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Previous Suggestions

"What Goes on Under a Sicilian Woman's Dress?" The Sixteenth Century "Trousseau of a Sicilian Bride" Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of New York, Costume Institute
Few undergarments from the sixteenth century exist, yet costume historians have many questions about what underclothing was worn, especially by women. The Metropolitan Museum of New York at the Costume Institute has in its study collection a set, virtually unused, consisting of two pairs of drawers, a pair of stockings, a chemise and several shirts. This lecture will summarize findings of an in-depth study of these garments, focusing on textile production, cut, construction and embellishment, as well as the origins of the collection. The pieces in the collection share many similarities, providing support for the theory that this collection for the most part was likely the product of one person's hands, which matches the provenance provided by the Museum. The lecture will discuss the unique features of each of the pieces as well. Many assumptions have been made about these garments, largely due to photographic or printing artifact; these assumptions will be demystified. We will conclude with a slide show of the photographs taken during the personal study of this collection.
Speaker: Kathy Page

Between a Swamp and a Wet Place: The Frisians 700 BC to 900 AD
This is a story about the power of a name and a landscape. Very few people have heard of the Frisians, presently or historically. They and their ancestors appear to have lived along the North Sea coast of what is now the Netherlands and Germany since 700 BC and continue to do so today. In that damp, marshy landscape the Frisians lived on little hills of mud and reeds to keep their feet dry and their renown cattle safe from the sea, defeated the Romans and the Franks and had a trade network across much of Europe. The instructor heard some of their great history going back to before recorded time from his grandfather (Pake in Frisian). But in doing the research for this class, the instructor found a different story. It's one about migrations, civilization-ending massive floods, widespread trade networks, and a fight over independence from outside interference - be it from Romans, Franks, Christianity, Angles and Saxons, or from Vikings. The only thing in the new story that remained constant is that there was a wet, miserable landscape known as Frisia and that anyone who lived in it were called Frisians. This class will attempt to look at the dangers of reconstructing an ethnicity from incredibly fragmented written sources and a confusing archaeological record when there is an intense desire to discover inalienable claims to a place and a name in a world bent on dividing people into neat boxes. Emphasis will be on the period 500-900 AD and focus on the rise and fall of the Frisians as the primary 'middlemen' of the North Sea.
Speaker: Gary Van Lingen

Black Death: A Tale of Two Interpretations
The traditional interpretation of the Black Death is quite familiar to many people: the infected rat begat the infected flea begat the infected human. This interpretation, once it displaced the then reigning interpretation based on miasmatic theory in the late nineteenth century, took hold and has tenaciously held on despite apparent problems with the model. Now, as new information and new techniques of modelling the spread of disease come to light, the traditional interpretation is under further scrutiny. This class will first illustrate the traditional explanation of the Black Death (almost universally though to be bubonic plague) including its rather large and very complex cycle of infection and how exogenous factors like climate change impact it. The class with then explain the competing interpretations that focus on contagious diseases with human-human transmission.
Speaker: Gary Van Lingen

Bodice fitting 101
Join diverse members of the D'Courci household in a hands-on fitting session. Participants will leave with a properly fitted toile, in the style of 1530's bodices, which can then be used to create a boned kirtle or corset. Fitting participation is limited to 5 participants, though others are welcome to watch. Fitting participants should bring 1-2 yards of inexpensive, tightly woven cloth ( e.g. broadcloth), and safety and straight pins.
Class is limited to 5 people.   
Speakers: Catherine Ollerhead DeSantis, Adrienne Dandy

Brief History of Pottery
This is intended to be a brief and biased slide show of interesting and relevant pottery styles up to 1650 AD. The intention is to showcase shapes and colours appropriate for use within the SCA time period. There are a few surprises and interesting deviations along the way.
Speaker: Karina Bates

Building a Viking Ship Model
A Boat for the Burning.
A ceremony of honour and respect for departed warrior, credited to the Norsemen, was the burning or burial of his ship at his death. Most often, it was a cremation, with the dead man's remains on board, though there seems to have been at least one instance in which a ship was buried with no body aboard--perhaps because the man was lost at sea. (Sutton Hoo Burial) In the SCA, we have begun an annual tradition of burning a boat in miniature, in memory of all those departed from among us. The ship is built in 1/12 scale, and, through its yearly incarnations, is slowly evolving to become closer to the style of construction of the true Viking longship. This class is a lecture on the problems and procedures used in the ship's construction. It should be of help to those wishing to create models of their own, or simply of interest to those wishing to learn of longship construction.
Speaker: Gary Snyder

Carders and Combs and Fibres, Oh My!
This is a hands on class to share tips and techniques of fibre preparation focusing on the use of hand carders and combs. Fleece selection, type and preparation will be discussed followed by the practical application of creating rolags and rovings, and blending fibres. Niddy noddies, nostepindes and other tools will be discussed along the way. Fleece will be provided. Please bring your own hand cards and combs as supplies are limited.
Speakers: Nina Bates, Sarah Hughes

Chainmail - Second Steps (2 hours)
Beyond the basics: mail is the most versatile, flexible armour ever developed. Able to be shaped to every part of the human form mail can also be the basis for wonderful jewelry. In this class some different chain patterns will be discussed. A basic understanding of mail is required. Bring two pair of pliers. This class has two teachers who will be offering two different areas of focus. In addition to more complex patterns with standard rings this session will explore the use of smaller rings, or precious metal rings in decorative patterns and jewelry.
Speaker: Jerry Penner

Chainmail for Beginners
Why was chainmail the ultimate armour for warriors for over a thousand years? So versatile, it is still in use today. Historical background, ‘how to’, and ‘hands on’. Please bring two pairs of pliers.
Speaker: Jerry Penner

Dance Music
One hour of jamming dance music from the Middle Ages. Experience with an instrument is necessary, but you don't have to be even 'semi-pro'. We'll just get together and play some tunes. All of the sheet music can be found here:Dance Music at the UW SCA server
Double Bransle, arranged by David Yardley
Horse's Bransle, David Yardley
Jenny Pluck Pears, Robert Stockton
Petit Vriens, Monica Cellio
and, if we're really good:
Wherligig, Phaedria
Speaker: Melanie Burrett

Dances from Tudor England
These are fun, easy dances reconstructed from a recently found manuscript. Dating from around 1500, these are the earliest known English dances. No prior dance experience is necessary.
Speakers: Richard Schweitzer, Sarah Scroggie

Dem Bones, Dem Bones, Dem Dry Bones
Our Keynote lecture on Osteoology and Archaeology.
Speaker: Dean Knight, Ph.D.

Ealdormere War College: In Armour Session (4 hours)
In armour. A combination of in armour classes, drills and melee fighting, all aimed at improving our melee skills and most importantly, having a blast. Bring armour bags to room 5 to armour up. SCA authorized fighters only.
Speaker: Ealdormere War College

Ealdormere War College: Small group Strategy & Tactics
In Class. How to formulate a plan of battle. We will cover the terminology associated with strategy and tactics, the building blocks to forming an efficient fighting force, executing your plans on the battlefield and the importance of an endgame. This class is aimed at those in the SCA that want to get a more in depth look at battle planning and is also aimed at those that enjoy table top wargames.
Speaker: Ealdormere War College

Flint and Steel Fire Striking
Learn how to build a fire, and light it using flint and steel. This will be a hands on course, where you'll get to try the techniques and practice making fire. Note that this involves "real fire", so breathing smoke and burning your fingers are potential dangers.
Speaker: Mark Patchett

Greenland and London Hose
Discussion of the ways (men's) legs have been covered in different locations and at different times, particularly the well fitted hose. What archeological and documentary evidence is there for each type and how can we make them to fit.
Speaker: Jo Duke

Herbal Workshop (2 hours)
In this two-hour workshop, we will discuss the use of humors and their application to not only herbology, but the lifestyle of people in the Middle Ages. Then, in groups, you will create your own recipe and make your own something or other. There is a three dollar fee with this course, but you will take home a good sample of your very own concoction. "O, mickle is the powerful grace that lies - In plants, herbs, stones and their true quantities. For naught so vile that on the earth doth live - But to the earth some special good doth give." William Shakespeare
There is a materials fee of $3 for this class.
Speaker: Paddy Gillard-Bentley

How do I find out about.... ?
Medieval and early post-medieval artefacts, technology, materials, food, social conditions, ballads, and just about anything else? There's a wealth of information out there, but much of it will not show up on Google, or at Chapters, or in your local library. This seminar will explore a variety of helpful sources, including archaeological reports, experimental archaeology, ethnographic sources, specialist journals, published medieval sources, archives of original (unpublished) sources, and a couple of specialized on-line resources. Most of the examples will be technology-related (mostly metals, 'cause that's what I do), but the approaches and collections of sources could be used for almost anything. The session will be aimed at those who already have some to extensive knowledge in their chosen field, but should benefit beginners as well.
Speaker: Ronald A. Ross, Ph.D.

How to make beaded snoods with nalbinding
Learn to make a delicate snood using the easy method of nalbinding
Class is limited to 15 people.   There is a materials fee of $1 for this class.
Speaker: Andrea Collis

Introduction to Book Binding
A short overview of supplies and techniques. Followed by the creating of a small multi page booklet.
Class is limited to 10 people.   There is a materials fee of $5 for this class.
Speaker: Melanie Robbins

Introduction to Glass Bead Making (2 hours)
This class will cover the style of bead making known as Lampwork. A history of bead making, their uses, and trade. The modern process of lampworking to make a bead will also be demonstrated.
Class is limited to 6 people.   There is a materials fee of $5 for this class.
Speaker: Jean Ross

Introduction to Latin (2 hours)
Become literate in the medieval sense—learn Latin! In two hours, I’ll take you through the basics of Latin – the structure of the language, how to decline nouns and adjectives and conjugate verbs, how to use prepositions and adjectives, how to pronounce words, and how to work with a Latin dictionary. You’ll emerge with the basics to help you construct or translate mottoes or other short phrases and pointers to resources that will help you continue to learn on your own.
Speaker: Susan Carroll-Clark, Ph.D.

Introduction to the SCA
Calling all newbies! This class will cover everything that you could possibly want to know about the SCA, and will be geared to the interests and experience level of the participants. You will also recieve a booklet to take home with you.
Speaker: Grace Carr

Introductory Pewter
This is a hands on course. Come with an idea for a button, pendant or belt stud and leave with it in your hand.
Speaker: Richard Schweitzer

Let's talk about Vikings
Stump the expert(s). Here is your chance to meet our most experienced Viking Era researcher with many of his research materials ready to hand. Ask your questions, collect references, share your own opinions!
Speaker: Darrell Markewitz

Lucet Braiding
Beginner Lucet braiding, non turned method. If you've tried lucet braiding and get tangled up or forget which way you turned it or if you turned it this class is for you. I will teach you how to braid without turning the lucet - it stays still.
Class is limited to 8 people.   There is a materials fee of $5 for this class.
Speaker: Tina Gaston

Material Culture in the Late Period Home
This class will talk about the "Stuff" that could be found in the late period domestic sphere. we will talk about what material culture is, how to find out what kinds of objects were used in period, and how to find reproduction items for reenactment. The class will focus on Western European material culture.
Speaker: Stephanie E. Nyhof-Demoor

Musical Instruments in Medieval Times
Author and teacher Jim Arnold will present a hands-on music workshop. Attendees will hold, examine and strum a harp, lute, psaltery and lyre, and learn interesting facts about these instruments. Try playing a medieval drum and a hammered dulcimer. Witness how a medieval pipe organ works. Jim presents a similar workshop to grade 4 classes throughout Southern Ontario. His website is at Folklore Music.
This workshop will be of particular interest to elementary school students and teachers.
Class is limited to 15 people.   
Speaker: Jim Arnold

This will be a hands on class aimed at beginners, no previous experience necessary. All the basics will be covered such as how to get started, consistant tension, and joining on new yarn. Children 8 and older welcome. If you have yarn (preferably wool) and a tapestry needle please bring them, some will be available for use.
Class is limited to 8 people.   
Speaker: Christine Olliffe

Norse Sagas for Adults
A survey of the bawdy, bloody, bizzare world of the Norse sagas. This class is not suitable for all listeners. Audience discretion is advised.
Speaker: Richard Schweitzer

Old Norse Poetry Basics - Advanced
Introduction to rhyme and meter in Skaldic Poetry. Based on Snorri's Edda and the First Gramatical Treatise.
Speaker: V.M. Roberts

Plants and Stones
An introduction to Medicinal Herbology. A discussion on how to get started, cautions, a bit about growing/harvesting of herbs, and a sampler of the magic of stones and what they were used for in the middle ages...both healing, and elsewise.
Speaker: Paddy Gillard-Bentley

Poetry Open Forum (2 hours)
Are you interested in poetry? Then come to this open forum where you can listen to poetry, read poetry, write poetry, and generally talk poetry. This is the perfect environment to exchange ideas, tricks of the trade, play some poetry games and maybe even learn learn something new.
Speaker: Danute Dorion

Portraits and Clothing Design
16th century portraits as an inspiration for costumers. A wide ranging assessment of 16th century portraiture viewed with attention to clothing details.
Speaker: Catherine Ollerhead DeSantis

Renaissance Era Dance
Come and sweat to the real oldies! A survey of easy dances from a variety of European countries and from the late 14th century to the mid 17th century will be taught. No partner necessary!
Speaker: David Learmonth

Romanesque Garment Construction - Practicum (2 hours)
This class will start with a brief overview of the major styles of clothing in the 12th century. From there we will discuss materials and construction methods. The bulk of the class will be devoted to developing patterns for the students’ chosen style(s) and dealing with fitting issues. Pencils and graph paper will be provided. If students have a particular project in mind, they are encouraged to bring fabric and supplies. The teacher may be contacted in advance for guidance if needed: eliskimo AT rogers DOT com
Speaker: Elise Kingston

Scholasticism & the Rise of Science in the Middle Ages
Conventional wisdom has it that the Middle Ages were a period of technological and philosophical backwardness that were broken only by the Renaissance, which then allowed the breakthroughs of the Scientific Revolution in the 17th century. This theory has serious flaws which need to be re-examined. This class will spend some time defining the philosophical roots of science and then looking at how both the breaking of the \“Greek barrier\” in the 11th & 12th centuries, and the growth of Scholastic movement (and the subsequent establishment of the European university system) contributed to the Rise of Science.
Speaker: Elise Kingston

SilverPoint Drawing
Learn to draw in the style of the Renaissance master draughtsmen. Drawing with a silver stylus on a prepared surface. A hands on drawing workshop with bibliographic notes and explanations of how to prepare the materials.
Speaker: J Caz Bentley

So you want to buy a Sword...
Forged or ground? Alloy or Iron? Oven Hardened or Eye Tempered? How about the Polish? But what is the best way to design and construct a working sword? It looked so good on that E-bay listing, but now that you have it in your hands... Join professional blacksmith and blade maker Darrell Markewitz for a look at both historic objects and modern practice. We will look at just what all that technical language REALLY means, and separate the hype from the history. The intent is to provide a working guide for the purchaser or the first time blade maker.
Speaker: Darrell Markewitz

Stained Glass (2 hours)
An evaluation of stained glass techniques used by early medieval and renaissance stained glass artisans. Topics covered will include: glass manufacture, colours available, methods of assembly, and techniques of painting and firing. Some demonstration of assembly techniques is included as part of the class.
Speaker: J Caz Bentley

Tablet Weaving - Advanced
This class is for those individuals who have some experience with tablet weaving or who have attended the introductory class. Observers are more than welcome.
Speaker: Rob Schweitzer

Tablet Weaving for Beginners (2 hours)
A hands-on introduction to tablet weaving. The participants will be shown how to string up a loom, as well as a few basic techniques and patterns. Observers are more than welcome.
Speaker: Rob Schweitzer

Take this bodice and...
Now that you've drafted your ~1530's bodice, what can you make with it? This class will take a "from the dummy out" look at the layers of Court, Noble, and Yoeman clothing, and discuss the different ways to construct a kirtle or corset with the drafted bodice to then create the desired look.
Speaker: Adrienne Dandy

The First Abolition of Slavery: Queen Bathildis & the Manumission Movement
In 649 King Clovis II of the Franks married an Anglo-Saxon former slave named Bathildis. She was exemplary Queen and used her station and patronage in many of the usual ways, giving donations to churches and abbeys. However she also spent considerable money buying the freedom of slaves and actively worked to suppress the slave-trade in the realm. During her time as Regent for her minor son, she abolished the trade altogether. Eventually, slavery disappeared almost completely in Europe (notable exceptions being Iberia and Scandinavia), only to be re-introduced in 15th century. This class will examine why.
Speaker: Elise Kingston

Veistu hvé fáa skal? Viking age colour aesthetics - Intermediate
A look at the colour aesthetics of the Viking Age Norsefolk, based on archaeological and literary evidence (no practical dying). Most of the information is drawn from sources other than textiles, and relates to more than just textiles, although clothing colours will be the main focus. This is intended as a companion class to the various discussions and projects using dye-analysis of archaeological textiles and experimental dying. The approach will bypass some of the limitations of dye-analysis of historical textiles, and try to flesh out that information as much as possible. As such, the discussion will tend to focus more on the subtleties of colour, and possible mordant-dye combinations.
Speaker: V.M. Roberts

Viking Era Pastimes
"It's all fun and games when someone loses an eye!"
Actually, Norse pastimes tended to be a little less violent than that. This class will cover the basic rules of Tafl, as well as examining other past-times that can be used to fill those long hours of leisure time.
Speaker: Neil Peterson

Warp-Weighted Loom - Discussion
Introduction to weaving on a warp-weighted loom. Discussion of reconstructing how to work on a warp-weighted loom. Teacher will have her loom available for demonstration.
Speaker: Karen Peterson

When Humans Met the Sea: The Historical Geography of Land Reclamation in the Netherlands, 300 BC to 1700 AD
When first encountered, the area presently known as the Netherlands was largely tidal flats, salt water marshes and peat bogs that stretched from Belgium to Germany and which was regularly flooded from both the sea and the rivers. Despite this, human endeavors made it hospitable enough to host some of the highest densities of population in Europe by the first century AD. But high sea levels caused widespread desertion by 500 AD and between 800 AD and 1250 AD a profound loss of land surface, forcing a change in how to preserve what land remained. The new land management system involved massive earthworks and innovative use of windmills and was quite successful, fueling what would become the 'Golden Age' of the Netherlands between 1550-1750. Yet this human intervention, while saving the land, ultimately doomed it by causing subsidence of the land itself, placing much of the area below sea level and at great risk of catastrophic flooding. This class will look at the emergence of this human mediated landscape through its technology and social organization and how such interventions have created new problems that threaten the Netherlands today.
Speaker: Gary Van Lingen

Who were the Samurai?
A study of the history, development and philosophies, as well as the influences on these most popular warriors of Japan.
Speaker: Brendan Smith

Writing Period Music
This is a practical discussion of writing new music that approximates that produced in the medieval and renaissance periods. Norse songs, English rounds and ballads and Renaissance dance music will be explored. Anyone attending will become a composer before they leave.
Speaker: Richard Schweitzer

Contact us if you have any questions or suggestions