The Creative Contessa Blog

Making a Florentine Renaissance Gown - My Gamurra Project Vlog

Making a Florentine Renaissance Gown - My Gamurra Project Vlog

Just before Pennsic 2022, I decided that I wanted, nay, NEEDED, a new gamurra, the quintessential foundational gown of 15th century Italy. You see, all of my current such gowns had grown threadbare, not very prestigious for a Contessa! My goal was to complete it in time to wear at the event, roughly two weeks to complete it.  And I wanted to incorporate my latest research and discoveries from the past several years into the project. My intention was to create a gamurra that would not require the assistance of a lady-in-waiting but that would still prove a suitably aristocratic...

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Medieval Dance as a Courtship - Getting the Steps Right!

Medieval Dance as a Courtship - Getting the Steps Right!

When I was a teenager, I attended a medieval ball at a massive 10,000-person medievalist event known as Pennsic. . I had some skill at medieval ballroom dance, but not much. Here is a turbo tutorial, complete with basic footwork, so that you may not find yourself caught quite so flatfooted at your next medieval or Renaissance ball! 
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My Odyssey Crafting a Burgundian Belt in Combat Crafting Conditions

My Odyssey Crafting a Burgundian Belt in Combat Crafting Conditions

I am doubtlessly not the only fashionista who works best under pressure. Tight deadlines drive me in ways I somehow cannot necessarily drive myself. Enter the gorgeous custom-made buckle and strap end that I purchased from Armour & Castings in the Ukraine, intended to create a beautiful wide belt of the sort worn by grand ladies such as Mary of Burgundy and Margaret of York. But I had never made any sort of belt before, let alone one covered in expensive silk damask and "harnyssed" in gilt fittings. Also, I decided that I needed this belt in time for our...

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Learning Ballroom Dance from a Beautiful Bygone Era

Learning Ballroom Dance from a Beautiful Bygone Era

"Every savage can dance", Darcy famously quips in Jane Austen's masterpiece, "Pride & Prejudice". Such snobbish protests notwithstanding, moving to music has probably been part of humanity's interactions since we first figured out how to beat a stick against a log in a set rhythm, and in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, dance went from being a ceremonial activity to a social one, in which unmarried men and women intermixed and engaged in salacious behavior such as holding hands. In fact, the concept of couple's dancing seems to have been invented in the late 14th century, with certain polities even...

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Flirtatious Dances From a By-Gone Era

Flirtatious Dances From a By-Gone Era

Before the era of social media, dance used to be the only way in which strangers could engage, flirt and perhaps even court in a socially acceptable environment. And in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, practice makes perfect!
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