Sing a Song of A&S Things
By Lady Mary of Montevale
On the Monday of Main War Week, I
Went to the Barn to see…
Five casting molds
Four (angry) Celtic birds
Three French hoods
Two Laurel scrolls
And the Lady from a Cluny tapestry.
(to the tune of “Twelve Days of Christmas”)
Thirteen kingdoms were represented by the above items and much more at Monday’s A&S Exhibit in the barn. This year the arrangement of the space was different in that the tables were set up perpendicular to the open (south) side of the barn and large signs bearing the kingdom names were posted on several pillars. I had already determined that I wanted to find at least one exhibit from each of the kingdoms taking part, and this year’s set up made that task much easier.
It turned out that Atenveldt had only one exhibitor, Lady Aasni Ranghildsdotter from the Barony of Tir Ysgithr. She described herself as “a potter…primarily,” and had brought her work in progress to display. It was a pottery parturition set based on an Italian 16th c. original. The pottery pieces will be painted in a style known as Maiolica: a solid white background with designs painted using colored oxide paints. She explained that the painted effect looks something like watercolor.
An Tir was also represented by a single exhibitor, Cerridwen Ravenhawk of Conway (Lion’s Gate), and her Saxon dress and coat, plus three woolen caps made using naalbinding. The golden-colored dress was embroidered around the neck and down the front in wool, silk, and cotton. The pattern included roundels of animals replicating 9th c. Maasiek embroideries.
The extant Maasiek embroideries also served as source material for Lady Katherine de Langeli (Principality of the Mists, West). She used couched gold work as well as split and stem stitch in pastel-colored silk on linen. She plans to add pearls in the spots they were found on the original work. The second exhibitor from the West was Mistress Theiadora Groves, who displayed a number of samples of her tablet weaving work. A blue, gold, white, and green piece worked in a multiple ram’s horn pattern was one that was made for Duke Fredrick of Holland.
From the Outlands, Sayida Umamah bint Zayd Al-Andaluysiah had brought a partially completed project: Turkish button fasteners braided in the kumihimo method. Since they are to be used on a coat belonging to the head of her household, she is using the household colors green, yellow, and purple. She told me it takes about 4 uninterrupted hours of work to make a pair of the frog-like fasteners. The coat will need 15 pairs in all.
Rekon of Saaremaa (Caid) displayed more of her tile and intaglio work that I had seen in Artisans’ Row a few days ago. A particularly interesting piece was the diptych carved from a tagua nut (vegetable ivory) which looks like a cream-colored walnut. It is split open and a miniature scene is carved using the inside material and also taking advantage of any gaps or spaces in the interior. A brass or gold hinge is added so the finished piece can be opened and closed.
On the Æthelmearc table I saw two lovely peerage scrolls. The Pelican scroll made by Lady Sthurrim Caithness used calligraphy and illumination based on the Lindisfarne gospels. The Laurel scroll for Felicitas Flußmüllnerin will be presented at Æthelmearc court here at Pennsic. The approximately 12” x 18” scroll was created by Baroness Ekaterina Volkova.
Lady Sigrid the Beadmaker from Drachenwald had shown me many examples of her glass beadwork at Artisans’ Row last week. She had more of her exquisite creations on display Monday. I was entirely charmed by the very tiny glass snakes used as separators between other ornate beads.
Maya from Bjornsborg (Ansteorra) exhibited an interesting piece of bead embroidery—the image of a German saint from an extant piece in the Halberstatt Museum in the town of that name in Germany. Part of her documentation was a copy of the photograph of the original taken in the museum in 1936. Like many other exhibitors, she also explained her reasons for making slight changes in techniques and materials in order to accommodate modern, available materials and tools.
One of the items on display on the Trimaris tables was a beautiful red and gold hand knitted Sion Reliquary Purse with cording and tassels fashioned from the same fine silk as the body. It was knitted on 0000 needles. The thought of working with such tiny tools and stitches was enough to make me feel cross-eyed for a moment.
THL Medb ingen Dúngaile from Eoforwic (Ealdormere) worked with sugar paste to create a six-inch round plaque, bearing the Ealdormere trillium at the center surrounded by a floral design based on a fruit trencher (English, 1575-1600) that is on display in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
One of the numerous artisans from Atlantia was Baron Christopher MacConing (Dun Carraig). He casts lovely pewter pieces, carving his molds from African wunderstone, a finer stone than the usual soapstone. He also displayed a couple of Atlantian Queen’s Order of Courtesy tokens which he had cast in bronze.
The Midrealm participants filled two complete rows of tables with lovely items, but I was drawn right away to the fine white linen collar being worked on by Lady Crispine de la Vallée (Barony of Fenix) with its delicate gold thread couched work in patterns of oak leaves and acorns, a Laurel’s wreath, and two pelicans. The gold outline of the pelicans’ shapes were filled with tiny pearls. Lady Crispine told me the pelicans were drawn from a glove cuff on display in the Spence Collection in Bath , England. The collar is part of a set, along with a white linen Elizabethan gentleman’s ruff and its wire supporter covered with fine silk thread which she began as a gift for her Laurel’s elevation to Pelican.
As I wandered through the rows assigned to the East Kingdom, I was brought up short by an exclamation, “Oh my God!” from an Ealdormerean lady who had just been handed a needlework frame in which rested a piece of opus Anglicanum (or “English work”) embroidery. Although its creator, Lady Catarina Giaocchini (Barony of Settmour Swamp), was not with her work at that exact moment, a neighboring exhibitor was able to explain to me tht this technique is sometimes called “painting with thread.” I was amazed by the patience and skill it must have taken to create the picture on the piece of light brown linen of three long-haired women in colorful gowns dancing against two patterned backgrounds in multicolored swirls (wall or sky) and diapering (floor).
One display on Monday was a collection of projects for the A&S 50 Challenge, the one by Marija Kotok of Æthelmearc. I particularly liked the Roman mosaic based on the Waterhorse Mosaic from Fishbourne Palace in Sussex, England. If you’d like to learn more about the A&S 50 Challenge, attend the meeting on Tuesday. Check at A&S Point for time and tent.