Katy Colby developed a love of J.R.R. Tolkien’s writing very early, and had read The Lord of the Rings more than once before she started high school. The Silmarillion took a bit longer to finish, and she is still working on completely understanding it, but the task is an enjoyable one.
She credits her love of reading in general and Tolkien in particular to her grandfather, who was a self-taught scholar. He introduced her to the wonders of imagination and history found in books, and spent hours discussing the hidden corners of Tolkien’s world with her. Because of these discussions, she learned to filter the stories in fantasy through the lenses of psychology, history, and logic, to question, and to experiment if answers are not easily found in the reading. This makes her a bit of a gadfly to her friends in The Grey Havens, a Tolkien-centered book club that she attends frequently.
Katy works as a substitute teacher, which keeps her mind active and makes her look at the details of a story so she will know the answers before her students ask the questions. Besides her voracious reading habit, Katy enjoys historical reenacting, focusing on the early Medieval period. She specializes in fiber arts; spinning, knitting, crocheting, and weaving.
At the Real Myth and Mithril Symposium, Katy will present “What the Well-Dressed Hobbit Is Wearing This Year: A Study Of Fiber Arts in Fantasy Worlds.” This research paper was conceived when her son, a United States Marine, asked her to knit several pairs of socks to protect his feet from the boots issued to him.According to this lance corporal, the socks issued with the boots had no “padding”, while the socks she made from pure spun wool kept a cushion even after days of wearing them while carrying a heavy pack. As she knitted while listening to her favorite fantasy novels, she began to consider the properties of various fibers set against the worlds the authors described. What were the Dwarves’ socks made from? Did the Noldor have clothing that would help them as they crossed the Helcaraxe, or would their garments instead have hastened death? Could any cloth could repel a Dragon’s fire? From there, insatiable curiosity took over. “What the Well-Dressed Hobbit Is Wearing This Year” will answer these questions, as well as offering an overview of the properties of various clothing fibers and why our enjoyment of fantasy novels is enhanced by knowing what the characters are wearing. The costuming in various movies, including Eregon, The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and Dungeons and Dragons, will be included in the discussion.
Katy lives in Colorado, with her husband, Bill, and her daughter Dyhrddrdh. They share the house with Joan and Arwen, two cats who revel in her addiction to crafting with yarn and cloth. Besides Tolkien, her favorite authors include Morgan Llwelyn and George R.R. Martin.