Reflecting on 2022 and Planning for 2023

It’s come to the end of the year and I’m wondering, what have I accomplished? It feels like there hasn’t been much, but that can’t be true.

In January, I was still Consort’s Champion of A&S.

February saw my last addition to Meet the Artist Mondays. I also co-autocratted the East Goes East (a virtual event which received a commendation from the BOD) and taught two classes at the event.

In March, I completed a scroll for my successor and stepped down as Champion. I also represented the East at Gulf Wars in the A&S Champions War Point, and learned I can completely hand sew a kosode in less than 24 hours.

At Coronation in April, I began retaining for the Royals and displayed my 24 hour kosode. At the Feast of Fools event I was named First Poet of Carolingia. Later that month I performed a tanka at a bardic challenge.

May saw me inducted into The Barony of Carolingia’s Order of the Moon, an A&S award.

In June I created an AOA award document. It didn’t go out, as the person missed court, but they may have it by now, I should check with the Signet.

In July I finished several pieces of garb for TRMs. This was specifically for Opening Ceremonies at Pennsic. I created 3 kosode for HerRM and a bonus obi, and a kosode and obi for HisRM. I also taught 3 classes at GNEW.

August was spent prepping the Genji Project for release. There is so much behind the scenes work in this project’s ongoing presentation.

September saw my Genji Project come to life and take over my life.

In October my channel exploded to over 100 subscribers.

November saw the Genji Project steaming along and I also successfully completed the annual #TankaChallenge. And I wrote a book of poetry. Hopefully that will go to press soon.

It’s now December and I’m still excited about my Genji Project. I’m learning a tremendous amount and trying to share that through my videos. It’s a grueling schedule, and I’ll admit to being behind, but it’s so satisfying to share Genji with the world like this.

Throughout this year I have continued to write a tanka everyday and share them on Facebook. I’ve also struggled with keeping on track with my language studies and samurai training. And I’m disappointed in having to turn down my last scribal assignment. My last outstanding item is a sewing project. I volunteered my sewing skills for the auction to benefit TRMs. I have a lined ginu and a pair of shortened nagabakama to make as soon as I can.

In the next year, I plan to continue writing tanka everyday and to keep working on my Genji Project, one chapter at a time. Once my auction items are complete, my sewing will focus only on mending and prepping for Pennsic. I also plan to focus on samurai training. The only two events I know I’m going to are Birka in January and Pennsic in July/August. And I want to fight at Pennsic. If I can get a good routine going, I’ll pick up a backlog scroll assignment. Oh, and I want to host a virtual monthly A&S night for my Barony.

I certainly have plenty to keep me busy in the new year. And I’m satisfied with what I’ve accomplished this year. It really helped to list everything. I feel that I have done enough.

Pursuing Opportunities

A friend sent a private message to me with an opportunity. Write 21 poems in 21 days and the company will publish a book of your poetry to be available through them and Amazon. Royalties and all rights remain with the author, and the buy in was fairly small. And it started in 2 days.

How could I not?

So I wrote a book. The Path: 21 Tanka. My first book of poetry. I say first because I already have plans for another. But for this first book, it took a day to come up with a concept. I knew I didn’t want 21 random poems. Several themes presented themselves to my imagination. My first idea is being reserved for book number two. My next idea struck like lightning and another option came along after having written out the first. I went with the lightning strike.

I was able to use previous work (some published on social media in my daily tanka posts) in combination with new (never published) material. Once I had the poems in order, I asked a friend to look it over. She offered the feedback I needed, and I was left with something I’m very proud of.

I don’t know when it will be available for sale just yet, but I’m really excited for it.

YouTube

So it’s been two weeks. The channel is growing and the Genji Project is taking up most of my free time. I’ve even added to my studio gear with a pair of soft box lights.

Keeping up with the channel is quite a bit of work. And I’m dreading part of it. Advertising. No, I’m no where close to monetizing the channel, that’s unlikely to ever happen. And I don’t mean posting to facebook about new videos, that’s easy. There’s another place. A perfect place.

I’m a member of a google group, Pre Modern Japanese Studies. Other YouTube channels have been shared to the group, so I know it would be ok to post there, these people are exactly the right audience. But I’m terrified. I’ve seen posts that Royall Tyler has commented on. ROYALL TYLER. Genji translator. My favorite Genji Translator. He’s in this group and might see what I’m doing. This group is full of serious academics, and I’m incredibly intimidated. I know I need to do it. And I will, but for another few minutes I’m just going to be scared about it.

Getting Started

It’s official. The Genji Project is in full production. Here’s a link to the first video: The Genji Project: Announcement Video

I am so proud of how this project is shaping up. I’ve been dreaming about this project for years. In 2020, I started it and then set it aside for my Travelling Outfit.

Initially this project was very narrow. Read the book. Pull the clothing references. Done. But I dreamed of ever expanding ideas of how to approach the text, and interrogated what it really was I wanted out of the project. I decided to embrace the scope creep. In 2020 I got started. I created this website, a facebook page, and a YouTube channel. I wrote the first 5 or 6 scripts, even filmed a little. And then stopped to focus on the Travelling Outfit.

As I was gearing back up for this project, I reevaluated my timeline, the scope, the goals, and am finally happy with my approach.

The new and improved plan is this: I’m reading 5 translations of Genji: Suematsu, Waley, Seidensticker, Tyler and Washburn. Yes, at the same time. I’m hoping that this will maximize my understanding.  Washburn wrote “it is only through multiple translations of brilliantly complex and historically influential narratives like Genji monogatari that we can ‘get at’ a source work in another language…” There is a great deal to be learned from the subtle and not so subtle differences in the translations. I also hope to make the project more approachable for you this way. Pick the translation you like or have access to and join in. I’ll make a video for each chapter where we’ll compare the translations, talk about the plot, discuss some of the seasonal and cultural references and specifically examine colour in regards to clothing. 

And then there’s Poetry. Poetry in Heian Japan was a fundamental part of court culture. It deserves its own space. So I decided to make a concurrent series with the Genji project videos – Waka Wednesdays, waka meaning “poem in Japanese”. In a video on alternating Wednesdays I’ll share and discuss a poem from our current research project and one I write inspired by the week’s reading. The Genji Monogatari contains 795 poems to explore in 54 chapters.

As a part of this project, I’m creating a video each week. On alternating Sundays I’ll release a new Genji video and on the Wednesdays in between I’ll release a Waka Wednesday video. This means the project will take just over two years to complete. At the end, I’ll have not only read but truly examined the Tale of Genji and should have a database of poetic terms, copious notes on clothing, and a deeper understanding of the Heian period. It should be fun. And a decent challenge. 

Care to join me?

Gearing Up

I have a long list of possible projects, things that I would really like to make or do. And things get added to that list with frequency. And sometimes a project that has been relegated to obscurity for years announces suddenly, “it’s time!” But as I look ahead, I’d like to decide what gets priority.

Focusing in is hard, especially when there are so many different things I really want to do. The beauty of this blog is that it forces me to really interrogate my choices, because I’m sharing them.

I want to choose projects, perhaps time projects so that I can manufacture my own joy as I progress on the path I’ve chosen. I need to pick things that make me happy and work toward my goals. My SCA goals are first and foremost, to continue to explore the Heian period through it’s clothing, material culture and literature; second, to fight in the Empire of the Sun Battle at Pennsic 50; third, have fun while doing it.

Obviously my “Samurai” Training is an ongoing project. But I need to do more to prioritize it, to actually get in armor and fight.

I will continue to write tanka, everyday.

I’m still working on starting The Genji Project in earnest. I have the announcement video filmed, I just need to edit and upload it.

Those three are my main focus right now.

But of course, there are minor things brewing too. And these have deadlines. Or, a deadline. I want to make one new outfit for my partner and a new uwagi for myself. Both of these projects were conceived long ago, and the uwagi is even already cut out. Both will be large challenges, and I’d like to have them ready for Birka in January.

I’ve also submitted my Pilgrimage and Power class to Daigaku-ryō: Pan Asia University happening October 14-16, 2022. I’m considering turning the handout into a slideshow to better suit the digital format, and I plan to record the class if at all possible.

There are some completed projects! Clothing for Their Majesties of the East was made and sent to Pennsic via a friend. I spent at least 70 hours on that project as I also listened to the Dennis Washburn translation of The Tale of Genji while I made it, I highly recommend the audiobook for its accessibility. It’s a compelling 72+ hours worth every moment spent. An award document/scroll was finished, but it didn’t seem to go out, so I can’t share it yet.

A Roman Inspired Scroll

A document in landscape orientation. The top half of the document is latin text in calligraphy. The bottom half of the document is a painted roman mosaic. There are two peacocks, heads toward center, flanking the badge of the A&S Champions of the East Kingdom, a rampant blue tiger holding a candle. The mosaic background is gold, and all three charges are in rectangular boxes with graduated blue borders.
Ink, pencil, and gouache on pergamenata.

After I learned that my award scrolls for the past reign (Consort’s Champion of A&S and Order of the Maunche) had been backlogged, I had an idea. I wanted to create the document for my successor, the new Consort’s Champion of Arts and Sciences. It seemed like a beautiful end to my tenure as Champion, going out with with Art as Service. I reached out to the Sovereign’s Champion, who is also a scribe, and suggested that we make the award scroll documents for our successors. He loved the idea, volunteered to coordinate with the Signet’s Office, and suggested that our documents not “match” but instead make something in our own style.

I don’t know that I have a scribal style yet. I tend to do something new each time. And I was determined to come up with something. And while I’d love to create a Heian inspired scroll, it’s not right. This is the scroll where the Consort of the East chooses Her Champion. So I decided the document should be inspired by Empress Honig, the One choosing Her champion. It gave me the opportunity to create a piece of art inspired by and for Her Majesty to present. I also wanted this scroll to be something Empress Honig would be proud of as a Laurel who specializes in illumination. Her Majesty had styled Her reign Roman. My immediate thought was to mimic a roman mosaic. Her Majesty’s personal arms include a peacock, so I set off in search of peacock mosaics.

I examined so very many mosaics of peacocks. And also borders of mosaics. A neat tidbit from my research, I learned that bird feathers were quite often rendered in glass rather than stone.

I liked this Peacock from Antioch the best.

A mosaic of a peacock facing left, standing on a branch with a pomegranate on it.
Detail of a peacock in the border of the mosaic of Opora, Argos and Oinos dining dating to the 3rd century AD. Found in the House of the Psyches in the Daphne suburb of Antioch. Reg. no. 1937.127 [On display in the Baltimore Museum of Art.]

You can find it here: http://users.stlcc.edu/mfuller/antiochMosaicsBaltimore4.html 

The initial idea I had was a document oriented in a landscape position. Two peacocks (as it’s Her Majesty’s second reign) facing each other. Between the two peacocks, two oval or round badges, stacked, with the Consort’s arms as the top image and the A&S badge the bottom. Simple borders “line” the images into a “unified” mosaic. Words would be above the image in a rectangular block.  After playing with digital layouts, I settled on a similar design, placing the two badges side by side instead of stacked.

Digital mock up, two peacocks flankinf the arms of the Queen of the East Kingdom, left center and the badge for the A&S Champion, right center
My design process always includes a mock up. This was a quick version made in Paint.

And then I began to wonder about the words. A Roman inspired scroll should probably be in Latin. I immediately thought to contact Domina Fortunata, who has a talent for both Latin and wordsmithing, and was delighted when she consented to assist. We discussed how I felt to have been chosen as Consort’s A&S Champion, and how artistry can move the heart of the Empress. She composed beautiful words in a Latinate prosody style that encapsulate the idea I was trying to describe.

The words in Latin:

Narrete nobis, O Musae, historiam herois. Impartite quae cogitonem artificis semetipse Imperatricem Orientalis iniecit; velut Pygmalionem Galatea, Sapientia philosophos, Daedalo Innovatio iniecerunt. Ante diem tertium Nonas Martii, in anno quinquagesimo sexto ab Societate condita, decernitur <Insert name here> Heroem Reginae Artibus et Scientiis

And the translation:

O Muses, tell us the story of a hero. Impart some knowledge of the artist who inspired the Empress of the East; like Galatea inspired Pygmalion, as Reason inspired philosophers, as Innovation inspired Daedalus. Three days before the Nones of March in the 56th year from the founding of the Society, <Insert name here> is declared Queen’s Champion of Arts and Sciences. 

I chose to do  the calligraphy in what David Harris calls “square capitals” in his text The Calligrapher’s Bible. It dates to the 4th century. After I taught myself the hand, it was time to put pencil, ink, and gouache to pergamenata.

I started by drawing out the lines for the calligraphy and the block outlines of the images.

half lines for calligraphy, half blocks to mark the boundaries of the mosaic, pencil on pergamenata

After some practice on a piece of perg (I was previously practicing on artist paper, the difference is astounding, perg being a much smoother surface, the pen glides on it!) I then did the calligraphy with a dip pen.

The same document. The lines are now filled with calligraphy. It is Latin written in square capitals.

After the calligraphy was complete, I painted a practice piece on the same perg I practiced the calligraphy with most of the mosaic image; one peacock, the Queen’s arms and the A&S Champion’s badge, Sparky, the blue tiger, holding a lit candle. The faux tiling looked good, but the Queen’s arms looked absolutely awful. While I was debating what to do, the Sovereign’s Champion shared his progress with me. I noticed that he didn’t include the King’s arms on his document and knew exactly what to do. I decided to omit the Queen’s arms from my document. And I’m so glad I did.

I redid the pencil outline for the mosaic blocks and instantly felt confidant in the design choice. It was more balanced. It looked more like the hundreds of images of mosaics I poured over.

The same document. Now the blocks outlined for the mosaic are shifted with the center block being less wide, and the flanking blocks on left and right slightly wider.

I then traced the charges using my light pad. The document remained taped to the light pad until complete to alleviate any warping that might occur while painting. I do this with all my scrolls made with pergamenata.

The same document. Inside the blocks are now the outlines of the badge of the A&S Champion in center and peacocks flanking it

And added some guiding border detail.

The same document. lines added to the borders of the mosaic blocks

As to the technique for painting a mosaic style scroll, I drew process inspiration from Magistra Audrye Beneyt’s mosaic scroll for Gauis Claudius Valerianus, Her advice on this project was invaluable. The process is basically to paint in the broad swaths of not very well blended color and then go back with a particular color and paint each tiny little grout line. Thousands of tiny squares.

First I painted the background color.

The same document. The background of the three animal charges is painted yellow.

Then the border. I chose shades of blue to keep a very blue and gold East Kingdom populace colors theme and add unity between the peacocks, Sparky and the border.

The same document. The borders are painted in shades of blue, darkest on the outside and inside fading to white in the center.

Continuing with the blue, I painted Sparky and the peacocks.

The same document. Charges now have blue paint applied to Sparky (the A&S badge) and both peacock bodies with some blue details in their tail feathers

A dark brown for the peacock’s legs.

The same document. Dark brown paint added to the peacock legs

Some peachy pink feathers. The feathers are one block/tile high.

The same document. Peachy pink added to peacock tail feathers.

Then the darker red shades and other detail.

The same document. Dark red added to peacock tail feathers, greens and oranges added in small spots on the bird's body

Sparky’s tongue and the candle flame.

The same document. Detail of the Champions badge, the tongue and flame of the candle are now red.

And then I started the grout lines.

The same document. Detail of the left peacock with grouting lines starting to be applied in tiny squares

I finished one peacock.

The same document. Detail of left peacock with grouting complete. The peacock has a kind of grid laid over the image to mimic mosaic tiling

And continued on to Sparky.

The same document. Grout work has spread to the center charge of the Champions badge, a little more than 1/3 done
The same document. Detail showing the completed left peacock and central Champion's badge

And finally finished it.

The same document. It is now complete with grouting being painted over all tree charges/mosaic blocks.

My hearty congratulations to The Honorable Lady Ysabel da Costa, the new Queen’s Champion of Arts and Sciences. It was a privilege to create this award document.

Event-ing Season

I’ve been able to attend several events.

The East Goes East – was a rewarding event to autocrat/schedule. Their Royal Highnesses attended, and much to my surprise, They even sat in on one of my classes. It was such a deep honor. And speaking of honors, Lady Patience Faircloth and I received a commendation from the Board of Directors of the SCA for the event. I was floored. We have discussed the possibility of making it an annual event.

Aisles of March / Crown’s A&S Championship – In what will be a recurring theme, I did not complete the items I wanted to for this event for myself. Eventually I’ll make a hiogi (wooden fan) but it has not happened yet. I did complete the scroll/document for the next Queen’s Champion of Arts and Sciences. The next blog post will be its write up.

A document in landscape orientation. A block of text in latin takes up the top half of the image, the lower half is a mosaic painting, two peacocks, heads to center, flanking the badge of the Champion of A&S, a left facing blue rampant tiger holding a candle
Award document for the new Queen’s Champion of Arts and Sciences. Ink, pencil and gouache on pergamenata.

I was very emotional stepping down. I didn’t cry in public, but it was incredibly difficult to let that position go. I am quite in awe of the project submitted by the new Queen’s Champion. It was a deep honor to be in the room consulting with Their Majesties and Highnesses regarding the next Champions. I am so very grateful for my time as Champion and the work I was able to do to inspire the Arts.

Gulf Wars in Gleann Abhann – This is a 22 hour drive one way. For this trip, 9 of those hours were through heavy snowstorms. I don’t know why I decided that driving straight through was the right idea, but that’s just what I did. We arrived early enough to get on site and set up camp, but with the temperatures predicted in the high 20s and weary from the drive, we stuck to the original plan and a hotel was procured. Our tent heater got a workout as it was in the low 30s the next night on site. I spent the majority of my free time sewing, even staying up through the night and sewing for nearly for 24 hours straight to finish the items for the Champions A&S Competition. I was very pleased with the work I did. But there was disappointment at the A&S Competition. Of course I wanted to win for the Glory of the East Kingdom, but that did not happen, and that’s ok. It was my first in person A&S competition, and there was definitely a learning curve. I did get some confusing and even angering comments from my judges that made it clear they did not have the time to read my documentation. I’m puzzling over ways to make it easier to get into the documentation for future competitions. I’m also very grateful for the Laurel who took me aside after the competition to talk me down and help me reframe the competition. I didn’t know if camping/eventing would complicate it, but I was able to continue writing and posting poetry the entire time. My partner and I did decide to leave the event a day early (there was a minor flooding issue) and the drive home was very relaxed. This event was also the 19th anniversary with my partner, we met at Gulf Wars.

Gathering of Fools – was a pot luck local event. I made two lovely Japanese dishes, a carrot and daikon salad and a shitake mushroom dish. I was astonished when I was called into court and made the First Poet of Carolingia. Her Excellency Carolingia presented me with her own quill, tied with a beautiful silk ribbon to mark my new office.

Coronation – was a beautiful event. I displayed the kosode that I sewed at Gulf Wars and retained for the first time officially. I was also able to process in with the new Royals in evening court. This was the first time that I was able to wear my travelling outfit at an event.

Balfar’s Challenge – gave me another chance to retain for TRMs. I spent a lot of time chatting with friends and meeting new people. And I also learned that the makeup I wear is not adequate in preventing sunburn.

East Kingdom College of Performers Challenge Assembly and Schola was a delightful Bardic event that I attended with Her Excellency Carolingia. I took a few classes and performed a tanka. It was a beautifully relaxing day, if a little warm.

Otter’s Welcome was the Barony of Carolingia’s event to welcome newcomers. I had a ferocious migraine, and showed up late, but eventually found where I was supposed to be to set up for the Largesse Derby. I spent most of the day speaking with Mistress Cathain who was watching over the A&S display. In court I was inducted into the Order of the Moon, the Barony of Carolingia’s A&S award. Just before court, His Excellency Master Aquel presented me with a small box. inside were two beads, a beautiful glass bead, and an astonishing carved bone netsuke charm in the shape of a tiger eating it’s tail. The gift was presented with a directive to carve my own inro, a decorative case used to hold small objects that usually hangs from the obi/belt.

War of the Roses did not happen for me. That migraine I had at Otter’s was actually a COVID symptom. Luckily no one seems to have gotten ill from spending time with me at that event. I did not complete the items I wanted to for this event either, even if I couldn’t go. Every time I approach making myself something other than Japanese garb, I freeze up. I know how to make these things, I just can not picture myself actually wearing anything other than Japanese. So I guess there’s no point in making any of it. I do still need to make a few non Japanese items for my partner, a Viking under tunic and pants, and a late period shirt and doublet. We also discovered at Gulf Wars that he really prefers more simple garb, so I’m devising ways to make the ties on his hakama much easier and will be revising all the sleeves on his kosode.

As much as I would love to go to every event I can, that is just not currently financially feasible. I’m grateful for the 8 events I’ve had so far this year. I plan on 1 in July, Great Northeastern War; 1 in September, Falling leaves, though I’d love to attend Ducal Challenge to see the former Sovereign’s A&S Champ be inducted into the Order of the Laurel; and 1 in November, St Eligius Arts and Sciences Competition. I will consider Coronation and Crown list once they are scheduled. Unless circumstances change, this will be it for the rest of the year.

Beyond events, I have a few active projects…

TRMs Garb is “due” this month. I may need to ask for another two weeks, as I lost two weeks to COVID.

New Scroll! I actually turned down the next assignment I was offered. I was asked to make the Bardic Champions’ documents, and really would have loved to do it, but I was planning to compete and thought that would be a little weird. This assignment is an AoA. Luckily the gentle has an East Kingdom wiki page, so I can easily pull the information I need that was not included by the person who recommended them. This document has a quick turn around, and will need to be completed by the end of June so that someone can hand deliver it to the event on July 1st. There’s no way I can give up the time required to mail it. And I’m loathe to mail scrolls/document anyway.

Samurai Training – I’ve picked this back up. I’ve been attending Fighter Practice and doing daily drills. I need to get my armor together so I can actually start sparring.

Genji Project – I’ve now talked to a number of people about this project, and I think I’ve worked up the courage and cleared my project schedule. I’ve decided to start in July. I’ll do a write up of the project to officially announce it. And there will be other happenings. This will also mean more frequent updates to the blog to follow along with the project.

And I have a completed project:

100 Days of A&S – At last, a completed project. I spent at least 15 minutes, every day for 100 days doing something A&S related. Usually this was writing a tanka, but it was also work done to support A&S at events and studying Japanese, sewing and researching and teaching classes. I’ll admit this was an easy project, and that it continues as I am still writing tanka, every day.

Deadlines

Oh dear. I didn’t mean to let January get away from me, but it did. I spent it moving back into good habits.

I’ve been writing tanka, everyday. And I’ve picked back up my daily studying of Japanese. Still coming up short on my samurai training, but I do manage some small amount of stretching or exercise most days. And I found a potential armorer for when I purchase my first full kit. He’s currently working on my partner’s kabuto (helm).

I now have more projects (I know, I know) and firm deadlines. I’ll lay it out.

February 7th. My last contribution to Meet the Artist Monday.

February 19th. This is the day of The East Goes East, the virtual event that I am co-autocratting. I’ve been hard at work confirming classes, answering questions and creating the class schedule. I have a number of things that still have to be done for this, mostly advertising and communicating with teachers, and including slide-shows for my classes which need updating! I plan to do a run through of my classes as well.

March 5th. This is the day of the East Kingdom’s Crown’s A&S Championship. For this I would like to complete my karaginu and hiogi in order to wear full karaginu mo for the first time when I step down as Champion. I also have a scroll assignment due at the event. I have the research complete and a possible layout designed. I’m also working with a wordsmith (someone who crafts the words of the scroll). I intend to do the calligraphy myself, but have a couple of calligraphers in mind if I can’t accomplish it. I also intend to contact someone who has made a similar scroll for advice. And there’s also the secret project. I have all the materials I need for these projects.

March 10th. I’ve decided to attend Gulf Wars in Gleann Abhann (specifically in Hattiesburg, MS). I generally have enough garb as I was headed to Gulf Wars (and an hour from site) in 2020 when the pandemic closed the US down. but I do have a few things on the agenda to do: (1) Complete travelling outfit 2.0 to be entered into the A&S Championship. This requires a kosode, kyohan (leg protectors), and a kake-obi. I have all the materials for this. (2) Make a linen asetori (undergarment/sweat wicking garment) I’ll need to order linen. (3) Fix my partner’s hakama; the ties need to be redone. (4) A Viking undertunic and a pair of pants for my partner (also requires linen to be ordered). (5) Pretty cloth masks to go over our kn-95s. (6) Inventory/Organize Wardrobe and pack garb.

April 7th. I have a potential commission due. The proposal goes out this weekend.

May 25th. The time travel outfits. One full Viking and one full 16th century Scots ensembles for me, and a new doublet for my partner.

June. I’m part of the team making the wardrobe for Their Royal Highnesses. My contribution is due in June.

Annotated Bibliography will happen over time.

Eboshi (hat) happens when it happens.

Still dragging my feet on starting the Genji Project. I have revised it, and I now think it is best spread out a bit over two years. The 1 year timeline was just not feasible with all I want to do. And that’s just fine. I’ve also listened to the librivox recording for the fifth time. The recording is of the translation by Suematsu Kencho, the first to translate it into English, but it’s just the first 17 chapters (there are 54), and it’s not exactly faithful to the original. He states in his introduction that he has cut bits out. Still worthwhile. I learn something new with each listen, and have purchased the paperback.

So there’s a lot to do…

Picking Up the Project List

Now that we’ve reflected on the year, it’s time to get set for the next. Shall we start with reviving the old project list? Perhaps a list by type of project? Or prioritized by deadline? Hmm. I think we’ll just go by how they pop into my head.

Travelling Outfit 2.0 – this needs a kosode and a kake-obi. While I still haven’t decided about the sleeves (whether or not to remove the “extensions”), I have the materials for the other two items. This has no hard deadline, but would be best if it was ready for spring.

Karaginu Mo – I would like to wear full court dress at the upcoming Crown’s A&S Champions. This requires amending the karaginu I was gifted so that it has a lining. Deadline is the event, but it hasn’t been scheduled yet. Depending on when it is held, I’ll be wearing either hana tachibana (flowering mandarin orange) or yamabuki no nioi (scent of kerria rose) as those are the only appropriate kasane (color combinations) that I can make with my current wardrobe.

Hiogi – wearing full court dress requires the appropriate fan. I have the supplies for this as well, I think. I might need a sturdier pin for the pivot, but that would be the only thing. Same deadline as karaginu mo.

Eboshi – if I make a hat, I can get away with wearing my partner’s hitatare kamishimo, a matching outfit of hitatare (like a jacket) and hakama (pants). My partner would also like a hat. I think I have some black silk to use for this, I don’t know if I have enough for two or not. No deadline.

Secret Project – I’m tremendously excited about it. The deadline for this is a the same as the karaginu mo and hiogi.

Samurai Training – I need to come up with a plan and stick to it. This is complicated by it now being cold enough where I live that I’m not really willing to spend much time outside. Also still dealing with a pesky injury.

Language – I’ve fallen behind, badly, having not studied in months. I’m trying to be gentle with myself with the projects like this one that languished while I was dealing with the loss of my father. I’m honestly still dealing with that. Grief is complicated.

Tanka – this is an ongoing practice. I write at least one every day. It feels good to have this constant artistic outlet. I will admit I’ve been toying with the idea of doing another 1000. Probably not though, as I have a different project that requires the kind of dedication it took to complete that and then some. (See Genji Project)

Possibilities Dancing in the evening air Intoxicating

One idea outshines the rest And a plan begins to form

Time Travel – I have two full outfits for myself and some pieces to make for my partner to complete two outfits for him. None of this is Japanese, and it has a deadline of May 25th.

Classes – the Saishi/Hair Ornaments class still needs research. Pilgrimage and Power needs its handout spruced, and so does Introduction to Japanese Women’s Dress. I’ve recently dreamed up an advanced kasane class (which requires a ton of research), but my basic class, Kasane for the SCA, still needs its handout worked on. There’s a theme here… I also have a demonstration video I want to record showing how to use modern theatrical makeup to fake the look of period Heian makeup. I’ve done a test run, I just need to do a full go. Deadline-wise, I’ll need to have the intro class and kasane class ready for February 19th.

Meet the Artist Monday – this project will continue until I step down as Consort’s Champion of A&S , probably April. It would be neat if the next set of Champions decide to continue it.

The East Goes East – a virtual event on February 19th! I’m co-autocratting the event with Lady Patience. It’s planned to be a virtual schola centered on East and Southeast Asia celebrating the Lunar New Year and the Year of the Tiger. There will be classes, an A&S display, and it will wrap up with a renga party. (Renga is collaborative poetry)

Genji Project – Have I actually described the project before? Maybe bits of it… I don’t really want to divulge its secrets just yet if I haven’t… I want to get this started, but I’m having trouble committing myself to the time as I find my footing with the work I’m doing to pay for my hobbies and life in general. It’s a major undertaking, and a commitment of just over a year. I have all of the resources I need for this one, I just need the courage to start. It occurs to me that starting this project for either 2022 or the Lunar New Year might be appropriate.

Annotated Bibliography – a list of books and papers with whatever notes I care to share. I’d like to create a resources page, and the annotated bibliography would be part of it. This will drive me to read more books, and really get to know the resources I have at my disposal so I can more easily share them.

Wardrobe Organization – as I contemplated the massive amount of delicate laundry I need to do having dragged yards of silk behind me at an event, I realized my wardrobe has gotten a little unwieldy. I need to give everything a proper organization and create a spreadsheet so I can better fill in the gaps as I create new pieces. My partner’s wardrobe could use the same treatment.

Commissions – I’ve started taking in commissions. I have one solid and another likely. And a large group of possibilities. The likely one requires a bit more research and patterning.

So many projects Responsibilities and Quickly moving parts

A little work every day And all remains in motion

OK, so that’s a lot of things going on. And a lot to keep track of. A lot of responsibility and so many moving parts. The priorities are starting to shake out as deadlines firm up. It will require a fair amount of discipline to execute everything well. Perhaps the daily tanka practice has exercised my perseverance muscle? We shall see.

December is for Reflection

I recently asked for advice from my Facebook community. I felt that I was in an artistic slump and asked, “How do you fight the blahs and get back to making art?” I received so many wonderful responses with incredibly helpful suggestions. And I was reminded many times to be gentle with myself.

Some of the helpful suggestions: wander through a museum, take a step back to recharge, do an unrelated art, dance, color, get a deadline, make a gift for a friend, learn something different, spend time outside, listen to an audiobook, start with something small, pick up a UFO (unfinished object).

I realized that part of my “slump” was project specific. I’m having quite the argument with myself about which fabrics to use as substitutions for silk. I have several uchiginu cut out ready to be stitched, but they’re out of linen, and I don’t know that I like the look…

The other part was feeling that I hadn’t accomplished enough this year, that I hadn’t done enough. A friend reminded me that I had completed major projects. Once I reflected a bit on the year, I realized she was absolutely right. Let’s take a look.

In January I completed my travelling outfit, and was named a finalist for Crown’s A&S Champs.

February saw a win in the Calontir Clothing Challenge and I was selected as Consort’s Champion of A&S.

In March I completed two lengths of kumihimo for my Laurel.

For April, I ran the Poetry Month Challenge.

May held both Bardic War and the Laurels’ Challenge and Display. I competed in Bardic War with original poetry (our team won both that war point and the war). That performance was entered into the Challenge and Display along with a write up of how I planned and executed the travelling outfit.

In June I completed the Tang inspired scroll.

In July I was inducted into the Order of the Maunche and the Sovereign’s Order of Excellence.

August was the first installment in the ongoing Meet the Artist Mondays project with the Sovereign’s A&S Champion.

In September I made an Elizabethan man’s shirt and taught 2 classes.

October saw the completion of my 1000 Tanka Project and I stepped up as Deputy A&S Officer and Largesse Coordinator for the Barony of Carolingia.

The 1000 Tanka project was entered into the Third Online Kingdom Display in November, and I also completed the annual Tanka Challenge issued by Saionji Shonagon. Rounding out the month of poetry, I was invited to speak with a Laurel and her Apprentice about tanka.

Would I have liked to have done more? Absolutely. But I did enough. And having reflected on the year, it ups and downs, I find myself ready to take on more and restart my work on various projects that I had put on hold.

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