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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Society bridges gap between medieval and modern

Oct. 16, 2007

Medieval lords and ladies made the campus their fortress this weekend.

The Medieval Re-Enactment Society and Columbia's chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc., held a medieval symposium Saturday in the Arts and Science Building.

The MRS is the MU chapter of SCA, an international organization that promotes the arts and skills of the Middle Ages.

Almost 190 attendees from across the Midwest attended the symposium, which included medieval craft workshops and classes.

"There's so much stuff, so many different crafts," SCA member David Hansen said. "If you're a craft junkie, this is your fix."

Workshops covered crafts including tailoring, woodworking, illumination, and iron and pewter casting.

"You get to ask questions and learn from masters who really know what they're doing," Mrs President Miranda Hvinden said. "It's a hands-on project day, not just talking about it."

In one workshop, people worked with hand-carved soapstone molds to create pewter casts.

"When you pour pewter into the molds, it takes on the form of whatever they carved," Hvinden said.

In another workshop, several women practiced scribal painting, which involves decorating scrolls with bright images using handmade, natural paints. Hvinden said the scrolls would be presented to the newly recognized lords and ladies, honored for their involvement in the SCA.

The symposium also featured a fiber arts area, where SCA member Nicole James weaved a bolt of cloth on a "warp-weighted loom."

James said the four yards of yarn would make about three yards of cloth.

"I usually like to make a shirt or a hood out of it," she said.

Many SCA members study a specific art, Hvinden said. Hvinden said she practices illumination, a process of embellishing manuscripts with intricate, colorful illustrations.

Hvinden said she taught a class on making iron-gall ink, which is the standard dark purple ink that was used during the medieval era in Europe.

Classes presented by SCA members included Italian dancing, calligraphy, spoon carving and the history of the English language.

Most SCA members adopt roles to fit their areas of expertise, Hvinden said.

At SCA events, Hvinden goes by "Ilaria degli Attavante," a tribute to the famous Renaissance illuminator Attavante Attavanti.

MRS member senior Rachel Lee said she selected the name "Rahil," the Middle Eastern equivalent of "Rachel" during the Middle Ages.

"I chose a Mid-Eastern persona because I do belly dancing in the real world," Lee said. "I researched names they would have used in those times."

SCA uses many pseudonyms for modern-day expressions. Members refer to the modern day as "mundane," similar to how the word "muggle" is used in the Harry Potter world, Lee said.

At the symposium, Lee manned the check-in booth, called a "troll," where attendees bridged the gap between the "mundane" and the medieval world.

"It's a get-past-the-troll-to-get-over-the-bridge kind of thing," Lee said.

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