Sunday, April 7, 2024

GUEST POST: Preservation of Leather Artifacts in Archaeology

That's right...a rare guest post on Matsukaze workshops; my Apprentice's partner wrote out this gem, and I offered to host it until (and if) he creates his own webpage, as it's useful and well written information--plus it's far easier to share a webpage than a document.  Factors for preservation for organic materials is something which I have regularly needed to reference when recreating or discussing archaeological finds.
        Maistre Bran

Preservation of Leather Artifacts in Archaeology

Leather artifacts bear crucial information on past civilizations, craftsmanship, the norms of society, and daily life. However, organic materials, mainly leather, are prone to several problems that hinder their preservation at archaeological sites due to their sensitivity to environmental conditions. The scarcity of preserved leather at archaeological sites poses enormous challenges to historians and conservators. This scarcity is not by chance, but by a combination of environmental conditions, including the composition of the soils, moisture levels, and the practices of burying artifacts. This study will explore some of the factors controlling leather preservation at different archaeological sites. It will give insight as to why leather items survive across the timeline versus other perishable materials. This study reinforces these factors as the best-understood contribution of environmental and human influences to archaeological survival by comparing extant examples from the Birka, York, and Vindolanda archaeological sites. Through this research, we aim to shed light on the complexity of ancient leather conservation, which will be the first stage in a journey to acknowledge the selective nature of leather discoveries.

Peasant Fashion in the Low Countries: Stage 2. Joachim Beuckelaer

Next up is Joachim Beuckelaer, born 1533, d. 1574, and most active through the 1560s.  His artwork focuses on markets; meat, poultry, fish, and veggies, and this can show an insight into some of the tools of those various trades as well as different foodstuffs in Antwerp.  He was a nephew of and possibly learned to paint from Pieter Aiertsen, who was the first artist on my list; I think you can definitely see some stylistic similarities between the two.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Peasant Fashion in the Low Countries: Stage 2; Pieter Bruegel the YOUNGER

 Pieter Bruegel the Younger was born 1564 in Brussels as the oldest son of Brueghel the Elder.  Despite being the son of a famous painter and copying his fathers work, he was not directly trained by him, as Brueghel Elder died when Younger was only 4-5 years old.

The usefulness of his work for this survey varies, like that of most artists; much of his opus is out of period and shows it, others are direct copies of his father's work and was covered when I analyzed Elder's paintings (others of these are survived where Elder's original did not), and, of course, others are allegorical and just too funky for inclusion.  Additionally, he produced /many/ copies from his shop, some of which are referred to as different names--several times I managed to dig up a painting I thought was new only to find I had already covered it.  Often, they are undated and I have to guesstimate the period they're showing--when I go and finally get to do posts regarding individual garments, I will attempt to chart a timeline of style development. 

I decided this time to include my additional commentary from the Facebook posts I have been making daily; while there isn't much focused interest in those and I don't discuss them much, I figure it could help people searching for examples of random items in these paintings.

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Ten Years of Matsukaze Workshops

    This will probably be a relatively short post but....Valentine's Day was my 10 year anniversary of the Matsukaze Workshops blog.  As such, I wanted to try talking about some of what I learned, and go over some of my most popular posts of all time.  As well as some of the ones I am most proud of (the two aren't necessarily the same), and what needs work. 

Sorry about the white wouldn't let me edit those out for some reason.

Monday, February 12, 2024

Peasant Fashion in the Low Countries: Part Two. Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Pieter Bruegel the Elder.  One of the first artists who come to mind when you think of this genre of painting, and the one this project was named for.  He was born between 1525 and 1530 near Breda and died in 1569, after living primarily in Antwerp then Brussels.  His early work is mostly in engraving and drawings, with the majority of his well known paintings came after 1555.

  • Parable of the Sower.  1557. 
    • Only guy
      • Hat is black and mostly shapeless, although there does appear to be some kind of brim.
      • Outer garment is grey and only hip length.  Sleeves are rather poofy, with a separate closer fitting pieces at the forearm.  In the left (as worn) sleeve, you can see a slit.  The garment may be lined in red, and may have a crossover front.  
      • Doublet, not really visible, except as more grey.
      • Hosen are of the knee length breeches style in a lighter shade of grey.   No details are visible as to whether there is a codpiece or not.
      • Netherstocks are a grey inbetween the breeches and jerkin in colour.  You can see slight bagging at the ankle.
      • Shoes are low, and slip on, but do enclose the foot completely.  Leather is black.
      • He is clean shaven, and short haired...and appears to be black.  There may be sideburns going on, but I am not sure.

Saturday, July 22, 2023

A Procrastinated Pair of Round Hose

    Some years ago, in the Pre-Covid times, I decided I wanted to make a plain suit of Elizabethans.  Something from the very end of Elizabeth's reign, and suitable for working in; setting up tents, fighting, maybe some hiking, sitting in the tavern, etc.  A suit of late period clothing where getting it dirty would only add to the character of the garments rather than spoiling them.  In the end, I settled on a suit of round hose in wool broadcloth, and a doublet in another broadcloth or hemp/linen canvas.  While the doublet is still in the works (but is actually being worked on!), I actually finished the round hose over a year ago; I just haven't had any motivation to write (acquiring a new, functional computer helped a bit, but that was purchased *mumble* months ago...).  Wish me luck on this...I'm well out of practice on writing at all, never mind project documentation; thankfully, I took a fair amount of notes...but not enough.

    The hose are, as said, made in common man's cloths and suitable for the tail end of the 1500s and into the 1600s..  Finding exemplars was more difficult than the norm for this period, as working class people aren't particularly popular subjects of paintings, and I additionally had a particular look in my head.  In the end, the Samuel Pepys's Cries of London was a major resource and inspiration for both the hose and doublet forms.

    The Cries of London is a particular genre of artwork which often dealt with the lower classes of various cities (e.g London, Bologna).  The term allegedly comes from the "Cries" or calls of the various traders as they tried to attract customers [Payne, abstract].  In the case of the examples collected by Samuel Pepys, the collection we know as gathered up to 100 years after publishing.  The actual artist of these is unknown, as is the original date, although based on fashion style I estimate this example is from last quarter of the 16th century.

From Spitalfields Life Blog

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

A Wild Irish(wo)man's Inar

A couple of months ago, my Donna and Pelican was asked to join the Order of Defense, the peerage for fencers in the SCA.

As she had nothing nice to wear for her elevation about 6 weeks later at Winter Coronet, we discussed options, and settled on 16th Century Irish (her Persona and mine) menswear--partly so she could borrow pieces from my wardrobe, and partly because the main outer layer really doesn't require much fabric.  So...I set to procrastinating.  For the better part of a month.  Not a big issue...even with handsewing an inar doesn't take much time, since there really aren't a lot of seams.

Photo by Twobears Photography
However, since it was for a special occasion I wanted the garment to be bling, and elected to try to keep my doing so a secret except from select support crew who were sewn to secrecy.