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An early kilt

As I prepare to portray a bagpiper of the NorthWest Co., I decided that I needed a correct kilt (fèileadh beag in Gàidhlig or anglicized to philabeg).  Although I have a number of really nice, traditional kilts, they are not correct to the 1790s and early 1800s.   Much has been written about the historic fèileadh beag by great folks such as Bob Martin, Matthew Newsome, and Peter MacDonald, and there are even...

Bagpipe Banners

For quite a while, I have had an interest in bagpipe banners.  Maybe it is my love of bagpipes.  Perhaps it is my interest in heraldry.  Maybe I am just odd.  Anyway, as a historical event recently contacted me, asking for me to portray a historic piper for the NorthWest Co., I decided to make a couple conjectural banners to use as interpretive tools.   We know that there were bagpipers present in North America,...

A Highland Dirk – Trial by Fire

Perhaps I am a bit crazy and over ambitious, but I recently decided that I want to try making a Scottish Highland Dirk (biodag in Gaelic/Gàidhlig).  I am only just starting blacksmithing, and my tools are a bit simple, small, and crude.  Between the forging, the artistry needed to build the handle, and the leatherworking for the sheath, this was far more involved and difficult than I am truly capable of.  In...

Some bigger thoughts on moccasins

This past year at the NAVC (North American Voyageur Council) Fall Gathering, I did a lecture on “The Hidden Language of Moccasins.” It was a two-fold presentation that first looked at the universal design of moccasins as a simple shoe from around the world, and then looked at a bigger idea of how moccasins actually affected biomechanics, changing the way humans wearing them walked. Here is the first part...

Vintage Victorian

With a full winter beard about to be shaven, I decided that I would leave some hair at first and have some historical fun. Having some large mutton chops, I then pulled a random selection of clothing to create a Victorian look as a Scottish bagpiper. Using my bellows-blown smallpipes, I then took some photos and a brief video. The playing in the video shows my newbie status at piping, my struggle with maintaining...

Old Year Reflection and a New Year’s Goals

  It is January 1st, and we have made it through another year.  As I sit here, I would like to review some of my historical highlights from 2016 as well as officially set forth some goals for 2017. Highlights from the past year (in no particular order)… I built my forge and am now blacksmithing a bit Progressed from practice chanter to full bagpipes Noelle (eldest daughter) shaved a minute off her...