Second day! Finished the tree I started yesterday, and added an entire second tree. I’m getting better at the pointy bits of the tree. I also spent some time researching, sketching, and doing a little math. My total skirt trim will be 84 inches long, and the bit I have done is about 8 1/2 inches from the center of one tree trunk to the next. I’m planning to use the trees as spacers between each section, which means I’ll end up with ten sections of 8.4″, and I won’t have any weird gaps. Perfect!
The Medieval hunt has eight stages, and I sketched out an idea for representing each stage of the hunt, with the Chase (the exciting bit) taking up the three center-front panels, and the beginning and end meeting up in back. I really like this conceptually, but I was concerned about representing some of the more complicated concepts, as well as some of the more graphic ones. I decided that the Unmaking, which is a ritual dissection of the quarry, wasn’t something I really needed to express in graphic detail on my Christmas gown.
I also toyed with alternating hunting animals like hounds and hawks with quarry animals. This also would have worked better with eight sections than ten, but in the end I just really wanted to express all the different animals that come into play in the hunt.
My front center panel is the one that’s done. I have a hart of nine, or a buck with nine prongs on his antlers. Interestingly, hunting a hart of fewer than ten tines wasn’t considered noble, so this hart won’t be anyone’s dinner just yet. I didn’t plan it that way, but it kind of makes me happy that my hart won’t be killed.
Flanking the hart on either side of the winter trees will be does, probably lying down, but I might get crazy and have them bowing to the hart. The hart was considered the noblest animal, frequently a symbol of either the king or Jesus. Outside the does, there will be more trees, and then the side panels, connecting front with back, will be running hounds, probably greyhounds in front and mastiffs in back, although mastiffs were more commonly used for large game like bears, so maybe I’ll end up with terriers and greyhounds. The back center three panels will feature men and horses, with a mounted prince center back (offering symmetry if I go for the royal stag reference), flanked by falconers releasing their birds. I also considered having flying falcons accompany one or both of the dog breeds, which would work really well with the more diminutive terriers if I go that route, but will also mean more individual applique pieces and more delicate shapes.
With this, the right and left side will be mirrored, with the story of the hunt unfolding with the figures in back leading to the figures in front. I feel like it will flow really well.
That said, while I’ve looked at a bunch of paintings and tapestries for inspiration, and I’ve seen scenic embroidery on period garments, and I’ve seen scrolling hunting scenes in a panorama like this will be, I’ve never actually seen all the elements rolled into one, and I’m not entirely sure that this is 100% period. I would say that it might be, and it probably isn’t very far off if it’s not. I feel that this is passably period because the method is period, the subject matter is period, and applique was done on clothing, so if this particular combination is invented, I don’t necessarily feel that an actual 1505 audience would necessarily be turned off by it or think it was completely weird. Then again, it might be the 1505 equivalent of a walmart tee shirt of howling wolves, and they totally thought of combining all the elements I have but thought it would be totally dorky.