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.

Champion

2/17

The embroidery floss for my Apprentice Project arrived!

I was inspired to write a poem today that left the muse feeling a little overwhelmed. This makes me chuckle. I made her blush. Hard. If not that, what else is poetry good for? This one highly inspired poem led to several others, which was a relief. I’ve had to exert more effort into my poems in the past week or so, and was left wondering what I was doing wrong after having days where I wrote a dozen or so tanka. That first poem:

A star that outshines The Four Beauties of China With each brilliant smile

Mischief and intelligence Inhabit you, sweet Goddess

The count currently stands at 275 tanka.

Stop the presses! I just saw the announcement on Facebook! I took my division in the Calontir Clothing Challenge! I won Historically Focused Beginner. My partner says to enjoy it because I never get to call myself a beginner again. And he’s absolutely right.

2/18

I received a confirmation email yesterday evening that I didn’t actually read until today. I typically only check my email once each day. It confirms winning the Historically Focused Beginner division of C3, asks for my address so I can receive a token, asks if I would like my raw scores, and provided me with my judge’s feedback. It feels real after that email and reading what my judge had to say.

Wow. I won an inter-kingdom competition AND was a finalist in my kingdom’s premier A&S competition with my travelling outfit. I’m thrilled!

My judge was thorough with my entry, though I did not provided complete information. You see, I forgot to include my documentation. My judge came here and found my documentation and read it and this blog. I’m floored. None of that was included in my judging though, that was all about the pictures. My judge gave me insightful feedback and offered an invitation to engage with them outside of the competition. It will take me a day or so to respond appropriately.

2/19

I got my scoresheet back for C3. I got a perfect score. Plus bonus points. I’m beside myself.

2/20

The headpins I’m using for the center pivot of the sensu for Tomodachi. I’ve never made a folding fan before and I’m excited about trying.

2/21

East Kingdom Court has happened and I can finally say it! I was selected as His Majesty Alberic’s Champion of Arts and Sciences (Consort’s Champion in waiting)! I am deeply honored to have been chosen. Here’s the video. You can skip to 1:23:30 to get straight to the announcement, His Majesty Alberic selects His Champion (me) second. Please explore the art created by the Sovereign’s Champion of A&S.

Amongst the congratulatory comments on Facebook came a question about Japanese jewelry, specifically hair ornaments. Before I knew it, I had been invited to teach a class on it in June. So we have another project to add to the list. I’ll have to do quite a bit of research on the topic to prepare. I’ll probably center the conversation around hair ornaments.

I was also instructed by the current Sovereign’s Champion of A&S to bask in it for a little while. She’s a wise woman, and I think I’ll heed her advice.

And I’m delighted that a friend of mine might be interested in making a set of Japanese garb for herself. She’s also excited about my large literary project.

2/22

I meant to post last night but was a bit carried off in the moment. I found myself a little discombobulated today.

Mind in a jumble A lack of concentration Wanting a next step

Deep breath and a cup of tea, Now set to organizing (288)

So I reviewed the list I made of projects and added the class to the mix. I spent some time searching about for a white board to use as a project board and came up empty. While I would prefer to have what I can not currently find, I will make do with a notepad. I’m thinking of spending about an hour each day on each project until I’m working against a deadline. Ethereal Seamstress is the first thing with hard deadlines, so most of March will be dedicated to that project. Having written everything out I’m also now aware that the weaving journal project is barely a project, more a system of recordkeeping that will only need updating. So the project count with that subtraction and the addition of the class remains steady at 7. And I don’t intend to add any more until I finish something.

I made some initial progress on the hair ornament class and wound all the tama for weaving the first of the two cords for my Laurel.

A New Year

2/10

Received the shipping notification for the embroidery floss for the new kumihimo project.

Got a little bit of info for Ethereal Seamstress. We’ll need to come up with a login for the required twice weekly updates, so we set up a joint email account for it.

2/11

Doing more reading and studying for the Ethereal Seamstress competition. Still trying to wrap my head around wide body small sleeve as outlined by Lady Oribe in her class documents. It’s really simple enough, I just don’t really like it. I prefer the open front, voluminous o-sode sleeves to those of a small opening kosode. Yup, I’m a Heian girl.

While doing that reading, I discovered that the shin protectors for the travelling outfit should be called kyahan or habaki. I was already familiar with kyahan, but the word had escaped me.

I’ve been doing a lot of contemplating of what was meant as the skin-layer (juban/asetori) of my travelling outfit. I’ve come to realize that the collar is also wrong, though I’m not sure that I’m willing to fix it. I’m debating fixing the garment to be right vs fixing it to be a kosode and making a linen skin-layer. It’s probably best to have a silk and a linen asetori. I’ll want several to take to longer events/wars. More underwear! And more thinking…

And of course, all that thinking about how my garb is constructed is making me seriously contemplate rebuilding ALL of my existing garb to be more appropriate/use more period construction techniques. One of the pieces has never even been worn…

Officially 1/4 of the way through to 1000 tanka! I’ve written enough that I now only need to write 3 tanka each day to meet the goal.

2/12

The Year of the Ox The Lunar New Year a time Of celebration.

May your ambitions bear out As promotions in your rank.

Happy Lunar New Year! During the Heian period this was a time of gifts and promotions in rank. Matsu gasane or pine tree layering, shades of maroon over shades of green, is a favored kasane or color combination for the occasion for court ladies’ ensembles. The pairing of maroon over green would be handsome for men’s attire.

A color bar divided into segments vertically. The left-most segment is double the thickness of the other 5. Left to right the colors are Scarlet red, pale light green, light green, green, light maroon, maroon.
Left to right, kurenai for the hitoe; for the gInu: yoi awaii moegi, awaii moegi, moegi, asaki suo, suo

2/13

We received emails from Ethereal Seamstress with login information and basic instructions for how to appropriately tag the updates/posts. The contest requires twice weekly updates and these are being handled via blogposts.

2/14

Logged in to the ES contest site and set the password. Spent some time reading up on fan construction.

2/15

Ordered the wood strips and head pins for the sensu (folding fan) I’m making for Tomodachi for Ethereal Seamstress. I’ll use gold wrapping paper for the first prototype, then maybe get better/different paper.

The embroidery floss for my weaving project should arrive tomorrow.