My Pictish Obsession
I have a love of the Picts – everything about them, from their standing stones and metalwork, to trying to figure out what a “day in the life” of a Pictish woman would be like. My particular focus – in both time and place – is Orkney during the 4th century AD (or CE, if you prefer).
This is a rough outline of my research project, which has turned into my A&S 50 Challenge. My goal is to create a complete kit, from the skin out, to include all accessories (jewelry included) and footwear. Where necessary, I will also be building my tools/molds/etc.
4th-7th Century Pictish “Day in the Life of”
Types of Fiber Used (for clothing)
- Wool (sheep breeds)
- Plant (flax, hemp, nettle)
- Fur (?)
- Leather (?)
Techniques of Fabric Production
- Top whorl v. Bottom whorl
- S-spun v. Z-spun
- Use of plies v. singles
- Prior to weaving or naalbinding or after?
Types of Looms
- Warp-weighted loom
- Two-beam loom? (This can now be ruled out because evidence is showing that it didn’t reach the southern shores of England until around the 9th-10th century at the earliest. -source: Cloth and Clothing… Penelope Walton Rogers)
- Building a loom
- Decorative carving? (
May not yet have anyWhile there seems to be no proof of this, butI like challenges and pretty things.)
- Decorative carving? (
- Dyes used – plant, insect, other?
- Growing/dyeing cycle
- Madder, weld, woad – others? (from Rogers “Cloth and Clothing”)
- (and from “Plants & People in Ancient Scotland”)
- Blues – Woad – Isatis tinctoria (sometimes incorrectly listed as Isatis indigotica)
- Yellows – Weld – Reseda luteola L.
- Greenweed – Genista tinctora L.
- Reds – Dyers’ madder – Rubia tinctorum L. (avail. during Roman period, displaced by native species in 5th-6th centuries)
- Wild Madder – R. peregrina L. (westerly distribution in Britain)
- Ladies’ Bedstraw – Galium verum L.
- Purples – Lichens (later period – 10th cent. Norse)
Clothing Styles Influences
- Migration and Vendel periods
- Norse (pre-Viking)
- Celtic (Irish)?
- Hand sewing
- Stitches used in clothing construction = fabric v. leather.
- Metal casting/engraving/repoussé
- Leather work
- Evidence from Brough of Birsay – in period glass beads
- faience beads
- enameled? beads
- metal – silver, bronze, gold
- Blown glass
- Poured glass?
- “lamp” worked glass? (for beads)
- Wood carving tools
- Stone Carving tools
- Bone (sewing)
- Clay (loom weights, spindle whorls)