Thursday, May 5, 2016

A&S Display Gulf Wars

Alesone was kind enough to take my display from K&Q's A&S to Gulf Wars. Images from the display are below.

I received a few pieces of useful feedback such as:

---talk about bead release both historically and related to glass bead experiments
---modify what I say about period v.s. modern glass to be more clear about how similar the two are, and where the differences are.

I will have to update my documentation to reflect these ideas.

However, the judges also thought that I had too much documentation and that I should have only entered one bead string; that 3 bead strings was overkill.They also said that it was interested to see how things were done in the East. Now, I'm not aware I'm following an "eastern A&S model." My entry was specifically crafted for the Artifacts of a Life event, and for an A&S Champions event, both which called for more than one item to be included in the entry. I think this might be an instance of interesting "inter kingdom anthropology." It would be interesting to learn more about how A&S in the East differs from A&S elsewhere. I think other kingdoms have more strictures or structure to their A&S activities.

K&Q A&S 2016 (Queens Champion & My Elevation Ceremony)

On February 6th, 2016, I became both queens champion and was elevated to the order of the Laurel after my vigil at that same event.  It was a very good day!

I've posted a few pictures from the day, as well as links to my documentation below!

My A&S Display

-East Kingdom Gazette Article About King and Queens Arts and Sciences Champions
-Documentation for Kings and Queens Arts and Sciences 2016
-Supplemental Documentation on Early Period Bead Making

Being called into court after winning Queens Champion

Being presented with the Queens A&S Champion's regalia

Giving back my protege apron to my peer
Having Aibhilin (my student) present me with a bead string she made as part of my regalia

Swearing Fealty
Being presented at the end of my ceremony
Photo of me getting my writ on Dec. 12, 2016. I had made my first bead on Oct 2, 2012, and one of the people who helped me make that bead is standing right behind me.

Sunday, April 3, 2016


Modern beads given out to be used as tokens for the SCA. Lots of fun with dots. Based off of modern beads I found while looking on places like etsy.

Modern Necklace

Anglo Saxon Sword/Amulet Beads

Below are large Anglo Saxon sword (and amulet) beads that I gave away at Mudthaw. These are all likely larger than a quarter (20-25 mm across). And even then they are smaller than the period examples. Below is some really quick research on sword beads, including links to where I got the info for the designs.

  • In Anglo Saxon graves some large disc beads are found that are "distinguishable from the beads of normal size" found in graves. (Evison 2008)
  • Female Gaves:(Evison 2008)
    • "When found with other beads at the neck of a female grave, it is assumed that the function was the same as that of other beads, i.e. decoration with possible magical properties."
    • "If found at the left hip in a container with other objects, it is possible that it was functional as a spindle whorl."
  • Male Graves: (Evison 2008).When found "in connection with a sword it may  be regarded as a sword bead"
    • "to be used with the 'peace strings' (note: what does this mean, is it like peace tying a sword at the Ren. faire?)
    • "or perhaps it was believed to have healing properties"
    • swords "occurred in only a small percentage of male graves"  -meaning the number of sword beads found in small
  • The beads are most of, and first, made of glass ) but can also be made form other materials, such as amber, bone, crystal  (Evison 2008, Evison 1967)
  • The beads are "almost always found at a distance of about six inches from the pommel, they almost always occur singly, and are never interlinked (Evison 1967).
  • "The beads appear to be functionless as far as the working of the sword is concerned. But "a utilitarian purpose cannot be ruled out" as the beads were "found close to the sword-blade, a few inches below the grip." Because "this is the usual position for the attachment of a strap to the scabbard" it is possible "that a beads was sometimes used for the passage of a strap so that [the sword] could be drawn up tightly and firmly against the scabbard." Evison 1967).
  • "May have magical significance in view of the fact that some of the materials of which they were made are knows to have been widely valued for their magical prop (Evison 1967).
  • "it is not known precisely how these beads were attached to the sword." One bead was found "with a leather thong still attached and passing under the top of the scabbard. A metal scabbard mouth fitting is the obvious place for fixing it, and a number of such mounts are provided with a small buckle, projecting plate, or a perforated lug on the lower edge at the back....the fact that the perforation was on the lower side of the mount.... is in favor of it being intended for something suspended, such as a bead" (Evison 1967).

 The catalog at the end of Evison 1967 lists some of the following types of sword beads beads found in English graves:
  • Green glass bead, diam 1 1/4 in.
  • Very dark olive-green translucent glass disc bead, opaque yellow zigzag trail, diam 2.8cm.
  • Amber disc, one with a diam. of 2.2 cm, another measuring 2.8 found in a different grave.
  • Yellow glass bead (no measurements given)
  • Cylindrical glass bead, with red, yellow and green reticella threads, diam 2.8cm
  • Large glass bead, disc with zigzag trail in sunflower estrangement (no colors or measurements given)
  • Bluish-green glass disk with red trails cable-fashion on circumfrence (no measurements given)
  • Translucent mid-green glass disc, with white zigzag trails, diam 3.5 cm
  • Black glass bead, one side flat, the other convex, white trails in five-petal shape, diam 4.3cm
  • Oval black glass bead, light-blue crossing trails and red dots, diam 2.5cm

 Tillerman beads has a nice list of amulet and sword beads, with grave citations that they reproduce. I copied a bunch of their designs for the beads pictures above, using one or two designs from the source cited above.

This may be a resource to look into later to learn more about the social meaning of such things in Anglo-Saxon society: Meaney, A. (1981). Anglo-Saxon Amulets and Curing Stones, British Archaeological Reports, 96.

Evison 2008: 
Evison 1967: (Mostly from pages 2-4 of this long document, with a catalog list of sword beads on pages 81-84, and drawings of beads in figure 2-p. 105, figure 3-p. 106)

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Viking Beads

Beads given to be part of a viking beaded necklace.

Silver Crescent Necklace

Like the necklace I made for Ysmay upon stepping down as Bhakail's A&S champion, this chain is based on a Roman chain, the design for which I learned at Pennsic during a class. A link to a museum photo of a Roman wire wrapped chain can be found here.