Chapter 5 – The Gold Key (Loaner Garb / Feasting Gear)

1. Purpose of the Gold Key / Loaner Wardrobe –The Gold Key is a collection of loaner garb, feasting gear and other items, (armour, archery gear, etc.) provided by your group for the use of newcomers, until they have had a chance to obtain / make their own gear.  It is your responsibility, or that of one of your deputies, to ensure that the Gold Key is large enough for the number of newcomers that you usually attract during the year and ensure that it is maintained in good condition.

2. What’s in the Closet!

a) Garb – Try to provide garb from different time periods and styles for newcomers of all ages, sizes and genders

b) Cloaks & Outerwear – A newcomer’s first event should be a pleasant experience.  Being wet and or cold will most probably ruin someone’s day.  Make sure that your loaner wardrobe has cloaks or wraps.

c) Accessories – These may be just the item needed to dress up some garb or disguise poorly fitting items.  A good cross-section of items to look at is belts, pouches, veils, hoods, hats, tabards, jewelry, etc.

d) Feasting Gear – At a minimum, your loaner gear should contain plates, bowls, goblets or tankards or mugs and eating implements. An easy way to deal with this is to make up small bags, with a drawstring or handles, and have one of everything, plus, perhaps a candle-holder, candle and napkin would be useful.

3. Building your Gold Key / Loaner wardrobe

If you are a new group and currently do not have a Gold Key, or if your current Gold Key is not adequate to meet the demand, or is in poor condition, it is your responsibility to solicit help in correcting the situation.  The following is a list of ideas for ways in which to build your Gold Key.  As with all lists in this Handbook, it is not all-inclusive.  If you can think of any other creative ways to achieve your goal, you are encourage to do so.

a) Ask members from your group to donate garb, feasting gear and any other items that they no longer use.  If items need repair, host a “mending party”.  If items are beyond repair, salvage material such as braid, buttons, etc., that could be re-used on other items.

b) Ask members from you group if they are willing to loan items to newcomers.  Keep a list of who is willing to loan what items, of what size and under what condition.

c) If you have more than you need of some items, have an auction at one of your group’s events and with the proceeds, purchase what you do need.

d) Shop at garage sales, Salvo’s, second-hand shops.  Look for plates, bowls, goblets, eating utensils for feasting gear; costume jewelry to use a embellishments for garb; old drapes or curtains to make into garb.

e) Organise a sewing circle to make new garb and accessories specifically for the Gold Key.  Try to make versatile items that can be worn by a variety of people.

f) Any items that are not reclaimed from lost property, held by your Constable, after a reasonable amount of time has passed, can be donated to Gold Key, provided the items are in good condition.

4. Maintaining your Gold Key / Loaner wardrobe

Keep an inventory of all the items in your Gold Key.  Ideally, these items should be kept in one location that is geographically central within your group.  If all items cannot be stored in one location, keep records as to who is looking after what and where.  Periodically inspect and update your inventory, making notes of missing or damaged items.  Attempt to locate missing items and repair or replace damaged items.

a) Tracking your Inventory – You may occasionally have difficulty with items not being returned in a timely manner, or at all.  The following are some preventative measures that you may wish to take:

  1. Put tags in all garb labeling them as belonging to (insert your group) Gold Key.  Permanently mark feasting gear and other non-garb items in the same way.
  2. Do no lend out any items without making sure that the borrower knows when and how to return them.  Keep a record of who has what and make sure you have a way of getting in touch with the person in case they fail to return the items as specified
  3. Take items to the event yourself and have the person return the items before leaving the event.
  4. Implement a checkout procedure in which the person borrowing the item leaves a small monetary deposit until the item has been returned.  If necessary, make it a policy that damages will be deducted from the deposit.

b) Repair and Maintenance – To ensure that items are kept in good condition for as long as possible, make sure that they are cared for properly.  Before you lend an item to a newcomer consider this, if you wouldn’t wear this garb yourself . . . don’t expect your newcomer to want to wear it.  Below are some suggestions for keeping your loaner items in good repair.  If you would like the items returned prior to the borrower leaving a site, some suggestions may not be practical.

  1. Require that all feasting gear place settings and linens be washed before being returned
  2. All garb should be washed and pressed before being returned
  3. Check all items regularly to see if they need mending.  If damage is caught in time, it can be more easily repaired than if it is allowed to deteriorate
  4. Garb should be stored on hangers.  If this is not possible, stored neatly folded in boxes (large plastic variety) or on shelves
  5. Air items out and press them, if necessary, before lending them out.
  6. Store wool with lavender or other moth / silverfish repellent