hsifeng: (Creative Sewing)

The cloak has been lined, and the lining has been prick stitched all the way around the hem so that the fashion fabric 'rolls' to the inside of the garment by a 1/2 inch all the way around. I love the way that hand done top stitching looks... W00t!

Since the fashion fabric wool has more 'stretch' to its weave than the lining fabric (which could probably stop a bullet) does, I ended up with a bit of extra exterior fabric at the center front on both sides. This means I have a lovely little 'facing' at the center front, which I actually adore. Thank goodness for happy accidents.

Next step, set the collar in (hopefully tonight) and then YARDS AND YARDS OF TRIM OMG. *chuckle*

Not going to lie, I am loving all the handsewing - it is an addiction of mine.

Also loving a chance to catch up on all the BBC 'farm' shows (through Victorian, in the midst of Edwardian, and catching Tudor Monastery as it comes available). I want to grow up to be Ruth someday... and not just because she is always making fancy underthings for darling Peter... ;)

Cloak - Lining set in and ready for the collar to be attached.

Cloak - with the center front open to show the lining

Things I would change if I did this again:

1) Better weight of fashion fabric. I love this wool, but the looseness of the weave has lead to stabilization nightmares. ie. This is the SECOND lining that this cloak as been put through, and there is a reason I chose a THICK liner the second time around. The first liner was a bit of 'woolish' scrap that I had no other use for and it fought both me and the fashion fabric every step of the way. A more stable fashion fabric would have avoided this issue (in fact, a heavier fashion fabric and I may have avoided lining altogether...).

2) Having reviewed the JA PoF patterns - the body of the cloak would have been cut as an ellipse rather than as a circle. Thankfully the bit over the shoulders is not significantly shorter than the front and back of the body. :) 
hsifeng: (Sudlerin)
Just so that I can warehouse them somewhere:


Love these from [livejournal.com profile] ladykalessia:
Medieval and Renaissance Accessories
Hold Your Fire (period fire vessels & modern versions thereof)

....all the things from [livejournal.com profile] mmcnealy...

...and these from [livejournal.com profile] claughter713...
Germanfest (German costume inspirations)
Rustic Kitchen Lust (because a girl can dream of a cooking hearth)

...and finally, from [livejournal.com profile] vanagnessayem:
Burgundian Inspirations
15th C V Necked Gowns (really gowns and accessories)
15th C German (clothing, accessories and household items)
16th C German (period image sources)
Recreations German (things people have produced)
German Pearled Headbands/Headwear (just what the title says)

Just found this while poking around...

Any other boards out there I should be following for landsknecht related materials?

PS: You can find me over on that site under this same user name (hsifeng)... ;)
hsifeng: (Landsknecht)
So I played dress up with my tiny 'tailors model' yesterday. I started with a pattern layout based on this:

de Alcega Cloak
(Note to Self: Check out [livejournal.com profile] mmcnealy information on de Alcega tailors marks here.)

In which I modified the hood thusly:

Cutting Layout

I also pulled together a standing collar, which I will probably end up basing on the version I used in the fitted brown woolen doublet I made a couple of years ago. A bit of a question regarding that later...

Keeping in mind we want to end up with something like this:

Original Inspiration

I think I may have landed in the ballpark:

Sealed Split In Hood and Hood Attachment

First things first. YES, I need to add length to the back of the garment. The cloak looks to hit the back of the knees and the hood falls to just below the small of the back. But a few things *did* work in ways I really like.

Split in Hood Base

By removing a small triangle of material in the CB bottom of the hood, and then 'lacing' that space closed (in the same manner as the inspiration image) the material of the hood begins to form into a more natural 'bag' shape that makes for a better fit over the head. Many of the cloaks in this period are split much further down the middle and then seamed for shaping (either with a real seam, or with buttons or ties that can be undone to allow the 'hood' to lay flat along the back as this one does). Between this small split, and the 'gathering' of the extra hood length along the shoulders by placing the ties with loose bagging between - as done with pins in the image above) the overall hood becomes...well.. a hood rather than a flat bit of cape.

The forming of hood is hard to see in this scaled down version, but is more apparent in the first of the mock up images above. I plan on playing with the depth of the split and the amount of loose bagging between tie points on the full scale mock up to be done later this week.

Hood Up with Wrapped Tails - Front Hood Up With Wrapped Tails - Back

The 'tails' on the hood look like they are going to be *excellent* at forming the garment around the face and neck. I had guessed this was their purpose when seeing them on the inspiration image, but I love the result in the scale model. I have feeling that hubby may be annoyed by them on occasion (they may not *stay* wrapped without some pinning), but I have a sneaking suspicion they may be more able to hold their position than I think once the full sized version is done.

Now, on to the problems:

1) The collar I intend to use has an 'incorporated' back piece in one with the body of the garment. This doesn't seem to be done with cloak patterning, given the examples in my prior posts, but then *no* collars appear to be present in those extant patterns while we do see them on the actual garments in a number of cases. Thoughts on the best sort of collar method to use to get the result in the inspiration image? I am imagining whatever version I end up using, there may need to be a bit of pad stitching to get the form to hold to the back of the neck in the way it does in the inspiration piece.

2) The fullness of the back of the cloak just doesn't seem to match up with the amount of fabric even a full circle is giving me. If I want the sort of yardage that the controlled pleating under the hood form seems to indicate, I think I may need to add a gore to the CB of the piece to make it happen. There is *clearly* enough yardage in the cut lay out to allow for this

Cutting Layout - added gores

By opening the CB line of the cloak (on the fold currently) and adding one or both of these I would be placing a straight-of-grain against a bias cut which would add some stabilization to the natural stretch in the circular cut. Furthermore, if I reverse the position of the circular cloak piece to the 'open' side of the folded fabric then the gore would actually be on the fold - preventing additional seam lines in the final garment. The hood could also be swapped, but since the inspiration image does not seem to indicate a seam down the middle of the hood I would hesitate to do so.

Part of the issue could be the scale I am working in, or that my 'tapes' were thrown together, or that I started with the first line of 'picks' too far apart (please note, this is the inside of the garment you are looking at below - and yes I am watching Longmire in the background...*grin*):

Controlled Pleating

But honestly, it just *feels* like there is no way to get a circle alone to make pleats like this:

Original InspirationHood Up and Pleats From Back

3) The hubby wants a hood that will hold up to some weather and/or make him look like a ninja (my words, not his - but he *does* love the Nuremberg mourning cloak with its lirepipe hood and black, inky soul). This may mean that I need to add a bit of felt fabric to the lower edge of the hood form (which will end up around the face), and down into the 'wraps", at least far enough to ensure a similar level of face coverage as what we see in the detail here.

This may also allow the hood more 'forward weight' to help hold the wrap in place more securely, and may be one of the reasons for the trim in that location in the inspiration image.

Hood Up - Front Detail

So, on to the full scale mock up! The fabric is going to be muslin or something else that is lightweight, so I need to consider that vs. the final lined wool weight with trimmed hem to help hold it out. Still, it will give me more data!
hsifeng: (Landsknecht)
Here is the one we are working on...

Hubbys Choice

I am working on the following assumptions:

1) Cloak is cut as a full circle that has most of the fullness 'trained' to the back via pleating that is probably controlled with tapes;
2) Small standing collar, trimmed out in same fabric as the band going all the way around the base of the garment (probably up the front split as well);
3) Hood is a trapezoidal shape with elongated ends, tied to shoulders at the 'short side' and probably cut on the fold down the middle from fabric left after the circle is cut. Possible shaping for wear via the split seen at the CB bottom edge that is then 'sized' with lacing. This would help to gather the fullness of the hoods body, as seen in the drapes at the back of the wearer in the image.

Going to work on some tiny mock ups based in part on the de Alcega layout below.

de Alcega cloak
hsifeng: (www.crackafuckingbook.com)
Looking back over my prior entries under the 'cloak' tag as I get ready to take this project on again. My thoughts:

1) Loading the images previously provided by [livejournal.com profile] mmcnealy here as the original links she provided seem to have died on my prior post (they were in the comments to my first entry on this subject, which went like this:

"For the first cloak, I looked up Kohler and he has it as a full circle cloak with long tails. Its an interesting idea, and I think it would probably give the look you're going for.


Another cloak from Kohler a 3/4 circle cloak with arm slits, just for a comparison.

Juan de Alcega hasa similar cloak for men but without the arm slits.


The cloaks with hoods are *so* Spanish! Here's a picture from Juan de Alcega Cloak and Jerkin of cloth. Its a full circle with a hood.


The full circle would give you the fullness needed to be able to put the arms out, and have enough fabric to keep the body warm."

2) Martin's prior website with details on his patterning and cloak project are gone - but not forgotten thanks to the Way Back Machine! *w00t!* I would really consider this more of a Schaube in this version, largely due to the sleeves. I think without these sleeves I think the result of creating a cloak with  an extended and attached collar that doubles as a hood would give you a cloak with a similar look to the Durer image from the post here. As noted before, the PDF file of Martin's pattern is very like [livejournal.com profile] landsknecth_po's here.

3) Additional images of hood patterning are something I should look into... but given the various versions in the art I feel that variety is key here. There were a *lot* of methods including the hood-incorporated-into-the-shawl-collar version that both Martin and Po used.

4) Did some more scrounging for original images in the Single Leaf Woodcut books. Variations galore! There are a number of images of peasants in short capes of various types (which were far less common than coats), some that included splits up the sides of the garment to the shoulders to allow freedom of arm movement (but with enough fullness in the garment that I would guess they are still semi-circular in cut at the least) and various hoods both integrated into the garment and separate (like in the older, medieval style hunting hoods).
  *  Book I, page 160 (G.179-180) includes two small images of gentlemen in cloak garments. One with an interesting triangular shaped hood that is tied to the back shoulders of the main cloak garment (there are a number of hoods like this in prior examples I have seen and I *love* the idea of the hood being pointed on).
  *  Book I, page 226 (G.247) has a standing collar with no visible hood and a large fullness of fabric at the neckline that is pleated to fit. Makes me very curious about the original cut on this piece.
  *  Book 1, page 233 (250-9 & 250-10) Two versions of the same image, both with a simple cloak with tied corners. This appears similar to the type seen on the soldier in the first image here.
  *  Book 1, page 304 (G.326 - Uber and Unter of Leaves in the deck) Two variations on knee length cloaks. Both with slashed trim, one with what could be a tied on hood, possibly with a knot in it's hanging end. The version with the potential hood also has a short standing collar - but this could be the collar of an undergarment showing.
  *  Book 1, page 335 (G.365) Two men wearing garments that may be cloaks with shawl style collars. Sleeves are not immediately in evidence, but possible splits for arm holes are in the body of the 'cloak' garments. Either that or the body of the cloak is thrown back over the shoulder in some way that allows the arm to be free of the material.
  *  Book 1, page 372 (G.402-404) Several gentlemen at a garden party in Venice wearing cloaks. Only one seated showing a hood attached (there may be others, but their backs are not visible).
  *  Book 2, page 640 (G676-683) This is the series of 'cuts depicting the Siege of Wolfenbuttel. A number of men, primarily riders, wear short capes of circular cut.
  *  Book 3, page 778 (G.816) Central figure with back to viewer is wearing a cloak with a tied hood, pointed in shape. G.817 on the page adjacent has a similar figure on the left side with back to viewer, but the detail of that garment are sketchy at best.
  *  Book 3, page 1015 (G.1064) A cloak worn by a prince with only one shoulder covered. Wrapped 'toga style' across body.
  *  Book 3, page 1020 (G.1069) Another simple, open necked cloak worn by a torchdance partner. Another like it on pages 1022 & 1024.
  *  Book 3, page 1027 (G.1076) Cloak of a more complex cut with an apparent hood (tied in place) and knotted detail. Shawl collar may fall over hood.
  *  Book 3, page 1054 (G.1105) Specifically a landsknecht in a cloak with knotted details. This is the image that I have seen reproduced by other artists who interpreted the cloak as a more pancho like garment. It clearly is not in the original image.
  *  Book 3, page 1166 (G.1220) Bohemian captain in a cloak, body of a style similar to the tailors pattern book image above. However, the falling 'collar' (hood?) in the back is interesting. I am pretty sure it is *not* a hood, but its shape and placement are interesting as I can't see a functional purpose for them.
  *  Book 4, page 1185 (G.1235) Front row, cloak wit knotted detail and rolled/slashed 'falling collar'. The carter in this image is wearing a short, split cape of a type seen on a number of men in baggage train images. G.1236 on the next page has a soldier in a shorter cape (waist length).
  *  Book 4, page 1271 (G.1326) Cloak with apparent affixed tassel as detail. Very basic design with simple trim. Image almost identical to character of 'the marriage candidate' on the page prior.

Now to go over choices with the hubby and settle on a design...
hsifeng: (Sudlerin)

Invasion Stories:

1)   First of all, the weekend of Invasion was the weekend of driving hell. We started our traveling on Friday, heading from mid-CA up to Sacramento for a wedding rehearsal and dinner. Friday night saw us backtracking South about an hour to our overnight location, and then up until late, Late, *LATE* with the bride while hubby worked out final details for the ceremony (silly vows, why do you take so long?). Oh yeah, hubby was the minster at this shin-dig.

It’s amazing what $5 on the internet can get you (“Licenses to marry friends and relatives, oh my!”).

Then Saturday, the wedding. Wonderful event. Great friends (whom we love and adore seeing) in droves. Medium-weight organizational lifting on the part of hubby and me as we managed to take ‘Plan, What Plan?’ and force it to move forward on a timeline.

Mostly. ;)

Left the reception at 8:00ish and headed 2.5 hours South to home. Got in and attempted to sleep. Attempted being the operative word. Three hours or so later, we were on the road to LA for Southern faire.

OMG. There is a reason I haven’t done this sort of Mulit-Eventing Crap since I was in my early 20’s.

Screw it. It was SO worth it…

2)  Hubby and I showed up and after the normal amount of “No, You Have To Go Stand In This Line; THEN In That Line; THEN Go Through The Magic Gate” we stepped foot in the ‘hallowed grounds’ of Southern Renaissance Faire for the first time in nearly 10 year.

Despite a 10 years absence, quickly discovered that our friends were still ale-stand managers.

Free beer = THE BEST BEER! (Especially when it’s Bass and Guinness in ice cold pewter mugs).

3)  Upon arriving in camp we were swamped with familiar faces, hugs, kisses, offers of ‘Oh No Officer, That Is Certainly Not Off-Site Beer!’ for our mugs, food, stories, screams of laughter, feathers, leather, wool, slash-n-puff, old friends, new friends, HOLY FUCK THIS IS OUR FAMILY!, etc.

I have determined, as a result, that Heaven (if it exists) is one long, warm afternoon spent lazing in the shade with a cold brew, a pile of Landsknects/Frau, and Jessica telling one story after another with THIS look on her face…

Oh  Oh yeah…and a little of THIS thrown in on occasion…

And just to screw with the local English populations. Let’s take over the parade…

6)   4) Group photos almost killed me. The first one just sort of spontaneously exploded on the ‘front porch’ of the camp after the guys assembled for muster. The second happened after the Queen had been deposited on her stage after progress.


Fuck. Yes. We. Are. Pretty. )

In conclusion, someday I want to grow up to be as BAD ASS as Shannon…

As Pretty As Jess...

And as Loved as Reba (I am so sorry you didn't make it out for this one honey, it would have been a hell of a send-off. RIP. *cries*)

hsifeng: (Blackpowder Love)
Gordon Frye recalls the first time that he, Greig Fores[i], Carl Ontis and the gang headed out to faire dressed as Landsknechts as September of 1980. He is pretty clear on this date because, “it was one of my first visits to Northern Faire , and I was in company with my wife Charlotte, who was at that time pregnant with our eldest daughter Elizabeth[ii], who was born in December of that year.” Gordon and the rest had put together their costumes in anticipation of attending the faire, and while Ontis’ had put together Landsknect kits Gordon himself (working on his MA in History at the time) had been working on a more Spanish style garment.
It is California after all, Spanish history is sort of a natural choice!
In the end, the Germans won out.
Then again, with costumes like this, there was good reason:
“Elizabeth, being the consummate historical researcher, had of course put together clothing which was not only accurate to the woodcuts, but was to last her for several more years…Carl was clothed in a suit of braintan buckskin,[iii] slashed and puffed within an inch of its life, and most importantly, bedecked with a very prominent, and of course outrageous codpiece.  We were hooked.”

Gordon Frye, Northern Faire - carrying a flag belonging to Jeff Schroeter  ( Says Greig: this picture is actually from a group shot at the old maingate where DSF ended up encamped after the new maingate was built. Prior to that the camp was at the end of horse tourney, closest to old maingate.  That original camp was compsed of a  fenced in enclosure with a couple of tents and enclosed lean-tos that were made from horse stalls.)

 Same man, same Waffenrock! 2007: This photo provided by Devk31 on Flickr (thanks for the link JBL!). ;)
Das Schwarze Fählein was formed soon thereafter, and Gordon recalls it happening before the group of friends joined up with St. Helena’s. The original intent was for the group to act as a fighting household at SCA events, lead by the Fählein’s first Hauptmann; Bob Bodeau[iv]. With a flurry of sewing and research projects, the tradition of West Coast Landsknecht reenactment began to form around this initial nucleus of comrades. Gordon says, “By the next year, we were all…outfitted with leather slash-and-puff hosen, leather jerkins and outrageous hats with too many feathers.” Codpieces, that quintessential hallmark of Landsknecht reenactment (nevermind that other nationalities wore them too; we wear them with panache!) were worked out as well and evolved from Carl’s first ‘fancy flap’  into copies of the original articles via Janet Arnold’s published research.[v] From these early years, Gordon especially remembers Dave Godwin’s "Condorman" Wams/doublet with its enormous sleeves and puff-and-slash decoration.[vi]

Grieg Fors and Dave Godwin - and Dave's 'Condorman' sleeves....*grin*
To the best of Gordon’s knowledge, the first crew was composed of himself, Bob Bodeau (Hauptmann), Carl Ontis, Greig Fors, Dave Godwin, Roy Kester, Tory (Salvatore ) Bruno, Dave (Oatmeal) O'Neal, Erik Bodeau, Elizabeth Pidgeon, Charlotte Frye (with Elizabeth Frye in utero) and Lucinda Nickel-Fors. In addition to this list there were those who occasionally marched with the Fählein including Dale Shinn[vii] and Wy Spaulding.
Gordon remembers the pre-Helena days as being enjoyed by a group of friends who readily found their own entertainment and refreshment, “sitting under the big oak tree behind Mullah's and drinking either beer or coffee as the mood hit us.” Landsknecht associating with the Turk! Another theme that would become almost a tradition in some German quarters...

 Dave Godwin, Salvatore Bruno, Carl Ontis, and Gordon Frye take a break behind Mullahs at Northern Faire

Then in 1982-83 the Germans ‘joined faire’ and became part of St. Helena’s under the direction of Mark Wallis. After a stint in with the ‘Street Peoples’, the Germans broke off and joined up with Queens Guard in the guild of St. Michaels. The group was brigaded in the old Gate-House entrance of faire.[viii] 
The space was used as the troops guild-yard and they put the camp to good use; Nick Worthington (Guildmaster of St. Michael's and Captain of the English Company of Foote) and Gordon (now Hauptmann of das Schwarze Fählein) put their respective companies on display with pike drill and other military displays. These included Nick and Gordon acting as living pells for some of the massed pike practice, “dressed in our half-armours with close-helmets and trying valiantly to portray Double-Pay men.  Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't.  My breastplate ended up with a nice dent in it from one such ‘practice’!” Again, the guiding force of the group was research, with drill coming from the best available resource - De Gheyn’s Dutch Drill from 1599.  Thankfully the copy of this book that Nick Worthington possessed included the commands in Dutch, English, Scottish and German – meaning that uniform presentation could be trained into the combined English and German troops of St. Michael’s force. 
And there was traveling as well. Many individuals and small groups of Northern Landsknecht ventured out to ‘troop the colours’ to other events and locations, spreading the word that the Germans had come to stay. These adventures included a number of trips south to partake of Renaissance Pleasure Faire’s events in the Los Angeles area.  Gordon remembers these as, “pilgrimages…to hang out at Court and be noxious German Nobles.”[ix]
Over the years the make-up of das Schwarze Fählein changed and evolved; with original members leaving to pursue other interests and new members coming in. David Miles (DSF) and Robbie (CoF) teamed up to clear the streets with their drumming for progress, costumes continued to improve as members inevitably competed to make better and better sets, armor improved and increased in number, weapons of every type continued to be created, purchased and acquired (swords, guns, pikes and spears). By the time Gordon and Charlotte decided they needed to step back and concentrate the extra time on their three growing girls in the mid-to-late 80’s, “we had already laid the seeds of contentment and World Domination with our kamaraden at Southern Faire.”[x] Although it appears that there was some concern that the Landsknecht has become not only popular but acceptable to polite society – a turning point that Gordon jokingly notes by saying, “Oh My!  We must have done something wrong...”
The Kids (human, not goat):

Elizabeth Frye Jeffress - youngest first-gen Camp Follower

Daddy Gordon and daughter Alexandra Frye in 1983

While discussing the back-and-forth between the Northern and Southern German groups, I told Gordon that both Tim Finkas and Conn MacLir had marked das Schwarze Fählein and its members as a source of inspiration for their own efforts. He says, “I attribute [the high standards of DSF] to the level of scholarly activity by the core-group (coming out of a rather scholarly Fur-Trade hobbyist group) and to the high level of costuming experience and ability that Carl [Ontis] and Elizabeth [Pidgeon] brought to the table.  We all just sort of had to follow….we all had to really stretch ourselves to keep up with everyone else! It became part of our ‘corporate culture’ to push the boundaries of scholarship and costuming, to become “more authentic” and therefore cooler than the other guy.  It was always great fun to be insulted by our friends because we had outdone them in some aspect of our kit!” And Gordon says, that while it while the inspiration may have started with the North, it was quickly matched and perhaps even surpassed by the Southern group.
As time went on and the Lansknecht idea started to spread, Gordon recalls Carl Ontis claiming to have completed a ‘study’ of the roots of all the various groups that were cropping up. Carl had stated to him, “quite matter-of-factly that ALL Landsknecht reenactors were descended in one way or another from [das Schwarze Fählein].  Even one's in Germany somehow (via SCA GI's, I believe he said).  At any rate, I'll go for the North American branch at least having descent from us!” Apparently Carl continued to track the spread of these ‘branches’ for some time, for his own amusement. It’s the pursuit of this same information that has inspired this blog-series.
According to Gordon, “I know of no one with earlier claims to having the portrayal in hand, and I can state quite firmly that Summer of 1980 was the year that we started DSF.  31 years!  A long campaign it's been, my friends, but a good one!”
31 years of Germans, and next year 50 years of Renaissance Faire. Sounds like a reason to party in 2012, and possibly to start planning for a major bashes in 2020 and 2030! *grin*
And with that, I will close out this post with a slightly modified version of one of Gordon’s own statements:
 “Life was IS good in Landsknecht camp!”

[i] For those who are reading along, you may recall that Greig remembers the series of dates of various events from this entry slightly differently, but that is how this kind of thing goes!  http://hsifeng.livejournal.com/147314.html Given that Gordon is working on a date that is pretty solid (the gestation and birth of his daughter) I suspect he has the right of it. :)
[ii] Elizabeth Frye Jefferies is the little girl in the goat pen in my prior posts, and someone who I enjoy doing reenactment events with to this day. *grin*

[iii] I wonder how much Carl would laugh to hear the woolen vs. leather pants debates that have gone on to this day? *chuckle* Gordon recalls mention of the use of leather for slashed clothing in Köhler’s book as a possible inspiration for this, and agrees that a Mountain Man reenactment background and the relative ease of slashing leather may have also played a part.

[iv] Gordon says Bob was, “[a] blond-haired, blue-eyed very, very Aryan looking Jew, he took to the part like a duck to water.”

[v] Per Gordon, “…my sister-in-law gave me a copy of ‘Costume’ magazine, from the Royal Costume Society that had Janet Arnold’s original article on Nils Sture’s suit, and in it was a proper pattern for a codpiece.  From that point, we had ‘proper’ codpieces of the proper size and shape for the period.  The article was from 1978 (I still have the issue!) and we started improving by late 1980, I believe.”

[vi] And clearly Gordon had an eye for costume, by 1984 the faire had made him Costume Consultant for the Living History Centre.

[vii] This would be the same Dale Shinn who made me this http://hsifeng.livejournal.com/58825.html#cutid1, created these for the hubby and I http://hsifeng.livejournal.com/57564.html#cutid1 and these http://hsifeng.livejournal.com/56327.html#cutid1. Yes. Dale rocks. ;)

[viii] A picture of this Gate-House camp is the centerpiece of my posting here http://hsifeng.livejournal.com/146393.html.

[ix] From Gordon, “Many was the time I would spend my afternoons at Court Glade conversing with Ron Love, who portrayed the French Ambassador, comparing notes and arguing furiously as to the better national qualities of our troops.  And making rude comments as to one another's ‘native tongue’ as well.”

[x] In discussing the inspiration that helped start the Southern Landknecht movement, I had mentioned that Tim Finkas lays major credit at the feet of Jeff Schroeter. Gordon says, “It’s interesting that you mention Jeff Schroeter.  He too was an inspiration for us as well...  In fact, my first wheellock from was from one of his kits, and we kept up a correspondence after that.” [NOTE: purchased at Southern before the Northern Germans were formed, around 1978, as a part of Gordon’s Spanish kit.]

BONUS PICTURE ("And Now For The Funny!"):

 Gordon Frye and Lucinda Nickel-Fors with Spot the Donkey at the Council of Worms in 84 or 85 - held on Greig and Lucinda's property

hsifeng: (Blackpowder Love)
For those of you following the Moose Hat thread, [livejournal.com profile] mmcnealyhas posted the full color versions here

And because I am a freak, I am loading there here as well...

ALL PHOTOS BELONG TO [livejournal.com profile] mmcnealy!

And one more black and white from the Bildindex that is mentioned at M's site (for reference to the linen liner):

Also more information via jillwheezul here

hsifeng: (Landsknecht)

In a continuation of this series of posts, you will find 

below the recollections on the first years of Landsknecht reenactment in California (in the States?) from the perspective of Greig Fors. Greig personifies the personality of “O.G.” (Original German) with a long history of reenactment, a passion for research, a vast arsenal of craft skills, and more stories about the First Days than you can shake a stick at. And honey, I have a LOT of sticks. *grin* Along with a small handful of Bay Area residents, Greig helped to lay the foundation of this thing we call Landsknecht reenactment.

I have been lucky enough to get to know Greig in the past few years, and fortunate enough to get his permission to post his recollections on this tops. 

And with any luck, I may even get him back in costume someday soon… 

*evil plotty hand rubbing*


“Friends First, Last, and Always”

Greig Fors met Carl Ontis (two of the founders of the original das Schwarz Fahnlein) in 1971 at the Mountain Ranch Rendezvous. Both Greig and Carl were involved in mountain man reenactments, which have a long tradition here in the States. Upon meeting these two recognized kindred spirits and became fast friends for years thereafter. Greig was there a few years later at the Railroad Flat (around 1975) when Carl met his future wife and life-partner, Elizabeth Pidgeon. She was attending her first rendezvous with a friend and Greig says, “[Elizabeth] and Carl were instantly together. It was pretty cool to see.” It was, as they say, an auspicious beginning; this close core of friends continued to attend rendezvous events for a number of years, eventually forming a group of free trappers and Hudson Bay Company traders known as “the New Helvetia Brigade".

With time the Brigade moved beyond rendezvous-only events and into new historical reenactment opportunities. This came about when Greig found himself in a unique (at the time) situation; he was asked by the California State Parks Department to begin acting as a costumed docent at the Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park. To his knowledge, this was the first such position in the Parks Department in California.[i] Over time this role developed into a more structured event with Greig, and later his friend Bruce Northridge (RIP), doing the ‘Adobe Days’ event at the Petaluma site. Both men portrayed blacksmiths, finally forming a partnership/business in the “Laurel and Hardy Forge and Brass Works”.[ii] Greig and Bruce would continue their friendship, and their personas as blacksmiths in the same forge, through their time together at Faire.

The Gang at the Petaluma Adobe - Bruce Northridge at left front, Carl Ontis second on the rt., and Greig Fors 4th back on the right.  

As more members of “the New Helvetia Brigade" became involved at Petaluma the docent activities began to spread further through the Park Department. Greig became friends with Glen Burch, the state historian for Northern California, and Glen in turn invited to group to come out and work at Fort Ross. In the end, Sutter's Fort became a site for their re-enactment activities as well.[iii]

Carl and Elizabeth Ontis - at Ft. Ross - early 80's

“A New Idea”

After a number of years of performing together as historical interpreters, a group [iv] from the “the New Helvetia Brigade" began a transition that would become the foundations of Landsknecht reenactment at both SCA and faire events. While the leap from ‘Mountain Man’ to ‘Renaissance Man’ may seem drastic, the move into the new and growing medieval/renaissance scene of the California Bay Area was a natural one for veteran re-enactors in the mid-1970’s. It went something like this; after participating in a Wild West show in the Marin Headlands in 1974-1975, a number of members decided to attend the “Great American Shindig” in 1976. This event had Ron Patterson, one of the original creators of the Renaissance Pleasure Faire (founded 1963), cast in the part of Wild Bill Hickok. Around this same time, 1976, these same Brigade members started taking part in Society for Creative Anachronism (founded 1966) events.

It was here, in the SCA, that the discussion of creating Landsknecht personas took shape and form. It was also around this time that Carl and Elizabeth were married, holding their wedding in Landsknecht garb – and apparently starting a long tradition of Landsie re-enactors getting married in their kit. *grin*

Hey! Any excuse for cool new German clothes!

Greig remembers that he was wearing his first set of Pluderhosen at the time of the Ontis wedding, “Charlie (Charlotte) Rushing, Jack Thomas’ wife, made me a pair of Pluderhose that was for the time, impeccable. After four of five years, they became the Fahnlein’s loaner pants and were kept unwashed for another seven or eight years.”[v] The group also picked up a number of additional members at this time, as their growing reenactment repertoire attracted additional folks.

Greig Fors and David Godwin - SCA 12th Nite event - prior to 1979

With a new period to focus on, it didn’t take long for the serious research to begin[vi]; along with a healthy helping of personal drive, the rigors of being a costumed docent for the California State Parks helped to mold an attention to historical detail that has passed down even to many Landsknecht groups in this day. As Greig says, it was these factors and “a bit of competition as well, you know, we would find something to outdo the others.” Carl Ontis seems to have taken a lead in encouraging this aspect of reenactment among the friends, with each person finding a niche that they found personally fascinating. For a blacksmith like Greig this was everyday items, like forks and spoons and weapons.

By the time 1978 rolled around the group – about ten folks in total, kitted out in German gear - decided to try out the local Renaissance Faire at Peacock Gap (started by RPF in 1966)[vii] in San Rafael, CA. While Greig and partner Bruce attended as a part of a blacksmithing booth, most of the members attended the event under the ‘Faire Ever’ pass (I believe this was a pre-cursor to Friends of Faire). Even in the booth Greig wore his Germans and did his best to get away f as much as possible to play with the others.

Greig Fors, Elizabeth Pidgeon-Ontis, and Carl Ontis

The experience of going to faire as a group the first time involved a lot of walking around and interacting with the other faire goers. It didn’t take long for Phyllis Patterson, the faire’s director, to notice this new band. They were ready made with costumes in place, a friendly attitude, and a willingness to play. After their second year in attendance, Phyllis asked them if they would like to join the event officially as a part of St. Helena’s. At the time Helena’s was the ‘catch-all’ street actors Guild, not the peasant’s only group it eventually became.

After a couple of years with St. Helena’s, it was time for the Germans to set out on their own; das Schwarz Fahnlein was formed. This group joined forces with the Queens Guard to form a new Guild, St. Michaels; a performance company that survives to this day at both Northern and Southern California reenactment events. The faire itself also made a move during the coming years, changing locations from Peacock Gap to Blackpoint Forest, Navato, CA. It was during this period that Grieg  was appointed as the Fahnenträger (ensign) and led queen's progress just behind the bell ringers; making him the first to learn to twirl the flag.

Greig remember’s some his favorite gigs from these early years: “…at the opening of Faire….We got the use of one of faire's carts and I think there were a few times we had brought a goat. There were four or five of us that would walk towards maingate with all our stuff in the cart, and the goat, if it was with us, was tied to the back of it. We all were acting like we had just walked miles and miles, heads down and quiet. We passed through the crowds without stopping and into the faire. I personally think it was one our best gigs.”

A VERY young Elizabeth Frye and The Goat (or one of the Goats) - Elizabeth still makes it out to reenactments, and now brings her own child along as well, second generation faire-brat! *grin*

And then this around 1981-1982: “Carl and I with one or two others…’caught’ somebody stealing, and we restrained him and did a be-handing. He was led off screaming and Carl and I played catch with the rubber hand.”

And then the one they did at rehearsals but never got around to doing in public: “Elizabeth Frye was just a baby and Charlotte [Frye] was carrying her. Both in costume. She came up to whoever was in charge (it was both the germans and queen's guard and standing in ranks) and asked to look for the baby's father. While her back was turned, a couple of guys snuck away. While she was at one end of the ranks, some more snuck away on the opposite side, and everytime she turned her back, even more snuck away until there was one poor guy left standing all by himself, shaking.”

(*I think I know a gig for Casa de Fruta faire this year…*grin* ~ hsifeng)

At this point, while Carl and Elizabeth were the founders of the Landsknecht movement, there were other folks that had become involved that Greig would like to name: Roy Kester (RIP), Gordon Frye, Charlotte Frye, Oatmeal (per Gordon Frye: Oatmeal was Dave O'Neal ["O'Neal, Oatmeal, you get it..."]), Dave Godwin, Lucinda Nickel-Fors, Shula Shoup, Salvatore Bruno, David Miles (Original Trummelschlager), Julie (Juliana) Gaul, Kathe Barrows (RIP), Bob Bodeau, Kevin Fogel, Mariposa and Moffit (Per Gordon: Bill Moffatt - which I would suppose means this is Bill and Mariposa Moffatt). As Greig says, “There may have been one or two more, but I don’t remember.”

The Usual Suspects - Northern Faire, 1983

“And From This Seed…”

...a mighty Oak has grown.” Starting in the SCA, and moving into Renaissance Pleasure Faire North, a group of friends started a tradition of German reenactment that has spread far and wide. From a starting point in the Bay Area of California, the style and traditions of these founders have found homes in Renaissance Faires throughout California in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Riverside, with outposts in many towns in-between. Outside of this state there are groups inspired by these founders in Texas, Maryland, Wisconsin, and Nevada (I am sure I’m missing a few). Not to mention the Landsknechts who are a part of the nationwide (worldwide?) network of the SCA.

Greig says, “At one point, Carl was asked to go to Australia to show off landsknechts to the Aussie SCA. When he came back, he told me that they had gotten pics of the two of us, made them into posters and we were hung on ceilings above some of the women’s beds. I never knew how true this was, but I certainly got a good laugh. I am pretty sure the poster was for real. So I think our group was the inspiration for Aussie Landsknechts.”

Continuing the long tradition of Germans on the Security Crew at faire; Greig left the Germans to work with Ops and on crew for RPF events in 1986. He continued this off and on, mostly at Northern until 1994.

And if I get my way, he’s going to be coming back out to faire in the next year or so, to celebrate my birthday with me at Valhalla and get Rockett’s Forge out there as a resource for amazing metal-wares again!

[i] The tradition of costumed interpreters continues to this day at the park, with the next Living History Day event scheduled for May of 2012.

[ii] As Greig says, “I had made a logo that had a cut off chisel in a laurel wreath. The chisel is called a Hardy, well you get the idea…”

[iii] Greig – “Once, for New Years, we had Ft. Ross all to ourselves, our group and a number of the higher ups in the Park Dept. It was a great party.”

[iv] These members were Greig, Carl Ontis, Elizabeth Pidgeon, Gordon Frye, Charlotte Frye, Roy Kester and Dave Godwin.

[v] As I said to Greig; It’s good to know that newbies were tormented with unwashed loaner gear even back in the day! And by the way, he STILL has these pants!

[vi] Greig recalls, “The books were bought and studied and discussions took place and we started getting better.” And, “There was animosity towards us in the SCA, because we were trying to be historically accurate, and we were labeled elitist assholes.” (See my SCA History Maven friends – this is a long tradition! *wink*)

Greig also remembers the groups research collection starting out with Braun and Schneider’s ‘Historic Costumes’ and Vecellio’s ‘Renaissance Costume Book’ along with, “Every Durer book we could get our hands on….We looked for anything Holbein, Bosch, and Cranach (both the elder and younger). I was lucky to find some hardbound museum catalogues from several German museums. There were some auction catalogues that I found from the mid twenties that had a lot of weapons and armor that was not in other books. Dover Books seemed to have a lot of what we were looking for.” Keep in mind, the HUGE number of costume resources we have today were not present or readily available when this group was starting out, many of them have come along or been ‘rediscovered’ in the intervening years. Including that perennial favorite of many first-time Landsknecht, Osprey: “The first Osprey book on the landsknechts has the color illustrations, well, there are landsknechts that look like Carl, Roy, Moffat (Mariposa’s husband) and myself. We always wondered...”

[vii] Seems like the Ren/Medieval scene really “jumped off” in the Bay in 1966, with the SCA getting started in Berkeley and RPF getting new digs up North in Novato in that year.

hsifeng: (Blackpowder Love)
Look at these young ruffians; who the hell let them get armed and organized?

*shakes head in disbelief*

The Early Days of das Schwarz Faehnlein; Blackpoint Faire, Navato, CA

Left to Right: Conn MacLir, Tony Swatton, Tom Moon, Chris Cook, David Forrest, Martin Young, Scott Moore, Jeff Schroeter,Carl Ontis, Don Smith

I believe this was from the Old Camp, out in front of the gates to the Faire itself.

A merrier, swankier and more vicious group of scalliwags and crooks, harlots and bastards was never seen to walk the earth. I have the very great honor of knowing many of them.


Original Image here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=64833929152&set=p.64833929152&type=1&theater


hsifeng: (Default)

June 2015

2122232425 2627


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios