Saturday, July 30, 2011

Looking For Help....

We are currently looking for able bodied help for set up on Wednesday through Monday tear down at Kenosha, WI Pike River Rendezvous Aug 3-8.
Must have own lodge, transportation and be ready to work all days dawn to dusk. This could be an ongoing position for the right person. Email us at for details.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dave Risdon Deer Buck Skin Tanner Extra Ordinaire

Hides drying on the line
When I first started going to reenactments and Rendesvous, I met fellow Newbie Dave Risdon, who had the unusual hobby of brain tanning deer hides in the traditional Native American way.

Now flash forward seven years and we are both still doing what we love best, researching and applying the teachings of the Native American way of doing things.

Dave demonstrates wet scraping

He has many talents including playing the violin, but his heart is in his work of tanning deer hides.

He just made me a second set of hides that I will be using to make the off the shoulder dress, and I have three hides of his from before I will be making into my brain tan strap dress.
showing the carefully sewn seam
He demonstrates hide preparation and curing at many events we attend and is often consulted by many folks who want to try it themselves.
setting up the hide tube for smoking

One of the myths he proves unfounded is that hides were hot, heavy and sweaty. By tanning hides in this manner, they become light, cool and washable. 

His hides are super soft and completely hand washable, the shirt and pants he wears is several years old and has been washed many times.
Keeping a careful eye on the process
I have always been well pleased with Dave's results and am glad that he found a place to teach his art in the reenactment world.
The finished result! Beautiful Hides!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Fort Folle Avoine, Danbury, WI, July 18 – 24, 2011

Doyle demonstrates proper puddle jumping
Mike and Susan Riverine Traders

Ed in Top Hat and Colleen in Blue

Once again, it's time to pack up and head up the river to Fort Folle Avoine Rendezvous!

No Doubt about it, this is Doyle's and my favorite Rendezvous! This where we met six years ago, and it just keeps getting better everyday!

This is the only Event where I get to see my Northern Minnesota friends who got me into Rendezvous to begin with, if not for Dan and Stoni, Ed and Collen, I never would have gone to rendezvous, and never would have met Doyle!
Sadly, this past year, Collen passed from among us, she had a brave battle with Cancer that finally took her this Spring.
Until the end, she was a brave soul who fought the odds and won, even making a special trip to Florida to surprise us two years ago.

She was one of my very best friends and always stuck by me no matter what, She and Ed would always call on my Birthday and leave me a singing Birthday message, something I never erased from my messages, and I listen to it often when I think of her.
Dan and Stoni
This location is one of the most beautiful we attend, the Yellow River through a Native Village and the upper field is a gently rolling wildflower field with huge white and jack pines dominating the skyline.

This camp has more camp kids than any other we attend, so many they have to have two candy cannons! It's such a "Feel Good" Event, and we look forward to going every year.

There is always time to chat with friends and just enjoy the peace and solitude of the camp.

Hope to see you there this year, be sure to drop by and see us!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Documented Period Correct Seed, Tile, Pound or Clothing Beads

Seed Beads in the Northwest

This is a reprinting of a  great article on documented Bead Ornamentation based on archeological digs at old forts.


Art. II. Seed Beads in the Northwest.

In which J. GOTTFRED presents information on small glass beads based on the archaeological evidence from Fort George (1792-1800), Rocky Mountain House (1799-1821), and the Boyer Post and Aspen House sites (1788-1802)

There is some confusion among re-enactors concerning what beads are correct to use for beadwork decoration on reproduction clothing and other items dating to before 1821. In this article I will present information from three archeological reports concerning small glass beads found at fur trade sites dating from 1788-1821. I will also discuss what modern beads are the closest to these historic beads in size, shape, and color.
Some of the confusion regarding small beads comes from the fact that people use the same terms to describe different beads. Modern seed beads are classified by size number. Usually, seed bead sizes range from size 2 (large) to size 14 (tiny). Size 2 beads are almost as big as a modern pony bead, while the size 14 beads are about a millimeter in diameter. The most popular size with modern craft workers seems to be size 10, with a diameter of about 2.5 mm. Today's 'pony beads' or 'crow beads' are large beads, usually plastic, with a large hole and a diameter of 9 mm. They are often used to decorate fancy bandannas and leather fringes. 
Historic seed beads are defined as being under 2.0 mm in diameter (Nobel, 143). Historic 'pony' or 'pound' beads are larger than 2.0 mm, generally between 2.0 and 4.0 mm (Kidd, 175). Modern size 6 to size 10 beads are the same diameter as historic pony beads, while modern seed bead sizes 11 to 14 have the same diameter as historic seed beads. There does not appear to be a historic analog to modern pony beads, although there were other types of large beads.

Beads at Fort George 1792-1800

Fort George was a North West Company post located on the North Saskatchewan River near the town of Elk Point, Alberta. It operated from 1792 to 1800.
During the years 1965 to 1967, 20,588 small glass beads were recovered from the Fort George site (Kidd, 175). Most of them were 'pound beads' or 'pony beads', with diameters generally between 2 and 4 mm (Kidd, 175). (A size 10 seed bead is about 2.5 mm in diameter, while a size 6 seed bead is roughly 4.4 mm in diameter.)
The archeologists further classified the beads into three shape categories, 'flat' beads have diameters greater than their length, 'square' beads are as long as they are wide, and 'elongated' beads are longer than their diameter. Most modern seed beads are 'flat'. 
At Fort George, the three shape categories broke down in the following way (from data in Kidd, 176):

Unlike modern beads, two thirds of the small beads have a 'square' profile. Modern beads also have more rounded edges (shaped like car tires), where as the historic beads had square edges, more like modern 'cut' beads (like short lengths of pipe). It should also be noted that the historic beads were much less regular in size than modern beads.

The main colors of the beads excavated at Fort George were white and blue. Two-thirds of the remainder were red, while green and wine-colored beads made up most of the rest.
Beads at Rocky Mountain House, 1799-1821

Rocky Mountain House was a North West Company post located on the North Saskatchewan River just south of the town of Rocky Mountain House, Alberta. It was open from 1799-1821.
The site yielded 151 seed beads less than 2 mm in diameter, and 10,539 'square' beads with diameters ranging from 2.1 to 4.0 mm (Noble, 145). At Rocky Mountain House, most of the beads were 'square' ; only 176 beads were 'flat'.
Noble notes that 'the comparatively low number of seed beads at Rocky Mountain House is in contradistinction to bead samples from other historic forts' and that the 'data suggests that the Rocky Mountain House seed bead sample is very low. This may be a function of time, different suppliers or simply due to a preference on the part of the Indians.' (Noble, 144-145)
They found 10,522 beads at Rocky Mountain House. Blue beads made up 69% of these beads, and white beads were the remaining 31%. There were also 17 red beads.

Beads at the Boyer Post and Aspen House sites (1788-1802)

The Boyer Post and Aspen House were North West Company posts located at the forks of the Boyer and Peace Rivers in Northern Alberta. The site is very near Fort Vermilion, Alberta.
Only 73 beads were recovered from the site, but their color distribution is similar to the other sites' with the vast majority of beads being evenly split between white and blue, with remainder composed of red and yellow in equal proportions.

Combined Data

If we combine the small bead data from all three sites, we find that out of a total of 31,138 beads, 57% are white, and 29% are blue. The remaining 14% is predominantly red.

Analysis of Bead Patterns

Museums contain many different examples of beadwork patterns. Unfortunately, most of these items date from the late 19th or early 20th centuries. However, if we assume that they are representative of earlier patterns, it might be interesting to compare the representation of bead colors in these patterns to the distribution of bead colors at archaeological sites. I will present a breakdown of two geometric patterns that I have reproduced from historic examples.
The first is a reproduction beaded strip from the arms of a Plains Cree man's shirt that used 14,400 modern size 10 beads. The pattern consisted of pairs of yellow triangles bordered in black on a white background.

The second example is of a beaded strip from the front of a Blackfoot man's shirt. This is a variation of the Blackfoot 'mountain' pattern, which might be described as blue triangles bordered with black borders and colored details on a white background. I have reproduced one pattern of 4,384 size 10 beads. When extrapolated to the size of the original garment's beaded strip, this pattern would comprise some 35,072 beads with the following color breakdown :

The color distributions of the two patterns are similar to the color distribution of the beads from the three historic sites, and would suggest that historic bead patterns were of the same general form, namely a background field of white, with predominantly blue colored designs placed at regular intervals within the field.


Historically, the term 'seed bead' refers to beads less than 2 mm in diameter. The historic term 'pony bead' refers to beads of between 2 mm and 4 mm in diameter, but the beads craft stores call pony beads are usually much bigger than that. Historic 'pony beads' correspond in size to modern size 6 to size 10 seed beads. (2-4 mm diameter). In scaled photographs of pony beads from the Fort George and Boyer/Aspen sites, most correspond to modern size 6 seed beads (4 mm diameter).
Most beads were white and blue. This may indicate that these two colors were preferred for use as the background colors for fully beaded designs.
Two-thirds of historic beads were of the 'square' form, with the remainder split between 'flat' and 'elongated' forms.
For the re-enactor, this data would suggest that beadwork consistent with archeological evidence covering the period 1792-1821 in Alberta would use modern size 6 (4mm) seed beads, in patterns using white or blue as the main or background color, with periodic designs of yellow, red, black, green, or wine.
The greatest challenge to the re-enactor is obtaining 'square' type beads. Using 'flat' forms would not be totally inconsistent with the archeological record, but I suspect that a pattern made only with 'flat' beads would not be typical for the time. Modern seed beads have rounded edges and are very flat. The most common historic beads were more 'square', and had edges that were generally much less rounded than the edges of modern beads.


Kidd, Robert S., Fort George and the Early Fur Trade in Alberta. Provincial Museum and Archives of Alberta Publication No. 2, 1970
Noble, William C., 'The Excavation and Historical Identification of Rocky Mountain House' in Canadian Historic Sites : Occasional Papers in Archaeology and History No. 6. National Historic Sites Service, National and Historic Parks Branch, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. Ottawa, 1973. pp. 56-163
Pyszczyk, Heinz W., 'A 'Parchment Skin' is All : The Archaeology of the Boyer River Site, Fort Vermilion, Alberta' in The Uncovered Past : Roots of Northern Alberta Societies, Patricia A McCormack, ed. Circumpolar Research Series Number 3, Canadian Circumpolar Institute, University of Alberta, Edmonton, 1993. pp.33-44.

Copyright 1994-2002 Northwest Journal ISSN 1206-4203.

Here is a picture of tile beads, currently Crazy Crow has them in these colors and they have a large selection of colors, they are made in India:

 They are also available from Native Essence made in Czechloslovakia, a better quality and therefore more expensive, also only available in black and white at this time

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Fur Trade Story Part One of Five

Frances Anne Hopkins, Voyageurs at Dawn

In the 16th and 17th centuries, furs were a big part of European fashion. Mink, lynx, otter and sable were used to enhance stoles, sleeves and capes. Ermine, which was completely white with just a touch of black, added a majestic beauty to kings' mantles. Beaver felt, which was also popular, was use to make broad-brimmed hats with incomparable impermeability.

Furs from Russia and Scandinavia were costly for the French furriers and they were not always of the best quality. Merchants quickly realized how they could make the most of North American furs, which were abundant, diversified and magnificent as a result of the harsh climate. The fur trade was to play a decisive role in French colonization efforts. It was the fur trade that forced the exploration of the territory and the establishment of good relationships with the Aboriginal peoples.

Seeking beaver skins and pelts, thousands of men traveled along the waterways and through the forests of North America. Depending on their status and the period, they were known by different names: coureurs des bois, voyageurs, pedleurs, men of the North, eaters of lard, trappers. Whether they were just passing though or had settled down, they lived life off the beaten trails and enjoyed a great deal of freedom. This chronicle provides an opportunity to learn about their daily lives, as they lived on the fringes of the colony.

(Bloggers Note: I cannot take credit for these articles, I found them floating around the net with no real way to track the author, so I have included the link to the original pages)

Source: Bibliothèque et Archives Canada/Fonds Frances Anne Hopkins/C-002773

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sidelined at Prairie du Chien Rendezvous

Doyle Got Me Flowers! I must be in Pretty Bad Shape!

OK, I hurt myself driving 2 foot tent stakes at Prairie du Chien Rendezvous. I have driven stakes many times, and it used to be my Husbands job, but since his surgery last Fall I have taken over this duty to prevent him hurting himself. I hadn't had a problem up to this point, but Prairie has a lot of old pavement under the site, and I think I hurt myself trying to blast through and old sidewalk!

Normally we have been corralling the closest strong back we could find to do this nasty but necessary job, but this time we were on our own and I was feeling frisky so I drove them all myself and ended up pulling some muscles I wasn't aware I had until this moment.

On a scale of one to ten, this was an eleven, and forced me not only to bed, but prevented me from working in the kitchen all weekend. It wasn't easy missing one of my favorite Events, I couldn't even get over to visit, it's Sunday and I am just now able to sit up and walk a bit.
Thank goodness also for Pat's Lund's Corsettes, I strapped one on the first day I could get out of bed, and it's stabilized my back better than most medical back braces!
I would like to thank everyone who stopped by the kitchen to wish me well and maybe pitched in to help Doyle during one of our busiest Events of the year! Connie came through like a Champ, taking over my duties and keeping an eye on Doyle to keep him from working too hard. we had a nice couple of young Ladies who also came by and helped Doyle out, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for being there for us!

The hardest part of hurting myself was not being able to visit with everyone we normally only see once a year at this Event. I thought about going over today and just hanging around the kitchen, but I puttered around the house yesterday and I woke up stiff and sore again today, I also think it would be impossible for me to just sit and watch, I would eventually get up and try to do something, which would only set me back and get my butt whooped by Connie and Doyle.

Now we will be down for a few weeks until Folle Avoine, I am really looking forward to getting there and working on my dress in the kitchen. I better be better by then, even if I have to resort to...DOCTORS..but I hope rest and a little Yoga will take care of it!

Thank you all again for supporting our kitchen and helping Doyle out, we appreciate each and every one of you good Folks out on the road with us, and may God watch over your travels until we meet again!

Reconstructing a Pre Contact Elk Two Hide Dress

We've had a week off, so I've jumped right into a project that has been years in the planning and research. I'm recreating an Elk Hide dress that hasn't been seen walking around in 300 or so hundred years.

I actually have three hide dresses in the planning phase, but this one just sort of came up when I got the hides and hung them on the dress form.

The hides were hung as they had been delivered, no cutting or trimming of leather was done to it.

It was supposed to be a Wampanoag over the shoulder dress, (Think Jane of Tarzan fame), but when I did the initial dress form fitting, this dress came out instead and insisted I make it.

Sometimes the hides just arrange themselves in such a way you just have to go with what they are telling you.

In early Native American Culture it was common to make a dress from the entire hide without cutting it in any way, just artfully arranging it to your form.

One second later, Slippers pulled the dress form over on top of her!
This was powerful medicine in it's day but was later modified to become a more taylored garment for a more active mobile lifestyle and redesigned to differentiate between different tribes.

What really surprised me is when I got things pinned up I began to see a garment that covered different cultures around the world also.

If one looks carefully, one can see the lines of the Kimono. If one squints a bit, a Medieval dress line appears.

Lets face it, at one time or another we all ran around in hides of one sort or another on every continent. We all wanted to look our best, (women have always been concerned about their looks, trust me on this, even in the cave there was some sort of fashion going on). 

I imagine considerable time was spent making the hides hang, "just so" instead of just tying a knot of any given smelly hide over one shoulder and marching on...that idea is abhorrent to women now as then.'s amazing to think that all long flowing dresses are essentially paying homage to the original two hide dress, the lines are obvious, the pattern clear.

We've just changed fabric for hides, added darts, zippers, buttons and cut away at the excess to reveal a modern line. It's nice to take a moment and take a good long look at our beginnings and see that even then, women had fine taste in clothing.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

My Two Brain Tan Elk Dress Begins

Coming Along Nicely...
 My first fitting was just to find out if me and my dress form still agreed on size, which we did, but it was evident that just throwing the hides on the form wasn't good enough. I had to play around with the grain and hang of the animal to get it to drape properly.

I, of course, hung my hides neck down, which really makes a difference in how it hangs, those old world Gals knew what they were doing!

It really helped to let the hides hand an relax for a while, then I pinched, stretched and tugged until they started to see my way of doing things.

It's obvious from the dress I took the pattern off of that this dress was made on the person and not just thrown on the floor and sewed up. One must know where the median lines of the body are to get a proper drape!

I was shocked when it all came together, it resembled a Kimono in shape and contour! Now I'm so happy with how it looks I don't want to do anything more with it other than stitch it up and put it on! I'm seriously considering leaving it as is and getting more hides to make the off the shoulder version with fringe.

First Fitting
This would be an actual two hide dress as it was first conceived, and I have to say that it is lovely indeed!

We'll see.....
Wrong, wrong wrong...

Proper fitting

Proper fitting rear

Proper fitting side, note train

Proper fitting side

Friday, June 10, 2011

Chevron Or Rosetta Star Beads 1500-1900

My Collection, a Mix of Old and New Red, White and Blue Chevrons
My matched strand from the same cane
I always promised myself I wouldn't get hooked on Beads, but sooner or later you just have to have something to wear with your red, white and blue regalia and I just couldn't help but fall in love with these Chevrons I have collected over the past few years. I finally have them strung up in a useable and ascetic form and can't wait to try them on when I am all "Dressed Up".

My collection consists of a long strand of matched graduated old seven layer beads, a small strand of mixed old leftover beads and a modern strand of beads featuring a new bead I call the "Mirror Ball".

Here is some research I found on my beads, I found the sources very interesting and have provided links to the most interesting ones.:

CHEVRONS are probably the best known, oldest and most interesting historic trade bead. Often called ‘star’ beads or ‘chevrons’ by Spanish traders, these artifacts are quintessential fur trade relics - but yet they are rarely found in Canada and North US. They were traded here, but very early in the game.
Chevrons were traded with African tribes for slaves and ivory, and Native Americans, primarily in southwest Arizona. Blue and red chevrons are listed among the supplies of Coronado and his conquistadors in the year 1540 in what is today Arizona. These are prized beads - but they are rarely found in the fur belt. Some authors believe they were bought and traded by the Hudson's Bay Company early in the history of that venerated company - before glass making became common in England. There's also an interesting story which details how the exact recipe and process for making Chevrons (all fifteen steps) was one of the great industrial secrets to escape the Republic of Venice when several highly skilled glassblowers escaped from the Island of Murano to migrate north to Germany in the early 1600’s. The mills of Bohemia made the manufacture of these complicated beads more practical as a single necklace required hours of grinding – remember the beads start life as long sticks of glass that are broken into bits and ground into small spherical shapes.

Chevron Beads were traded throughout the world from the late 15th century. Christopher Columbus is said to have traded Chevrons when discovering the New World. They were introduced into Africa by Dutch merchants. The first specimens were created by glass bead makers in Venice and Murano Italy. Chevrons were originally called Rosetta beads, or star beads. The word Rosetta first appears in the inventory of the Barovier Glass works in Murano in 1496.

Massive Venetian Chevron  -  Circa 1480 1580 - Rediscovered in the Congo1983. Measures 7.7 cms x  5 cms. Weight: 288 gms.

Chevron beads were traditionally made up of red, blue and white layers. A smaller number of chevron beads were produced in green, black and yellow. (above) Chevrons were 'drawn beads', made from glass 'canes' created in specifically constructed star mould. Star moulds are known to have had between 5 and 18 points. Typically, four to seven layers of different coloured glass was added to the mould, conforming to the star mould. Metal plates were affixed to the hot glass which was then 'drawn' into a long rod called 'canes', by pulling from either in opposite directions. A bubble which had been blown into the centre of the original molten ball of glass formed the hole in the cane and beads perforation. The diameter of the cane or beads was determined by how thin the glass was drawn out. The cooled cane was cut into bead sizes, revealing a star pattern at either cut section. Each end was then ground or faceted to enhance and display the star chevron pattern. Star beads with flat ends are more correctly known as 'Rosetta star beads'.

The first known Chevrons typically had seven layers and six facets. Over time and through use, an inner layer would sometimes wear away. By the beginning of the 20th century, four and six layer chevron beads appeared on various bead sample cards. Small quantities of chevron beads continue to be made in Venice today.

Above, a selection of very large chevrons collected in Shaba Zaire (Conge DRC) during the most part of the 1990's. At the top is the largest 7 layered example we found. The centre necklace is made up entirely of seven layered Chevrons, while the outer two examples date to early 20th century trade. These beads were re-discovered individually. They would have entered the remote region through river sources, leading up from the mouth of the Congo River. Imagine the history they have seen!

More Brain Tan Dress Research, Wonderful Discovery!

Discovery of the Day! I watched a PBS Series last night about First contact between Native and European peoples on the continent and it led me to do some more searches for tribe specific clothing.

I began my search for the Wampanoag people, the Natives who interacted with the so called "Pilgrims" of Plymouth rock and Thanksgiving fame.

I came across this site linked in the pictures below to a Native reenactment village where they are actually wearing the garment I will be recreating soon.

I was thrilled to find that the arm closure I documented on Mia's actual dress was authentic, and the manner of attaching the shoulder correct.

This is a big moment for me, as the garment had been modified to include a button closure, something I was not comfortable with using, (I never have seen button closures used in pre contact clothing).
But, the garment DID have mysterious slits on either end of the fold-over that implied a drawstring to me, and when I repaired it, I did add the leather drawstring, but left the button closure as I did not want to over-alter the dress, (it was not mine, after all).

I have been searching ever since for the actual closure, and these pictures show the leather thong strap closure I have been thinking of all along and was evidenced in the actual garment I studied. It lends a graceful closure to the over-the-shoulder attachment, and will look stunning!

Here are more photos and links to the actual page where I found my material for this article, I will be ever grateful to the Wampanoag for keeping their historical clothing alive!
The following is their sites wording and not mine:

Erinn sewing homesite
Unlike the people you’ll meet in the 17th-Century English Village, the staff in the Wampanoag Homesite are not role players. They are all Native People  - either Wampanoag or from other Native Nations - and they will be dressed in historically accurate clothing, mostly made of deerskin. They speak from a modern perspective about Wampanoag history and culture. They are happy to see you and will invite you inside a wetu, or tell you what they are growing in the garden, or show you how to play hubbub, an ancient tribal game still enjoyed by many Wampanoag today. The staff in the Wampanoag Homesite are very proud of their Native heritage, and knowledgeable of the traditions, stories, technology, pasttimes, music and dance of the people who have lived in this region for more than 10,000 years. Ask lots of questions! You may be surprised what you will learn.

Wampanoag woman and child Plimoth PlantationPhoto copyright Rusty Moore.12. You don't look like the images of Native People I've seen in movies and books. Are you a "real Indian" 
Those of us dressed in deerskin clothing on the Wampanoag Homesite are all Native People - a term we prefer over "Indian" or even "Native American". Most are Wampanoag, but a few people are from other Native Nations. Many images of Native People in movies depict Native stereotypes. But there are actually many different Native Peoples throughout the Country, with a variety of different physical features as well as different lifestyles.
If you want to know about our heritage, just ask us: "What Native Nation are you from?" We'd be happy to talk with you about it.
 2.  Who will I meet at the Wampanoag Homesite?
All of the staff in the Homesite are Native People - either Wampanoag or from other Native Nations. Asking staff what Native Nation they are from is a great way to begin a conversation. You are likWampanoag dancing at Plimoth Plantationely to meet some people who are Wampanoag--one of several Peoples (or Nations) indigenous to the southern coast of present-day New England. The Wampanoag have been living here for over 10,000 years.
While their clothing and houses are traditional, the Native interpreters you meet are not role players. They speak from a modern perspective about Wampanoag history and culture. This enables the staff to talk with you about historical as well as contemporary  issues, events and information about the Wampanoag.

Authentic Costuming: English, Wampanoag, and Pirate

1621 Clothes, whether European, American Indian, or Pirate (yes, pirates!), were much different than we so commonly think today. The following period garment information is taken from The American Patriot's Treasury of Historical Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas (Second Edition), which covers the subject in much greater detail (Sumptuary Laws, accessories, gender, undergarments, children's attire, fabric choices, resources, weapons, and more).

This time period is considered the late Renaissance, and English attire was actually very colorful and romantic. Stereotypically we think of Pilgrims in black and white, but that style didn't come into middle class fashion until the late 1600's (see the Costumes page at for a fascinating look at the origins of Pilgrim clothing stereotypes).

English class attire for both genders is discussed at length in the guide, but you can get an idea of the possibilities throughout this lens. For the sake of interest, here is the breakdown of class attire for English women in 1621. All the Pilgrims of the Mayflower were middle class citizens, but don't let that stop you from making clothing that you'll love to wear if you prefer the upper or lower class attire.

(Lower Class - Middle Class - Upper Class)
Lower Class: Outer corset, exposed undershirt sleeves
Middle Class: Jacket with full length sleeves to cover undershirt
Upper Class: One piece dress with full length sleeves and stately collar

Americans only have partial descriptions, and few if any portraits of 1621 Wampanoag people, so Wampanoag costuming is left wide open for interpretation. The pictures following are of my youngest son wearing a style-plausible interpretation, followed by line drawings of traditional attire currently donned by Wampanoag Indians (as featured in The History Channel production, Mayflower). For my son's attire I couldn't afford leather leggings, but I did manage a snake skin belt and fur wrap. Snake skin belts are mentioned in period descriptions of the New England Natives.

Yes, there were pirates in 1621, and they did touch the Thanksgiving story every bit as much as the Mayflower did! Details are in the guide, plus some information can be found on our 1621 Pirates page at 3 Sun

Essentially there were two pirates authentic to the 1621 Plymouth story: the Barbary Coast Pirates (also called Algerian Corsairs), and French Privateers (government-appointed pirates who were more inclined to steal than to kill).

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Prairie du Chien Rendezvous June 12-19

Prairie du Chien Rendezvous
When-Jun 16 – 19 2011
Where-St. Feriole Island, Prairie du Chien (map)
Description-Early Set Up June 12 4:00pm June 16-19: Annual Prairie Villa Rendezvous, Fur Trading era environment recreating life as it was in 1840's when Prairie du Chien was the hub of the fur trading, largest re-enactment in the Midwest, open to the public, free admission, St. Feriole Island along the Mississippi River. 

For participant registration information call 608-822-6916 or email: Mailing address: Big River Long Rifles, 4840 Greenwood Rd, Fennimore, WI 53809.
This is one of the biggest Events we do all year, it's an Event we are so busy, I have never had time to take proper photos! So I had to rummage around and just pull up some random kitchen pictures with the people who usually help us out.

A huge flea market runs at the same time in the park, so it is double the fun for the public!

Hope to see you there!

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