Black Knight Historical – Historical Craft Demonstrations of all Eras
Visitors to our historical events admire the high quality of artefacts, props and costume, and so we offer events where ‘heritage crafts’ are demonstrated; either as a standalone activity, or as part of a serious living history display.
Unfortunately, while some crafts are timeless and still enjoy popularity in the modern world, many others are in danger of disappearing forever. So, to preserve skills for the future and enrich our vision of the past, we work closely with arts and crafts enthusiasts to offer demonstrations for all ages and occasions.
We regularly arrange displays of such diverse historic crafts as coracle making, pottery, forge blacksmithing, embroidery, bone and antler working, flintknapping, manuscript illumination, passementerie, wood carving, wheel-wrighting, bobbin lacemaking, bronze casting, working in straw and rush, leather crafts, and others. We have even built a little house to show traditional construction techniques: thatching, hewing, wattle-and-daub, timber-frame carpentry, wood carving and floor tiles.
Perhaps the most important craft of all time is food preparation, and the interest in the history of cooking and authentic recipes keeps growing. For those who want to re-create tasty treats from the past, we offer period-specific cookery demonstrations.
Clothing is also hugely important- to dress in keeping with our ancestors. We demonstrate all stages of the garment-making process – from the origins of fabrics, weaving, cutting and sewing to fitting and finishing – including all the supporting crafts such as spinning, loom and tablet weaving, dyeing, button making, fur processing and braiding. And since much of the tailor’s work remains unseen, hidden under rich outer clothes or shiny armour, we organise fashion shows and “dressing a lady/gentleman” displays to demonstrate how complex authentic clothing could be, exploring the many layers and why servants were required.
Military service was part of many people’s lives during most of the history. That’s why it is just as important to show not just civilian occupations, but also military trades such as armouring, fletching, rope making, gunsmithing, netting, and mail-making.
All our demonstrations are performed by professional artisans or experienced hobbyists. Since those involved in traditional crafts are often re-enactors, demonstrations are usually accompanied by a commentary about the history of the craft and the life of people who practised it.
Depending on your requirements and practicality, demonstrations can be carried out indoors or outdoors, and presenters can wear costume or modern dress. We offer flexible formats to accommodate different audiences: from formal lecture-style presentations such as ‘Undressing Mr Darcy’ or ‘Dressing Queen Elizabeth’ to hands-on family fun. The scope can also vary to meet the demand; for example, we can show how the artistic process works, or how to create a replica of a particular item, or how to use ages-old skills to create stylish contemporary accessories.