…..that joke might not actually work. Whoops.
A while back I stumbled across a list of the classes to be offered at Known World Costume and Fiber Arts Symposium (hereafter known as KWCAFAS because that is a name of unnecessary length) and I was filled with much longing. Problem is that KWCAFAS was near Atlanta, GA and let’s be real, travel is expensive.
I bemoaned this briefly and a friend of mine contacted me saying “Hey, we’re going and staying with friends. They might have space for you, let me ask.” I figured I could probably make it work if I didn’t have to pay for a hotel and a rental car. Shannon got back to me and said there was space for me if:
A) I was ok with cats (yup) and
B) I didn’t mind sleeping on a cot in their library
I don’t mind sleeping in weird places so I was now going to a Known World event in another kingdom! Proceed to the expected crap-none-of-my-clothes-are-good-enough freakout, but all of my upcoming projects are designed for Scottish weather, not Atlanta weather, so I figured I would just have to deal.
(I hate airplanes. I will spare you my moaning about 6 am flights and how they make my knees hurt. Cut to arriving in Atlanta)
Despite the heat we all got in garb and drove out to Carrollton for registration/the Friday night social. I wore my full 14th C kit, and despite everyone telling me I’d overheat, I was actually cold in the air conditioned hotel and car.
First event wearing my Rose Leaf and it’s not only out of kingdom, it’s very out of kingdom.
Sadly the social was much less social than I had hoped (I wanted to meet textile people!) but Meg from Tied to History was there with her wares, and I got to enthuse at her in person about how much I love her precious metal thread. Sadly she didn’t have any aglets (I want to stock up on hers before I leave) but I got another spool of her gold thread and some of her new silk thread to try.
For the day of the actual conference I wore the old classic of the Avoiding Heatstroke dress, figuring that this was exactly what I’d made it for and my experience with college buildings is that they are much less air-conditioned than hotels.
When I first looked at KWCAFAS I counted 25 classes I was interested in. I made it to 4.
Partly this was due to the fact that a lot of classes overlapped, but I skipped two hours worth of classes because I was just too tired to be functional.
1. The Value of Cloth: Luxury velvets of the Renaissance
This wasn’t quite what I had expected, but I enjoyed it a lot. The premise of the class was that the social hierarchies depicted in paintings would have been clear to viewers at the time, because they would know which fabrics were more expensive. I agree with her that a lot of people in the SCA do mix and match the social levels of fabrics in their garments, but I feel like I have a better understanding than most because I weave and play with natural dyes. I know that velvet is slow to weave and takes a lot of thread, and crimson requires imported lac beetles from the near east.
That being said, I had never seen close-up images of extant velvet pieces, I’m not familiar with the period names for different fabrics and techniques, and I enjoyed learning about those.
2. Islamic Influences in 14th-16th C Dress
…also not what I had expected. I wanted to take this class both because it wasn’t something I had heard about before and because I thought it might be relevant to the moorish influence in Iberian dress. It turned out to mostly be about Persian design motifs being incorporated into Italian fabrics, with a bit at the end on the zimarra and Titian’s obsession with the Turkish coat. Still fun. The instructor was a little shy, and the people behind me extremely chatty, but the Persian Laurel sitting next to me soon shut them up.
(Said Laurel turns out to be my best friend’s ex-girlfriend, which is one of those things that happens when said best friend hasn’t had a life outside of the SCA for thirty years.)
3. Frame of Mind
Shannon’s class on embroidery frames! I mostly went because she’s my friend but also because it is something I’m legitimately curious about. Shannon is a good teacher and it was a pretty fun, casual class.
4. Women’s Spanish Dress
So clearly this was the big boy. The instructor and I have been facebook friends for a couple months but we’d never met in person. I was stupid excited to actually meet her in person and ask 15000 questions about Spanish clothing.
Look! Five ladies in Spanish in one place! We span approximately 1300-1600.
Hillery did a fantastic fantastic job. Her handout was about 60 pages of goodies, spiral bound with a cover and everything. Her friend Kristen did a ton of illustrations of various garments.
I did, in fact, ask 15000 questions. I felt kind of bad, but I’ve been puttering in my corner doing this by myself for the last year and a half and I got excited.
I rounded out the trip by snoozing with one of Rhi’s kittens and meeting my cousin’s kids for the first time.
On the whole I had a good time, although I think if KWCAFAS had been three days long I might’ve actually been able to attend all the classes I was interested in. Ah, well, such is life.