There’s a number of conferences coming up, and I thought you might be interested, so here they come:

African Experimental Archaeology Conference, March 20-22, Johannesburg. More info and registration here.

The 12th North American Textile Conservation Conference will take place in Canada, September 23-29, 2019. Their CfP is now open, and the topic is “Lessons Learned: Textile Conservation – Then and Now”.

There’s a conference on experimental Music Archaeology, April 12-14, in Brandenburg; more info and contact information here.

The CTR in Copenhagen is running a Saxo Summer School programme: “Textiles and Fashion in Theory and Practice through 3000 Years”. It’s a 10-day programme, more info on the CTR homepage.

The Dombauhütte Paderborn will have a bell founding event June 23-29, where a bell of 11th century style will be cast using 1th century methods. More info can be found on the facebook event page and on the Dombauhütte website.


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After the conference is before the conference, or so it is said… I think. Well, it’s true, after all, and planning for the next European Textile Forum has started – we do have a date fixed for the conference, which will be November 5-11, 2018. There is no focus topic fixed yet, though (suggestions are welcome).

We’re also thinking about making a few changes to the conference structure to make it easier for people to attend. As we’d much prefer making things better by knowing exactly what to do, we’ve drawn up a survey to get a better idea of what you like and don’t like, and what you would prefer to see unchanged. If you are interested in the conference, you can help us a lot by going here and filling out the survey. We want to get people together to network – both from the academic and from the practical side. Connecting craft experience with academic research is immensely helpful for both sides, and we’d like to do an even better job at this in the future.

While drawing up the survey, I’ve also finally managed to give the website a long-due overhaul. It now has a nicer, cleaner design; there’s a section with result summaries added, with the first ones already in, and hopefully more to come in the nearer future, and it is now a secure site, using https.

So. Some work done, more to come – and I’m very curious to find out what the survey results will be. The first ones are already in, with some very helpful remarks to think about!

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The inner bag is made from a bright green fleece fabric, consisting of a bottom circle and a fabric tube.


The upper rim of the tube has a stiff black band sewn onto it to keep it open. That whole thing was then stuck into the lion inside the foamed rubber tube, and secured to the bottom of the lion skin in the front and the back.

Then, a bit of the polywool filling went back in, at the front and at the sides of the little guy, to get him back into his rotundish shape.


As a final step, I sewed a band to the sides of the opening for easy carrying, and then stitched the fleece to the outer fabric in the front and to the pocket lining in the back. Two press buttons to close the top of the head when not in use as a bouldering bag, a bit of rubber string that helps the pocket lining to fold when closing the bag, and voilà – a very unique chalkbag:



When closed, it almost looks like before; the only difference is that the forehead is more receding now than it was originally – but that cannot be helped.

Can you tell I had a lot of fun making this?

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Some scrounging around, and I got hold of a flexible strip of plastic that was large enough to bend into a ring – there was the necessary stiffener. After temporarily fixing it with tape, a few drilled holes and some kevlar sewing thread (yes, we have kevlar sewing thread, and it’s really nifty!) make sure it will not fall apart in the future.


The ring is attached to the top of the tube with linen yarn and whipstitch. Of course I ran out of yarn three stitches before the round was closed…

Then it was almost done. Almost… but not quite. There’s some nice, bright green colour missing, I think!

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So the first thing the little limp lion now needed was some sort of lightweight stiffener for the chalkbag itself. Coincidentally, we had some foamed rubber lying around, so that got conscripted, cut into a fitting wide strip, and sewn together to make a tube.


You can see the lion is so excited about this that it has turned itself inside out! It was a very nicely made toy, by the way, with neat and sturdy seams all around.

The inner tube needed to be fixed to the inside of the lion to make sure it stayed in place. Some of that fixing was achieved with a few stitches right at the befginning, the rest was done by stitching the fleece liner to the bottom of the lion skin.

Next step was sewing and attaching a pocket to the inside of the lion’s back. This also serves as lining for the inner back. The pocket is big enough to hold a phone, which is important as our friend likes to take his phone along and snap a pic or two when he’s bouldering.


While mucking about with the lining, it quickly became clear that the foamed rubber will provide enough stiffness vertically, but that the opening would deform too easily… so some stiffening for the upper rim was needed, too.

You’ll see that one attached… in the next post!

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Last summer, I took home a plushy toy rat, and it miraculously turned into a chalkbag for bouldering.

A few days ago, a friend of ours, also a climber/boulderer, had his birthday… and just before the party, we found, by chance, this cuddly little lion in a shop:


It more or less screamed “miraculous transformation” at us. So our friend got a cuddly toy, and a voucher for its total transformation into a chalkbag. And this time I took a few more pictures of the things happening to it.

First of all, it had a little head surgery, opening up the seams on the top of the head, and then it lost its polywool filling.


Yes, all of it.

It was a huge bag full of filling… and then we had this limp little lion:


So. Things you want to have in a chalkbag? Space for the chalk itself, obviously; that should be some bag-like thing that closes off tightly to prevent dust from coming out, and should be fleecy on the inside, again to cut down on dust.

It also needs a handle of some kind to be carried easily, something to hold a brush or two, and some pocket to put in other small items.

Brush holders, in this case, were easy, as the little arms were already threaded with  elastic, so all I had to do was sew the paws to the body. The rest was a little more work… which you’ll see in the next post.

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It’s time for a stack of links again – here you go:

There’s a four-wheel velomobile being developed, and the 0-series has now been unveiled: Podbike. It’s a bicycle with electric assist, a fully closed chassis, and it sort of smudges the line betwen car and cycle. To my great and utter delight, as I firmly believe that human-powered vehicles with additional energy sources are the thing of the fture, and one way to make personal transportation more sustainable.

The Lendbreen site has an interesting article about why they are not wearing gloves when handling their finds. Gloves can be a good thing and necessary in some cases, but there’s been a relatively recent development towards handling things without gloves again, also out of the field. The reason? While gloves may protect the artefact from body oils and sweat and DNA traces, they will also reduce feeling in the fingers of the wearer, and handling may then be rougher than necessary – resulting in damage to the objects. So in the end, it’s a trade-off, and when there is no danger to the person handling it (as there might be with contamination with pesticides) and no danger for the object from body oil or moisture (as will be with polished metal, for instance) it may be best to leave the gloves off.

Speaking of pesticides: There’s a public survey run by the EU to learn about citizen’s takes on pesticides, and how much of their use should be allowed. In Germany, the use of pesticides has increased since 2006 – which is not a good thing. You can go here to fill out the survey, and please do spread the word about it.



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