This event report was submitted by Thomas Byron of Haverford, Crown Prince of Æthelmearc.
On October 31, AS 50, as the Hallows raised themselves for a night of freedom, the artisans of Æthelmearc joined the good gentles of Angel’s Keep for a day rich in the sharing of knowledge. Their Royal Majesties, Tindal and Etain, had called for a competition to decide who would stand as the Arts and Sciences Champion of Æthelmearc, and 18 of the Kingdom’s finest artisans heeded the call.
The site itself was majestic, and the people of Angel’s Keep are rightfully proud of the glory (and acoustics!) of the immense chapel in which Court was held. The warmth of the Shire was evident in the care shown to visitors who had traveled from far away (as well as a delicious lunch with many vegetarian options). There were so many wonderful people to meet and talk to that one had to set aside time to focus on the arts!
The centerpiece of the event was a novel format for an A&S competition, devised by Master Fridrikr Tomasson and Mistress Orianna Fridrikskona. Instead of a static display left out for judging, each artist was seated at a table on which their work was displayed, and there were chairs arranged on the opposite side of the table for the judges and the populace. Not only was this advantageous for judges, who could clarify any points of uncertainty, but it was also inviting for those who had never entered an A&S display. Instead of getting lost in advanced documentation, I was able to speak to the artisans on a level that was meaningful to me, and I could maximize what I learned from each of them. The greatest difficulty was tearing myself away from a table to try to ensure that I saw every entry (I must admit, I failed to see them all – I couldn’t bring myself to leave the fascinating conversations).
But in case that wasn’t enough to keep the populace sated with artistry, there was a separate A&S display in the lunch room, with more amazing work that could easily have been part of the competition. This was a good venue for those who could not remain with their work throughout the event. After hours of judging (and teaching and learning), Their Majesties called the judges to their chambers to help Them decide upon a new Champion. The Royalty also had an opportunity to choose their own personal favorite entries.
The winners of the competition were announced in Their Majesties’ Court that evening. The new Kingdom A&S Champion is Elskja Fjarfell of the Dominion of Myrkfaelinn. Her display on medieval soaps showed so much more than just the cake of soap – she discussed the dead-ends that she encountered in her research; the chemistry behind the techniques; the subtle differences in methods that produced starkly different results; and the variations that were used in period. She also had a ewer ready in case you wanted to test the different soaps on your own hands! Elskja’s presentation was so popular that she won the Populace’s Choice in addition to the overall Championship.
Her Majesty chose to particularly recognize Baron Artemius Andreas Magnus for his work on stained glass (and his stories from museums and glassworks). His Majesty, guided not only by His taste buds but also His respect for research on animal husbandry, chose as His favorite Lady Cassandra Mattis for her work on prosciutto. I was also honored to choose a favorite, as I was moved by the liturgical slippers made by Mistress Gillian Llewelyn. They are easily worthy of being showcased in a museum. Along with these gentles, THLady Solveig Throndardottir was called into Court to receive praise for her research into medieval Japanese cookbooks, which has become unrivaled as a canonical reference on the subject.
All of the artisans whose work was on display amazed me, as they had accomplished things that I could never even aspire to. But I also consider myself a winner, as my love of learning about all subjects medieval was rekindled at this wonderful event.
List of Entrants:
Abigail Kelhoge – Medieval Toddler’s Clothing
Artemius Andreas Magnus – Stained Glass Project
Cassandra Mattis – Messisbugo’s perduti recipe (1577)
Edith of Winterton – Thread after the Thorsberg trousers
Edward Harbinger – Silver jewelery
Elska Fjarfell – Medieval Soap Making
Felice de Thornton – Illuminated scroll blanks
Fridrich Fluβmüllner – Wood blocks for decorating clothing
Gillian Llewelyn – Embroidered Liturgical Sandals
Helene al Zarqa – Hats
Jasper Longshanks – Medieval leather pouches
Jocelyn of Hartstone – Stained glass
Lasairfhiona inghean Aindriasa – A variety of tarts
Madoc Arundel – 14th century great ale
Margarita Carpintero – Perfumes
Miklos Magdolna – Research paper on the Irish Travellers
Renata Rouge – 15th century Embroidered badge
Solveig Throndardottir – Medieval Japanese Recipe Project
Honorable and Noble Judges:
Bryn ni MacRose
Christina inghean Ghriogair
Honnoria of Thescorre
Katja Davidova Orlova Khazarina
Liadin ní Chléirigh na Coille
Matilda Bosville de Bella Aqua
Rhiannon y Bwa
Svana in kyrra