I am presently in Kalamazoo attending the 45th Medieval Congress.
DISTAFF: Discussion, Interpretation, and Study of Textile Arts, Fabrics, and Fashion presented a session at Kalamazoo that I chose to attend for fun. I knew nothing about it, but the idea of “reading” textiles was fascinating.
The presenters were amazing. (And folks were very dressed for this presentation. Duh. I should have expected that.)
There was a discussion on the historical evidences for a single weight line for warp-weighted looms. Christina Petty provided the most fun visual. On top of her historical pictures, which were interesting and helpful in advancing her argument, she showed (as a placeholder) a picture from MSS 485 at Morgan-Pierpoint Library of a pig, wearing glasses, spinning.
If you were here last year, you may have seen her in-person demonstration of the warp-weighted loom.
Sarah-Grace Heller presented on Byzantine fashions. Did you know the Franks were influenced by the Byzantine dress? She showed an earring set in which one earring was original Byzantine and the other was a fake. I wondered how she (the original owner, Angerund-sp?) had lost the earring and who replaced it. I wondered if the jeweler who made the replacement was happy with his rendition and if Angerund was.
Dr. Heller has a book on clothing 500-1300 coming out. I want to see that.
Heather Rose Jones presented on the Welsh and French versions of Arthurian romances. Yellow was a popular color in Welsh texts, particularly if gold is counted with yellow. Shoes were finest when made of Cordovan leather. Brocades and silks were detailed. … I was fascinated by the idea of examining what people thought of clothing by reading what they wrote about it.
As a positive and serendipitous aside, when I came to the lobby to work on my computer, Dr. Jones was sitting on a couch blogging about the presentations she went to… I should have asked her what her blog was.
The final presentation was by Colleen Slater. She presented on the presentation of Amazonian women, particularly Kamille of Italy. When an attacking general offered her money for sex and offered to share her among his officers, she sliced him in half. I think that in the circumstances that was an appropriate response.
As I go to these sessions, I realize how much there is that I didn’t even know was out there.