Continuing the freshly-minted tradition of virtual sharing in these times of plague, the Kingdom Office of Arts & Sciences once again reached out to our fabulous Arts & Sciences Championship artisans. Through interviews for the Æthelmearc Gazette our artisans can share their work with the populace at large on a more personal level. Unlike the Virtual Queen’s Prize Tourney, which was run completely virtual, the Kingdom Championship is a juried competition, and included a week’s worth of face to face judging – with judges especially selected for their knowledge and background – as well as an online populace “meet and greet the artisans” before Kingdom court. Master Hrólfr and I, your Kingdom Arts & Sciences officers, enjoy these challenges of finding ways to inspire and motivate our artisans in these trying times and we are happy to see the Championship ran so smoothly! The Kingdom Championship would not have been nearly as successful without the extra-ordinary organizational skills of Master Hrólfr, the web development magic of Master Robert of Ferness and the zoom room wizardry of Lady Magdalena Txoperena and Baroness Amalie. Thank you for helping our artisans shine!
Today’s interview is with Eudoxia Antonina, who entered the Kingdom of Æthelmearc Arts and Sciences Championship with A Mid-16th Century Florentine Woman’s Outfit.
Could you tell me a little about you, your persona?
I am Eudoxia Antonina, my persona is Byzantine, I live in Constantinople around 800. This is absolutely not something my persona would wear, but I, like a lot of SCAdians, bounce around a lot. There are a lot of time periods that I am interested in, Byzantine, High Middle and Renaissance French, now add to that English Renaissance and Italian Renaissance.
What inspired you to make your entry?
I have wanted to make a Florentine style gown for a while. My Laurel Mistress got me interested in Elizabethan garb so that’s how I came around to later period clothing, and I saw an image of a woman from Florence around 1550 and fell in love with the style. But it was a few years before I was able to make it, I really wanted a silk dress, this style is perfect for a silk dress, and I don’t have a lot of money to spend on more expensive fabrics. But a friend of mine asked me to make him a doublet and in return for that he offered to buy me some silk I had been admiring at Pennsic from Carolina Calicos. From that, the opportunity arose that I could make my silk dress in the Florentine style and it is all thanks to Colgrim Grimmson.
Did the entry throw up any unexpected issues?
SLEEVES!!! They always seem to be the bane of my existence. In this case, it was the sleeve poufs that I could not get right. What I ended up with was try number 3, and they are still not quite right but I’m just going to stick with it at this point… I used a sleeve pattern from a similar garment I made and tried to tweak it to fit, but I had never made sleeve poufs before and had trouble making it work. If I had access to some other information or was able to see in person someone who could give me some pointers I may have been able to do them without pulling my hair out. I’m not sure any project is smooth sailing really, even for highly experienced artists.
Did you learn something specific, something you would do differently, or would recommend others to do again?
The way I make garb, or should I say decide on what I want to make next, is by seeing an image like a portrait or mosaic and think “that looks really cool, I want to make that.” This is not a bad method for deciding what kind of garb to make, the issue is that I tend not to look too deeply into HOW particular garments were put together. For my Elizabethan garb I had help in the form of a Laurel Mistress with an immense amount of knowledge and books (her sewing studio is amazing! mine is just a desk in the corner I have to keep my kids away from). So after saying all of that, what I learned the most here is that there are a lot of references for how things are made late period and that techniques are not always the same in different regions around Europe. I want to make garb that is as authentic as possible which means I kind of need to up my documentation and research game. As for what I learned in making this dress is that I really do not mind cartridge pleating, the end result is so worth it, and things get better with practice.
What did you think of the virtual face to face judging concept?
I think the virtual judging went pretty well although it is difficult for the judges to see things clearly. I like that I got to talk to them about my entry and answer any questions they had that I didn’t think to include in my documentation.
What motivated you to enter the Kingdom Championship?
A Laurel friend of mine recommended I enter something, I have never entered a kingdom competition before and had no idea what to expect but I plan to enter more in the future so this was a good experience. Yes I do want the exposure, I think anyone who makes anything should show their thing in some way. I also wanted to know what other people were making as well as to get feedback on how to make my thing better. So I guess the answer to this question is yes to all the things you said?
Any other things I would like to share?
This was a really good experience, everyone involved was helpful and kind, and I learned a lot on how to write good documentation. I will definitely be entering things again, my next project will be a completely hand sewn Byzantine outfit. Thanks for asking these questions! I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this “experiment”
Are you interested in reading more about the entry after this appetizing interview? You can! All entries including documentation and images are available at the Kingdom Office of Arts and Sciences website.