Saturday, April 17, 2010

Ren Con 2010

So this year was the first annual Ren Con in Baltimore, MD. It was put on by the same people who do Faerie Con. It was small, but it was fun. I met Brian and Wendy Froud again. They are very lovely. And Brian is so funny.

The first panel I sat in on was led by Steve Winnick, Brian and Wendy Froud, Cailtin Matthews, and one of the Greenmen. It's interesting how prominent this figure has been in lore from all over the world. You can find them in cathedrals over most of Europe. If you've been there and haven't seen them, it might be because you didn't look up. They were always hid up high. They are also found all over the big cities in my country. New York has a lot of greenmen, but not so much DC. In recent times the greenman has been shown with horns. Possibly an influence from Herne or Cernunnos.

The second panel was love triangles. Caitlin started the panel with the story of Blodeuwedd, a Welsh flower woman who was created to marry Lleu Llaw Gyffes, but she fell in love with Gronw Pebr. She was created to marry, but not to love. She made a choice, and went after the man she loves. Another tale she told was of the Arthurian legend of the Cornish knight Tristan and the Irish princess Isolde. Tristan brings Isolde to his uncle, King Mark, to marry, but he falls in love. But most of the time was spent on Guinevere. She was in a triangle with Arthur and Lancelot, but those weren't the only two men she was between. In all the stories of Guinevere, she was abducted sixteen times.

The third panel I saw was Renaissance Songs and Ballads with Caitlin Matthews. She has an incredible voice. I love listening to her speak, but when she sings it's simply amazing... She and Steve talked about how ballads were long because they told stories. Some of the ballads they sang were "The Death of Queen Jane", "Riddles Wisely Expounded", and "The Prickly Bush".

After that, I was at the Heart of Faerie Oracle panel. Brian Froud said that what he paints is invisible, but he paints it so that it embodies truth. He says you can't pin them down, but only capture them for a moment. He says that's why you see things you hadn't noticed before, even if you've seen the image many times before.

The last panel I enjoyed was the Robin Hood. Is he historical or mythological? No one is sure. They are continually finding more and more references, and it's believed that it's an alias. All robbers were called Robin Hood. He is a very important figure in the May Day festivities. hile he is the hero of peasants, many people don't want to see him as a peasant, and he was believed to be an earl. Marian comes into the story quite late. In a lot of the ballads, he loses the fight, but because he's surrounded by his band, he isn't killed, and the guy who defeats them is offered a chance to join. His patron saint was Mary. In all his stories, he treats women reverntly, and even though he was killed by a woman, just before he passes, he insists they not take revenge upon her. There are some similarities between Robin Hood and Robin Goodfellow/Puck, and he seems to be part greenman. Both John and Steve recommend the old series "Robin of Sherwood" if you want to watch a good version.

Below is a purse that I got from CK FootWorks. It's made out of leather and handsewn. The front green piece is what sold it for me. It's crocodile. I'm not usually a big fan of leather, but it reminded me of dragon wings. So this is my latest accessory for festival!

And now I need to fawn over one of the artists there. Kimberley of The Goblin Bazaar. I had seen her stuff before, but was unable to purchase one. This time, I bought two. So far she has made only one troll doll, though she hopes to make more soon. It's done in the same fashion as Wendy Froud's stuff. You can see it in the picture below. It's the white one with the blue face, hands, and feet. She looks wonderful in my troll case, but sadly, the picture just doesn't do it justice.

I also got a Stray Sod. Most of her creatures look more like the one below. A faery creature that she "caught". The stray sod obviously looks like a small patch of grass. Be careful when walking through fields, because if you step on one, you'll likely be lost for hours. I've only seen or read about the stray sods twice before. One in the Spiderwick series and before that in a Brian Froud book.

Another wonderful artist I discovered is Mystic Swan jewelry. Check out Sharon's stuff here: Her stuff is beautiful. This is the piece I bought. I love the faeries... and the face on the tree.


Melissa said...

Robin of Sherwood! SQUEEEE!

Sorry, where was note about the Flower Brides. The key issue with the Flower Bride is that she's never given a choice in who she marries, which leads to later strife and conflict.

For example, when Arthur weds Guinevere, he's warned ahead of time that she's in love with Lancelot, but he goes ahead with the marriage anyways, and never asks Guinevere if she'd like to marry him instead.

Same with Blodeuwedd, she's the perfect, most beautiful wife, but her creators forgot one important thing: They never asked the flowers used to create her for their permission.

Name: Aine said...

Thanks for adding that, Melissa. I didn't have notes when I wrote this.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your wonderful words!!! :D I'm so, so very glad they found homes with you!!

-Kimberley from The Goblin Bazaar

vonze said...

Cool! I'll have to check out Ren Con if I'm ever in Baltimore, MD at that time =)

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