Friday, September 30, 2011

The Fields of Cloth and Gold Medieval Event

I never had a chance to post photos from our medieval event a few weeks ago since immediately following that event I was plunged into preparing for our 18th century event. So, here are the pictures from the Fields of Cloth and Gold. We had a wonderful time, as always, with this group of people! And yes, Malachi is wearing his hood backwards.

Pausing now to consider this fact as I go through these pictures again, I realize more fully how lucky we are to have connections with people who are like us. There is a brotherhood and sisterhood among those who take up historic crafts and historic pastimes. There is a passion that drives people to don heavy fighting gear and sweat their bums off, behind people who spend hours, months, years, researching and recreating some era of history.

When I tell most people that my hobby is historic fashion I get blank uncomprehending looks, a nervous, quizzical laugh, or (in the case of people who have known me for a long time) a sigh and a rolling of the eyes. "OH. You're still into THAT?" How fun it is to be with others who will discuss the benefit of different fibers for various garments, seam finishes, share new exciting bits of research and talk at length upon the time it took to create a dagged edge for the hem of a woolen hood. It is nice to belong.

Just as with the Colonial Trade Faire in my last post, this event was also held in a perfect location. Camp Wokonda is an old boy scout camp. When I was younger, my dad brought us out here several times, as he had been a young boyscout here back in the 1970's and the place held a lot of memories for him. It is far away from the town or city, heavily wooded with  hills and gullies, and for the event the barony had rented out "the valley", a flat spot between two large hills complete with rustic buildings housing bathrooms, small cabins to sleep in at night and a large dining hall and kitchen. A leaf carpeted path led from one area to the next.

Back further in the woods the path led to the fighting arena, where the boys where enthralled with watching the combat.

I have never seen them sit so still for so long.

Of course, the natural consequence of their viewing led to their own mock fights in the woods, with sticks they  found  by the side of the path.

There were a few other children present, and the boys enjoyed playing with them in front of the dining hall.

David naturally was drawn to the large smokers which were cooking the meat for the feast, to be held later that night. Legs of lamb and beef were pouring forth their fragrant smells, while the menfolk discussed the delicate balancing of flavor achieved through the proper seasonings and methods employed in preparing the meat for cooking.

This young man, in his teens, was so friendly and helpful in keeping an eye on the children. The boys adored him.

This lady practiced juggling on the sloping lawn, much to the delight of the children.

Here two ladies persue the fabrics offered by one of the merchants. This particular merchant had some very nice fabrics for very good prices. The best was the 100% red wool flannel - $6/yard. I mean, $6/yard! That is an insane price.

Here several people make their way to the bardic competition that was held at the old boyscout pow wow site. I fell in love with the clothing of the lady and gentleman you see on the right. I was able to talk to her later and she told me their impression is 1590's Italian. I loved her choice of colors and fabrics. I have never been drawn to 16th century styles as they always seemed too busy and too gaudy for my tastes, but I am rethinking my opinion now!

This is one of my favorite pictures from the event! Little David found a big stump that he climbed up with amazing agility. Perched on top, with his stick and his hood pulled up he looked half-elvish, half-Dunedain.

I made their sleeveless surcotes the week before the event. I am so glad they had them as it was chilly, especially as night fell. I made them with basic rectangular construction with some shaping for the shoulders and armscyes. After much thought (it took me forever to decide to use a plaid wool since finding images of plaid cotes from this period was difficult!) I made them parti-colored, so each quarter of the cote contrasts with the pieces next to it. I used a black wool flannel and a very slightly lighterweight plaid wool for the cotes.

Malachi got a blue linen cote, since his dress is a heavier yellow wool flannel anyhow and he did not really need any extra warmth and I wanted something I could pop in the washer if need be since he is still messy when he eats.

David and I, with our signature "kiss" picture. ;)

Later in the evening we headed down to the creek, only to find it was all dried up. David became enflamed with desire to follow the dry creek bed so we all hiked down into it, (getting covered with cockaburrs in the process) and we found all sorts of interesting things while we were down there. David here is pausing before a large cliff that sloped down into the creek bed.

When we finally crawled back up out of the creek bed and headed back to the dining hall we found dinner nearly ready to be served. We set out our "feast gear", as our bowls, plates, eating utensils and cups are so termed, and David invited several of the fighters to sit with us so we had interesting dinner partners.

The boys did not eat much as they were too excited to sit still and spent most of their time running around with the other children. They missed out! We were served cheese-ale-and-bacon soup, roast leg of lamb with apple and nut salad and roast beef and leeks-and-onions. To top off the evening, one of our dining partners shared some of his homemade mead with us and an assortment of decadent desserts were laid out at the end for the enjoyment of the gathered company.

Fun times.


  1. Fun times indeed! What an idyllic weekend you all had. Your boys are precious in their cotes and hoods; they are getting handsomer by the week; Dunedain indeed!

    You are right about kindred spirits and how nice it is to find them. My mother and husband roll their eyes a LOT, and only a few friends here -- Jenni and Polly in particular -- share the joy in the hobby.

    Very best,


  2. Looks like you had a nice time! I love you attire, you look like you stepped out of a Medieval engraving!


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!