Tis the season… 2/25 was Stromgard’s Baronial Arts & Sciences Championship. The next weekend, 3/4, was Dragon’s Mist. The Kingdom ASBC (bardic is included too) is this coming weekend, 3/11-12. I, like an obsessed goofball, decided to do them all.
Stromgard in some ways was the biggest challenge. Two prepared entries, plus a 3 hour period to make stuff with the contents of a box provided… and no clue what was going to be in the box beforehand. We also had to start a fire using period methods (flint and steel) and use the fire somehow. We got lucky with the weather – although it was chilly, it wasn’t raining, snowing or super windy!
My two pre-written entries were on Roman jewelry and the Roman stola (papers will be posted within a week – I like to incorporate what I learn from the judging process). With the first one, I was focussing on “assembly” type pieces, that I could make in my living room without a studio or fancy equipment, but would still duplicate the aesthetic of Rome from 100 BCE-300 CE. On the left is a largesse box – basically a kit to help others get into basic jewelry making and create period ornaments. One was donated to Dragon’s Mist. Four more will be delivered to Queen Stjarna this weekend.
I had fun putting together my “Roman jewelry shop.” I wanted to use period materials, rather than velvet busts from JoAnn Fabrics. This was wood, linen, and brass nails.
These ladies have tunicae on as well as stolae, and one has a palla, too! I dyed the fabric two nights before the competition- I was really glad they came out so well! I’ve since added institia to two of them. As I said, the paper will be posted after Kingdom.
After the oral presentations, we got our boxes and then hit the “buffet”- we could trade items from our boxes one-to-one. I swapped my feather, orange, and paper for pliers, beads, and wire. My garlic turned into a chisel. The wood block got traded for a thinner plank. We were allowed to bring a minion, tables, a knife, a kitchen tool, and another period tool – that’s it! No books, no other equipment. I brought a cast iron dutch oven and a needle for my tools, which were very useful! For my partner, I chose Idonia Sherwood, which was a brilliant decision. Fortunately I got my fire started without too much trouble, and we got to work.
Using beeswax, charcoal, red pigment and a wood plank to make a wax tablet. This is the carving stage. I only got a little blood on it. 🙂 Pay no attention to the stripey undershirt. It was COLD, even in my Romano-Brit garb.
Idonia watching the fire and sewing an embroidered cap.
Below: Everything we made! The wax tablet, a matching earring and bracelet set, the cap, some *utterly* delicious eggs with onions and herbs, red and black Roman makeup (charcoal or red pigment in melted / blended tallow), and carved wood applicator (made from firewood). We were going to do a leather purse, too, but ran out of time. It occurred to me later I should have made a stylus for the wax tablet, too. Oh well… next year! 🙂
My absolute favorite moment of the day was when Her Grace Hlutwige tried on my makeup (lipcolor, rouge, and eyeshadow) and looked stunning in it! See Murna trying on the cap, too. I think Carith and Selene had just tasted the eggs.
Here’s a closer look at the sodalite jewelry set I made during the competition, along with some pics of Roman examples so you can see I didn’t invent the styles. The earwires going back up is a security feature that’s much more comfortable than it looks.
My competitors were extraordinarily talented. The feast was a riot. I had a blast the whole day. My only disappointment was how my ADD led me all over the place in my oral presentations. Last weekend at DM, I stuck fast to the table of contents of my paper and did a much better job. I also had some holes in my stola paper pointed out, and have been working on correcting that. Kingdom, here I come!