02 November 2005


Figaro has stabilized and we're waiting to see if the medicines they put him on helps. In the meantime, I'm trying to get back into the swing of the sewing-thing. To ease into it, tonight, I'm going to talk about accoutrements.

A lot of rennies run around with so many things hanging from around their waist you'd think they were peddlers! I'm not generally one of them. As Calabash I tended to carry a lot of toys around to entertain the kiddies with, but in my new role, that won't be necessary.

In the Moroni painting I'm going by, the Duke is wearing a rapier on a fairly standard sword hanger for the time period. Because of the angle of the sword as he is holding it, I have to assume it's a two-strap holder in order to allow that kind of play. Either that or Moroni fudged it a little for artistic reasons. His is black leather, but I'm a freak and don't particularly go for the whole black leather thing. That's what everyone else does. I like autumnal earth tones in general and I take my leather accoutrements brown when I can find them.

For the beta costume I will be wearing slightly more on my belt than the gent in the painting, largely because I need to carry more items with me since it's sometimes a long walk back to the pavilion for needed gear or props and I have to have myriad ID and keys on me that have to be hidden. Such is life in the art of melding the 16th and 21st centuries.

I made my sword belt out of a nice heavy brown latigo leather I bought at scrap prices from MacPhereson Leather in Seattle's International District. I also found most of the findings there. I had to fudge things a little because I was still living in an apartment at the time and didn't have access to the kind of metalworking paraphernalia I now have.

The metal bracket that secures the hanger to the sword belt is actually 1/2 of a hinge with a D-ring and hook worked into it, which I think you can see in the picture below. This was easy to fabricate with the limited access to tools I was dealing with. I've an affection for nickel finishes rather than the brass everyone else seems to use with the few brown leather items available out there.

The design worked into the leather is recycled from a 15th century tile design found in a cathedral. It's a fairly typical medieval cruciform design. I'm terrible at keeping track of those things,I'm afraid. I'm sure I found it in one of the myriad Dover books I used to sell back when I ran a bookstore - which was around the time I made this rapier hanger. I'll try to locate it if anyone is really interested.

Because the character I will be playing will be essentially lower middle class (the sheriff) A few other items of note will be my keys (above) and manacles (not pictured). The key shown in the picture is generally referred to as "The Cathedral Key" because it serves the dual purpose of bottle opener! The barrel of the key even bears a the motto "IN VINO VERITAS" (In wine is truth). Of all the silly things I've carted around on my belt over the years, this has probably been the most useful.

Also rans include my mug and mug strap, which I made on my own design (shown below) and a belt pouch that I patterned after my sporran, only much smaller. It's just the right size to conceal my ID, camera and money securely against my person in such a way as to deter cutpurses. Also I carry leather fencing gloves when a fight gig is in the offing or if it's a cold Washington morning. Most of the time those won't be around. Also I tend to carry a stag-handled eating knife I picked up at a Thrift store back in the day for about five bucks (score!) rather than a dagger.

I am well aware that the mug on a strap on your belt is a favorite pet peeve of the non-faire reenactment community. However, as guildmaster for the Villagers at my faire, I find it my responsibility to present the image of how I want my villagers to act, and my A#1 goal for the villagers is to keep them hydrated!!!

It's darn hot out there and we're doing a lot of very active bits and gigs. Water is essential and running back to the encampment to get your mug isn't always an option. We've had people go down to heat exhaustion in the past and I've made it my mission to keep that from happening again! Hence our belt-hanging tankards being non-negotiable. If all-else fails keep in mind that our guild patron is Saint Brigid, who is (among other things) a patron of beer and brewers! How best to pay homage to our namesake?

The Ghost of Accessories Yet-To-Come
For the final costume, I will be making a new sword hanger with more period-correct metal findings, though whether I will be purchasing those or fabricating them remains to be seen. The leather will still be brown, and I'll be making a new purse and perhaps an en-suite parrying dagger or stilletto will be in the offing depending on time and energy levels when the time comes. Shoes for the final noble outfit wouldn't be out of the question either.

No comments:

Post a Comment