for the Pennsic Independent
The Pennsic A&S Exhibition celebrated its 10th annual show Monday with brilliant displays of craftsmanship and intricate artwork in a wide variety of media.
The exhibition, held in the dance barn, is a chance for artisans and craftspeople to show and talk about the creativity they expend year around to the gentle people of the Known World.
All artists provide written documentation of their pieces and many are on hand brimming with enthusiasm to share their passion with those in attendance.
This year’s display included Pearce Redsmythe of Æthelmearc, who fashions intricately cut metalwork including Baronial coronets, metal trim for armor and various pins. Redsymthe uses a goldsmith saw, (mundanely a jeweler’s saw) in a slow, but precise method to make the tiniest of cuts and curves in thin metal plates. First, he makes a pattern and presses a tiny hole into each cut-out piece and then uses the saw to slowly cut out the piece within the pattern. The process is slow but the results are rewarding.
Redsmythe began his hobby in college with a metalsmithing class 15 years ago. The bulk of his smithy work has been for the SCA and he has made crowns for barons and viscounts in his home kingdom of Atenveldt and his current kingdom of Æthelmearc. Last year he won the Ice Dragon Grand Pentathalon in Æthelmearc, qualifying one item in five different categories.
THL Jocelyn of Lutterworth of the Middle Kingdom displayed a work in progress, a six-foot scroll that is the beginning of a hymn for Easter Mass used in the 11th century Church in southern Italy. The scroll has the words of the song in one direction with pictures portraying the hymn in the other direction. Jocelyn is still seeking the reason the pictures and words are facing directions.
Jocelyn authenticated the scroll by gaining access to normally closed parts of the University of Chicago library where pictures of some of the originals are found. Monks made the scrolls while deacons or bishops would read them in the cathedrals. The scrolls were made in the 11th Century and as late as the 12th Century. She made many of the inks, such as indigo, that were used in the pictures through period methods, substituting modern inks for those that would be unavailable or poisonous. She completed the scrolls with fasteners similar to what she saw in the pictures. The scrolls of the period generally were 30 feet in length and Jocelyn hopes to have her scroll completed to that length by next year’s Pennsic.
Lady Clara Beaumont of the East Kingdom applied her interpretation skills to poems found in a dance manual published in 1581. The dance manual, Il Ballerino, was written by Fabritio Carosa.
Each poem in the book was dedicated to a lady, and started with addressing the lady in question and describing her beauty. The poems then went on to describe the dance dedicated to that lady. Lady Clara said some of the dances were created for the particular lady in question.
Lady Clara interpreted three poems first from the old Italian into basic English, then crafted the awkward English into poetry. She has interpreted dance manuals and cookbooks before, but this was her first work with poetry.
For Baron Bardulf Rauen of Atlantia the SCAdians are the art. He displayed nearly 550 photograph portraits of SCA members dressed in exquisite garb and clearly in persona as they bear arms or other tools of their various trades.
“The art is in the people,” he said.
Baron Rauen took the photographs mostly at SCA events in the southern part of the Atlantia kingdom. He said he gave up heavy fighting for something less painful.
“Photography has always been a hobby,” he said, smiling, “I got tired of having the crap beat out of me.” The people seem to appreciate his choice, with some of his past models approaching the albums to find their portraits while others simply paged through the albums glimpsing the faces of SCA.