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Moar answers.

Doug asks

So maybe you have answered this before but I was wondering how you got involved in researching/making textiles.

I might have answered this before, but I actually can’t remember – and since I have no idea on where to find the post, if such a one does exist…

It all started ages ago, when I was sweet seventeen years old. In a small village close to where I grew up, there was an annual “Ritterfest” (which is a medieval Festival thingie). One of my school comrades lived in that village, and she participated there, showing visitors how to make felt – so the next day, I dressed up in something not even vaguely historically correct and joined her, and the rest of the fun. I fell in love with the camaraderie and the bonfire evenings and hanging out and singing songs with other people around said fires that weekend. Shortly after, I started going to other, similar, events with a few people from that group… and that, of course, meant that I needed something to wear. The first piece I made for myself was a hood, by the way, and nothing I made back then was historically correct.

Fast forward about two years – time to decide what to do after school. After realising that the things I had thought about were not what I wanted to do after all, I sat down and made a list of stuff I would like to have included in my job. Things like being able to work outside, but also doing reading and desk work; maybe do something that involved other people; something practical, and something that had to do with the Middle Ages. When leafing through the Uni Guide, I stumbled across something that seemed to fit: Medieval Archaeology. And that’s how I ended up in Bamberg. My parents were happy to support the choice I made, study-wise, and made it possible for me to become an archaeologist. (Thank you so much, you two!)

Back when I started my studies, going to medieval markets and similar events was still considered something a bit weird and thoroughly un-academic, much more so than these days. It was a growing trend, though, and I kept on going to these events, using them to try out garments and equipment pieces and crafts techniques. Now, however, I also had proper archaeological literature about medieval textiles, so my clothes did improve. (Over time – that was a longer process.) Textiles fascinated me more and more, and by the time I wrote my master’s thesis, I was fully focused on textiles and clothing – a development I have never regretted.

And that is the full story of how I ended up researching garments and textile techniques – a teenage friend, a few lucky coincidences, some uni colleagues also interested in textiles who pointed me to books when I started out, and the opportunity to try out things and gain experience with cloth and clothing “in the wild”, they all came together to make me insatiably curious to learn more about dress back then. (Hint: It hasn’t lost any of its fascination on me yet.)

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