I'm constantly doing crafty-stuff of this or that kind, trying out new techniques or mucking about with materials or styles I've not worked with before. Here's a selection of some of the crafty-things I've made over the last few years.
- I started out in leatherwork by making masks. Here's a few of them: My first ever mask; a pretty one in black; a mask decorated with gold leaf; and a cat mask that I made for my friend Matt.
- Here is one of my favourite pieces, a satchel I made for
Mark to use at SCA events. The design of the satchel itself is based very
closely on an Irish book satchel made for the Book of Armagh (although I did
invent the fastening, since the original has an odd metal fastening that appears
to me to have been added to the satchel well after it was made). I did the
illustrations on this piece in the style of Ninth century European manuscript
illustrations and carvings. Most of the figures were copied directly from the
original sources, but one or two were drawn by me in the same style.
- This notebook cover is a very simple but effective
design. I personally like the almost-woodgrain effect derived by using
transparent "antiquing" dye applied with a broad, stiff bristle brush.
I've made several of these as gifts for different people, and they seem to have
been pretty popular.
- And this is a little trinket box I made for my friend Robert of Starmount,
with his SCA device tooled into the lid then dyed in the appropriate colour. In case
the scale isn't sufficiently clear from the photograph, the box is four or five inches long. The
lid is separate from the box, and fits snugly over it without a latch or fastening. Here and here are a couple of other little trinket boxes that I've made.
- This piece was one of my earliest metalwork efforts, and is one of a pair of Anglo-Saxon style knife sheaths I made for
my SCA friends Sue and David. It was based on a design they provided, more-or-less, but the knife they requested a sheath for was a different shape to the one the sheath pattern was intended for, and so the copper edging proved to be trickier than I thought it would be. I was quite happy with the little handmade rivets, though. And finishing the sheath with beeswax really did give a lovely glow to the leather.
- This is my first attempt at constructing a pair of mukluks, or Canadian-style mocassins. While visiting the museum in Edmonton, Alberta, I was very impressed by the stunning artistry of some of the native beadwork and leatherwork on display. So I resolved to attempt something similar when I returned home. These mukluks aren't exactly the same as the ones I saw in Canada - they're a slightly simplified design. My plan is to learn from mistakes I made with this pair, and to design my second pair to be a more exact replica of the beautiful Native American work I've seen.
- And this is a belt I made for Chris to wear with his embroidered jeans (see below for pictures of those!) I asked him what sort of design elements he would like, and he requested a mouse design. So this is what I came up with. The details have been picked out in 24 carat gold leaf, and I'm very pleased with the way the belt worked out.
- Here are a couple of examples of tablet weaving. I dabbled with this weaving technique for a while when I was constructing an Anglo-Saxon persona for the SCA. My aim was to be as fully authentic as possible - I even dyed some (but not all) of the thread used in one of these belts. Tablet weaving was interesting; but I've never done more than really scratch the surface of what can be achieved using this weaving method.
- This is an embroidered cuff from another SCA costume. In this case, I was attempting to duplicate the funerary attire of the Frankish Queen Arnegunde. The embroidery here is as exact a duplicate as I could manage of the original piece.
- And here are Chris's Jeans. When we were travelling around the San Francisco Bay Area in May 2001, a pair of Chris's jeans wound up accidentally mixed up in my luggage, as I discovered when I got home. So I embroidered them! Here is a front view of the jeans after I'd gotten to them, and here are some close-ups of some of the embroidery:
- The top, front view
- The top, back view
- The mouse on the left front pocket
- The Java coffee cup logo (which is appropriate since Chris is a Java Geek)
- The otter at the
bottom of one leg, rather after the fashion of a "signature"
- This is me modelling a couple of garments I made out of some beautiful sari fabric that my local fabric store has lately taken to stocking. They look a little loud when worn together, but c'est la vie I suppose. The dark purple shirt is a fairly simple design that works well with the gorgeously gaudy cloth. The coat, on the other hand, was a bit more complicated to make. It was based very loosely on a dress pattern that provided the correct cut for the gores, but everything other than that was pretty much added by me as I went. I was actually quite amazed when I finished it and I discovered that it had actually worked... there were so many possible things that could have gone wrong, but didn't! Anyway, I am very pleased with the final result.
- This is one of my first attempts at silversmithing. It is a gift I made for Chris early in 2001, and I gave it to him the first time we met face-to-face, in Seattle. I suspect he hasn't taken it off since! [smile]
- A necklace I made with some gorgeous beads that I got while travelling in the US, many given to me by the delightful Elise from alt.polyamory. These were strung on wire links using a method that Elise taught me.
- Another necklace. This one is rather special to me, and has considerable personal symbolism in the design. It is about Making Art, and is made of silver wire and a few very special beads that were gifts from friends - some from Elise, and some from another friend (the peripatetic Marta), who collects interesting crafty-things from around the world.
- This is a set of jewellery made from silver wire. Stef from alt.polyamory taught me the spiral pattern design, and I made this matched set in silver as a gift for Jennie (Chris's other partner) when I stayed with the household for a while.
- This piece (silver, with a pendant garnet) was made for Mark, to be presented to him as part of his SCA Peerage ceremony, and I succeeded in making it without him knowing that I was doing so. It was my first attempt at "chasing" (the method by which the lines were incribed on the silver).
- Yet another necklace made of beads strung on silver wire. This is one I made for myself, and I made it out of the beads I thought were most interesting in my bead-hoard - the beads that I just keep coming back to look at and play with and enjoy. The necklace itself is probably close to six feet in length, although it doesn't look it in the picture. (I'm really starting to appreciate just how hard it is to photograph necklaces like this in a way that depicst them accuratly.) I always feel positively self-indulgent when I wear this piece.