19 March 2011

A Glover, Not a Fighter

Still doing remodeling and still don't have access to my workshop because it's being used to store the things that would normally live in the rooms we're revamping.

So... let's talk about gloves.

Gloves like the ones Shakespeare's dad made were probably less fancy than most of the ones we have in the Victoria & Albert museum, most of which came from the wardrobes of nobles and the crustiest part of the upper crust.  The rest - such as we have - live on in fragmentary bog finds, shipwrecks like the Mary Rose, and the marginalia of Joris Hoefnagel's maps.

Paintings of the renaissance show a variety of cuts and decorative techniques, including the same pinking and slashing techniques used on other garments.

Marginal characters from Nonesuch Palace engraving by Joris Hoefnagel

As a longtime leatherworker, I have the skills and tools to make a pair from scratch... but they're a finicky sort of thing with a lot of handsewing and overall a bit of a pain in the butt.  This is confounded a bit by the fact that Washington's faire season falls in the hottest part of our summertime (as do many others), so I rarely need gloves with a costume.  The mornings are wicked cold around here though, so from time to time...

All of which makes it a mixed-bag spending anything like the money and time necessary to make a decent and attractive pair suitable for the time periods in which I work.

Eventually, I'll be getting around to making my own, but for now, I needed a pair of gloves that looked okay from ten paces away and won't detract from whatever costume I happen to be wearing at the time.  It was time for a cheap alternative.

Which is when I remembered a costume party awhile back, where my friend Patrick dummied up a pair of gloves for his bomber pilot costume by dying a pair of standard workgloves a darker shade of brown and turning back the cuffs.  They looked pretty good, all things considered.

And then I said to myself, we're remodeling.  We have a lot of work gloves lying around right now...

We buy them bulk, actually.  Nice deerhide  leather work gloves in threepacks from Costco.  So I grabbed a pair of scissors and a hole punch and started changing them from workgloves circa 2011, to something approximating the right protection for a renaissance hand.

Maybe even a  steampunk glove, who knows?

Feibings "Cherry" leather dye and a hole punch

The biggest change was re-cutting the cuff in a crenelated pattern
similar to what you can see in the Hoefnagel engraving above.
I'm reasonably happy with how they turned out.  The dye job was still wet in that photo (I'm wearing a vinyl glove inside there) so the colors will even out over time and then we'll apply a wax or finish to polish them up. 

For something I may wear a couple of hours a year?  They're perfect.

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