Hair I Am

We’re coming into the summer season and that means lots of re-enactment events to attend. We did two in a row, plus went to a friend’s house the weekend before that to be her taste-testers for the dishes she was cooking for a feast. Now it’s time to hermit a little before the next round begins.

Me by Jennifer Morrow-BruckA couple of weekends ago, I went down Georgia to teach some classes. A lady at the event snapped a good picture of me in my May Day flowers.


A women weaving flowers into a wreath.


Chaplets made from greenery.


The woman in red appears to have a flower wreath. The others are probably wearing metal circlets, but the little circles may represent flowers (we know from effigies that they wore metal flowers on circlets).

Women, especially unmarried girls, usually wore flowers in their hair on May Day and certain other holidays during the middle ages. Weddings were also a favorite time to wear flowers.

Me with sewn braidsLast weekend, I sewed my braids with gold and pearls, but this is the only picture I have from the event.

It was a bit time-consuming to do, but not as difficult as you would think. I braided my hair at my temples, as I normally do, then folded it into thirds so that the end of my hair was sandwiched between the other two parts. Then I tied a knot into a heavy gold thread and sewed the two halves together following the pattern of my braid. When I was done, I ran the remainder of the thread down the backside of the braid, tucking it behind the other threads, and left it unknotted (so that I could undo it at the end of the day). Then I switched a beading thread and knotted that around the end of a pearl. I sewed the pearls to the braids everywhere the strands of the braid crossed. Then I ran the tail of the thread down the back of the braid, too. At the end of the day, I was able to pull it all out without cutting any of it, so it’s useable again.

And, actually, I did all of this the night before, then put on my husband’s coif and slept on it. I often get two wears out of my braids that way, but never when they’re put up like that; normally I take my braids down, pull them into a scrunchy behind my head, then put on a coif. That doesn’t bother me, because they’re really not in the way. I don’t recommend sleeping in this style, though–especially if you’re a side sleeper like me. It might not be so bad if you sleep on your back or stomach.

I want to put together a class on how to fix your hair in various 14th century hairstyles. I also want to play with creating fake braids and practice making faux braids on a friend with short hair so everyone can have the most iconic hair of the middle ages.

When I was looking back at some pictures of myself, I realized I can really channel Philippa of Hainault when I want to.





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