May 01, 2007

And so I begin...

May 1, Beltane, has arrived, and, with it, AS 42. In theory, for the next eight years, I will try something new, on average, every 60 days.

I had thought that I would start with something I have more recent familiarity with, something relatively tidy and useful, something that wouldn't require me to spend any money right off the bat; I *thought* I'd be starting with making an illuminated scroll blank to send off to the Tiger Signet (East Kingdom scroll manager). I will probably still do this over the next couple of months, but it looks like it is going to be sharing the stage, at least sometime soon...

It looked innocent at first. A good gentlewoman has made a new cloak, and posted to our local list, wanting to know if aqua/teal was a period (13th cent Celt) color to use for her embroidery. I responded that an end-of-the-dyebath woad might be a more period choice. Another gentle questioned my dismissal of teal as period, citing the Bayeux tapestry. My first foray into images showed this UK link , and I thought she was onto something. Then I saw this, from the Frieze book , and I wasn't so sure. Not only is the aqua not aqua in the second image, but tunics seem to be completely different colors: reds swap with yellows and yellows swap with greens!

Not knowing what to do with this, but still in search of evidence of Northern European aqua dyed wool, I think I am going to have to hit the dyepot myself, with weld (yellow), madder (orangey red), and woad (Braveheart blue). This will be dredging my memory, messy, smelly, potentially toxic (since I'm going to need to play with mordants - the metal salts that make dyes bond with wool), and cost me some not-completely inconsiderable change since I have no supplies for it at all, and will hopefully be selling my garden (and the house that grows with it) before the end of the growing season, so I need to buy dyepot ready dyestuffs as well. Ah well.

In my websearching, I learned that there have been not only a number of recreations of the Bayeux Tapestry in many forms, (including paint, as the Shire of the Mountain Freehold helped with a few years past), but also new endings to replace the bit seemingly lost to ill-handling over the years.

Links to some of these endeavors include (please feel free to email me with additions):

Jan Messent's new ending (which she wrote "A Bayeux Tapetry Embroider's Story" about, currently out of print, from Madeira Press, UK. She also mentions naturally-dyed wools that they carry made by Renaissance Dyeing of Havorfordwest, but I unfortunately can't find any other info on these...)

Seagirt Tapestry a new rendition, made in the style of the Bayeux, depicting the history of the Shire of Seagirt, in the Kingdom of Antir

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