Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Oh Grace.

My computer has now successfully turned into a schizophreniac computer - it can run Windows and emulate UNIX too.
Now I only need to get xmgrace running properly (there are still some issues with my data import), and I can finally get those graphs with Gauss fits that I need for finishing my evaluation, and thus my article, and thus my preparation for the next paper (I will speak at the 3000 years of colour conference).

It's probably best that I have no clue at all anymore as to how much time I have invested in the spinning experiment. When I started out with this, I did not believe this would become such a huge item in my life. (I know what I would do if I had to decide again whether to do it or not, knowing how much would come after it. I would say... YES.)

So... please excuse me while I reboot my computer and try to find out where the issue is... and then hopefully finally get those histograms.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Statistics, statistics.

It really, really is amazing what one can learn (and has to learn) just because of some spinning. I have learned on Thursday last week that Excel will find the median of a list of numbers by... choosing the value in the middle of the list. Which means that instead of finding the statistical median (half of the values are larger than this number and half of the values are smaller than it), it finds the number in the middle of a list. Thank you, Excel, I could have done that myself. By placing a simple link to the cell in the middle of the list. Because yes, I can count! So I worked on a little more, using the average instead, and grinding my teeth (figuratively speaking only, though).

Here you go - things of interest.

As promised yesterday, here are a few things that might be of interest.

First of all, there's a blog out there with (among other things) a collection of 60 pdf files with papers or articles on experimental archaeology. Go visit http://experimentalarchaeology.wordpress.com/papers/ if you are curious now - and enjoy!

And there's more nice stuff on the net. Quite recently, the Historisch Centrum Overijssel has made all the back issues of the Textielhistorische Bijdragen available online.  This is lovely! Even more lovely is that Isis of Medieval Silkwork has made a selection of all the articles of interest for the late medieval and early modern period, with links. And if you don't know her blog yet, this is a good opportunity to check it out as well.

And another article has gone online: Fragmenter av kvinnedrakter fra vikingtiden –Metode for identifikassjon av gamle tekstilfunn. This is a Norwegian article with a short English summary, available via Bergen University as pdf file. The paper is about textiles from three Viking Age graves owned by Bergen Museum. They were analysed and evaluated using reconstructed micro-stratigraphy (reconstructed because the textiles had been separated from the metal objects in the past).

In more personal news, the collection of addresses of people interested in getting my book in English has started out extremely well, and I am very happy about all the feedback I have gotten both in emails and comments here on the blog. Thank you all very much for your support, and please keep spreading the word by email, facebook, twitter, your blog, forums you frequent - I would love to have a truly impressive list when I check back with the publishing house in two weeks.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Backlog, anyone?

There's quite a backlog of things-of-interest that has accumulated, both in my browser tabs and in my email inbox. And I am going to start blogging them... tomorrow.

Because today I have to post this:

If you enjoy a) organic food, b) good and funny movies, c) Star Wars parodies, d) parodies of all kind, or - the best - a jumble of that all... make sure you watch it.

And tomorrow... interesting and really usefull stuff.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Oh no, not again!

After SOPA and PIPA have been shot down due to protests, I have now found that there is something very like it in the making. Here, in Europe, lots of countries already have signed an agreement called ACTA - an agreement that had been discussed behind closed doors.

And what is even worse? There is not much time left to protest against this - it's supposed to be signed in the EU parliament "early in 2012". Which is... about now.

You can read more about ACTA and learn what can be done to do it here. In Poland and Austria, people have protested against it during the last days. I hope we can still stop it. Please do your part - spread the word, join protests, or call an EU parliament member. The Internet must stay free.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Rags and Riches - Call for Papers

As requested in the call for papers, I am spreading the word about the conference "Rags and Riches". 
It is a one day interdisciplinary conference "Rags and Riches: dress and dress accessories in social context", to be held at the University of Reading on the 21st April 2012. This conference aims to bring together archaeologists, anthropologists, historians and others from related disciplines to discuss current issues of methodology, theory and interpretation of dress and dress accessories, from prehistory to the present day.

Details about the call for papers can be found at http://www.reading.ac.uk/archaeology/Events/arch-rags-and-riches-conference.aspx. The deadline for submissions is the 17th February 2012.
Announcements will be posted at the web address above, but we can also found on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/events/212400145506326/) and twitter (@riches_and_rags).

It does sound nice, but I won't be able to justify going to England for a one-day conference...but if any of you end up going, I'd love to hear about it!

Monday, 23 January 2012

It's not perfect.

Year before last around Christmas, I posted a link to a christmassy song video called "White Wine in the Sun".

Recently, I have really discovered the artist who did that song: it's Tim Minchin, and he is seriously weird and a really good musician. And since I do know the feeling that you're the smallest doll in a Babushka doll... here's Tim Minchin's song It's Not Perfect. I hope you enjoy it like I did!

Friday, 20 January 2012

More about the Book in English.

First of all, to all of you who have signed on to the infoletter, or passed on the information and the link: Thank you! I am really, really happy to get this much response and support on my quest for numbers. A lot of time and effort went into writing the thesis, and it feels enormously good to see that other people are interested in this work, and willing to pay for a book about it.

Also my thanks to you who left comments with suggestions about the publishing procedure and alternatives.

Should you be interested in the German version, this is available through all the usual ways to get hold of a German book - either from a distributor in your country, or from a German shop. You can also order it from my webshop, which is probably attractive if you think about getting some textile tools or supplies at the same time.

Personally, I must admit that the e-book has never gotten me onto its side - I just prefer a bunch of printed and bound paper. I do, however, know how helpful an e-book can be, and I will think about this both for the German and the English version. It is, however, not the first option for the English version.

And regarding the voices who recommend self-publishing or print on demand... thank you for helping me think out of the box. Unfortunately, several reasons speak against using a pod service for this book - and not the least of those are your finances.
A publishing house puts out money for a book to finance an appropriately-sized print run. But they also handle law questions, distribution channels, advertisement, review copies, layouting, proofreading and editing, and thousands of other pesky details. Yes, it would technically be possible to do a pod run and "cut out the publishing house" - but we are talking about a 400-500 page book here, with colour pictures at least for parts of the book. This means it either needs to be all black and white, or it's unaffordable. And while the publishing house also needs to make some money (back) from the book, using its distribution channels and structures also means that a lot of things will be cheaper than if I tried to get it via POD.

There are books perfectly suited to using Lulu or some similar service, but my thesis is not one of them: I did the calculations and all the maths for the German version, and trust me... you do not really want me to go pod with this. It would cost you much more than if I'm going with a publishing house.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Do your part.

If you are like me (as in living in a non-US state and not keeping up on politics), you may have been surprised yesterday to see Wikipedia blacked out. (Icanhascheezburger was also blocked out, which I found out when I wanted to amuse myself with LOLcats while scanning visual survey cards with 1200 dpi - which takes a long time.)

If you are not living under a rock like I am, you will have heard of SOPA/PIPA before me. The tl;dr version: a bill is to be passed by the US Congress that supposedly stops piracy but would effectively mean a go-ahead for censoring the internet. Censoring the Internet. The place that made Rule 34. The place where you can find about anything. Where people throw around links, search for stuff, buy whatever they need or like, and connect with other people - all this would be in danger with the act.

This video can tell you why.

I'm doing my share of blogging, and that means passing along links. Like this one here to a primer about SOPA/PIPA (to get the quick and dirty version in form of an infographic, just scroll to the very end). To you, the readers, because I think that they might be interesting, or helpful, or funny for you. Posting links, however, sounds like it is going to be a dangerous thing after SOPA/PIPA passes - especially since my blog is a "domestic" site (it's blogger.com). Oh, by the way, so is the Textileforum site. Even if its server sits in Germany.

If you're just a little like me... you won't find that a great thing. Even if it inspires nice filk like this.

So please do your share and protest! If you live in the States, it seems to be most efficient to call your congressperson or walk into their office to tell them what you think about the act. Links to lists and help to find person and phone number are all over the InterBloggoTubez. Unfortunately, it's not so easy to protest when you are no US resident - but we can at least spread the word!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Image Tweaking.

It really is amazing how much time a single small macro can gobble up.

Especially if, when you are almost through, you decide that the process might be even better suited to the aims if done a little differently. Because it does make a difference whether you run a median filter first, or whether you filter out outliers first, or make a transformation to binary first and run filters later on.

Anyways, I now have a method to turn a scan of thread samples like this:

into this:

and then read out the thread thickness of every single one of these threads.

Now I only need to wrangle the gazillions of datapoints into something resembling histograms or some other form of legible visualisation. And be amazed again at how much time a single little spinning experiment can eat.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

January seems to be the Month of Quests for Data.

Via an e-mail list, I have received another request for data from someone else, regarding users of warp-weighted looms.

Christina Petty is looking to ask other weavers using warp-weighted looms questions in context with her PhD thesis, so if you are a weaver or know one, please send him, her or yourself to her webpage with the questionnaire and help gather some data!

Monday, 16 January 2012

The quest for numbers... again.

As you probably all know, I am working on getting my book, "Kleidung im Mittelalter", published in the English version.

I have found a publishing house that is very interested in the book, but they are unsure whether there would be enough interest in the book, and thus enough buyers, to make it worth their while (and their investment). With the translation costs and costs of print and binding, especially since it includes colour pictures, a book like this is not easy to calculate.

When I was at this stage for the German version, I set up a newsletter list for people interested in the book. This did work very well for everybody, so I am doing it again. If you subscribe using this form, I will keep you informed about any developments on the publishing front, and if there should be any special offers or subscriptions possible, it will make sure you hear of this. On the other hand, your name on the list and your input about pricing will make it easier for the publishing house (and me, of course) to gauge interest in the book.

The German version has 529 pages and more than 400 illustrations, some of them in colour. It features information about sewing techniques, textile techniques, how to critically look at sources for garment research, the development of medieval clothing, a reconstructed technique for tailoring historical garments and - last but of course not least - a catalogue of still extant medieval garments and garment fragments from 500 to 1500.

So if you are waiting for the English version of my book, please subscribe - and please pass on the information about this!

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For the book, I would be willing to pay up to

70 Euro

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120 Euro 

Friday, 13 January 2012

More things that may have gotten lost before the holidays.

And here's another heads-up regarding a symposium - I will be there as well:

On the occasion of a three-year research project on 'Dyeing techniques of the prehistoric Hallstatt-Textiles' funded by the Austrian Science FWF [L431-G02] at the Natural History Museum of ViennaTextiles' funded by the Austrian Science FWF [L431-G02] at the Natural History Museum of Vienna both an exhibition and a symposium will be organized. In co-operation with the University of Applied Arts Vienna, the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, the Austrian Society for Textile-Art-Research and the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands at both events, a colourful spectrum of research and art is presented.

colours of hallstatt |textiles connecting science and art
hallstattfarben | Textile Verbindungen zwischen Forschung und Kunst
Venue: Natural History Museum Wien
Date: 17th January to 29th of June 2012

3000 Years of Colour – from Tradition to Art and Innovation
2nd International Symposium on Hallstatt-Textiles
Venue: Natural History Museum Wien
Date: 21st to 23rd March 2012
Registration and further information: http://3000yearsofcolour.nhm-wien.ac.at

Hallstatt in Upper Austria is famous for its prehistoric salt mining. Due to the conservation by the salt, organic finds survived more than 3000 years. Among them are the oldest dyed textiles of Europe, from the Bronze Age (15th - 13th cent. BCA) and the Early Iron Age (Hallstatt-Culture, 800 - 400 BCA).

During both the exhibition and the symposium scientists and artists will provide you with a thorough insight into the unique world of prehistoric textiles and their colours. It will be shown how prehistoric dyers succeeded to use the colours of nature for dyeing textiles and what these colours mean to us today. The last three years scientists investigated the prehistoric dyeing and textiles techniques, analysed the dyes and fibres of the prehistoric finds, collected dye plants, cultivated woad, performed dyeing experiments and experimental textile archaeology and produced replicas of Iron Age ribbons. By the archaeological textiles, by ancient dyeing and textile techniques, by colours and ornaments artists were inspired to create objects of contemporary art.

In the exhibition the various topics will be presented together with prehistoric textile finds from Hallstatt, the reproductions of the ribbons and the art objects.

The three-day Symposium will include lectures of these topics, an art performance and tours of the exhibition and of the textile collection of the Papyrus Museum. A social program will enable you to exchange your experience with an international audience in a relaxed atmosphere and will complete your own "Hallstatt Experience".

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Things that may have gotten lost before the holidays.

I gathered yesterday that launching the call for papers for the Textile Forum shortly before Xmas season may have led to this going under - with all the other seasonal things to take care of and the end-of-year frenzy of work.

So here it is, again:
We will be having the next European Textile Forum in Mayen, Germany, with the kind support of the RGZM. Our focus topic will be "Metal in Textile Crafts", which we think is a very exciting and very interesting - and also very broad - topic, covering everything from the conservation processes of archaeological textiles by metallising via the use of metals in the embellishment of textiles or the use of metals in the mordanting and dyeing process to the manufacture, importance and use of metal in textile tools.
The Forum will take place September 10 to 16 in the brand-new Laboratory for Experimental Archaeology and will include the usual evening lectures, one extra lecture day, an archaeological experiment to find out about the possible influence of the lead dye pots from Pompeji dye workshops on the resulting colours, and of course plenty of time to work on projects and exchange knowledge, tips and tricks or complain about problems to colleagues. The full conference fee of 300 Euro covers full board and lodging in simple dorm rooms (lodging is of limited availability).

If you are interested, you can find out more via our website www.textileforum.org - there you can also register for the Forum. And if you are not interested, but know someone who might be - please spread the word!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Open Access Archaeology Journal Database

If you are looking for a convenient way to search for Open Access archaeological journals, there is a database where you can search by geographic area, subject area, peer review and whether or not it's still publishing: Just go to Open Access Archaeology Journal Search.

In other news, I am slowly catching up with all the backlog that ran up here, and that really feels good! (Though there's more than enough work for the rest of this year hiding in corners here and there...)

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

How time flies.

It's hard to believe how time flies by - it's January 10 already, and tomorrow evening, Karina Grömer will be visiting Erlangen to give a presentation about the Hallstatt textile finds and their reconstruction.

In case you are interested, it is a public lecture starting 18.15 in the Kollegienhaus in Erlangen - more information about the lecture series, place and time can be found on the website of the institute.

I'm looking forward to this!

Monday, 9 January 2012

Welcome, 2012.

I'm back from spending time with family and friends - and now I will be dropping right into the task of catching up with all the mails I received and the usual beginning-of-a-new-quarter stuff.

I hope that your festive season was as wonderful as mine was, and that you are energetic and well starting into this new year - which will surely bring interesting things. And, of course, mistakes. (Nobody does the New Year Wish like Neil Gaiman.)

And I will be delighted to share the happenings of 2012 with you, over this blog!