SCA Demo at the Fabulous Fiber Fest
August 19, 2007, Santa Monica Civic Auditorium
Text at bottom of page
By Maestra Flavia Beatrice Carmigniani
The Fabulous Fiber Fest is a commercial venture held at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, this year over the August 17-19 weekend. Caid was invited to give a fiber demo, which was organized by Mistress Bridget Lucia MacKenzie, Baroness of Altavia. She took my newly revised version of Caid’s general hand-out, A Step Back in Time, and printed it in color for us to hand out. I ended up traveling with Her Ladyship Mouren Muir to Santa Monica.
We arrived in Santa Monica to find a couple of young Altavian gentlemen, Philip Barrile and George (whose last name I misplaced), ready and willing to help everyone unload, unpack and set up. The demo was right outside the main entrance, under a large overhang that shaded us all day. Though the weather was warm, we were near enough to the beach that we had a mild breeze all day.
To our delight, a group of animals were installed on the other side of the main doors, so they and their owners could also enjoy the shade and attract attention. We played with three alpaca youngsters, petted ridiculously fluffy English angora rabbits, and fell in love with beautifully soft chinchillas in assorted colors. The chinchilla owners hoped to show that the cute little animals could be combed for their soft fur instead of being killed for their pelts. They found no argument with us! The angora rabbit owner demonstrated how to comb rabbit fur. I worried that he’d end up with a hamster if he removed too much fur. He generously gave a lot of combings to Baroness Bridget to spin later.
Once we got set up, there was quite a goodly compliment of demonstrators doing their crafts, plus a couple of us to chatelaine things by talking to passersby. We were delighted to see several people who attended Griffin Dyeworks’ Fiber Retreat in June. Everyone who attended the Fiber Fest had to walk past us from the parking lot to the main doors.
Baroness Bridget brought her beautiful 150 year old Great Walking Wheel. Though
it is out of period, and she explained that, people didn’t really care. Bridget
allowed people to try their hand at spinning while she told the story of
Sleeping Beauty pricking her finger (and pointing out where). People were
Mistress Medb Renata displayed her lovely and useful nälbindning, Lady Iulianna from Darach did some lovely red and yellow spinning, then plied it so the general effect was of orange yarn, and Mistress Aliskye brought her beautiful lucets, her blackwork embroidery, and a spectacular sample of Elizabethan sweet bag embroidery.
After a false start with a recalcitrant inkle loom, Her Ladyship Mouren, spun awhile and devoted much of her time to talking to the crowds. She also joined Philip and George in demonstrating how to have loads of fun braiding yards and yards of Viking Whipcord. She got innocent bystanders involved, so Fiber Fest attendees ended up making Viking Whipcord braid!
Countess Genevieve du Vent Argent brought her Bayeux Tapestry embroidery piece she was working on, also showing off her book and yarns. I brought samples of natural dyed yarns from Spring Potero, where my dye class attempted to reproduce Bayeux Tapestry colors. During the day, I also talked to the show attendees about the SCA, discussed dyeing, played with the chinchillas, and handed out SCA flyers to the merchants inside the show.
Mistress Astridhr arrived a bit late, set up her magnificent warp weighted loom, then went to a silk reeling class. She returned later to talk about the loom, and help with the demo. But before that, she made certain that I knew everyone inside the show who was fiber-related, and that they knew I represented Griffin Dyeworks & Fiber Arts. It was a kind gesture and much appreciated. Several merchants showed an interest in the SCA.
When it was time to go home, Philip and George helped all of us load up, and carried all our boxes, baskets, looms, spinning wheels, ice chests, chairs, and tables back to our cars. They were much appreciated by a group of tired women who had mostly been on their feet all day!
In all, we felt that we’d presented the SCA and Caid, and especially Caid fiber artists, to a lot of people, most of whom were very interested in seeing how familiar crafts were done in ancient times. Many thanks to those who made sure that the demo had an elegant sufficiency of SCA talent in several crafts.