I transferred my websites to a new host in November, and have decided to overhaul how they are managed. I was asked to get this one back up and running while I design the new one, so here it goes! I'll leave it at oldsite.cjmconnors.com for the foreseeable future. The main site, cjmconnors.com, should be up and running soon and I have tons of new content for it, from the work, personal and SCAdian perspectives!
I give you a small glimpse into my year! Being friends with such an incredible photographer means I don't have to worry about not being great at taking pics. But I will share some of what I got up to (and I'll even go back and start annotating them too!) Enjoy.
A quick post to share a completely random idea which worked for me. One of the things I need to learn to become a better bookbinder is to work with leather. Paring leather so that it will not be too bulky on your boards is a usual task. This had me a tad nervous - what if I dig too deep, or take off too much?
Yes, I have some scrap leather that I can use, but it's often still too thick to be a true substitute. Good, but not great. Slightly better is the idea I had today - paring citrus peel. Clementines, specifically. These days clementines have fairly thin skins. At least half the width of my scrap leather! So I practiced paring on them. I felt better about it: didn't ruin any valuable leather, think it was a bit more accurate and I now have candied citrus peel for my next sweet treat! :)
This is a re-working of a manual I created as the terminal assignment for a course I took in graduate school: “Basic Materials Repair” offered at Simmons College (Spring, 1999). Prof. Sheila Intner coordinated the class, and Todd Pattison of the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) in Andover, MA provided lessons in repairs, resources, tools and a great deal of fun!
I finally “re-discovered” my course materials in 2011 and set about re-creating the text and images electronically, in a format usable by today’s computers. I am also incorporating the suggestions made by Prof. Intner which would have made my ’97’ a full ‘100!’ I hope the formatting updates make this easier to use. It is my intention to take this piece by piece and add photographic images and video.
I am releasing this work under a Creative Commons license. I do so in the hopes that others may add their knowledge, experience and questions to make it a better resource - I am far from being a true expert in conservation! In a nutshell, you may use this work for non-commercial purposes - ie, you can’t make any money from it - as long as you give me credit for what I’ve created and release your new version with the same license. I credit Mr. Pattison for sharing his knowledge and expertise with my fellow students and I; all I ask is that you do the same. Thank you!
One of the classes I taught for the second year centered on essential oils. I spoke briefly on how herbs were distilled, how they were used, and then spent most of the time introducing students to the various scents that appear prominently in books by authors of the end of the 16th century: John Gerard, author of Gerard's Herball, Hugh Platt's Delights for Ladies and Gervase Markham's The English Housewife.
The booklet I used as part of the class is attached, giving modernized recipes as well as information on the traditional uses of many popular herbs. I hope you may find it useful.
I made / helped to make two rosaries yesterday for SCAdian friends. The first was for Baroness Cateline la Broderesse, who was here working on our group yurt project. She selected the stones for personal reasons, we discussed the design - traditional or neo, religious significance or no, straight or round. What she selected was red and green unakite beads for the decades, pearl paternosters, gold spacer beads and silk tassels. She appeared pleased with the results - can't wait for her to pull it from her bling box at the next event!
After watching this rosary take shape, Edmund decided that he too wanted one! Off to the store we went to find some beads; we also raided my stash. He wanted a Byzantine-influenced bead rosary for now; at some point in the future a true Byzantine knot rosary will be made. We talked through the design and then he strung the beads. We worked the ends together. What we have here are orange glazed porcelain paternosters, wooden beads for the decades, green glass and filigree spacer beads, a silver Byzantine cross and a silk tassel. He likes the combination of materials, denoting the wealth of the city, the humility of the meek, the strength of the warrior.
I have created a searchable, sortable version of the course catalog for the university at Pennsic 40. There are so many wonderful classes being taught this year at Pennsic that it can feel a bit overwhelming looking through all of the descriptions. It takes a few moments to load the first time, or if you've cleared your cache; thanks for your patience!
Our last A&S workshop in the Shire was a leather mask-making workshop. I was lucky to get in - there was limited space, and enough people were turned away that another class will have to be held in the fall.
The idea was to make a simple leather mask in period style. Lord Aurddeilen, as usual, provided an excellent overview on the topic. (I really need to get him to blog his projects and post his materials!)
I wanted to take this class for two reasons:
1) Having a leather mask is cool
2) Learning leatherwork is an essential step towards one day crafting excellent period book covers
It was much simpler than I thought it would be. Leather, ribbon (or other material for ties), scissors, water and your face are the bare minimum you need to get started.
Here's the list of materials we were asked to bring as much of as we could - the leather and the rest were brought and shared by those in the Shire with some leather-working experience.
1. a non-wood, preferably marble cutting board.
2. a pair of heavy duty scissors.
3. an x-acto or sharp craft knife of some sort.
4. leather working tools, such as swivel knives, bevels, stamps, poly mallets, punches, etc.
5. a small bowl
6. a small sponge
7. some sort of paints and/or dyes with an applicator and/or brush to decorate your mask. If you want to add things like feathers or fancy trim, you will need to bring your own, along with the glue to attach them.
8. a piece of string, ribbon, or leather latigo to serve as a tie for your mask.
9. a pencil or pen.
10. 1 square foot of 4-6 oz weight vegetable tanned leather
We were given a basic template to share (which is what I stuck to) and each took our masks in our own creative directions. Some had noses, some not; some were fancifully cut and decorated, others stuck to more simple themes. I simply *played* with it - tried out a bunch of different punches, used paint pens and fabric markers to see how each worked out, had no particular goal in mind this time. Now that I've got a baseline feel for the work, I have some ideas of things to try - in both the mask and book-cover domains. I'm looking forward to it!
I had a great time helping out at this past Crown Tournament, especially as I was able to indulge in all of my interests: papermaking, bookbinding, letterpress and the children!
Prior to the event I spent a fun afternoon with the lovely Lady Naomi, helping her make the site tokens. It had been decided to letterpress the tokens, and she had carved a block with the image for the day. We set the type together, and after some testing and finagling set to printing. We got into a nice rhythm before I had to leave, but I think we managed to get just under half of the tokens done that afternoon. Here's a video of the first of the run after we'd worked out the kinks in our system:
I helped out in the Children's Area all day, which was both fun and tiring! The kids were all given special mementos of the day - handmade 9 Man Morris boards that a few of us adults got together to draw. Lady Sabatina was a wonderful coordinator of all of the activities and ran a tight ship - the children had fun, no one was taken advantage of, and everyone was safe!
We kicked off the day by having the children scavenge for plant materials with which to make paper. I taught them briefly the history of paper, what plants to look for, and showed them a sample of what the paper would look like when it was done. We talked about what we should do with the paper we made, but I won't spoil the surprise! The short handout is available for download if you're interested.
There were shield-making classes, embroidery classes, games, a bit of youth fighting thanks to Lord Fearghus and more throughout the day. In the afternoon I showed the children how to make simple books. I pre-printed several pages of Aesop's fables, and showed those who joined the class how to sew them together with a simple cover. Perhaps someday one or two of the kids will show a deeper interest in how books are made!
It was such fun to be at an event AND get to practice some of my own hobbies. I am looking forward to making that happen more!