Creating a Persona: Starting Points

Persona Development– where to begin? The answer to this question is amazingly diverse.  It begins with, “what do you like?” and “what do you want?” and everything else will follow.

Case: a lovely member of the SCA is into spinning and weaving. She finds a particular period in which the methods and materials are well documented and dives into a new aspect of her passion for spinning. She learns to card weave to produce her own trim, which she is careful to match fiber to fiber so that everything shrinks at the same rate. She studies period methods of dyeing the fiber. She gets a small period correct loom. She makes some garb to go with this persona.

Case: a gentleman takes up the practices of Chivalry. He goes to fighter practice, loves it, and makes his own armor.  He stays with it, wearing the same simple t-tunic he sewed first. However, he discovers a book by Dr. Timothy Dawson titled, ARMOUR NEVER WEARIES SCALE AND LAMELLAR ARMOUR IN THE WEST FROM THE BRONZE AGE TO THE 19TH CENTURY.  He is hooked on lamellar armour.  He creates his own armor and that requires some new garb. He discovers Sartor, a fabric company that recreates period fabrics and gets a piece of brocade from his period and culture and uses it to trim his “court garb”. Suddenly his persona has begun to develop!

Case: a young college student comes to a garb session and sits down with some books that trace clothing styles through various time periods and cultures.  She spots a dress. THE dress, that dress that she wants bad enough to buy linen instead of cheaper cotton, and spend hours sewing.  The DRESS sets her time period and culture. From there she learns about the foods available and how they were preserved and joins the cooking guild. She even hunts down some herbs that were commonly used by her persona and grows them in pots on the window sill of her apartment.

murienne-corbeaudiscussing-headgear-at-laurel-prize-tourney-murienne-corbeau-and-mistress-kaitlyn

The photos are by Anna Maleine and were taken at the Laurel’s Prize Tourney in Ansteorra. This is the artisan Murienne Corbeau discussing her work with Mistress Kaitlyn.

My last case is me. I am fascinated by the writings of Early Christians.  In grad school the course was Patristics. The Cappadocian Fathers were incredible to read and fascinating to learn about. I wanted my persona to read, and to live where she could read early Christian writers like these.  So, Eastern Roman, 10th century during the reign of an emperor powerful enough to secure the borders and create peace enough for a reflowering of learning and art.

Geography, Culture, Art, Clothing, Armor, Method of fighting (rapier is later period), Equestrian, Fiber Arts, Ethnicity, Gardening, Cooking, Metal Working, Wood Working, Chivalry, Knights, Education, Books, Authors, Artists….the starting points are as varied as the amazing people who enter the SCA.

Have fun!

 

Awesome Byzantine Related References

Ate with Society for Creative Anachronism friends this weekend and had marvelous conversations with wonderful people. References came up during our conversations which led to my promising links and book references to each of them.

I will begin with the blogs for Byzantine clothing I like best.

Anachronistic and Impulsive: Anna’s Rome: A View of Ancient Rome and Byzantium in the Current Middle Ages

This is an absolutely awesome garb blog by a member of the SCA (a Maunche) who has just completed her dissertation on Byzantine Garb.  Her focus in her garb is just past my period, but she also does Ancient Roman, and knows her stuff.  I can say that because I have read so much that I know that she knows her stuff.  So, for Roman or Byzantine, this is the blog I send friends to read.

Then there is the blog by another knowledgeable lady of the SCA. She is an EARLY period Byzantine, so her persona and work tend to pre-date my period of Byzantine, but again, I send friends to this blog because she knows her stuff. Even more fun, she goes beyond garb into arts and sciences.

Konstantia Kaloethina

Konstantia Kaloethina is a Herald in the SCA, and makes jewelry. Really pretty jewelry that she generously describes and shares about on this blog.

Both of the above blogs are my favorite garb and etc. Blogs for Byzantine. I read them as soon as they post!  You can also find both these ladies on Facebook where they share a page they call BYZANTEAM.  I prefer the page BYZANTINE ARMY because the scholars there are amazing at sharing references (academic papers)  I would never find on my own, which I print out to read later, and am filling notebooks with, so I don’t lose them. They also are wonderful at locating the artwork and images for everything imaginable. I get more general clothing information from BYZANTINE ARMY,  than I do from Byzanteam.

I think I have shared these two blogs before on my blog. But I wanted to put them in the same post.

A Third website I like is better for male garb than female, is LEVANTIA.  This web site is general, and not as deep as I would like. His books are better than his web site. Still, he has interesting ideas, and strongly held opinions based on years of re-creating the culture for demonstrations and SCA.  His is one of those blogs that fits my short list of those I send people.

Lastly, there is this blog: 10th Century Byzantine.  I write here. I need to write more, to have greater discipline and to spend more time sharing my findings so others can benefit. But I like my blog, and its focus.  Someday I hope people will recommend mine with the same zeal I recommend the two blogs above–but I am not there yet. 🙂

These are where I start. Have fun!

 

Learning New Skills

Excitement! I am hoping to take a class at an Society for Creative Anachronism event this weekend on how to use embroidery to put carbochons on my clothing with thread. Very eager to learn this so I can decorate a fancy tunic with stones and pearls.

There are a whole lot of Inkle loom classes too. I hope to take at least one about card weaving and one about doing pick-up on my loom. Trouble is, I think I need more than one loom!

I won’t probably get to take them, but there will also be classes on creating the atmosphere with acting out your persona. Getting more people to “play” at events makes the fun greater for everybody. Historical accuracy for the garb between events, and creating a fantasy of the medieval period for playing at events. A place for all. I delight in historical details. Research is fun. I love reading about real life in the 10th Century.