nav-left cat-right
cat-right

A Highland Pistol

In 2013, I picked up a French pistol that I loved.  Within a year, I sold it off in order to afford a trade gun that had more use to me.  Ever since, I have missed having a flintlock pistol.   With an interest in all things Highland and Scottish and a desire for a flintlock pistol, the idea of a Highland steel pistol has been quite appealing.  Knowing that many clerks and gentlemen in the NorthWest Company had...

First Piping Gig

Back in May, I had my first paid bagpiping gig… and it was historic, of course.  The Chippewa Falls Historical Society puts on a little historical even every year and this year I was honored to be asked to play bagpipes for it.  On Friday of the event, I spent the day with 4th graders from around the area.  I played pipes and talked about the Scottish history of the NorthWest Company.  On Sat. I talked to...

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...