Turku Medieval Market demonstrations and vendors

A demonstrator showing spinning wool with a drop-spindle.

A demonstrator showing spinning wool with a drop-spindle.

This is the last post I’ll share about the Turku Medieval Market, (Keskiaikaiset markkinat) which is apparently the largest medieval market in Finland. Thus, it’s a bit of a photo-dump, with a number of photos about both demonstrations and other vendors I haven’t shared yet.

Music demonstration

Musical performers at the Turku Medieval Market

Musical performers at the Turku Medieval Market

There were a few different musical demonstrations that took place in the “stone sauna” area however I only caught one.

I have some video to share of this performance – please visit my Facebook page to see it!

Additional vendors

There are a few vendors I didn’t shop at and couldn’t really fit into the other posts I’ve made in the past. I wanted to share them here to show off some of the goods – but also to show off how they displayed their wares.

There were a number of different vendors selling wooden items to start with. I was really tempted to add some new wooden platters and bowls to my Viking Age -inspired feast kit – but I didn’t want to spend suitcase space on them with so many other things to shop for… I am hoping to still be able to find good pieces to add to my kit locally.

Additionally, there were a few vendors selling clothing and soft accessories. I’d like to pay special attention to the booths themselves. There were several of what seemed to be pre-made booths for some of the smaller vendors at the market.

One of the vendors at the Turku Medieval Market - Kaspaikkakerho (?)

One of the vendors at the Turku Medieval Market – Kaspaikkakerho (?)

In once case, there were little tables that had little roofs – they looked a bit like old-fashioned village wells. This really gave a medieval feel to the display rather than just having an ordinary table with a tablecloth on it.

The unifying look also was beneficial to the overall atmosphere.

These little “wells” were all in the garden/park area of the market, tucked along paths between trees and bushes. I suspect that the well roofs didn’t really offer the vendor much in the way of shade, so the shady area was likely appreciated.

One of the vendors at the Turku Medieval Market - Muinaisemum (?)

One of the vendors at the Turku Medieval Market – Muinaisemum (?)

In contrast, the public market square part of the market, as well as along the river had larger booths with a larger table out front (with the same tablecloth as the well-style tables) and a backdrop and slanted partial roof of red and blue fabric. The market square has very little shade, so these booths must have offered much more shade for the vendors.


There seemed to be two types of demonstrations – vendors and volunteers.

Vendor demonstrations

A demonstrator showing spinning wool with a drop-spindle.

A demonstrator showing spinning wool with a drop-spindle.

I really liked the demonstrations being done by the vendors – showing off some of how they made the goods they had for sale. This vendor for instance (left) was selling sheepskins, wool insoles, drop spindles, and then a number of other wool-related items… and she stood demonstrating the drop spindle.

Her set up with lots of different levels and textures is nice too – and the Viking A-frame tent with the flap up gave nice shade.

A woman doing tablet weaving, while her male companion is doing some wood working at the Turku Medieval Market

A woman doing tablet weaving, while her male companion is doing some wood working at the Turku Medieval Market

The next photo is from near the booth where I bought the diamond weave twill – though I don’t actually remember what they were selling. She sat doing tablet weaving while he was doing some woodworking. It made for a charming tableau.

Volunteer demonstrations

In addition to the vendors doing demonstrations, there were also volunteers. I felt based on their attire that they had been rented from a costume company, since they were a bit “generic medieval” and there were several that were the same as one another apart from the colour (as well as some who were wearing almost a uniform…)

There were some sheep on display, some volunteers showing how to play games, some volunteers running a sort of carousel for children, and lots doing sort of a LARP / role-play in various areas. Unfortunately since they were all speaking in Finnish, I couldn’t figure out really what they were doing.

Check out the A-frame tent above – it’s huge! The people inside were demonstrating something on the floor, but I didn’t check it out.. I was too overwhelmed with how enormous the tent is! I have some video to share from different areas of the market – please visit my Facebook page to see it!

SCA at the Turku Medieval Market

Weaving being done by a member of the Finnish SCA group at the Turku Medieval Market

Weaving being done by a member of the Finnish SCA group at the Turku Medieval Market

In advance of my trip to Finland, I tried to connect with some of the SCA groups in the country to see if there were any events happening. Unfortunately, like the group here – the regular, casual get togethers are put on hold during the summer, so the only event that worked with the time frame that I would be in the country was the Turku Medieval Market, (Keskiaikaiset markkinat) – or perhaps it was fortunate, since I was already planning to attend!

The SCA group at the Turku Medieval Market

The SCA group at the Turku Medieval Market

I was really grateful to the different people I spoke to via email before my trip – all were very welcoming and encouraging for me to come out to their activities. They represented the Barony of Aarnimetsä, as well as smaller groups within the barony – aka the mundane country of Finland. In advance they invited me to join their Facebook group – and it’s interesting to see the similarities and differences between what they post on their group and what we post on ours.

Once I got to the market, I walked around and shopped first, and then once my companion was ready to relax and sit down to rest, I went off to find the Society for Creative Anachronism group! I took a few photos before introducing myself and visiting for a little. They also let me know of their big event of the summer – and invited me to try to attend the next time I am in Finland for the summer!

A woman demonstrating the drop spindle. She was one of the demonstrators at the Turku Medieval Market from the SCA group.

A woman demonstrating the drop spindle. She was one of the demonstrators at the Turku Medieval Market from the SCA group.


To thank the Chatelaine and others who had been so nice to me even before I arrived, I brought a small pouch of largesse to gift to the group. (And of course to spread the wordfame of the Kingdom of Avacal – which I think is still the newest Kingdom in the SCA.)

Of course, I needed things that would be small, lightweight, and not likely to melt/spill/etc. Sometimes largesse takes a less period theme and goes for more practical items (I like giving little mini emergency travel sewing kits for instance for camp event garb disasters) but I also wanted to look for things that would be more period in tone, and also was aware that I needed to consider customs – so I wanted to avoid any foodstuffs, fur, seeds, etc…

I took one of the little parti-coloured pouches I made and put in some of my handspun wool yarn… along with needle books, block-printed napkins, a necklace, earrings, and a paternoster along with another little leather pouch. The other items were all made by artisans here in Avacal, and were all tagged with the artisan’s names and barony/shire or kingdom. (Or both) It made me think that I’d love to hear from people in other kingdoms who might receive my largesse, so if I make any more, I want to try to put my URL or email address on the tags too!

Food from the Medieval Market

Selection of cookies and baked goods displayed in birch bark boxes for sale at the Turku Medieval Market.

Selection of cookies and baked goods displayed in birch bark boxes for sale at the Turku Medieval Market.

While at the Turku Medieval Market, there were many different food vendors. What really attracted me wasn’t so much the types of food being offered, but the unique and interesting ways that the food was being prepared, displayed, and plated.

I thought that I’d share this, largely for my friends in the SCA who are passionate about the culinary arts. I don’t know how many of these foods are historically accurate to the middle ages; if you have thoughts on them, please share with me and other readers in the comments!

Continue reading

Throwback Thursday: Crespinettes

Front view of the cylindrical cauls

Front view of the cylindrical cauls

I’ve seen a few other bloggers do Throwback Thursday posts, and I’m joining the trend – posting a costume piece that I made quite a while ago, but never documented.

Headpiece based on the 14th Century Crespinettes as seen on portraits of Queen Philippa of Hainault

(1314-1369) who was the Queen of England as wife to King Edward the third.


Who: Upper class women (royalty and non-royals alike)

What: headpiece based on 14th century crespinettes

Where: documentation for England – headpiece would have been worn for formal or special occasions.

When: 14th century, crossing at minimum 1369-1381 if not beyond.

How: See below!

The long version

Rosalie’s Medieval Woman website describes cylindrical cauls as fashionable for upper-class (royal and non-royal) women in the 14th Century, particularly for formal wear and special occasions. She describes the headwear having “two cylinders were made of fine metalwork or fretwork attached to a fillet or coronet, which could also be heavily jeweled. If it was worn with a veil, it was worn with the finest gauzy, silk veils which might be decorated with fine gold embroidery and narrow edging.”

This headwear style is also seen on a monumental brass rubbing from the tomb of Sir Thomas Burton and his wife Margaret from their effigies in Rutland, East Midlands, England. They died in 1381, and the brass was crafted circa 1410. (Reference: Gentleman’s Magazine vol.12)  Cynthia Virtue also notes similar (although not exact styles) depicted on a bust of Marie de France from the 1340s and a line drawing after a brass memorial plate from 1360 from the Museum of London’s book on dress accessories.

In 1327-1485 – Women’s Hair & Headdresses, the function of the cylinders is described as: “The Queen herself wore an elaborate mode of coiffure for that time; she wore a metal fillet round her head, to which was attached two cases, circular in shape, of gold fretwork, ornamented with precious stones.
She wore her hair unplaited, and brought in two parts from the back of her head, and as far as one can see, pushed into the jewelled cases.” Queen Philippa was born in Valenciennes, France and died in Windsor Castle and was buried in Westminster Abbey, England.

Additional illustrations and examples of original cylindrical cauls and other costumers versions are on my Pinterest board. http://www.pinterest.com/sadinadawn/14th-century-crespinettes/


The original materials used for Crespinettes would have been metal – the fillet or coronet would have been fine metal, embellished elaborately with jewels (from the brass monumental illustrated above) or plain with only a bit of tooling and only a few small gems (from the effigy below).

The cylinders were made of fine metalwork or metal fretwork, and also could be embellished with jewels.

Close up on the front adornment

Close up on the front adornment

Unfortunately, I  lack the skill to work with metal in this fashion, so I opted for a largely textile-based option. I also didn’t want my finished version to in any way be mistaken for the crowns worn by the royals in the SCA. My materials included:

  • Gold “liquid metal” – a black knit fabric with very small gold foil fused circles creating the illusion of a foiled fabric, and thus an approximation of metal
  • Cardboard tube – I used a wrapping paper tube and cut it to size for the base of the cylinders
  • Black crushed stretch velvet – when I made the cylindrical cauls my hair was black – I used black velvet to mimic the hair that would be stuffed in the cylindrical cauls, while still providing a surface I could work on – as the cauls wouldn’t be metal – they lacked the integrity to be “stuffed” with fake hair.
  • Belting – I used belt material (from the fabric store) and cut it to size by length and width. This is a fabric-covered plastic, and made the basis for my fillet.
  • Gold soutache braid  – for the metal fretwork I substituted gold braid
  • Cabochon gems – I used yellow, red, and blue acrylic cabochons to substitute for gemstones or jewels.
  • Filigree piece – I found a filigree piece, put a pink faceted gem in it, and glued it to the front of the fillet.
  • Needle, thread, glue, scissors – to put everything together.

Additionally I made a veil from sheer white fabric. I’m pretty sure it’s a crepe-weave sheer silk.

Side view of the cylindrical cauls - my head is considerably larger than my headform's, so the cauls sit further forward on me

Side view of the cylindrical cauls – my head is considerably larger than my headform’s, so the cauls sit further forward on me

How I made it

I don’t have any work-in-progress photos, but here are the steps I took:

  1. Cut the cardboard tube to size (using the Norris illustration for size reference)
  2. Cut four circles of black material and cover the open ends. Glue down.
  3. Cut two rectangles of black material and cover the tubes. Glue down, stitch seam
  4. Cut length of belting for fillet, trim to desired width.
  5. Cut 4 lengths of belting for cylinder ends, trim to desired width.
  6. Cover fillet belting with gold material. Curl into a circle, glue and stitch in place.
  7. Wrap cylinders with braid to create diagonal diamond like mesh or netting over the black material. Stitch discreetly at intersections to secure. (I also put a drop of glue on the crosses, hoping I’d be able to cover all of them with gemstones – I didn’t, so this is something I’m less happy with.
  8. Cover cylinder end belting with gold material, wrap around cylinders, over braided mesh. Stitch to hold in place.
  9. Glue cylinders to fillet.
  10. Glue cabochons over intersections of braid mesh. Glue filigree piece to centre front of fillet band.
  11. Machine sew veil material to a double-fold bias tape, hand sew bias tape to interior of fillet band.



Gilbert, Rosalie. Rosalie’s Medieval Woman (http://rosaliegilbert.com/headdresses.html) Date unknown.
Thomas, Pauline Weston. ed. 1327-1485 – Women’s Hair & Headdresses (http://www.fashion-era.com/hats-hair/hair2-1327-1485-womens-hair-calthrop.htm) 2001-2014.
Virtue, Cynthia. Crespinettes: How much soup from one oyster? (http://www.virtue.to/articles/crespinette.html) 2000.
Wikipedia. Philippa of Hainault (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippa_of_Hainault).
Urban, Sylvanus. Gentleman’s Magazine and Historical Review, Volume 12 (http://books.google.ca/) January-June 1862
Also see:
de Courtais, Georgine. Women’s Hats, Headdresses and Hairstyles: With 453 Illustrations, Medieval to Modern. (http://books.google.ca/) Pages 28-29. 1973, 1986
Lester, Katherine. Accessories of Dress: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. (http://books.google.ca/) Pages 123-125. 2004.
Tierney, Tom. Medieval Fashions Colouring Book. (http://books.google.ca) Page 39. 1998

Viking locks and keys

Keys in the Iceland National Museum's "Medieval" area (vs. Viking age)

Keys in the Iceland National Museum’s “Medieval” area (vs. Viking age)

As I’m getting close to the end of my photos from my trip to Iceland to share with you, I’m looking at a few more photos that aren’t necessarily clothing related – but might be interesting to anyone interested in Viking-Age history… or in this case, both Viking Age and Medieval Iceland.

This first display (above and below) is from the Medieval area, including some keys. Continue reading