Gold All The Things!

Cloth is not a thing I’m comfortable working with. So when I volunteered to assist my friends by making an embellished border for a beloved friend’s Laurel cloak, well…. that was kind of foolish.

However, I decided to go big or go home.

First, gold leaf on cloth was totally done in the SCA period. Linseed oil was used as the sticky part and a sealant was painted over the gold. So I had proof that it was done. (And then Ollilia gave me this great text to help!)

http://www.noteaccess.com/Texts/Cennini/10M.htm

I documented this with lots of photos, so please feel free to look at the Google album, which has all the notes!!

https://goo.gl/photos/whnSJJfXgkeZdJTJ9


Other resources I found that were kind of helpful included:

http://www.joann.com/gold-leafing-sheets-25-pkg-gold/1100106.html?gclid=CJ6qiJXjsNICFUhXDQod-0wCeQ

https://www.brit.co/diy-gold-foil-tote/

https://books.google.com/books?id=LKFgAgAAQBAJ&pg=PA111&lpg=PA111&dq=gilded+textiles+middle+ages&source=bl&ots=69yePE4f_I&sig=AUc_FeV0LIThaZ5XTQ5Xuz3rVvg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwirmN2r4bDSAhWBthQKHewYBUoQ6AEIQzAJ#v=onepage&q=gilded%20textiles%20middle%20ages&f=false

My Summer Brothers

It had been a while since I was struck by song inspiration, which vexed me, but in the days leading up to the EK Spring Crown (in which Sir Culann was fighting for me) I found that my muse decided to come and visit.

This is a song about three men who have been influential to my SCA experience, Culann Mac Cianain, Ian Stewart, and Adam Brennan. I presented this to Angus before I left and to Culann and Brennan on Saturday night after Crown was done, dinner was had. (We made the semifinals! There was steak! There were people! Yay!)

Born of a Pembridge campfire at the War of the Roses, I give you the song, which you can hear by clicking the link.

My summer brothers
Spoke to me across the sparkling flame
My summer brothers
Asked for songs forged of an ancient fame
I sang to them, and to my kin,
as the stars drew closely down
Who that night would have seen the paths
That lead to our renown.

One summer brother came to me
A strong and comely knight.
That summer brother promised me
That beside me he would fight.
Never was I outside his view,
Nor lost in melee’s hold
Careful and watchful, was my shield,
His presence made me bold!

One summer brother came to me
With warriors at his side
That summer brother
Bade me sing, e’re they set out to ride.
Forty fierce and noble men
Brought wrath at his commands,
Yet would soothe my tears and place mulled wine
Within my hands.

My summer brothers
Spoke to me across the sparkling flame
My summer brothers
Asked for songs forged of an ancient fame
I sang to them, and to my kin,
as the stars drew closely down
Who that night would have seen the paths
That lead to our renown.

One summer brother came to me
So by his King assigned
That summer brother
Had given word he’d not leave me behind.
He brought me light to darkened hall
The concerns of all he’d quell,
His vigilant gaze on everything
Assuring all was well.

My summer brothers come to me
Now Duke, Master, and Knight
My summer brothers
Give me joy and stories fine to write.
Our lives have changed in many ways
Since that lazy summer fire
But like the sparks that fleck the night
They warm and they inspire.

My summer brothers
Spoke to me across the sparkling flame
My summer brothers
Asked for songs forged of an ancient fame
I sang to them, and to my kin,
as the stars drew closely down
Who that night would have seen the paths
That lead to our renown

My summer brothers
Spoke to me across the sparkling flame
My summer brothers
Asked for songs forged of an ancient fame
I sang to them, and to my kin,
as the stars drew closely down
Who that night would have seen the paths
That lead to our renown.

This summer sister loves you all,
You taught her to serve well.
This summer sister proudly sings
And your stories she will tell.
Seldom we stand as merry band
For we are rarely free
But I carry each one of you inside
With each joy and victory.

My summer brothers
Spoke to me across the sparkling flame
My summer brothers
Asked for songs forged of an ancient fame
I sang to them, and to my kin,
as the stars drew closely down
Who that night would have seen the paths
That lead to our renown.

My summer brothers
Spoke to me across the sparkling flame
My summer brothers
Will be songs forged of an ancient fame
Yes my summer brothers
Will be songs forged of an ancient fame.

 

Lullaby for the Mistlands

This piece was created for Anonii, Prince of the Mistlands, and his Princess, Helga. Antonii is a friend and has been an Eastern Unbelted Champion, and it was my desire to have a song for him during his reign. It is in celebration of the Mist-Cyguna War which happens every spring.

 

 

O the mighty wall of whitened cloud

Around the swan doth turn.

The mighty host of the brave Mistland

Will stand without concern

And ever there, throughout all time, no battle waged so fair

As the one between the swan and cloud

O would that I were there.

 

Cygunans fight with beak and wing

Their weapons fierce and fine

To cut the wall to the burning sky

Is the swan’s design.

 

Passing through the summer grey

Mistlanders bring the dew

Gathering steam, they build upon the veil

Which hides their retinue.

 

As ordained by the cycling sun,

Lead each with steel and might

Let your honor be your sword,

Favor all within your sight.

 

The bird and brume will ever feud

In contest long campaign

Then in peace shall live a while

As western kindred twain.

 

Maunche – Albreda Alyese

Quiet, gode people, as we praise a quiet worker,

sound the voices from the Eastern thrones.

 

We call one from whose hands the finest fibers flow,

Albreda Aylese, who sets the spear-beam into binding.

 

With strong rods does the thread resound for her.

The whirring shuttle moves across a sea of strands.

The weavers rods her oars, the lozenges her woolen waves,

Her songs are ancient, rhythmic ones.

 

Her progress passes as many nights

as swan-road journeys in the summer.
As snow-hare stands in silent footprint

still, she sits, softly guiding sweetest silk.

She crafts the pattern, bright or subtle.

Flowers bloom eternal at her bid.

Æthelstan would blush at such gifts as she gives.

 

Witness her name weave’d in history

as the newest of the Order of the Maunche.

 

In her heart-home deep in Coldwood,

At the Closing of the Inne

She is granted arms to bear,

Vert, a winged frog salient Or,

Whose form soars o’er the warp and weft

Away from this lateness of September,

on this twenty-fourth day, in Our fifty-first year.

 

It is so done by the hand of King Kenric and Queen Avelina.

* * * * * * *

(Calligraphy by Rhonwen Glyn Conwy, Illumination by ______________

Text by Aneleda Falconbridge, inspired by the Anglo Saxon riddles of the Exeter Book)

 


The inspiration was from Anglo Saxon riddles found in the Exeter Book (and some epic poetry and a little norse-ish prose.)

37 (k-d 56) https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Anglo-Saxon_Riddles_of_the_Exeter_Book/37

 

I was in there where I saw something,

a thing of wood, wound a striving thing,

the moving beam —it received battle wounds,

deep injuries; spears caused the hurts

of this thing; and the wood was fast bound

cunningly. One of its feet

was stable, fixed; the other worked busily,

played in the air, sometimes near the ground.

A tree was nearby, that stood there hung

with bright leaves. I saw the leavings

of the arrow-work brought to my lord

where heroes sat over their drinks.

Ic wæs þær Inne þær ic ane geseah

winnende · wiht wido bennegean

holt hweorfende heaþoglemma feng
deopra dolga daroþas wæron

weo þære wihte     ⁊ se wudu searwum

fæste gebunden hyre fota wæs

biid fæft oþer · oþer bisgo dreag

leolc on lyfte hwilum londe neah
treow wæs getenge þe þær torhtan stod

leafum bihongen Ic lafe geseah

minum hlaforde þær hæleð druncon

þara flan on flet beran

The favored solution is Weaver’s Loom. The “striving thing” is the web still in the loom; it is injured by the needle or shuttle passing through it. The spears or darts “must be the teeth of the batten penetrating through the warp.” “The two feet can only be the weighted ends of the two rows of warp threads.” The tree with leaves is a distaff, with flax on it; and the standing warp explains the metaphor of feet. On this see the learned and well-documented article by Erika von Erhardt-Siebold, “The Old English Loom Riddles,” Philologica, Malone Anniversary Studies, Baltimore, 1949, pp. 9–17. Mrs. von Erhardt-Siebold includes with the Loom Riddles 50 (k-d 35), Coat of Mail, which is related insofar as chain mail resembles weaving; and 45 (k-d 70), which is usually solved as Reed Pipe (p. 37 below).

 

Me the wet ground, exceeding cold,

first brought forth from within itself.

Neither am I wrought of woolen fleece

nor of hairs, with skill; I know it in my mind.
I have no winding wefts nor any warp in me;

nor with strong rods does the thread resound for me,
nor the whirring shuttle move across me,
nor the weaver’s rods anywhere smite me.
Worms do not weave me with fatal wiles

which fairly adorn the fine yellow web.

Yet nevertheless the wide world over
one will call me a joyful garment for heroes.

Say now truly, you cunning sage,
learned in language, what this garment may be.

10

Mec se wæta wong wundrum freorig

of his innaþe ærist cende

ne wat ic mec beworhtne wulle flysum

hærum þurh heahcræft hygeþoncum min ·

wundene me ne beoð wefle ne ic wearp hafu

ne þurh þreata geþræcu þræd me ne hlimmeð
ne æt me hrutende hrisil scriþeð
ne mec ohwonan sceal amas cnyssan
wyrmas mec ne ā wæfan · wyrda cræftum

þa þe geolo godwebb geatwum frætwað

wile mec mon hwæþre seþeah wide ofer eorþan

hatan for hæleþū hyhtlic gewæde ·

saga soðcwidum searoþoncum gleaw
wordum wisfæst hwæt þis ge wædu sy

In short, a Coat of Mail—woven, but not of wool or of silk. Weaving is suggested, yet with a series of exclusions to show that the thing is not what you would at first suppose.

 

Chivalry – Njal Kennimathor Geirsson Virtanen

One of the great benefits of being a wordwright is that I get to write words of praise and recognition for people who are special to me. Sir Colin contacted me with news that Kennimathor Giersson would be elevated to the Order of Chivalry at Birka and invited me to write the words to the scroll Master Ed MacGuyver would create. I leapt at the chance, because Kennimathor is very special to me. He was one of the Eastern Unbelted Champions from my time as bardic champion, a dear friend, and I had the great honor to be his consort for an Eastern Crown Tourney one fall. It was one of my SCA highlights and so to be able to tell his story this way was, in many ways, a gift to me as much as to him.

I wanted to respect his Norse persona and asked Their Majesties if I could write a nontraditional scroll that they would certify rather than sign. I tried to write of Kennimathor as if his knighting was one of the sagas I’ve read, which have blunt narrative and then poetry. I used some common kennings and created others as I needed them. I chose to feature a verse from the Hávamál that has special meaning to me and would resonate with Kennimathor as well.  

I was also given the honored position of speaking for him at his knighting as the representative of the Order of the Laurel. I called attention to that verse as well, and focused on a theme that art requires protectors who will defend it, uphold it, create it, and be inspired by it.

I also got to help name an amazing sword. Ulfgir the Nice (Jamie Lundell) created a sword for the occasion and we worked together to name it. First, Ulfgir asked people about what to name a Norse sword and Ken took the bait and told him “vengence”. I took that and researched Norse weapons names in ancient literature. Master Friderikr helped me clarify some thoughts and I settled on honoring the Norse god of revenge, Víðarr, with the weapon, naming it “Víðursnaturr” or Víðarr’s gift.

The text I created for Sir Kennimathor is below:


Requested to the law rock by King Brion and Anna, the Queen he served, Njal Kennimathor Geirsson Virtanen went to see them. It was Þorri*, the month of men, deep in winter’s grasp. At his approach, the Ring-givers spoke to the people of this oak-limbed warrior, as beautiful and dangerous as winter’s ice. Kennimathor was a son of the northland, raised upon the field of battle. He was rich with kin whose loyalty shone like arm rings.

His skill at eagle-feeding brought notice from the king’s þegns* who said that Kennimathor should be added to their war band. The rulers agreed and gave him a Patent of Arms marked with his sigils: Per saltire sable and argent, two Thor’s hammers inverted and two spears counterchanged. Others brought gifts – a strip of snow-colored leather, a pair of shining spurs, a chain wrought of gold that had been worn by his ancestors, and a fine wool cloak from his kinswomen. His kinsman, Colin, gave him a sword made by Ulfgir who called it Víðursnatur.* When he possessed these things, he was pronounced a member of the Order of Chivalry. His last gifts were stout blows but he returned all save the one given him by King Brion.

An ancient verse was then invoked —

“Then he began to thrive
and wisdom to get.
He grew and well he was.
Each word led him onto another word,
each deed to another deed.”*

Thus was he sent into the world.

Brion and Anna set their marks on all Thing-words at the Birka Marketplace in the Barony of Stonemarche, the outpost where Kennimathor had long served. It was day 28 in the month and the year of the Society was LI.

Their names are signed here, proving that this is true.

—BRION—        —ANNA—


Notes:
The sword was named Víðursnaturr = Víðarr’s gift, after Víðarr, the Norse god of revenge.
Þorri = The time of late jaunary / early february
þegns = seasoned warriors
hirðmaðr =  follower of a king or earl

  1. Þá nam ek frævask ok fróðr vera
    ok vaxa ok vel hafask,
    orð mér af orði
    orðs leitaði, verk mér af verki
    verks leitaði.

from verse 141 of the Hávamál – The Sayings of Hár -http://www.voluspa.org/havamal.htm