Photo by Jocelyn
Master Cariadoc of the Bow offers a drink sample to one of his visitors at the A&S Display.
By Lady Parvati Chandravanshi, Staff Reporter
Sunday afternoon I was treated to the Arts and Sciences display in the Great Hall. At first it seemed a little quiet, but not long after noon, the artisans had their work on display, and a large crowd began moving through and investigating their work. There was not a single item that was uninteresting, and all were amazing, but a few pieces truly made an impression on me.
One of my favorite pieces was Maerhild of the East’s astonishing linen-on-linen quilt which was based on the Tristan Quilt. She told me that it took six months (and her sanity!) to complete it. The entirely hand-quilted piece was done in off-white and an earthy brown thread, and showed Amazons in battle, bows held high, along with a Queen and her lady in waiting. The textured fabric begged to be touched, but I didn’t dare for fear I’d get her hard work grubby!
Kenneth the Glass Painter presented several of his pieces dating back to 1998. The yellow, brown and black of the silver stain showed the meticulous care he took to make his pieces, and the image of an angel on a beautiful circle of glass against the afternoon light coming into the hall was truly a treat.
I spoke with Lady Roseia Poseia after her display caught my attention. Who in the world would think to intentionally dye a chemise with mud? She explained the process to me, from finding iron-rich soils (fortunately, her yard is an excellent source!) to letting the shift sit for a week in its mudbath, to vinegar-setting and drying. The final result was a lovely shell-pink. She plans on wearing it in a performance of the Known World Players later in the War. I admit that the idea of purposely packing my clothes in mud had never entered my mind, but after seeing the delicately blushed result, I decided I may just have to try it at home.
Mistress Safiya bint Suleiman displayed and demonstrated her Egyptian Embroidery, including interlaced herringbone work. Again, the texture cried out to be touched, and Mistress Safiya invited me to actually go ahead – it was rich and luxurious. I’m considering asking her to create a piece for me!
Lady Anna Dokeianina Syrakousina brought several beautifully written Byzantine icons to the display. As my own mundane life is based in my Slavic roots, I was immediately drawn to the stylized pieces with gold and silver leaf backgrounds. She explained that she found the process of creating the icons very meditative and soothing. She had taken up the practice to expand her repertoire. Her first attempts would have suited any Byzantine church I have been in.
Those in attendance found enthused artisans happy to explain and demonstrate their work – I tasted skyr and fresh and cultured butters, a heavenly ginger sauce, and a green sauce with a nice sharp bite and a glorious finish. I had to turn down the mustards and I assure you I was quite unhappy about that fact!
Master Gunnarr Alfljot displayed his silversmithing skill as the newest Laurel in the Middle Kingdom. His deft touch and attention to detail showed in all of his pieces, and he showed me several pairs of earrings that any period lady would have loved to wear, strung with delicate silver chains, pearls and garnets. Unfortunately, he told me that the gold and sapphire earrings that I really lusted after were already claimed by his wife. Ah, well!
Henna is one of my true loves, as I’ve done it for many years, and I was delighted to see Sayyidah Asalah al-Hina’s spread showing everything from period patterns to dried henna leaves to images of her work. Her work was part of the A&S 50 Challenge, and like all the others, showed the care and enthusiasm she put into her hard work and research.
I spotted temari balls and origami cranes on Lady Gwendoyln Blackthorne MacGriogair’s table. The cheerful paper birds are a wish for long life. The temari balls were traditionally made from scraps and salvaged threads of kimono.
Master Cariodoc of the Bow invited me to try his wonderful drinks, julab, a rose-water drink perfect for summer, sekanjebin that beats my own brew hands and feet down, and something called sawiq, made from roasted grains. I wasn’t entirely sure about the sawiq, but once I tried it, I quite enjoyed it.
The Arts and Sciences display is a chance for the artisans of the Society to truly shine. Don’t forget to visit the artisans who show their skills at Artisan’s Row and the new A&S War Point which takes place Wednesday in