You may not know this about me......I am a part of a group called the Society for Creative Anachronism, or the SCA. (Read about it here for the full details.) Pretty much it's a bunch of like minded people who get together and hang out. We're all a bit creative, a bit into history, a bit talkative, and a bit different. For me it's like a living art history class - we research and recreate the arts & skills of pre-17th century Europe. It might seem a little weird but it's honestly the most creative group I've ever been a part of.
There are constantly Arts & Sciences competitions - on the local & the kingdom level (yeah, there are 19 kingdoms in the "Known World") - where participants research and explore techniques and skills of a certain, specific time period. If you've ever done a Senior Thesis or the like, the dedication to the projects is on that level. Some people dedicate their whole lives to developing a technique! The surprising thing is that some of the people don't have any official training in the things they practice. I find levels of dedication I would have expected from a trained artist - yet they are creating calligraphy and other art (and craft) objects from purely self taught skills. There's research involved - much like you would have done to support any thesis you'd presented in school - that is done to back up techniques and creations these individuals submit. Pretty much if you enjoy scholarly things - like research - and appreciate the arts & sciences of the middle ages, Renaissance, etc then the SCA is for you.
Oh yeah, and we wear funny clothes:
But this post isn't about the funny clothes - it's about the time I spun my own yarn from an Alpaca fleece from an Alpaca I know. A few years ago when Zach's mother got two alpacas and decided to try out sheering them...I got the fleece. It sat in the garage for a good long while until we headed down to southern Illinois last weekend to For Hands VII Metal & Glass. An event featuring A&S (Arts and Sciences) classes in metal casting, metal work, jewelry work, and fiber arts. Are you kidding me? It's like I could feel my art degree quivering! What could I learn from this event? So Zach & I set off on Friday to spend three hot ass days doing some fun ass activities. While Zach was busy pewter casting - I was over with the ladies all day doing a class called From Sheep To Shawl where I carded & spun some of the alpaca fleece I brought! I also gave the other part of what I had away because lets be real...what the heck am I going to do with a whole bunch of alpaca wool!!??!?
So I took this wet dog looking thing (really it's just the alpaca fleece that's been sheared...I promise), combed it out with some dog combs (so clever!) and to speed up the process used a drum carder (that thing on the TV tray) rather than hand carders. Here's the alpaca fur about to be carded:
Once it's been carded it looks kind of the same - still very long fibers in there. But it reminds me of an old lady's long hair. It was so thin and easily caught the wind so I had alpaca fur all over me and everyone that was in the tent! I was even pulling it off my lunch. So after it's carded, which I don't have a picture of....I spun it on a drop spindle.
And because I'm no pro I had a lot of over spin in my yarn. When I went to ply it, it got so tangled! Eventually the lovely instructor and I were able to get it under control and I walked away with a nice sized ball of yarn!
Now I don't know weather to keep it wound or use it for something! I am so proud of myself and this even had to have been my favorite event so far. Talk about putting my interests to good work. This event was like adult summer camp, there were so many activities.
If you want to know where we were camping at - we stayed at Camp Dubois, the Lewis and Clark winter camp. There was a fort too but since it was sweltering and the fort was more like an enclosed cabin type deal everyone who stayed in it said it was horrible. But camping in our tent was horrible with the heat as well. But all in all I thought it was a great weekend.