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Starting a New Medieval Year

As the school holidays come to a close, we at Blackwolf are excitedly preparing for the start of our new medieval year.

As the weather cools a bit (we hope!!) it is time to haul out swords and shields for fight practice, unpack sewing materials to mend and alter medieval garb, and work out our projects for the 2013 medieval season in Queensland, Australia.

Our number one project is finishing our new medieval Gathering Tent.

It will provide much-needed shelter during the rains that somehow never fail to arrive during our medieval encampments. ๐Ÿ™‚

We’ll also be building medieval storage boxes and a few more medieval wooden tables for mundane tasks such as dish-washing and meal-preparation. Those of us charged with cooking duties cannot wait for these back-saving projects to be completed.

Then we will putter away at some fun projects like forging new weapons, wood-burning and decorating our various medieval furniture bits, and planning delicious meals to cook over the medieval camp fire.

Our first event of the season will be History Alive held at Fort Lytton National Park over the weekend of June 8 and 9.

This will be followed by the biggest event in our medieval calendar: the Abbey Medieval Festival held Saturday and Sunday, July 6 and 7.

And last but not least, the most relaxing event of all: the Brisbane Valley Multicultural Festival in Esk the end of July.

Brisbane Valley Multicultural Festival

Will you be attending any of these events this year? If so, be sure to stop by the Blackwolf Camp to say hello. We’d love to see you! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Medieval Tent Poles, Ties and Ropes

As it gets closer to the summer holidays, our weekly medieval days are winding down. But we still have some great projects that we’re working on.

The Duke has been sanding and staining medieval tent poles for our new Gathering Tent.

Wolf Mother and Yliana, our Finnish healer, have been sewing sturdy ties. Next week we’ll add leather tabs to the ends to make sure the holes don’t fray when the weather gets feisty.

 

The ties will be used to link the tent poles to medieval ropes being twisted and fashioned by our Piper, Patrick.

Next up are the wooden pegs we need to keep the Gathering Tent tethered to the ground no matter how strong the gale or heavy the rain.

We’re looking forward to finishing our latest medieval tent so we can focus on a few other important projects: medieval wooden boxes to hold supplies and a few wooden tables to assist us in cooking and washing our medieval pottery dishes.

Are you working on any creative projects this month?

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Simple Medieval Handcrafts

Here at Blackwolf we love all things medieval.

We cook medieval food, wear medieval clothes, and, most fun of all, do medieval handcrafts.

Some we’ve mastered, others we’re still novices at, and still others we are only dreaming about learning.

Our Irish Druid Alred is a wiz at making cord with his handheld leather medieval cord maker. It’s a handy little thing that he can carry in his bag and pull out to work on whenever he has a spare moment.

Our medieval Russian Blacksmith Trygg made a splendid leather and fur pouch for his belt. The irregular shape and color just add to the uniqueness.

All of us have made medieval wooden furniture – stools, beds, and boxes – and have mastered the art of putting them together with wooden dowels instead of nails.

Our medieval Egyptian Slave Najla is excellent at etching medieval and Celtic designs then engraving them with wood-burning tools.

She recently taught our medieval Finnish Shaman Yliana how to do it, and they’ve been having great fun burning designs into tool handles and bits of wood in preparation for tackling larger projects like boxes and furniture.

Our medieval Scottish Piper Patrick is our resident leather worker, whipping out knife sheaths, staff grips, belts, and anything else we can think of. He carefully measures and cuts out the shapes he needs, then puts everything together with leather lacing.

We also sew a lot, and our Wolf Mother Fang makes her own patterns and designs, even sewing our entire medieval Bedouin tent herself.

One day soon we’ll show you the medieval weapons and medieval round shields our Duke Robert and his cohorts have been working on these past few weeks.

We’re definitely a creative bunch and look forward to learning even more skills in the months and years ahead.

Have you ever done medieval or old-fashioned handcrafts? What is your favorite craft to do?

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Safely Introducing Kids to Medieval Weaponry

There are few things that warm the heart of a medieval enactor more than seeing the eyes of a child light up at the sight of a medieval sword, Viking helmet, or Crusader shield.

Unless of course it’s seeing their whole face light up when they’re told they’re allowed to try on the chain maille or hold a real – albeit blunted – sword.

Such was the case at our medieval display at the Warwick West Fete. Our display table was surrounded by little boys, giddy with excitement at the prospect of dressing up like a real knight.

At Blackwolf we love sharing the history, weapons, clothing, and traditions of medieval life with students. We attend numerous events each year to do this, and always endeavor to do so in a safe manner.

All weapons on display are blunted so inquisitive fingers don’t accidentally get cut. Medieval weapons specialists are on hand to safely teach the students the proper way to hold a sword, dagger, or knife. And all weapons and students are under constant observation (and guidance) so that no accidents occur.

We are proud that no student has ever been injured at one of our demonstrations, and we will make every effort to ensure that this track record continues indefinitely.

There’s something amazing about watching a shy child break out of his shell with the donning of a helmet and the slipping on of gauntlets.

Something quite wonderful about seeing their confidence grow as they are praised for grasping a sword hilt properly.

I love the huge smiles on their faces as they pose for camera-happy mothers and proudly grinning fathers.

With only a minimum of instruction, soon they’re bring back friends to the display and passing on the knowledge they’ve gleaned.

It makes me smile to see them proudly show a younger sibling or classmate what to do as if they’re old hands at medieval weaponry.

Although the medieval season has now ended, we’re looking forward to more displays, conversations, and beaming kids when things start up again next Autumn.

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A Medieval Viking Encampment

One of my favorite things to do at medieval events such as the Brisbane Valley Multicultural Festival is to visit neighboring encampments to learn about the history and culture of the time period they represent.

This year we had good friends camping next to us enacting a medieval Viking camp.

What amazed me was the mobility and streamlined nature of their camp. Everything was practical and compact, able to be stored and handled easily, lightweight yet sturdy.

Wooden trays, tables, and utensils made for an outdoor kitchen that was practical and beautiful.

Even the food was time period appropriate. You won’t find tomatoes or potatoes, which weren’t in use until many years later. Instead, Viking stews were fortified with foods you could forage such as wild garlic, onions, and mushrooms, as well as root vegetables such as turnips and purple carrots.

I was delighted by the iron fire place. Elegant and diminutive yet very effective. With one small fire and the judicious use of chains and hooks, the Vikings could heat water for stew, roast a hank of meat on a roasting fork, and toast bread on the charming scrolled toasting rack all at once.

It’s also a great place to sit around to keep warm while having a chin wag with good friends.

I liked the turned wooden bowls useful for holding dried fruit and nuts or setting bread to rise.

And the earthenware jars handy for carrying all sorts of things from cooking oil and butter to wine and spices.

There’s something so cozy and welcoming about wooden dishes piled with fresh fruit, multi-colored eggs or crusty loaves of just-baked bread.

Next time I’d like to learn more about day to day life in a Viking camp. How did they make their clothes? What were their beds like? What was a typical day like?

What would you like to learn about the Vikings?

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