Sunday, February 12, 2012

Magicians, seers and sages

 was the theme of this year's Medieval Seminar at UVic. Which was definitely one of the more interesting topics we've had, and--yay!--one which didn't leave me staring at the wall, wondering how on earth to set up a relevant display.

For one thing, literacy! Before literacy was common, writing was strongly identified with magic. Spelling. Grammar and glamour (a magical mind-control) have the same root. What is she writing, below? Perhaps a textual amulet to be carried for protection against evil.

Then from texts to textiles. Spells can be stitched or woven--think of all the mundane craft terms associated with magic. I'm tempted to mention some very good stories with textile magic, but since they're by modern authors and not medieval, I'll try to stay on topic. This below is embroidery by Elisabeth de Besancon, and lovely clean work of course. If I get hold of specific info about the stitches and so on I'll post it, but right now I have nowt.

I had to pick my moment carefully to get all three with their heads down. It's not quite the Three Fates, but evocative, don't you think? Fortunately none of them have shears.

This is just one of the more intriguing-looking bits of the display. Like the dried lizard? I always knew it would come in handy someday. I had fun writing up all the little cards.

Then there's magic associated with music. Enchanted by song, sung to sleep or madness. Fiddles that make all hearers dance. True Thomas the harper of the Queen of Faerie, the horns of Elfland.

I can promise you that none of this spread below was magicked. Just tasty!
After takedown we went home to a medieval feast of Grete Pie (the flour & water crust serves as the baking dish) of pork and chicken and dried apples, plums and raisins, side dishes of spinach salad and canabens with bacon, and a pudding of milk and almonds. (I am open to correction and addition on any of this, since all I did was make up gluten-free pastry for a secondary pie).
Oh, almost forgot. With the invaluable help of Joan (the harpist above) two smallish cloth hangings got painted, appropriate to the theme. I've been trying to pull that together for the last three? four? seminars, and never managed to set aside time. This time Joan made it happen. Yay!

Done over two evenings. The blue one is Joan's. Cool, isn't it? It made me remember how much I like painting.


Terri-Lynne said...

Too cool. I love "the Fates." That is just what they would look like.

batgirl said...

I'll have to post one of Tess with her manic grin - not the one you want to handle the shears, however cute she looks!