Sunday, May 30, 2010

New Vision of the Cord Skirt

Ancient cord skirts from the Bronze Age were used to accentuate women's movements, particularly in fertility rituals. These remind me of codpieces for men - they certainly accentuate and call attention to the same general body area as do cord skirts on women.

As the use of codpieces disappeared, some say that neckties found their function as they also 'point' to the same area that the codpiece decorated. Is the necktie a codpiece that migrated upwards??!!

In thinking about clothing, fashion, and function, it occurs to me to create a neck-piece along the lines of the cord skirt.
Something swingy that moves when the wearer moves - something that both current and ancient in its uses. Yet something that doesn't necessarily look ancient (!)

The cultures that made cord skirts used braiding, twisted cords, and inkle or tablet woven bands.

Starting with basic weaving and Viking braiding (using loops & fingers - very portable), I created some little potential pendants - but the weight isn't right.
The Viking braids (hanging down) can be weighted with beads but the top square piece is too flimsy to hold it all. Unless I mount it on something, this ain't gonna work!! (And mounting it on something doesn't sound good - too bulky & too many 'parts'...)

Saturday, May 15, 2010


What happened to April?! As a teacher, the spring is my busiest time of year: papers to grade, reports to complete, hiring to do.. Not enough time for fiber, art, or nature!

That said, I have been fiddling around with various things.
Updating my father's genealogy has taken me into Viking and English history.
I just wrote a Sociology blog related to this issue and it's taken me into fiber history as well.
Evidently, the vikings were big on making braids and band weaving (inkle, card weaving, etc.) - techniques I've been playing with for years.
The Danish National Museum has a great online exhibition of cultural finds - including The Egtved Girl and her string/cord skirt (among other things). You can see all the detail of the clothing!
I'm not planning on making a cord skirt - but the idea is intriguing.