måndag 31 mars 2014

Some thoughts on archery equipment

I've been looking at some manuscripts in search for archery equipment.
Maybe some kind of wickerwork inside this rather big bag.
By Diebold Schilling.
Some kind of device to carry the arrows must have existed. It's easy to put a bundle of small and light target arrows in your belt but when you put more than 6 heavy war arrows in your belt it becomes awkward and arrows fall out or becomes tangled in other equipment. For some years ago some of our company members made arrow bags with a wicker construction inside so the bag would keep its shape. But I don't know, the bag is a bit big and cumbersome... So I started to search for an arrow bag that could be constructed with the kind of spacers found on the Mary Rose and found Anciennes et nouvelles chroniques d'Angleterre from 1470-1480. It has several pictures of archers and many of them are wearing some kind of arrow bag. And as it seems that all the bags can be opened in both ends. 

 I decided to try this out and made a reconstruction from the videos Nick Birmingham made(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkYaMAdgBKI). The bag works fine and it feels like this could have been something that would have existed...

My own reconstruction.

Some other interesting things a found in the manuscript is this. Some kind of sash or cloth tied around the hip. Only archers wear this and I've seen it only in this manuscript. My first thought was that it is some kind of bag tied around the waist!? When I started shooting longbow several years ago, it didn't take long time before I asked my mom to sew a bag for my bow. So I could carry it on my back. I then painted it with linseed oil and bees wax to make it weatherproof. And why wouldn't the medieval archer do the same? But I haven't seen it anywhere. But when I look again, I don't' know... It doesn't look like it's tube shaped, maybe just the painters own creations.

Wait here's another one, of Hans Memling, and not an archer... Bugger...

If anyone have any ideas on this or have seen it someplace else, let me know!

fredag 14 mars 2014

What's you excuse? ;)

What's you excuse for not being crafting all winter? I have none so I've been up to the ears in wool, linen, hardwood, leather and so on... So here's a recap of some of the projets on the dark part of the year.

During the autumn Fredrik and I painted our company banner, a typical English banner with the cross of saint George at the base. It's then divided horizontally in red and black with our badge, Saint Sebastian and two archers. We also made two crossed golden arrows further down the banner to show that we are a company of archers. A flagpole of ash is in the planning phase as I write this.
Some weeks later I decided to paint a Yorkist liverybanner with Edward IV's sun in splendor (since our main portrayal is a small company in his service). My girlfriend (who is a perfectionist) helped me with the smiling sun. Murray, in combination with blue was used by the Yorkist kings and it is a shade of red. There's a whole bunch of varieties used reenactors, mostly a clear red colour as murray. But murray is died with mulberries and I think it will have a more blueish tone to it than most reenactors use, like the one used on page 64 in the book The medieval soldier(Embleton, Gerry & Howe, John, 1994), which we used as inspiration to our yorkist livery. y murray turned out a little too purple but hey, the colours wasn't mass produced then so it was hard to produce the same to all fabrics over some years.
Hopefully the two banners will serve us well and get a nice patina from many years of sun and rain.

The first project on my ow was a new gambeson. The old one I made almost seven (I'm getting old! :() years ago is getting worn and torn. And s
ince I got my brigandine now which will be my main body protection for the second half of the 15th century I decided to make an earlier garment for 1350 to 1415ish. I need something for side projects like Battle of Wisby and Agincourt as well as for my HEMA training. And if I want I can always modify it for use in the later 15th century by shortening it or adding a pair of jackchains.

A simple gambeson like the purple to the right.
The model is simple. A almost knee-long garment with vertical quilting. The arms are attached so that the ball of the shoulder is inside the arm, for flexibillity. I got one layer of fine linen close to the body, heavy linen(old linen from the Swedish armed forces), flax for padding(Swedish lindrev)and heavy linen on the outside. Under the arm there's no flax at all and I've removed some inside the elbow for flexibility. The collar is not too high so it interferes with a helmet or a fencing mask. The gambeson will probably be modified in the future when I know its weak areas. If I would done anything different, I would have made more space for the arms forward. It's a bit strain when I'm fencing but maybe it will be better by time...
My Agincourt-kit is starting to take shape.
Now what to do I thought. I must be having some kind of OCD since when I don't have a project or something to do I feel lazy. Why sit and just watch TV or series on the computer when you can sew extra lining to make the arming doublet a bit thicker so it carries the brigandine better, while you watch an episode of Breaking Bad? So I did that! Two extra layers of thick linen did it. Some linen bags to store eating utensils and other stuff that litters the table in our camp was also made in a hurry. Now next project. A Yorkist liverycote for a member in the company in exchange for a candlestick from the London excavations.
My fancy livery jacket!
Hey, let's look over the wool inventory! Ah some scraps from the old red livery cloth. Ah and some black too. What can I need in our liverycolours? A new fancy jacket(to use on fancy occasions to come) that isn't stained with rust, blood, dirt, sweat or wine maybe.

I used the same pattern as I used on my Yorkist livery jacket but lowered the waist a bit since it was too high on the old one. This pattern is taken from Company of Saint George's male costume guide. Livery jackets like these are shown in several mid to late 15th century manuscripts. I started by pinning it together and tried it on my test dummy with my brigandine on. I want to be able to wear it over my armour. For the lining I found some old linen bed sheets. White! I don't have anything white in my medieval kit so it will be exciting to see how long it stays white. I sewed some hooks and eyes for the opening in the front and I also put some to close the slits in the arms.

Embleton, Gerry & Howe, John (1994). The medieval soldier: 15th century campaign life recreated in colour photographs. London: Windrow & Greene