So, I introduced my knight Dame Ravenna Corvidae to you earlier this year, and had a lovely sweep of feedback and comments on the topic that I was inspired to write a rough “inspiration soup” post in the summer. But, as I said, each character has a different blend of soup, with different sources of inspiration – and I promised to detail some of Brigit’s inspirations too.
I also enjoyed detailing some of my kit creations for Ravenna, so I’ll include a few crafts below that help round out Brigit’s kit.
I had the idea for Brigit a while ago when I was preparing for the first of the fests of 2015, as I like to have something packed in the car for that unfortunate fact of our game – that characters just die! Having played an armoured character (and having dealt with the morning after bruising post-fests and endured the aches and pains from being stubborn and wearing the whole ensemble well in the evening) I knew I wanted to play a non-armoured character next. I had an idea for a Rose (I have lots of ideas …) but decided I wanted a chance to play a “kit light” character even for a little bit (oh how I laugh looking back at that idea!). But I did enjoy the atmosphere of the Crowan Church at fests (Rowan Tait-of-Amblevale was a Crowan Devotee at the end), so I decided it was time to play another priestess – this time a warrior priestess of the Church of Battle (go Team Crowa).
Priests are governed by the primary colour they must wear according to their strictures, and luckily for me I have collected lots of bits of red kit through the years (!) I’ve been in the system. Happy to recycle the robes and odds and ends from past characters, I was able to gather together the bulk of the kit before I even began to consider the character herself. At the time I didn’t need to, but with the kit basics packed in a bag I had time to work on her inspiration soup.
Brigit Wooller, a merchant’s daughter, came out of a number of sources – most of them difficult to pin down now that I’m looking back. In the early days of playing the character I was reading the Live Ship Traders trilogy by Robin Hobb (The Ship of Magic, The Mad Ship and The Ship of Destiny) which helped form an image of how a merchant’s daughter might behave, but I think I drew some of the concept from the character Caris from “World Without End” by Ken Follet – who I have used as a source of kit inspiration before thanks to the TV mini-series.
Caris is a wool merchant’s daughter upon whom befalls a great number of miseries. She’s definitely an inspiration for the character, or at least formed the kernel of her beginnings.
I enjoyed designing and researching kit for a character set in a distinct time period (not sure how well I pulled it off in the field, but Ravenna’s kit was certainly based in the late Tudor/early Elizabethan period). However, as I was hunting through my kit and pulling together a mishmash of layers, I thought about the basics first. I like the shape created by wearing a tunic and under-dress, and having played a bit of dress up I began to put Brigit’s costume into the general anglo-saxon inspired Medieval peasant style of fashion (I’m thinking generic peasant a, b and c in films like “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” here …). With this image in mind, the character began to form.
Brigit’s banquet kit was inspired by Snow White’s dress in “Snow White and the Huntsman” because I had the pattern (Simplicity 1773) lying around at home dying to be used. I decided that I would finally use the pattern and give some tenuous link to the Holy Rose Order to give me an excuse to wear roses and ribbons with my equipment. Also, having seen someone else’s version of the pattern, I just fell in love with the look! I also had the bonus of being given some gorgeous fabric by people de-stashing/thinking of my new character when hunting for gear in charity shops.
I had thought about making the short version of the pattern as day to day wear, with the longer dress as her banquet kit, but after piecing together the “temporary” kit I found myself honestly preferring the simplicity of it. It’s simple, down to earth, and fitted the character slowly forming in my mind. However, I love the pattern and I had already bought some possible notions for decorating it. So I kept it aside for a banquet dress but did not seek out cloth at first. In the end though the cloth found me as I said and I am hugely grateful for the cloth I have been given by friends and parents of friends. Such thoughtfulness is moving beyond words and I will think of these kind acts whenever I wear items made of this cloth.
A lot of Brigit’s kit concepts came before the character, which is why I’m currently writing about kit before discussing the character herself. I was inspired by the tenacity and femininity of some of the recent members of the Rose Order in Fools and Heroes, and some of the other female heroes who I’ve interacted with before. Not all women are girly, but some are – but they’re not wet and weepy. They’ve got steel in them and usually when a crisis occurs they step up to it. Given that Lady Miriam was delicate and girly but failed to grow a spine, I decided I wanted to avoid falling into that stereotype again.
The accent is something I am proud of – a broad country/devonshire accent helped by watching the recent tv adaptation of Poldark, with some mannerisms inspired by Demelza and Jud, as well as a mishmash of sensible down-to-earth female characters I’ve written, read about, or conceptualized in the past.
Brigit Wooller’s kit
As I have already said Brigit came about kit first rather than character, so I chose to think of reasons behind the choices of kit beyond already owning the items in my kit stash.
Brigit wears a simple underdress (purchased from Having a Larp) over which she wears a tunic (purchased from Darkblade) belted with my first piece of tablet weaving (made of embroidery floss so it’s lovely and supple and silky). Over this she wears her robes which have detachable sleeves and hood, and lacing at the sides to adjust to fit over armour or layers, along with her prayer scarf and holy symbol. This is belted with a canvas belt with D-loops which I “borrowed” from my OH’s collection of useful walking things, which means she can swan around in her robes without needing to wear her adventuring belts.
As a priestess Brigit carries holy water (in a pouch made by a friend who last played a priest of Crowa and bequeathed his holy water vials and such to the next Crowan priest in our branch) and has a number of things she keeps in her bag. I made the bag using this free pattern (please note you have to subscribe to get access to the pdf instructions and pattern, but it gives an idea of what’s out there for reversible shoulder or hobo bags) out of a bundle of quilting fat quarters I bought from Hobbycraft. I might make another one at some point with a longer strap for Brigit, but it serves its purpose for now and I enjoyed piecing the sections together to make the panels of the bag. It is closed with a small flap I added and a wooden toggle and lined with cotton sheeting. In this bag I have a makeshift shrine-in-a-jar (candles and an altar cloth, no relic), a wide red shawl and a sun hat nicknamed the battle bonnet.
Brigit wears glasses and a red flower in her ribboned hair (hair piece not shown), carries a set of Crowan prayer beads and a handkerchief in a pouch, has a holy symbol and symbol of the Rose Order around her neck; and carries what little coin she has on her in a small leather pouch that I made using a tutorial written by Katafalk available here.
On her adventuring belt she carries bandages and alchemy in a pouch; a tinderbox (quick strike flint and steel with cotton wool as tinder in a painted and varnished mint tin); candles and dish; a scroll case for ritual scrolls, associated papers and sticks and stake; and often an apple in a pouch I’m reusing from Ravenna’s kit. She also has a shortsword scabbard, separate longsword scabbard, and back sheath for the two handed “katana” seen below.
She has a number of swords, a small shield and a staff.
Before Summerfest I decided I wanted to make a circle cloak out of fleece to keep Brigit warm on an evening or winter nightsite. I wear this with my leather hood and found it also made a comfy blanket to keep me warm when I was sat being a good patient after pulling my knee at the event. Details on making this item can be found here.
Banquet Kit (in progress)
I am preparing my banquet kit for a meal early next year and after my manic attempt to sew a dress in a week (here’s a tip – just don’t!) I am taking my time finishing it. Trying to fit a zip with a quickly approaching deadline was a bad idea, but sitting down and sorting it out on a relaxed weekend made the whole thing less stressful.
The sleeves are closed with small golden buttons shaped like flowers, with a concealed zip at the back finished with hook-and-eye closures, and the outfit will be completed with a red velvet overdress with bodice and puffed sleeves.