The third Artifacts of a Life was held Sept. 30, 2017, in the Barony Beyond the Mountain. This very special arts and sciences competition format encourages participants to present items which a person from our period of study could have possessed. There were categories for entries which covered “elite” displays of 6 to 9 articles, “typical” collections of 3 to 5 items, and “team” or “village” entries by a group of participants (though there were no entries in that category this time).
Throughout the day, visitors and judges admired the presentations and discussed them with the seven entrants.
Lord Brendan Firebow’s display was of various items found on his person at the time of his untimely death (possibly in a duel) in the late 1500’s. Presented were glasses, a knife sheath, a belt, and a pouch. Decoration on the pouch, the edges of the belt, and the leather frames of the glasses, was chemically stained black with an iron solution. The strapless pouch was worn against the body and held in place by the belt. His research into the leather framed glasses led him to discover that these were important 16th century trade items.
Lady Aibhilin inghean Ui Phaidin presented glass bead jewelry as found in the Deer Park Farms Settlement site in County Antrim Ireland. Beads, such as those in the strung grouping of 11, were found scattered in the bedding in one of the homes of the site, and a glass-topped pin like those shown was found in another structure. The beads Aibhilin reproduced were among the most common types found throughout the site. The description of her experimental bead furnace was fascinating. Her research into the beads has ignited her desire to learn much more about medieval Irish history.
Baroness Ysabella de Draguignan’s artifacts were discovered while repairing WW2 damage to Maison Draguignan. An old box was found under broken floorboards. It contained a few playing cards, a pewter token, a padlock key, a fire-damaged pendant, a toy horse, a gravoir (a hair parting tool), and several handwritten notes and letters – items that would have been lovingly treasured by her 14th century persona. Participating in Artifacts of Life allowed Baroness Ysabella to explore art forms she had never attempted before.
Lord Bartholomew of Northampton was an archer on board the Mary Rose when it sank. His personal possessions include his yew longbow, arrows, wooden comb, embroidered purse, bracer (arm guard), wooden plate and bowl, bollock dagger and sheath, and a leather jerkin. It takes a special technique to pull a 104 pound bow.
Lady Elaine Howys of Morningthorpe was the widow of a Master Broderer who left the service of Queen Elizabeth to start his own shop. Her will leaves the contents of the shop to her son-in-law and daughter, as he was in the trade as a journeyman and pattern drawer. Presented were merchandise, supplies, tools, patterns and work samples of various forms of Tudor and Elizabethan embroidery.
Lady Tola knitýr was a 14th century Swiss noblewoman. She made two knitted purses, likely to be used as reliquary bags in her church. Spools of her handspun silk thread survive, on her spool stand. The tiny scale of the knitting, and the complex patterns, are evidence of her skill. She is looking forward to continuing her explorations of natural dyeing techniques.
Lady Rosamund von Schwyz presented the tools and technique of bobbin lace. Her pillow includes a roller, to facilitate making lengths of lace, and she made several of the many bobbins in use.
These skillful entrants demonstrated both breadth and depth in their explorations of medieval life. Their enthusiasm for their work was readily apparent. In Baronial Court, the event stewards, Mistress Elizabeth Vynehorn and Baron Jehan du Lac, thanked the entrants and judges, and announced the results:
Lord Bartholomew of Northampton was the winner in the “elite” category.
Lady Tola knitýr was the winner in the “typical” category.
Lady Elaine Howys of Morningthorpe received the stewards’ choice prize.
Baroness Ysabella de Draguignan was honored with the Baron and Baroness’ choice prize.
Information and rules for Artifacts of a Life III can be read here:
Event staff requested that this report announce that the next Artifacts of a Life will be held in the Fall of 2019, so artisans and researchers should start planning their entries NOW!
Photos provided by Baron Joseph of the Red Griffin and Baroness Ygraine of Kellswood. Article written by Mistress Ose Silverhair and Baroness Ygraine of Kellswood.