Routine Maintenance and Upkeep
There has been a major surge in the number of groups added to the Groups Billboard in January, I added at least half a dozen new entries. This also comes with the addition of an interactive map, pinning a location for each group so you can search the page by type of group, but you can also search the map for groups which are near to you! I have also added an events calendar page, which is a tool we can use to keep in touch with public demos, timeline events, immersion events, and other demonstrations or insular activities which we can attend with each other. Of course, this page is meant to be a receiving space for all the new events happening after we get on top of the pandemic, so it is a bit empty right now. But as events start scheduling again, it will fill up (just make sure you keep sending me those entries.)
The monthly link check is complete. One of the repairs was a typo on my part, and easily corrected. One of the dead links was for the International Reenactor’s Day Facebook page, which doesn’t seem to exist anymore. So much for that being an annual thing. Otherwise the site is in working order, everything you click should go to something as designed. No dead links!
From Neep Manor
Video… on Swords!
Next month I will be participating in the online sword conference Art of the Sword and as part of preparing for the panel I devoted much of my passive head space to ruminating on swords. I put all my thoughts down into a video as a sort of pre-cursor and preview to the sword conference.
On Instagram I re-share pictures of other reenactors in high quality material culture, usually when they’re engaged in high quality living history activities or events. They are always shared with permission. I do it because there are so many good groups and individuals out there producing excellent quality content which, because of how the internet works, do not get the exposure they deserve. And while I don’t have the largest account on Instagram or anything, I can take a picture from someone who has a few dozen or few hundred followers and put their picture in front of a thousand eyes and doing so makes me happy. It is important to me people get to feel appreciated for the things they work hard to put together.
As an extension of this concept, I have decided to produce a monograph of the best of 2020’s highlights on Instagram, based on the ones which received the most likes. So I went through and messaged the one hundred people who received the most likes of 2020 as of early January (a reasonable cut off date, and I will use December 31st next year to be even more fair) to see if they would be interested in being involved in such a project. I assumed some would be, but (I thought to myself) if there was only a handful interested that may not have been worth the effort. Some said no. But, within 24 hours I had over 40 people excited to be in a book of reenactor photos and the numbers climbed as more people noticed I sent them a message. This was just the sort of response I needed to commit to such an undertaking. Since then I have been going through the “delightful” administrative process of contacting everyone to get proper credit details, permissions, high quality images, etc. Once I have a good cohort of completed entries (I’m thinking 50 – 75, though I may hold out and push for a solid book of 100) I will start to do the formatting and layout. The monograph will include captions with credit to the photographers and the models, as space allows descriptions of the photo and the groups the people are from. I also want to include an appendix of some sort with professional contacts for all the photographers and models and reenactment groups who want their information in there. You know me, I’m a sucker for lists of resources.
This will be an ongoing process. Collecting this information and formatting a book is a marathon, not a sprint. My goal is to produce an e-book first, and then sell copies to finance printing a bound copy version. I really want to be able to mail someone a book they can hold in their hand and put on their coffee table with a nice picture of them inside honoring their work in medieval reenactment and living history. Baby steps. Either way, I am excited, and I believe it will be the first monograph of its kind in the world, which isn’t too shabby.
It is that time of year again, to begin preparing for Valentines Day! I like to throw in “extras” where I can for those who support the project by donating money to the site or subscribe on Patreon. One recent example is sharing the hand written notes I took while producing a video and making them available to supporters. (This last video didn’t have a shot list or any notes to take.) Another way I enjoy giving back every year is hand writing and mailing a valentine with a medieval image of courtly love on the front and a message on the inside. Tomorrow is the first week of February, which is when I start writing them so I can mail them out by the end of the week in the hopes the arrive around Valentine’s Day.
How Two Medieval
Matt and I have really gotten into our groove with How Two Medieval, having produced four episodes this month! Two are our “primary” episodes, each running about an hour, and two are our “mini-episodes” where we take 10 to 15 minutes to discuss a single topic which may not have fit well into the show, but could use a few extra words.
- Episode 15 “Cold Weather” (00:55:58 in length) Ari and Matt discusses being outside during frigid or snowy temperatures in medieval clothing, and how cold weather survival principles applies to the types of equipment available to someone doing a medieval impression.
- Episode 16 “Cold Hike Mini Episode” (00:13:26 in length) Matt goes on a hike in frigid temperatures and puts to practice many of the elements of last episode, as well as giving a real time play-by-play of his time on the trail.
- Episode 17 “Glamping” (1:06:49 in length) Ari and Matt talk about camping, but unlike the previous episode, they go beyond the elements required to live through a camping event and explore all the ways in which a camp can be made “glamorous” by adding extra medieval elements to the camp.
- Episode 18 “Pass the Torch Mini Episode” (00:07:38 in length) Ari shares some of his thoughts on how to share the hobby with the next generation of reenactors and the different tools they will have available to them as compared to the journey you took.
January Hall of Fame
A highlight of some of the most popular things on the Turnip Network. Do you have content you think is a candidate next month? Tag me on Facebook or use the hashtag #turnippicks on Instagram for a chance to be featured on the page, and if you make the top, a mention in the newsletter!
The nine #turnippicks photos posted in November and receiving the most likes (in order top left to right) @lazylarper, @alexandre__leon, @neilj.powerpix, @lyckansgardlinda, @gioordelaffi, @jansigurdolsson, @jacob_de_castel, @kurtmclurn, and @assolafleche. Check out these great Instagram accounts!
The top three most liked posts on Facebook in November were:
Every month I release some sort of project for the community, be it a long form written article, an audio episode, or a video, or some blend of the above. The items below are the projects I have in various stages of completion, which are at a stage where they are candidates as the headlining topic for next month. Esquires and Knights of the household on Patreon have access to a monthly poll where they can choose which topic I will work on for the next month. If you want to cast your voice, become a Patron!
- A “Behind the Metal” interview featuring Trevor Clemons of the Kansas City Sword Guild, focusing on his considerable expertise and success with creating a crossover HEMA and living history group.
- I have a simple, slender belt from Lorifactor I could review. Anything I wear I could review. Do you want more product reviews?
- More tent diagrams, from other companies or from more tent styles of the companies I already have worked on. Maybe re-do the hand drawn one in CAD like the new one is. These drawings are very time consuming though, and with how many size/shape variations exist among the preeminent manufacturers of medieval tents, it will take me years to work through them all (or sufficient support to work on the website full time.) Also, the dead computer doesn’t help.
- I went on a mission to find fixes to a persistent wardrobe malfunction where my hosen would bunch up on my feet and bind with the rough leather of my boots when putting shoes on over my footed hosen. I received a list of possible solutions, some of which I have tried and some of which remain candidates for experimentation. An article on the subject would include trying and documenting my experiments with all the suggestions.
- I am collecting old, dead tents to re-purpose their fabric for an “Archer Lean-To.” This project would be to benefit any group or encampment portrayal. The idea: unlike the Knight himself who would purchase a proper tent, the commoners who joined him on campaign might opt instead to take an old cast off tent which could be purchased for cheap or salvaged for free and use it to erect a shelter for themselves while on campaign. Hanging a rectangular swath of canvas, as a tarp, can allows a variety of options as a shelter. It could ornamented with cheap mattresses and other excess material culture to give the impression of three or four men (representing a few archers and camp servant in their absence) and provide a contrast in quality to my tent. I need to research, however, is if this is a speculative construction, a reenactorism I have seen others do without any primary documentation. Part of the project and the article would be doing said research.
- Can you portray an Atheist or Godless medieval impression?
- How to tie an arming point? (Video and/or print guide.)
- How to use a fibula style brooch? (Video and/or print guide.)
- Practical example against cutting corners, using tent stakes and hammers as a reference. (Video)
- An article/video on medieval camping and comparing/contrasting slavishly accurate camping vs. modern reenactment “glamping.”
- Knotwork / ropework guide, either as a single large video/article or in a series (knots, bends, splices, marlinespike skills, etc.)