The Project I Don’t Talk About

No, not the secret one. This one. This blog.

It’s a project in itself, and I haven’t really thought about it that way. It’s been a component of a project, but once version one of the travelling outfit was complete and I transitioned the blog to weekly project updates, I never stopped to think that it had become it’s own project.

And I’m struggling a bit keeping up with it along with all of the other projects I’m juggling.

I’ve stretched myself quite thin.

Here’s the weekly update:

Travelling Outfit 2.0 – I’ve pulled all the stitching from the piece outside of the edge finishing. That seemed like a smart thing to leave. I’ve decided not to take in the side seams. Next step is to press and then cut the old sleeve into the two new sleeves (which is just cutting it in half). It’ll be tricky in a few spots attaching the sleeve without removing the seam finishes from the side seams and armscye. I’ll attach the sleeve to the body and then sew the asetori closed from the part of the sideseam under the arm that was previously (erroneously) left open through to the sleeve cuff. Then I’ll finish the seam. I’m still undecided on the collar. That’s not quite right. I don’t want to do the collar, but I will, at some point in the next few months.

Consort’s Champion – We’ve set the date for the change over of office. It will happen in a recording session in May for June’s court. Nobildonna Fiore and I have plans to do an in person, in garb, recorded hand over of regalia. Poetry Month is drawing to a close. This is the final week of the Challenge. I’ll need to get in touch with someone in the webministry about creating an East Kingdom wiki page that can host the links to the Facebook group posts.

1000 Tanka – Current count is 527.

The quiet beauty In sadness that slips down cheeks Brushed away by sleeves

Emotion escaping from An otherwise serene form

Samurai Training – I’ve started a low impact exercise routine in combination with walking. So far, so good.

Language – I recognized a couple of words in music this week. It was a little thrilling.

Bardic War – I plan to practice and then record a performance, upload that as an unlisted YouTube video and share the link with a few people for feedback. I also printed out the rubric for the A&S warpoint and have begun reviewing it and some supporting documentation in preparation for rewriting my documentation. They require translations to be included in an appendix. So I’ll have to figure out how to format that, as well as actually write out all of the translations.

Laurels’ Challenge – I scaled back to four. Three of them are essentially fulfilled with the original poetry for Bardic War. The other is a write up of how I planned travelling outfit version one. I’ve started that and still have all my working notes.

Gratitude

2/23

Today I received tokens in the mail for my participation in A&S Champs. They’re gorgeous.

Work on my potential class continues. The information is rather limited by my lack of Japanese.

2/24

Received the wood for the ribs of the fan.

After weaving through the Baronial Craft Night, I now have several feet of cording complete. It’s nice to have tangible work.

I think I may have already hit the language barrier in the hair ornament research. I’ll need to reach out to the Facebook group to see if anyone knows more. And I still don’t have anything from a museum with actual dates.

I have a meeting with the Kingdom Minister of Arts and Sciences on Friday and there will be a live Meet the Champions panel on March 14 via zoom.

2/25

More weaving and researching hair ornaments.

2/26

A gauzy veil of Clouds obscure the wondrous sight Of a cold snow moon

Ascending she sheds the haze And illuminates the night

My meeting today was lovely. I have a greater understanding of the work I will be doing as Champion and feel much more comfortable in my new role. I’m looking forward to working with the MOAS office this next year, and beyond.

2/27

Show me loyalty Like the plum of Dazaifu Who took up her roots

And flew to her master in Exile. May she ever bloom.

Legend has it that the great plum at Dazaifu Tenmangu, a temple dedicated to the deified Sugawara no Michizane, Tenjin-sama, kami of scholarship, missed its master so much when he was exiled that it gathered its roots and flew from Heian-kyo (modern Kyoto) to Michizane in exile in Dazaifu. The plum, named Tobiume, still stands on the temple grounds and should be in bloom right now.

2/28

In the reflection Of the moon on Lake Biwa Murasaki dreams

Transported beyond rocky Shores the Tale starts to unfold

Another poem inspired by legend. Murasaki Shikibu, the author of the Tale of Genji, is said to have started writing the tale while at Ishiyama Temple after seeing the reflection of the moon in Lake Biwa. Many painters have captured the moment, here is one from Tosa Mitsuoki:

It is said that Murasaki’s hand was guided by Kannon, the Japanese Bodhisattva (Buddhist goddess) of mercy, while writing the Tale. Murasaki had gone to Ishiyama-dera after the death of her husband. Kannon is said to aid those in distress, and I can not imagine being more distressed than losing the father of your child and your station in one fell swoop.

3/1

I am disappointed with my progress over the past week. I’m fairly certain that I’m dealing with some let down over Ethereal Seamstress. We have not had our supplies arrive in enough time to actually complete the ensemble for the contest. I’m sending the official withdrawal this week. Maybe it won’t hurt as much a little later.

I’m continuing to make slow progress on both the cord for my Laurel and the Hair Ornament class. And I remain pleased with my progress toward 1000 Tanka.

Tomorrow the MOAS (Ministry of Arts and Sciences) will be releasing a series of challenges for the Laurel’s Challenge and Exhibition. I’m hoping to find a lovely challenge to meet. This contest is being held in May. I’m hoping one of my several projects will work. Fingers crossed!

3/2

What new distraction Can be discovered today Though things need doing

Procrastination tempts me But determination wins

Determination is paying dividends today. I’ve spent the day scouring museums, and managed to do a search that led me to the MET. There I found a large collection of kogai, A kogai is a hairdressing tool that is part of a sword mounting. The long slender implement is carried in a slot on the obverse of a katana scabbard, often with a matching kozuka (handle of a by-knife) in a slot on the reverse.. These kogai are all part of sword fittings called mitokoromono and some of them are within SCA period (pre 1600). And the most intriguing part about it to me, these are sword accessories. Meaning they were to be carried by samurai. Now samurai is closer to a caste than a job, so of course there are samurai women, and many samurai women carried swords and fought alongside their male counterparts, but the majority of sword carrying types would be male. Fascinating.

This mitokoromono set has a kozuka, knife handle, 2 minuki, grip ornaments and the kogai (bottom).

I’m delighted to have found something tangible for my class, and now feel like I will in fact be able to pull off a decent presentation in June. I had been a little discouraged after searching through almost 2000 images yesterday and only finding a comb box. Now I have a variety of comb and cosmetics boxes and several images of kogai. I have yet to find any extant Heian period hair ornaments, they may not exist, but I will keep looking.

I’ve made a list of the challenges (for the Laurel’s Challenge and Exhibition) that I may be interested in, and I’ve started to work out what I can do for them that is in line with my existing projects. I’ll need to decide and sign up no later than April 18, and the date for turning things in is May 16. You can read the list of challenges here.

Weaving continues.