Monday, November 9, 2009

Home Again - Temporarily Again

I arrived home from Wisconsin just a bit before midnight last night. The North American Voyageur Council's Fall Conference was a real hoot. I met a lot of folks which whom I have corresponded over many years, was able to sit in on some GREAT presentations, had a chance to handle some very nice artifacts from the Northwestern fur trade, and even did a little bit of unexpected shopping.

Like the hat? I've been looking at that style of historical top-hat for a while, considering a purchase. Isaac Walters let me try his on, but no one had a mirror handy, so I had someone capture a photo instead. It is an appropriate style for the time period I portray, 1790 - 1810 or so. Feel free to comment on it. The voyageur in the background looks to be a bit skeptical perhaps.

As for shopping, Jason Mathers is a young, up and coming historical blacksmith and he's been pounding out some crooked knife blades that are quite worthy. Based on historical artifacts and made of excellent tool steel they are true tools of work and better than anything I've seen before in the living history trade. I purchased one of them for my own outfit, and I'll look for the appropriate piece of antler with which to haft the blade.

I also purchased an autographed copy of Ryan Gale's book THE GREAT NORTHWEST FUR TRADE; A MATERIAL CULTURE, 1763 - 1850. The book provides a really good overview of the clothing and goods that were common in the historical trade, and I'm sure it will be a long valued part of my library.

I took a few photographs of stuff - historical artifacts mostly, and not nearly enough photos of people. The NAVC gathering drew quite an interesting range of speakers and topics covered a very wide range of interests. I learned things about early Great Lakes settlement I had never really considered before, and I really appreciated the information about Great Lakes native peoples that was presented. My topics seem to have been well received and I'd not be at all surprised to see a few more people reenacting late 18th and early 19th century dog driving practices in the near future.

Today has been spent shifting gears, and preparing to return to my place of employment tomorrow. I got my haircut and did a wee bit of shopping this morning. This afternoon I unpacked my Wisconsin suitcase, did my laundry and put my historical gear away while packing my bags to go back to the pump station. Once there maybe I can get caught up on my rest, and start planning the next round of adventures.

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