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 to share their work with the populace at large on a more personal level. The virtual Kingdom Championship was also 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.” Master Hrólfr and I, your Kingdom Arts & Sciences officers, enjoy finding new ways to inspire and motivate our artisans in these trying times and we are happy to see the Championship ran so smoothly!

Today’s interview is with Lady Ilaria Rosati, who entered the Kingdom of Æthelmearc Arts and Sciences Championship with A French Hood, from circa 1525. Lady Ilaria entered the Virtual Queen’s Prize Tourney, as well as the Æthelmearc Kingdom Arts & Sciences Championship with a different set of head coverings, and her skillful artistry secured her the honored place of the Queen’s Champion!

Could you tell me a little about you, your persona?
I’ve always been interested in all kinds of headwear, and I’ve been working my way through a chronology of representative styles of high-status women’s headdresses of the 15th and 16th centuries, which ended up being centered around France. I’m more interested in the styles themselves than trying to match them to my persona, so I just followed where they led. The first style I made was the bourrelet for my Queen’s Prize Tourney entry. The French hood comes a little more than 100 years later.

What inspired you to make your entry?
I expected French hoods to be relatively challenging, but this ended up being the hardest project I’ve ever done! It was quite a puzzle trying to figure out the different parts and layers and how they might fit together.

Did the entry throw up any unexpected issues?
Artistic evidence can be incomplete, hard to interpret, or have uncertain dating. Textual evidence is hard to find, because it is locked away in archives, and what does exist is fragmentary, ambiguous, and sometimes contradictory. Also, the French hood spans over a century across different places, and has many variations. Trying to dial in on a specific style in a particular time and place was very difficult.

I also wanted to find my own way through the construction without copying anyone else. It makes the process more engaging, and it’s fun to see other reconstructions and whether we’ve reached similar conclusions.

Did you learn something specific, something you would do differently, or would recommend others to do again?
I would recommend to anyone making French hoods to get a good head block that accepts pins, and a stand that can be secured. It’s preferable to trying to fit the back of your own head!

What did you think of the virtual face to face judging concept?
I really liked the face-to-face judging. I could tell that the organizers put a lot of effort into matching entrants with judges, and that made feedback very rewarding. I thought the rubric was very clear, and it helped me think of the questions I should ask myself as I worked.

What motivated you to enter the Kingdom Championship?
I wanted to enter Kingdom Championships to represent my Barony, Barony of Delftwood, and to challenge myself. I’m very glad I did!

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.