over into a kind of bag, inside which valuables or authorization cards can be stored. I made six of each rank, thirty in all. Even though the machine did all the hard work, there was still a bunch f work setting things up, switching threads, and completing the favors. It took me a while.
Basically as soon as Sweetie and I had reached full immunity following our second COVID-19 inoculations (it’s not really a vaccine, you know), we went and visited my parents in NJ. They still live where I grew up in NJ, and although we did not want to go into NYC to visit fabric stores, I decided to search around the area to see what might have become available in the 30+ years since I left. Sure enough, the large presence of immigrants from Southeast Asia in my home town had resulted in some great fabric stores catering to their tastes, including one just 15 minutes from my parents’ house, called “Fabric Guy“. I was looking for some figured white silk for another project, but also wound up buying some of this lovely medium-weight silk brocade.
I suddenly decided that I needed a fancy kosode, because who doesn’t need a new fancy kosode every once in a while? One difficulty with the project is that the gold metallic threads for the flower buds (or whatever they are) are pretty much just behind those graphics. Cutting the fabric released hundreds of little whiskers, and I realized that wearing the kosode would break off more of those and they would get into everything else. The solution was to add a lining to the plan.
I had some light-weight habotai silk in my stash, so I used that. I’ve madelinedgarmentsbefore, so this was not alien territory for me, but it has been a while. The trick, for those who don’t know it, is to leave closing the neckband for the very last step. That enables you to attach the sleeve linings to the body lining easily by pulling those seams to the outside of the garment. This silk was so light that keeping it still enough to sew was something of a challenge, but it came out OK, I think.
When you receive an award in the SCA, you usually receive a scroll to hang on your wall, and a medallion or other favor to wear on your person. Many of my braids are donated to the Barony or Kingdom to become cords for medallions. It is quite a treat for me to walk around at events and see my cords worn by some of the SCA’s most talented and dedicated members. I have done a number of embroidered “belt favors” for awards, but a long time ago I bought a few packages of “frame charms” on clearance at the craft store, and I have been meaning to make some medallions ever since.
I tried making a medallion for the Aethelmearc‘s “Order of the Sycamore” using actual sycamore leaves, but even though I used the tiniest leaves I could find they were still too big for the charms. Recently, I sat down to hand paint some paper inserts for the charms, and I am pretty happy with the results. At some point I will donate these to the Kingdom and I hope they will be bestowed on some talented artisan.
The Order of the Sycamore is our Kingdom’s order of merit for the Arts and Sciences. These medallions are hand painted using Japanese watercolors on Hosho paper. The frame charms are “antique brass”, but the crystals on the front are just plastic.
Each painting is only an inch in diameter, so it is difficult to get enough detail on the leaves to identify them as sycamore leaves. I have some digital scans of an actual sycamore leaf that I was able to shrink down, print out, and trace so that at least the shape would be vaguely accurate.
These three scroll blanks are traced from a frame captured from “The Tale of Princess Kaguya” a 2013 animated film Studio Ghibli. This film is beautiful, and has a large number of beautiful images in it.
This modern animated film is based on an anonymous 10th-century folk tale called “Tale of the Bamboo Cutter”. It follows the life of a mysterious baby girl who is found in a shining bamboo stump and raised to be a princess by a poor childless couple.
For almost a decade following its release, this was the most expensive Japanese film ever produced, possibly due to the art style that is based on the Yamato-e style of old Japanese illustrated scrolls (emaki). In 1999, director Takahata published a book called “From a Painting” in which he explored traditional Japanese art and its ties to his animation.
In this image, the devoted maidservants of the Princess ready her cart for travel.
This one, I think I laid the color on a bit heavy. It’s vibrant as heck, but you can’t tell that the maid’s gowns are four different colors.
This one’s a bit lighter, but still too heavy. I tried a different green on the cart, and embellished it with bamboo leaves the way it is in the film, though.
This one is so much lighter, and you can really see the different hues on the robes. I’m starting to get the hang of using really watery mixes of paint to wash color into the paper. The paper is super-absorbent, so you need a light touch to keep from creating blobs of color. Super happy with this one.