Tag Archives: anglo saxon


Not everything I’m working on at the moment is clothing, or modern.

Case in point, a Nine Men’s Morris board that I made for my partner’s birthday:1-IMG_4138

And a tiny geteld (an Anglo-Saxon tent):

I would like a full-sized one, too.

Some heraldic experiments for SCA purposes:


And a recently finished little pouch. This was a kit from a class I took in February, but mumble mumble busy. Actually, much of what I’ve been busy with has also been SCA-related. I went to a camping event in May where I picked up a few goodies and took exactly one photo of the site.

At the moment, I am reparing gores and finishing seams in anticipation of my very first PENNSIC (!). Once the existing stuff is up to scratch, I want to make an early Kentish or Merovingian ensemble along these lines.

As always, more ideas than time!

A Miniature Post

I have constructed a mead hall!

Well, half of one. In 1/24 scale.

One foot in model-land is equivalent to half an inch in ours.

Why a mead hall? I’m not actually sure. This is why I need to keep records. I’ve always enjoyed building miniature things, but the Anglo-Saxon idea was hatched last summer when I was on an Old English kick.

Now, I did some preliminary reserach on miniature-making and English history, but when it comes to authenticity, I’ve assigned no particular date to the building, and the construction techniques are based heavily on superglue. If these facts horrify any historians or miniature enthusiasts out there, I sincerely apologize.

Every mead hall needs a nice fire pit.

I started out by making a few artifacts: a fire pit, a two-beam loom, and some long tables and tablecloths. (I don’t think the tablecloths actually appear in any of these photos, but they do exist.) Most of the model itself is made of wood scraps from the hobby store, stained with a mixture of instant coffee and a bit of water and finished with a coat of shellac.

A miniature miniature workshop.

After the skeleton was finished, I acquired a folding table and put together a rough cork base for the model to rest on during construction. Sadly, it quickly outgrew the table.

Next came many hours with the instant coffee, and the addition of more artifacts. I also started adding wall panels. For anyone who might be inspired to take on a similar project, let me tell you that the cosmetic difference between painstakingly crafted wattle-and-daub walls and slapdash craft-painted basswood walls is negligible. Don’t bother.

An assortment of artifacts, with a paperclip for scale.
A closeup of the roof (which was originally a grass mat intended for pet bunnies) and a banner. There were supposed to be more banners, but embroidery at this scale is a pain and I haven’t managed to muster enough willpower for the task yet.
A rather disorganized meal. These things are actually too small and light to move around by hand, so I have to arrange them with tweezers. As you can see, I did not do so before this photo was taken.

Of course, there are plenty of tasks waiting to be done! Among them:

1) A floor, made of… something. According to my reading, timber is actually not the most historically probable. (I don’t have a source handy, but it’s somewhere in a stack of papers in my studio.) However, a dirt floor seems difficult to represent convincingly. I experimented with painting the cork on which the whole miniature building rests, but that was a no go. Other options? I’ve heard about a substance called paperclay, but it’s not available where I live. I do have some straw-like substance that might make convincing rushes, and I’m considering affixing the straw to a solid floor finished with a mix of craft paint and cornstarch.

2) A diorama-style backdrop for the shelf where the as-yet-unnamed hall now rests. As you can see, the current landscape leaves something to be desired.

3) Lamps, specifically cressets (a cresset being “an iron vessel or basket used for holding burning oil, pitchy wood, or other illuminant and mounted as a torch or suspended as a lantern : a fire basket.” Thanks, Merriam-Webster!). I keep trying to make these out of wire, but no success yet.

4) More chairs. Perhaps not the most interesting aspect to a blog reader, but I actually lost one of the seats for the central dais. (A common problem when you’re working with furniture the size of a thumbnail and have an unusually strong tendency to misplace things.)

5) Some Staffordshire Hoard goodies, of course! Have any of you ever worked with metal clay?

Despite these fledgling ideas, this whole project has been stuck in a state of semi-completion for months now. I’m hoping this post will inspire some reader comments to help me get it back on track!

(I’m also looking for suggestions for WordPress editors. I’m about to resort to Notepad out of frustration with this browser-based editor, which appears to be a close relative of the gastropods.)

The Introductory Post

Welcome to my fledgling craft blog! I’ve admired the online galleries and blogs of many different craftspeople and artists, and hope you’ll find something here that interests you as well.

At a certain point in my creative career, about when I began to observe an alarming quantity of my free time disappearing without a trace, I started keeping a to-do list. The following excerpt should be representative:

Blankets 14 epi
Still need to make floor: how to represent dirt? Rushes?
Tambour needle
Leaves overshot draft—copy out
Wind and WRITE DOWN calcs this time

After months of scrawling these cryptic ideas in various notebooks and on the back of supermarket receipts, I am finding the brevity of the entries and the monstrous proportions of the list to be somewhat at odds. In other words, I can’t remember what half of it means! It seems that a more comprehensive approach to record-keeping is in order.

Enter the blog.

So, what do I make? Here’s a sampling of current projects.

First, a historically inspired, more than historically accurate, attempt at an Anglo-Saxon mead hall in 1/24 scale.

Saxon hall
For this project, I am valuing structural integrity (i.e. plenty-of-gluity) over strict adherence to historical construction techniques. Some people might be able to carve out a functional mortise-and-tenon joint in half-inch scale, but they are more skilled than I.

I am also learning to spin…


…and to weave!

My beloved loom. Pictured is a half-woven blanket, part of a pair that I made as my first project.

In future posts, I plan to go into more detail about specific projects and techniques. Hope to see you then.