Achievement of Arms are a period way to show off one’s accomplishments in the SCA, as combined with one’s heraldic device. I had the great fortune to create a conjugal coat of arms for my Byzanbestie Anna and her husband Gieffrei, and ended up also blogging the process, too.
Let’s start off with the details and definition of what a heraldic achievement of arms actually is. An ‘achievement’ is a full formal display of a coat of arms. This form of display is normally used in very formal situations, and can be used for decorative elements, banners, and of course, on scrolls. An achievement is one’s heraldic device surrounded by all the extra elements accorded to an individual by their rank in the SCA according to their kingdom’s sumptuary laws. Most of the elements, however, are optional and do not have to be displayed. Further bits of interkingdom anthropology: Ansteorra registers…
So, while I’m taking a short break from heavy SCA sewing and research, I want everybody to help me keep my brain ticking.
Every week, or however often I get questions, I’m going to have a question/answer column here on my blog. Feel free to ask me anything about Roman and Byzantine history, textiles, clothing, etc, and I’ll give you a complete answer, or as complete as I can, with citations to send you on your way. General ancient and medieval history questions can also be fielded if you’re looking for something more broad.
If this gets busy, I don’t know how many questions I’ll be able to answer, but I’ll do my best to make sure that everybody is covered.
My lord had to go do Navy things for a few months, so when I should have been studying for school, I sewed things.
I also found out that Santa Claus can read heraldry! You see, we stayed home for the holidays this year when both of us usually travel, sometimes in opposite directions to keep both families happy, so we had no decorations. None. Zip. So I was shopping for the necessary trimmings, and found that they’re all way too expensive and I didn’t like them all anyway. So I went to Joann’s, dropped $60 in supplies, and went to work.
Here’s our heraldically (is word?) influenced tree skirt, hand appliqued, lined in horrible plaid with fringy fringe that was more of a pain in the butt than it probably should have been:
And our heraldically correct stockings, you know, instead of writing our names in puffy paint:
But modern Christmas is not terribly period ,but it sure is pretty. So, I decided to try Saturnalia from the 17th-23rd of December for the first time this year, and we definitely had fun! We set up a household altar with Roman goodies: an amphora, a cup of wine and a cup of olive oil, lamps, and I had a tea light for each night of the festival (how, uh, syncretic of me.) Each day the lord and I would make an “offering” to Saturn in the ways of whatever we had around. This varied from my actual Roman artifact rings, to a cheap rhinestone ring, amber necklace, chunk of shortbread, coffee, and Geoffrey’s Dungeons and Dragons Elementals. I am not even kidding.
It was all in the spirit of the season, and trying to feel as the Romans would have felt. Every holiday in December has one thing in common: The solstice and the return of light at the darkest part of the year. So I’m a big fan of setting things on fire or putting a mere 1500 lights on my balcony and 400 lights on my tree.
Most of all, we had FUN. I hope everyone else had fun with the holidays this week, also!
Felicem Dies Natalis Sol Invicti!
Or as my friends say, “Happy Lights!”
I hope everyone has a Happy New Year, and I’ll catch you all on the flip side with some neat info on Byzantine outerwear, and the upcoming garb challenge at Birka!
In between sewing way too much, and horrifying Pre-Pennsic Panic (tears, there are tears. I know I’m not the only one.) I’ve made a couple things that have been totally new to me, and therefore I feel the need to share them with people looking for Roman and Byzantine stuff here, that aren’t going to find it in this post. (Sorry.) However, I do hope you find inspiration for working outside of your comfort zone and exploring new projects.
First thing: I made a belt. Seriously! I have an apprentice sash I made from faux silk and fancy stitches, but I can’t wear that all the time, so I needed a sturdier leather belt for times I need to carry a pouch or bum around not in Byzantine. This was an adventure. My husband has leather working experience, and I figured he would just do it for me. NOPE. He made me do it while fielding a tapestry of profanity so thick it’s probably seen as smog over the Boston area. Here are some pics of my experience.
I started with a 3/4″ belt blank from Tandy, and an 8th Century Syrian belt buckle from Raymond’s Quiet Press…got green dye and Geoffrey’s basic tools and designed a pattern that I felt could work. This was my first time tooling leather, ever, so I just kept telling myself that straight lines were for sissies, mistakes are period, and if anyone needs to get that close to my belt to see my mistakes, they need to buy me dinner, first.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! I ALSO PAINTED A SILK BANNER FOR MY PAVILION!
I have no idea where I find the time for this stuff, but Geoffrey made this pretty finial for the Green Monstah, and said we needed a banner. After me giving him a dirty look for a solid minute, I agreed, and ordered the supplies from Dharma. Fortunately I have friends who have done silk painting before, and the concept overall is very simple. It’s controlling the dye that’s tricky, and understanding that mistakes do happen and not to care that much since it will be up on a pole.
Here is the Green Monstah. It’s in Geoffrey’s colors. I am not a Red Sox fan and hate all things Boston, and he doesn’t watch baseball, but the name was apropo:
So we had to go all out with a war standard. Now, there are rules that need to be followed for displaying heraldry, but the SCA tends to be different than the real world, so the order I did is perfectly fine. Most importantly, your country or kingdom needs to be on the hoist, which is the pole, and then you work out from there. In this case, mine is East Kingdom (populace badge), The Northern Army, Geoff’s Arms, and then mine. When marshalling married arms, the lady is always RIGHT. This means my dolphin is way at the end, but hopefully the breeze catches it enough.
All I have to do now is wait for it to dry, rinse it to remove the resist and excess dye, and then toss it in the dryer. Oh, and attach it onto the pole, of course. It will be sewn onto the casing part of the red linen flag in the above picture so it fits properly.
So there you have it, folks. Anna did stuff she doesn’t normally do and did not kill or maim anyone in the process. I definitely want to try another silk banner with better brushes and gutta, I think it will make a difference in controlling the dyes.
Now if you excuse me, I need drink 3 more cups of coffee, and start sewing even more stuff. We leave on Saturday morning. ~_~
This weekend is my [new] barony’s annual Palio, or civic competition. Stonemarche is broken up into 3 rival contrade, or districts, that compete in games and tournament to determine a winner. Originally, I wasn’t planning on going, since this weekend has always been reserved for Vinland Raids down on Cape Cod. Unfortunately that event is on hiatus, so, off to Palio di Stonemarche to roll some cheese we go!
Then I thought, “I should wear something red and yellow for the Hippocampo Contrada!” And figure I had some stuff that would work.
…and then I basically got garb challenged. I had 2 weeks to make a new outfit for this event. Ugh, why do I get myself into these things?! So I settled on 16th century Italian working class pretty quickly. Because I’m broke, I pillaged my old garb piles, and decided to kill the old red stola I had that was way too big and I never wore anyway. This would be my dress material. I found an old chunk of blackworked cotton from when I actually pretended to be Late Period for a while, and some white linen for sleeves and…
I kind of feel like Ronald McDonald, but considering it was thrown together from a box of scraps and bias tape, I can’t complain. The pattern drafting instructions I had from my collected old notes back from when my persona WAS 16th Century working class Italian that I never did anything with, and I finally made a damn Campi-style dress. Not without tons of flaws, mind you, considering the materials at hand, and I probably wouldn’t have done it at all if it wasn’t for the fact that my machine has an automated buttonhole feature. Other then that, after I got through the hiccups of fitting the bodice, the rest went together insanely easily. The camicia’s collar is also just white hem facing. Hey, I did say, “box of scraps” didn’t I? The skirt isn’t as full as it should be, but it’s not as slim as it appears in the pic, either. I’m also glad that 2 layers of linen and some interfacing in the front is apparently enough to control my figure without boning or a heavier interlining.
At least I can wear this again next year at the event! And once I do move back south, I plan to give the dress to the barony so another can enjoy it.
I basically just sewed what I saw. I’m sure there’s more tailoring that should be going into this, but this isn’t for an A&S project, or persona development, this was made for 100% fun, unlike my orange traffic cone, which took me almost a month’s worth of work and did require some actual research. But still, this is what happens when I get challenged to make garb. I am the reason why we can’t have nice things.
Here’s some other pics circa 1580’s I used for reference:
That’s 2 late period outfits in a year, as opposed to when I claimed to be late period, and had like, none. Wow, Anna. WOW.
I do have some much more interesting Byzantine stuff coming up soon. I just need to get through my rush at work before Pennsic, my Pennsic classes, and whatever other curveballs before I start posting more research relevant to the site. Until then, enjoy my ghetto fabulous Italian Ren dress.