Interdisciplinary. Community. Advocacy. Humor.
The first step of any armour production process is research. As you have read in the previous post, I have a good historical knowledge of the original piece. Unfortunately, the only photo I had accessed was a grainy black and white image taken in 1960. Further illustrations of the armour were found in a 1961 publication by the renowned Ewart Oakeschott entitled, “A Knight and His Armour”, but beyond that, the finer technical details had to be derived from my personal understanding of Italian, German and Maximilian style armour.
Measurements of my client were made in the spring of 2013. My client had decided to only have the breastplate and backplate made for now and the rest of the harness would be completed at a later time. Most clients tend to purchase a piece at a time, given the expensive nature of such an investment. Using strips of linen soaked in plaster, a body cast of the clients torso was taken to insure an extremely accurate means of measurement. Along with callipered measurements of key points on the body, these combined to create an accurate layout of the torso.
Fine historical armour was tailor fit to the wearer. Some of the tolerances on armour is within the millimeter range, so an intimate understanding of the body and its movements is crucial. Equally crucial is an understanding of how the body moves in combat of the period. This is one of the many reasons why I also practice the European martial arts of the period. A first hand understanding helps to develop new realizations of the interaction between the weapons and the armour. Design decisions made by period armourers often seem confusing or illogical until one has worn similar pieces and interacted with it as it would have been on the field.
Once accurate measurements have been obtained, I take this information back to my studio where finer design decisions are made. I generally start with a sketch of what I want to make. I personally believe that a three-dimensional artist needs to be able to convincingly render their ideas in two-dimensions in order to effectively communicate not only with their client, but within their own personal discussion of what the end object is supposed to look like. If I can’t capture a correct curvature or feature with a pencil, how can I expect to capture it with a hammer?
…to be continued