Who is Mediaeval Miscellanea?
Mediaeval Miscellanea was founded in 1982 by Coryn Weigle, who continues to own and run it.
Coryn learned to sew at 4, making simple dresses for herself and her sister by age 8. Always attracted to the Middle Ages and Renaissance, she enjoyed reading and watching movies about Robin Hood, Ivanhoe, King Arthur, Robert the Bruce, and the like. In her early teens she joined her brother making and selling breads and jams at some of the earliest Renaissance Pleasure Faires of Southern California*. As vendors were required to be costumed, Coryn designed and sewed some for herself and her brother - looking back, those costumes weren’t the most accurate, but were no worse than many others at the faire!
In her first year of college, Coryn discovered the Society for Creative Anachronisms**, a medieval and Renaissance re-enactment group. She grabbed some of her Renfaire garb, went to an SCA event and there met her future husband Bruce Weigle (literally her knight in shining armor!). By the late 1970’s, tired of cutting garb for people and then having them ask her to sew it for them, Coryn started making costume patterns, with help from artists and other designers. The first Period Patterns were published in 1982; they have been in print ever since, used by amateurs, professionals, and all in between. Garments made from the patterns have appeared not only at SCA events, Renfaires and the like but in movies and on stage.
In 1970, Coryn designed and made her first real tent, for Califia, the SCA group she cofounded in San Diego with Bruce and other friends. Other tents followed, made for herself, friends, trade, and finally sale. She was quite surprised to realize that she had, without planning to, become a tent designer and maker, with a style that is easily recognizable – Period Pavilions. By 2017, she has made well over 850 pavilions, both traditional style and faux-buildings (plus a few custom ones that define categorization). These have been used by SCA members and other reenactors, as well as by and at numerous Renaissance Faires (at several faires, Cory is simply known as the Tent Lady). They have been used at schools and community faires, trade shows, stage shows and in movies, etc.. Her pavilions have been full-time dwellings, back-yard play/party tents, disguises for trailers/RVs, and used for many other purposes. Mediaeval Miscellanea has shipped or delivered Period Pavilions throughout North America, Europe, Australia/New Zealand, and even Asia.
From 1982 to 1992 Mediaeval Miscellanea was selling much more than patterns and pavilions, both via catalogs and at booths at major SCA events, and the company had grown to about 20 people. In 1992 Coryn radically downsized the company to get back to her roots of patterns and pavilions. She still sells an eclectic assortment of items of medieval interest at SCA events, from fabric to tapestries to toys.
This helps brings people into the booth, where they can also see sample garments made from the patterns, and the cute diorama display of miniature tents. At events, MM is run with the help of many good folk - pickup people, a core of regulars, and friends (many of whom started out as pickup people). A shout-out to first Kathy Moore, Chris Brunnerand now Meagan Osborn, each in turn for many years Coryn’s right hand gal at Pennsic - all three ladies did yeoman duty keeping Coryn sane, in line, and in the booth at events (the ankle chain helped!).
If you get a chance, come visit the Mediaeval Miscellanea booth at Estrella, Gulf Wars, and Pennsic.
*This was the first, original modern Renaissance faire; it opened in 1963 and has run yearly since that time.
**This organization is lots of fun, and well worth checking out, if you are at all interested in any part of the Middle Ages or Renaissance.