Saturday, October 31, 2009

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Pumpking Massacre

The Upcoming Pumpkin Massacre

Cleek on zee Pumpkin for Zee fun!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sonja, in her armour

This is Sonja. The armour is all done, and fitted to her now. There is a load of work left to do on this outfit of course....shoulder plates, vambraces, diadem, and so forth. The armour is being shown over her street clothes, she is expecting to wear a different (skimpier) top at the places where she would be wearing it. No, I don't know "where" those places are guys, you will just have to seek her out on your own.

The garter-scabbard thing matches her collar. I think it should be a bit higher on her leg. Perhaps when she has a different style skirt that will work.
In behind, the pieces come together with a lovely peak...tied all together with a corset style lace.

The fur is a nice touch....

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Monday, October 19, 2009


Above is a view of the bottom faulds. It covers a skirt...okay! So its supposed to be sort of spread out like that! Above, we are looking at the back, the chain forms a long tail down the back. Below is the same piece but from the front. Very complex job....lots of laborious "quilting".

This is the top. Like most of these tops, they are sectional, with laces in the back and sides to provide lots and lots of adjustment potential. The design is the client's. I think it ows a LOT to Clyde Caldwell. I just hammed the blessed thing into place. The cups are nice and large, and should provide plenty of modesty. I am not quite sure yet if I will separate the two sides and insert a small centre triangle. We'll see.
The above closeup is of the little vertical tab which I added to help the cups stay upright, and in place. This will provide both a suspension system and a cantilever support. Everything should stay put now.
Note the leather and sheepskin lining. There are two shoulder straps on each side. They will form a design feature in their own right.

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Brass work

Wanted to see how fancy brass work would look on the leg armour. Its okay I guess...didn't take a lot of time. They lend a little bit of interest to what is otherwise a vast expanse of cuisse.

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

The brass is frosty from the protective coating.
Plenty of articulation.
Doesn't look too shabby.
Above is with no flash
And this one is with flash.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Design ideas

Two armours on the design board....for some Ren Faire "participatrons". A couple who are looking at custom armours. She wants a custom "Phoenix" motif armour, and he wants a "Dragon" armour.

Thats a tall order. I mean, there are so many things I can do! Open dragon mouths with the client's arms coming out of them, high fences with dragon backs wrapping around the gorgets...the mind boggles. But then, I come down to earth a bit....and think about how to make armour which the average person would be able to afford. One way to make it affordable would be to pretty much do the tried and true patterns and tinker with the details.

In the sketch above, I have assumed a standard South Tower pattern shoulder armour. Like this one....

Then, lets see...the phoenix and the dragon are both fire animals, so perhaps a common fire motif...say, the top lame being cut into a flame shape. The other lames would be underneath that, so it looks like their feathered or scaled hide is coming out from the flame. We could make the flames out of brass. Hey, we could make another lame underneath that to support the "flames" and make that lame out of black steel.
Other lames coming down could have a feathered motif, or alternatively a punched dragon scale motif. The lames are small, and would not cost much to do.

How about a fence up top? Mound a phoenix or a dragon on the fence...perhaps have some nice cut outs? Or perhaps not....that might be overkill. Like the idea of a dragon snaking over the shoulder up there though.


Keep the ideas reined!

I am sure there are lots more ideas....gosh knows these motifs can be transfered anywhere else...flame forming a necklace around the openings of the breastplate and backplate, great wings being embossed into the backplate, dragon claws forming the wings of the knee cops and elbow cops.
Looking forward to this one.

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Knee transition

These are the knee cops I am making for Mr. Albrecht. The raised flutes were flattened between them, forming a sort of plateau in between them. They need a little more grinding work to make them look nice though. I personally like the "hammered" look of the flutes, but I suspect Mr. A. will not. Maybe he will leave a comment here....
After the pieces were made, I sanded it all over with 240 grit. You can see how much shinier the 240 grit finish is compared to the untouched plateau. Mr. A. wanted the shining armour of legend, and was more than a little taken aback by the discovery that although I could do it, a mirror finish would pretty much double the price. We compromised...a fine grit finish, a lot more pieces for the money, and stay within budget. He can always get them mirror polished sometime in the future, but this way, he gets the whole suit!

The articulation (shown here only half done and with pop rivets no less,) but by the time I write this post, they are all fully articulated with proper solid steel rivets in place. The bottom lame is solid brass, and shows really well. Each 16 gauge steel lame is compound curved to a 10 inch ball, though of course, such a flat profile is hard to see in the picture. But it doubles the stiffness. This won't dent or squash on him.

The inside of the leg armour. I decided to just go ahead and make these out of sixteen gauge steel...there is no particular compound curving in them, and they will need to be tough enough to be tossed into the trunk without squashing.
The outside...showing the cut outs for the hinges. These are harder to get co-axial than you might think! The top edge is flared outwards, just to keep his pants from getting cut by the top edge.
And a closeup of the knee cops. Looks nice...good articulation. Hmmm...possibly the best articulation I have ever done.
Well then!!!!
Stay tuned for more installments.

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Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Staffordshire Hoard

The Staffordshire Hoard is the largest find of Anglo Saxon gold since the excavation of Sutton Hoo. The items are not quite as pretty or as well made as the Sutton Hoo artifacts, but they are just fine by me! The interlocking gripping beasts are wonderous. You can study the whole thing here
I have included a couple of paragraphs of Beowulf to provide some context.

Enjoy the eye candy.....

images from

The death and burial of Beowulf, from


A PERILOUS path, it proved, he[1] trod
who heinously hid, that hall within,
wealth under wall! Its watcher had killed
one of a few,[2] and the feud was avenged
in woful fashion. Wondrous seems it,
what manner a man of might and valor
oft ends his life, when the earl no longer
in mead-hall may live with loving friends.
So Beowulf, when that barrow's warden
he sought, and the struggle; himself knew not
in what wise he should wend from the world at last.
For[3] princes potent, who placed the gold,
with a curse to doomsday covered it deep,
so that marked with sin the man should be,
hedged with horrors, in hell-bonds fast,
racked with plagues, who should rob their hoard.
Yet no greed for gold, but the grace of heaven,
ever the king had kept in view.[4]
Wiglaf spake, the son of Weohstan: --
"At the mandate of one, oft warriors many
sorrow must suffer; and so must we.
The people's-shepherd showed not aught
of care for our counsel, king beloved!
That guardian of gold he should grapple not, urged we,
but let him lie where he long had been
in his earth-hall waiting the end of the world,
the hest of heaven. -- This hoard is ours
but grievously gotten; too grim the fate
which thither carried our king and lord.
I was within there, and all I viewed,
the chambered treasure, when chance allowed me
(and my path was made in no pleasant wise)
under the earth-wall. Eager, I seized
such heap from the hoard as hands could bear
and hurriedly carried it hither back
to my liege and lord. Alive was he still,
still wielding his wits. The wise old man
spake much in his sorrow, and sent you greetings
and bade that ye build, when he breathed no more,
on the place of his balefire a barrow high,
memorial mighty. Of men was he
worthiest warrior wide earth o'er
the while he had joy of his jewels and burg.
Let us set out in haste now, the second time
to see and search this store of treasure,
these wall-hid wonders, -- the way I show you, --
where, gathered near, ye may gaze your fill
at broad-gold and rings. Let the bier, soon made,
be all in order when out we come,
our king and captain to carry thither
-- man beloved -- where long he shall bide
safe in the shelter of sovran God."
Then the bairn of Weohstan bade command,
hardy chief, to heroes many
that owned their homesteads, hither to bring
firewood from far -- o'er the folk they ruled --
for the famed-one's funeral. " Fire shall devour
and wan flames feed on the fearless warrior
who oft stood stout in the iron-shower,
when, sped from the string, a storm of arrows
shot o'er the shield-wall: the shaft held firm,
featly feathered, followed the barb."
And now the sage young son of Weohstan
seven chose of the chieftain's thanes,
the best he found that band within,
and went with these warriors, one of eight,
under hostile roof. In hand one bore
a lighted torch and led the way.
No lots they cast for keeping the hoard
when once the warriors saw it in hall,
altogether without a guardian,
lying there lost. And little they mourned
when they had hastily haled it out,
dear-bought treasure! The dragon they cast,
the worm, o'er the wall for the wave to take,
and surges swallowed that shepherd of gems.
Then the woven gold on a wain was laden --
countless quite! -- and the king was borne,
hoary hero, to Hrones-Ness.

[1] Probably the fugitive is meant who discovered the hoard. Ten
Brink and Gering assume that the dragon is meant. "Hid" may well
mean here "took while in hiding." [2] That is "one and a few
others." But Beowulf seems to be indicated. [3] Ten Brink points
out the strongly heathen character of this part of the epic.
Beowulf's end came, so the old tradition ran, from his unwitting
interference with spell-bound treasure. [4] A hard saying,
variously interpreted. In any case, it is the somewhat clumsy
effort of the Christian poet to tone down the heathenism of his
material by an edifying observation.


THEN fashioned for him the folk of Geats
firm on the earth a funeral-pile,
and hung it with helmets and harness of war
and breastplates bright, as the boon he asked;
and they laid amid it the mighty chieftain,
heroes mourning their master dear.
Then on the hill that hugest of balefires
the warriors wakened. Wood-smoke rose
black over blaze, and blent was the roar
of flame with weeping (the wind was still),
till the fire had broken the frame of bones,
hot at the heart. In heavy mood
their misery moaned they, their master's death.
Wailing her woe, the widow[1] old,
her hair upbound, for Beowulf's death
sung in her sorrow, and said full oft
she dreaded the doleful days to come,
deaths enow, and doom of battle,
and shame. -- The smoke by the sky was devoured.
The folk of the Weders fashioned there
on the headland a barrow broad and high,
by ocean-farers far descried:
in ten days' time their toil had raised it,
the battle-brave's beacon. Round brands of the pyre
a wall they built, the worthiest ever
that wit could prompt in their wisest men.
They placed in the barrow that precious booty,
the rounds and the rings they had reft erewhile,
hardy heroes, from hoard in cave, --
trusting the ground with treasure of earls,
gold in the earth, where ever it lies
useless to men as of yore it was.
Then about that barrow the battle-keen rode,
atheling-born, a band of twelve,
lament to make, to mourn their king,
chant their dirge, and their chieftain honor.
They praised his earlship, his acts of prowess
worthily witnessed: and well it is
that men their master-friend mightily laud,
heartily love, when hence he goes
from life in the body forlorn away.

Thus made their mourning the men of Geatland,
for their hero's passing his hearth-companions:
quoth that of all the kings of earth,
of men he was mildest and most beloved,
to his kin the kindest, keenest for praise.

[1] Nothing is said of Beowulf's wife in the poem, but Bugge
surmises that Beowulf finally accepted Hygd's offer of kingdom
and hoard, and, as was usual, took her into the bargain.

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