Saturday, 20 September 2014

Project 35 - Aneala cups

Hey there, long time no post!
I've been working on some gifties recently, so haven't been able to post progression pics or really anything until after they've been handed over. So ceramic project number 35: Aneala cups.

HRM Liaden asked me to make some items for the Baron and Baroness of Aneala who are stepping down today (this post is specifically scheduled so as not to ruin the surprise). The Baron and Baroness are Kilic ibn Sungur ibn al-Kazganci al-Turhani   and   Branwen of Werchesvorde. Given they're on the opposite side of the country (it'd take me at least two days to drive there), I don't really know these folk. So I turned to the trusty internets. (turns out they're both Laurels - eep)

First up I googled Branwen of Werchesvorde. From the Lochac Laurels website "Member for roughly 25 years, Current Baroness of the Barony of Aneala. Master Rank in the College of Scribes, holds Scribal classes in corrupting novice scribes. Is married to the wonderful Dede (Master) Kilic who has in turn corrupted her into Middle Eastern culture. Master Rank in the Lochac Cook’s Guild.
Her Excellency Baroness Mistress Branwen is highly active in the scribal arts, and has interests in Middle-Eastern culture and pavilion-making, textiles as in weaving, dyeing and printing, learning embroidery, leatherworking, glass bead making."

Generic middle eastern - perhaps I could make some more of the lovely Iranian things I've been contemplating?

To see if I could get something more specific I googled Kilic and happily I found a bunch of information on his persona. From the Aneala website: "Kilic ibn Sungur ibn al-Kazganci al-Turhani is a Turkic nomad from the Early 13th Century. Kilic was bought from his parents at market in Samarkand and raised as a Ghulam or slave soldier. He served his master well and when his master passed away took service with a number of different rulers, warrior lords and merchants particularly in the unsettled regions of Rum. Like any good nomad he has become a jack of all trades and has tried his hand at various crafts including woodwork, leatherwork, metalwork, armouring, tent making, cooking and hats – definitely likes hats."

And from the Lochal Laurel website " Kilic is a 13th centruy ghulam serving one of the lesser Amirs in the Artuqid empire. He divides his time between the court of one of the beglerbegs and various skirmishes and campaigns. He prefers the latter as he considers the courtly life to be for those who have lost the will to live. At the moment he is looking to acquire some land and settle down, although not too settled. He knows more than is humanly safe about all things Middle Eastern and gets accused of being a walking reference library at least once a week."

I knew Kilic didn't represent any of the ceramic work I'd done so far so I started researching Seljuk and Artuqid. From the very short article on Wikipedia (yes, I know that's not real research), I determined that Kilic would have originated from the Harput branch (later in period. I then started researching 13th century Turkish ceramics with a vengeance and landed on the work originating from Port St Symeon.

This bowl is lovely and is perfect for Kiric's persona there are but two problems. One; I had a rather limited project time, so carving two bowls like this before glazing wouldn't be viable. It'd be totally easy if I made my own bisque, but I don't, yet. Problem two; Alex the Potter already makes this style of ceramic and I don't want to be stepping on his toes. So, that put a stop to items that'd suit Kiric.

So I was stuck. Her Majesty originally wanted a matched set for each of the B&B's. Given I'm organising an event and attending badger retreat, I don't have that sort of time. For the Kilic and Branwen I decided to go with the cups that I've been doing lately. They're perfect for tea and while may not match their current feasting kit, will come in handy for longer events. I decided to go with something I know they'd like - their own heraldry. I've documented heraldry on cups for later periods and more western locals. Given that I'm turning away from a 100% period piece, I decided to do a symbolic piece.

I downloaded their heraldry from the Lochac Roll of Arms (Thanks Master William!) and set about making the cups. I wanted the heraldry to take up as much of the space of possible so used the same shield template I had for Aliette's cup. I added some swan supports (for Aneala / Western Australia) and some trailing acanthus leaves. I had considered having the swans wearing baronial coronets around their necks, but thought that wouldn't quite work.

Branwen's heraldry:
Per pale azure and gules,a raven within an annulet argent.
Kirik's heraldry:
Sable, a sheaf of five swords argent within aorle Or.

Branwen's cup with swan supporters at base. The acanthus are counterchanged so they retain contrast with the body of the shield.

 A slightly blurry image of the two cups.

I'm rather happy with how these cups turned out even if the backs are blank. There will be no mistaking who owns these and even though they aren't middle eastern, I hope their recipients are pleased with them.

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