Hiking the Camino Primitivo, a Medieval Immersion

Memories and Mind Expansion I travel for two reasons — the memories I carry with me afterwards and the expansion of my understanding of the world. Trips I took decades ago still loom in my consciousness; sharp, fresh moments of joy and profound satisfaction. I remember visiting the pueblos carved into the side of mesas […]

Face-Framing Braids—Recreating a 14th-Century Hairstyle

I’ve long been fascinated with the braided hair styles seen on women in Western European figural art of the mid-to-late 14th century—particularly in French works. To my modern eyes, women did charming and oddball things with their hair. The undeniable outlandishness of these braids make them fun to recreate. I am especially enamored of the […]

Coloring the Fencing Master in the Getty Fiore’s Segno della Spada

Or, How Coloring Can Teach You More About Medieval Clothing This story begins because my husband, Gregory Mele, owns a martial arts studio called Forteza Fitness & Martial Arts in Chicago.     It serves as the home of his first love, the Chicago Swordplay Guild, which he co-founded with like-minded others in 1999. As the Dean of the […]

Charles VI Coat Armour Repro, Part 4: Sewing It All Together

This is the fourth in a series of blog posts describing the process I undertook to recreate the child-sized coat armour on display at the Musée des beaux arts in Chartres, France. This installment covers the sewing techniques used in attaching all the pieces and finishing all the edges. You can find the earlier installments […]

Charles VI Coat Armour Repro, Part 3: Padding and Quilting on a Frame

This is the third in a series of blog posts describing the process I undertook to recreate the child-sized coat armour on display at the Musée des beaux arts in Chartres, France. The prior installments can be found here: Dyeing an Imperfect Lampas Recreating the Pattern The truly laborious stage was upon me now. I had […]

Charles VI Coat Armour Repro, Part 2: Drafting the Pattern

This is the second in a series of blog posts describing the process I undertook to recreate the child-sized coat armour on display at the Musée des beaux arts in Chartres, France. I’ll be covering the process of drafting the pattern. Find the first part here: Dyeing an Imperfect Lampas. When I examined the coat […]

Charles VI Coat Armour Repro, Part 1: Dyeing An Imperfect Lampas

This is the first in a series of blog posts describing the process I undertook to recreate the child-sized coat armour on display at the Musée des beaux arts in Chartres, France. This post covers the challenge of finding a proper silk lampas fabric to match the look and feel of the original. Though this re-creation […]

A fur primer for 14th and 15th century European clothing

I wrote an article on recognizing fur in period figural imagery that kind of ate my brain. I’ve been working on this topic for months. The more I read and reviewed imagery, the more rabbit holes I found myself going down, zero pun intended. But now finally it’s in a state where I feel comfortable sharing […]

The Royal Grave Clothing of 14th Century Bohemia

…Or: The Bonanza I Found When I Went Looking for the Houppelande of John of Görlitz (Jan Zhořelecký) As part of my husband’s and my honeymoon trip to Prague, we intended to check off a modest bucket list item, which was to see the extant 14th century houppelande on display in Prague Castle. I also […]

St. George in Prague—His Corazzina and Other Armour Details

Fair warning, this post is for all my armour peeps out there. Also, please do not download and repost my photos without linking back to this blog post and attributing my name as the photographer. Right in the middle of the Prague Castle complex sits a faithful reproduction of a statue of St. George and […]