Dept of PMM Castle Life's Blog (11)

Ancient Instruments- pt. 4 Lute

Lute is almost a general term for any instrument with frets,

strings, and a deep shell or back. The Lute(s) experienced its peak in popularity around the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Though their history is debated, Lutes may have been in existence for over 1000 years prior.

The length of the neck can categorize these fascinating instruments,…


Added by Dept of PMM Castle Life on March 17, 2011 at 11:56pm — No Comments

Spotlight: Gypsy Vanner Horse

The Gypsy people, or Romani,  traveled from place to place working as tinkers, metalworkers, horse traders, fortune tellers, and entertainers. As their way of living and transportation evolved, they began to switch from tents to wagons. The caravan, or Vardo, was a… Continue

Added by Dept of PMM Castle Life on March 8, 2011 at 4:43pm — No Comments

Tuesday Feature: Beech Boxes!

Peek at these handmade Beech wood boxes from Hip Folk Art. On hand and for sale.

Hip Folk Art Work Box Beech #7 $36.00 + S/H&I



Added by Dept of PMM Castle Life on March 1, 2011 at 11:57pm — No Comments

Tuesday Feature: Bamboo Nation

Richard Edwards specializes in handcrafting drinking vessels, canes/staffs, scroll cases, and incense burners & boxes from Bamboo.


Based in Florida, Richard, takes custom orders and performs custom wood burning for your original, one-of-a-kind (OOAK) pieces. The…


Added by Dept of PMM Castle Life on February 23, 2011 at 10:23pm — No Comments

Tuesday Feature: Vince Conaway - Reprise



About Vince:

A musician and composer, Vince can be found performing a wide variety of music on hammered dulcimer throughout the US, Canada, and Europe. Vince's music is a combination of medieval and Celtic styles, coupling the passion of Irish music and…


Added by Dept of PMM Castle Life on February 9, 2011 at 1:00am — No Comments

Saturday Spotlight- The Celts


Added by Dept of PMM Castle Life on February 5, 2011 at 5:00pm — No Comments

Ancient Instruments- pt. 3 The Lyre

The lyre is a stringed musical instrument well known for its use in classical antiquity and later. The word comes from the Greek "λύρα" (lyra) and the earliest reference to the word is the Mycenaean Greek ru-ra-ta-e, meaning "lyrists", written in Linear B syllabic script. The earliest picture of a lyre with seven strings appears in the famous sarcophagus of Hagia Triada (a…


Added by Dept of PMM Castle Life on January 24, 2011 at 5:33pm — No Comments

Ancient Instruments Pt 2: The Harp

The Harp and where it came from-

The harp is a multi-stringed instrument which has the plane of its strings positioned perpendicular to the soundboard. Note that our friend, the Hammer Dulcimer, is a multi-stringed instrument whose strings are parallel to the soundboard and are struck not plucked. Therefore placing it in a separate family. All harps have a neck, resonator, and strings. Some, known as frame harps, also have a forepillar; those lacking the forepillar are referred to as…


Added by Dept of PMM Castle Life on January 20, 2011 at 4:30pm — 2 Comments

Ancient Instruments- pt. 1

Tell me about medieval music, the ancient musical instruments that have survived through to today. Tell me about the artists that bring song to life at Reenactment events and Renaissance Fairs.


I'd be happy to! We'll start off slow, these things can be overwhelming you know!


What is a Hammer Dulcimer?


The hammered dulcimer was extensively used during the Middle Ages in England, France, Italy, Germany, Holland and Spain. The dulcimer's origin is…


Added by Dept of PMM Castle Life on January 19, 2011 at 2:57pm — No Comments

New Artisan Groups

If you haven't already noticed, there are new groups popping up all over the Hearth site! You can now join groups dedicated to your favorite artisans.


Castle Life Artisan Groups


Bamboo Nation

Metal Work…


Added by Dept of PMM Castle Life on January 3, 2011 at 11:18am — No Comments

Vince Conaway at Faire doing what he does best

The Tam Lin Reel at the Greater St Louis Renaissance Faire, 2007

The Road to Lisdonvarna at the Maryland Renaissance Festival, 2007…


Added by Dept of PMM Castle Life on August 22, 2009 at 2:30pm — No Comments


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Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries had its humble beginnings as an idea of a few artisans and craftsmen who enjoy performing with live steel fighting. As well as a patchwork quilt tent canvas. Most had prior military experience hence the name.


Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries.


Vendertainers that brought many things to a show and are know for helping out where ever they can.

As well as being a place where the older hand made items could be found made by them and enjoyed by all.

We expanded over the years to become well known at what we do. Now we represent over 100 artisans and craftsman that are well known in their venues and some just starting out. Some of their works have been premiered in TV, stage and movies on a regular basis.

Specializing in Medieval, Goth , Stage Film, BDFSM and Practitioner.

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries a Dept of, Ask For IT was started by artists and former military veterans, and sword fighters, representing over 100 artisans, one who made his living traveling from fair to festival vending medieval wares. The majority of his customers are re-enactors, SCAdians and the like, looking to build their kit with period clothing, feast gear, adornments, etc.

Likewise, it is typical for these history-lovers to peruse the tent (aka mobile store front) and, upon finding something that pleases the eye, ask "Is this period?"

A deceitful query!! This is not a yes or no question. One must have a damn good understanding of European history (at least) from the fall of Rome to the mid-1600's to properly answer. Taking into account, also, the culture in which the querent is dressed is vitally important. You see, though it may be well within medieval period, it would be strange to see a Viking wearing a Caftan...or is it?

After a festival's time of answering weighty questions such as these, I'd sleep like a log! Only a mad man could possibly remember the place and time for each piece of kitchen ware, weaponry, cloth, and chain within a span of 1,000 years!! Surely there must be an easier way, a place where he could post all this knowledge...

Traveling Within The World is meant to be such a place. A place for all of these artists to keep in touch and directly interact with their fellow geeks and re-enactment hobbyists, their clientele.

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