By Ursula the Widow
For the Pennsic Independent
On Monday morning, the Barn was filled with 200 artisans and the products of their inspiration. Baroness Catriona MacDuff of the East Kingdom organized the Pennsic A&S Exhibition for the ninth consecutive year.
A stunning variety of cultural riches met the eye. The fiber arts were heavily represented in all possible forms, including sewing, knitting and naalbinding, lace making, embroidery, spinning, weaving, and dyeing. Wood and metal work, jewelry, and musical instruments represented the crafts of the hand. Scribes, illuminators and cartographers showed their scrolls and drawings. Poems and plays, wines and meads, and song appeared.
The event is a display, not a competition, and there is no requirement to be a Laurel or apprentice to take part, although many did. The organizers encourage all to display the products of their talents. “We’re very grateful that the artists of the Known World come and display because the stuff is incredible,” Baroness Catriona said. “It’s very special that the medieval arts are not being lost.”
She also expressed great appreciation for her technical crew, who had arisen at 5:30 in order t6o have the Barn set up and ready for the exhibitors.
Mistress Nerak la Tisserande, O.L., of Meridies displayed a range of garments including three knitted full-length cotehardies. Although she cannot document knitted full garments, she maintains the lack of evidence comes from garments being raveled and the wool reused. She got the inspiration when an ice storm befell during an Ansteorra event. The use of knitting rather than weaving creates a much warmer, softer fabric from the same weight wool. Mistress Nerak’s gowns use a Fair Isle stranding technique and are strikingly beautiful with their patterns and colors.
More familiar-looking but equally exquisite were the matching Spanish riding habits, circa 1575, worn by Her Excellency Mistress Jalali of Salamis , O.L. and Lord Thomas de Latham of Ansteorra. Gwynhyfar, Mistress Jalali’s apprentice, created the rust and gold ensembles, ornamented with pearls, for the couple to wear during their SCA equestrian activities.
Duke Cariadoc of the Bow presented several stages of construction of a Merovingian lyre based upon the initial reports of the Trossigen find, the only lyre of that period extant.
Jehannic de Bordeu’s specimens of the brewer’s art included a rose hip wine, a dry still cider in the English style, and pyment, which she described as “a cross between wine and mead.” It is fermented from both honey and grapes.
Lord Guy Lourance, of the East, showed his maps of the Known World. He created two large world maps, one after the style of the Catalan Atlas in blue, red, black and white, and the other a Ptomlemaic map in black and white.