Yes! I’m alive!
Last time I posted here was to review 2019 and plan for 2020. We all know how that went! Today’s post is a catch up on my arts & sciences projects since then. I’m going to organize by type not date.
I haven’t done much new dance research or reconstruction.
I did run a virtual dance practice monthly throughout 2020, which was a good way to get some social time in. In summer 2021 we held summer outdoor practices for a few months. Since then I’ve been trying to maintain a monthly practice in the face of changing meeting spaces and changing jobs (twice!). It’s a struggle.
I also co-ran a ball at Pennsic 50–Camp Flamingo Bluff sponsored a ball and I taught the first set. That was fun and nerve wracking. The Pennsic Dance tent is a A LOT of people to call and teach to, especially the first set of a well attended ball.
I really need to fix and update the dance reference part of this website. Other than that, my dance related goal for 2024 is to take all my scattered notes on the 1517 German Letter dances and organize them and actually write something up from them. I will probably revisit and recheck my reconstruction at that point too.
I’ve done a lot of cooking! When lockdown hit we were a few weeks out from Defending the Gate with a menu for feast that I had designed mostly on my own, themed around the battle of Pavia in 1525. The event was cancelled but the menu lived on. We went back to the research, refined it and ended up cooking it for Defending the Gate in 2022. You can cook the recipes – we posted them here.
In 2020 I also ran a virtual class on how to create your own sourdough starter (Starting Out, First Week, Maintenance). I’ve been doing sourdough baking since 2015 and had started my own culture, Mr Sticky, in 2018, so when everybody wanted to learn to bake with sourdough I figured I could help.
In 2021, we held a virtual Defending the Gate event to be able to invest our new baronage. Jasper and I designed a Virtual Potluck Feast for that event – something that people could cook at home and share a feast on Zoom. Jasper did a lot of the recipe write up on that one and I helped with finding historical references and sources. I still think it’s one of our cooler pandemic era ideas. You can still cook it here.
In 2023, Jasper and I co-planned the Defending the Gate feast themed around the siege of Otranto in 1480. This had an Ottoman cuisine inspired course and a southern Italian cuisine inspired course. I still don’t have the recipes written up and posted- so that’s one of my goals for 2024. We also ran the bagged lunch for Royal Archer which was mostly simple fare but I want to play with the dehydrator and jerky recipe more. (Drying my own herbs! It’s hard to do otherwise, the air is too dang humid here.)
This year we are running the Defending the Gate feast again, and the event is themed around the retaking of Otranto. So obviously I’ll be working on that menu as a major goal for 2024. Since the city was retaken by Spanish and Hungarian forces we have a lot of options to play with for dishes. It’s almost too hard to narrow them down.
I also have plans for a display at Kingdom A&S around the history of flour milling in northern Europe that I’m setting up with a friend. We got sucked into a research rabbit hole on millstones at Pennsic that has proven to be pretty fascinating. Certain stone was prized enough as millstones to be quarried from the same location for nearly a millennium and shipped all over Europe. More details on that forthcoming in March!
Eventually this project is going to turn into a larger display on bread in northern Europe, I think. We’ll see. I’ve found a lot of the information I need but I’m still stuck on a few pieces.
My main sewing has been Roman lately. I’ve got a couple of reasons for this. One is that I decided that it would be cool and comfy for hot summer events in the southeastern US. Another is that I figure with Venice’s obsession with Rome, if my persona cosplayed anything herself, it would be a Roman matron. The last is that it’s forgiving of body changes.
I don’t have big sewing goals for 2024. I would like to finish my masculine 1450s Italian outfit so I can wear that for some dance events. (I am just realizing I never posted a dress diary for that one. Oops!) My summer Roman collection is pretty complete. I will probably be trying on a lot of my 15th century Italian and seeing what can be made to work with my current shape and size. It would be nice to finish the fancy heraldic Norse outfit I started embroidering ages ago, but I’m currently stuck on how to do one part. We’ll see.
Crafting (non period)
I’ve done a bunch of knitting and embroidery the last few years. None of it is really SCA period relevant though. I don’t really like early knitting, especially as it’s generally colorwork in the round on tiny needles. I have a lot of hand pain from the combination of small needles and narrow diameter circles. Still, knitting is a favorite anxiety reducing craft for me…
I have also rediscovered my enjoyment of embroidery lately. I haven’t really focused on period techniques, just been doing projects that amuse me and some presents/commissions.
I bought a new iPad and got the Apple Pencil and that has led to me rediscovering my enjoyment of digital art. I used to do a lot of it in college and then pretty much haven’t done any in the past decade.