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The Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands has one particularly unusual tradition for its Baronial Twelfth Night celebration.
For many years, the Debatable Lands has opened its coffers to sponsor the event, demanding no payment from revelers other than contributions to the pot-luck sideboard (which is usually overflowing with goodies from meat to sweets to drinks). While donations to help cover the cost of the site are appreciated, the free event makes an excellent introduction to the Society for newcomers. Also, because it’s free, there is no Non-Member Surcharge to deter new people.
Another thing that makes Debatable Lands’ Twelfth Night a great starting place for new folks is that, in the tradition of medieval Twelfth Nights, it’s filled with silliness and merriment. It features a cookie contest judged by the Baron and Baroness as well as any royalty in attendance, a pillow fight tournament, board games, merchants, a silent auction of items never claimed from previous events’ lost and found, a heraldic quest, a performance by the Debatable Choir, and an extremely silly gift exchange wherein participants can pick an unopened gift from those contributed by other participants or elect to steal a gift already opened by another gentle. Bottles of alcohol, fabric, and books are often among the most prized gifts, but sometimes joke items like stuffed reindeer antlers are also hotly contested. A Baronial Court and dancing to live music by the Debatable Consort cap off the festivities. This year, Their Majesties Titus and Anna Leigh will also be holding Royal Court.
For the past five years the event has been autocratted by THL Elss of Augsburg and held in a lodge at a park in the northern suburbs of the Debatable Lands. The lodge is a wood structure located in a secluded forest, with massive stone fireplaces that lend it a medieval atmosphere. The site is dressed up for the event in holiday greenery and red ribbons.
This year, Debatable Lands Twelfth Night will be held on January 17th. It will include something new: a Taster’s Tavern organized by the head of the Kingdom Brewer’s Guild, THLord Madoc Arundel, where attendees over age 21 who provide ID can sample drinks donated by the brewers in attendance and learn more about brewing period potables. Their Excellencies, Liam and Constance, will also be choosing their Baronial Brewing Champion at the event, as well as their Arts & Sciences and Bardic Champions.
For more information, see the official event announcement at http://debatablelands.org/events.php
- Submitted by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope
To ensure that Kingdom Twelfth Night (January 10, 2015) will be filled with good cheer, the Æthelmearc Brewers’ Guild invites you to sample a brew or two at the Taster’s Tavern, which will be open from 1:00 to 4:00 PM.
To partake, you must show proof of age — 21 or over. From 10:30 to 12:30, tavern staff will stamp your hand and give you two tickets, which may be exchanged for samples. Some non-alcoholic beverages will be available as well. If you are willing to bring beverages to share, please contact THL Madoc Arundel at madoc_arundel AT yahoo DOT com so he has an idea of what will be available.
During the afternoon, a formal judged competition will take place with a prize awarded to the best beverage from a period source (documentation encouraged). Rumor has it that Her Majesty – who enjoys all types of comestibles, but especially wine – might stop by to select a Queen’s Choice. Judging will consist of each brewer judging every entry, including his/her own; so come prepared to be pleasantly critical. Details regarding time/place/process and recommended documentation will be available on the Brewers Guild website located at brewers.aethelmearc.org as well as posted on the Guild’s Yahoo group and Facebook page.
Following the competition, we will have an informal round table discussion focusing on advancing interest and participation in the science of zymurgy throughout the kingdom. Other topics are also welcome.
NOTE: The site is discreetly damp (BYOB); please drink responsibly. Anyone found serving alcohol to those under 21 or publicly intoxicated will be asked to leave immediately with no refund.
“Join Us and escape the clutches of winter!” So say our Mighty King Titus and Inspiring Queen Anna Leigh, Who are attending both Estrella War in Atenveldt and Gulf Wars in Glenn Abhann. Some information from Their Majesties’ Agents of Foreign Wars:
Gulf Wars (March 15th – March 22nd)
Gulf Wars registrations must be post-marked by January 31st. The online ACCEPS registration system is available for this event. Links and forms are available at the Gulf Wars Registration page. A message from Their Majesties’ Land Agent for Gulf Wars, Lady Elizabeth Arrowsmyth:
War is fast approaching and preregistration is now open. Please email me with the size of your tent and whether it is period or mundane, so that we can judge approximate layout. Also we will hopefully be running a meal plan if anyone would like to take charge of that aspect of the war. Her Majesty informs me that we have 1 pavilion set aside for a common tent, but it will be bring your own seating.
I am looking forward to hearing from you and seeing you all in the South.
Yours in Service
Estrella War (February 24th – March 2nd)
Estrella War pre-registration by mail closes February 2nd. The online ACCEPS registration system is also available for this event, and online registration closes February 14th. More information can be found at the Estrella War registration page. From Their Majesties’ Estrella Agent, Mistress Hilderun:
Their Majesties invite all who would, to join Them as They journey to Estrella War this February. We are setting plans via an online email group. If you’re interested, please do send me your email address. Join us! Learn more about the War at estrellawar.org.
In Levitate et Caritate,
According to Wikipedia, Lavenham, England "is a village and civil parish in Suffolk, England noted for its 15th-century church, half-timbered medieval cottages and circular walk." Now the town's business forum and parish council plan to apply to UNESCO for a World Heritage grant to "help balance tourism, the local economy and traffic." (photos)
In elections held in November-December, the Barony of Thescorre has elected Mistress Sadira bint Wassouf to be the eighth Baroness of Thescorre. Mistress Sadira was also the second Baroness from 1986 to 1992, serving in the office with her late husband, Master Saleem ibn Alefan ibn Iftekruddin.
The investiture of the new Baroness will take place at Pax Interruptus, June 26th-28th.
The Bayeux Tapestry famously depicts King Harold II's death by arrow to the eye during the Battle of Hastings, but new evidence may show that the king survived the battle.
The Æthelmearc Gazette wishes each and every one of you a New Year filled with happiness, health and all things SCAdian! To that end, we are offering you links from several of our editors to start the year off right. (Our complete staff listing can be found on our ABOUT page; we’re looking forward to a fabulous 2015!)
From Mistress Ysabeau Tiercelin, our Managing Editor, we have the Realm of Venus. This site is the go-to site for anyone interested in the clothing and accessories of Renaissance Italy, especially sixteenth century Venice. The Wardrobe section alone, with its numerous original portrait sources, is worth the visit. The Showcase features the work of costumers and reenactors, along with fun garb and accessory contests.
From our Region 1 Editor, THL Ursula of Rouen, Raymond’s Quiet Press. “As a Viking I can’t be caught without my bling and Sir Raymond keeps me in good supply! He has a great selection of quality pieces from a myriad of time periods. Has documentation for many of his pieces and is quite affordable. Did you know that he will (or still did last time I asked) dip most anything he makes in silver or gold for a nominal (and reasonable) fee? Check him out online here or in person at Pennsic!”
From our Region 2 Editor, Mistress Hilderun Hugelmann, the Karen Larsdatter Material Culture Links Pages. This link takes you right to the site map where an amazing number of topics related to our time period will bring you to the links pages for those subjects. On clothing alone you have topics like Clothing Worn by the Blind, Patched Clothing, and Clothing with Blackwork Embroidery. Each links page features numerous primary source pictures from period art.
From our Region 3 Editor, Mistress Euriol of Lothian, Stefan’s Florilegeum. in medieval Latin, a florilegium (plural florilegia) was a compilation of excerpts from other writings. It was also applied literally to a treatise on flowers or medieval books that were dedicated to ornamental rather than the medicinal or utilitarian plants covered by the herbals of the time. This site is another massive links collection, first started in 1989 by THL Stefan li Rous. Articles, bibliography collections, primary source collections, message thread postings from the original SCA Rialto internet message boards, and many topics helpful for running and planning SCA events (from feasts to event stewarding) will keep you browsing for a long time.
From our Region 4 and Scheduling Editor, Lord Magnus de Lyons, The Purple Needles, “because without her I would be wearing mostly potatoe sacks.” The Etsy site features creations by Jynette Meade (Countess Lynette Semere of Atlantia in the SCA) including cast pewter buttons, houpelandes and hoods. She also does custom work.
From our Arts & Sciences and Youth Martial Combat Editor, Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope, The Pennsic Choir Recordings. The Known World Choirs perform at events throughout the SCA. People from all over the Known World gather to learn and perform period choral music at large events like Pennsic, Gulf Wars, and Estrella. Its Pennsic Choirs consist of a Children’s Choir, a Youth Choir, a select choir of 12-16 people called Chorulus Pennsicus, and the original open adult Pennsic Choir which has been performing for over 20 years. MP3s of last Pennsic’s performances can be downloaded from the KWC website, and it also has pages with resources for choirs and information about upcoming performances.
From our Poetry & Prose Editor, Baron Fridrikr Tomasson, a video from the Mosfell Archaeology Project in Iceland. It features Dr. Jesse Byock, from UCLA, one of the leading experts on Icelandic archaeology and culture. The video covers history of interest to Viking personae, along with beautiful scenery and an in-depth look at what takes place on an archaeological dig.
From our Links & Esoterica Editor, Dame Aoife Finn, Project Gutenberg. The Project Gutenberg website offers over 46,000 free ebooks: choose among free epub books, free Kindle books, download books or read them online. There is also a mobile site, as well as sites in German, Portuguese and French. A few finds in a quick search included Xenophon’s On Horsemanship, H. Kevorkian’s The Arts of Persia, and Eileen Power’s Medieval English Nunneries c. 1275 to 1535.
From our Food and Cooking Editor, Baroness Katja Davidova Orlova Khazarina, the Medieval Cookery website. The site features lots of excellent redactions, plus many original food and cookbook texts. The redacted medieval recipe section is an excellent starting point for SCA feasts, and the Medieval Menus and Statistics from Medieval Cookbooks are great food research tools.
From our Heavy List editor, Baron Dominic McMorland, the Armour Archives. From message boards on armour, fighting and chivalry to merchant sites and patterns for those making their own, the Armour Archive covers it all. Check out the Items for Sale/Classifieds for pre-owned items!
From our Rapier Editor, Don William Parris, the Wiktenauer website. It has facsimiles and transcripts from martial masters throughout the centuries, along with links to other academic sites. Wiktenauer is an ongoing collaboration among researchers and practitioners from across the Western martial arts community, seeking to collect all of the primary and secondary source literature that makes up the text of historical European martial arts research and to organize and present it in a scholarly but accessible format. The Wiktenauer project is named for Johannes Liechtenauer, grand master of the oldest known longsword fencing style; his tradition was also the best-documented of the early Modern era, the subject of many dozens of manuscripts and books over a period of more than three centuries.
Wishing you all the best!
Dr Carenza Lewis is well known to audeinces of Channel 4’s Time Team and the BBC’s The Great British Story, but now she has a different role: leading members of the community of Sudbury on an archaeological survey. Lewis heads up the "big dig" organized by the Sudbury Society, the Sudbury History Society, and the Sudbury Museum Trust.
The Pennsic War Financial Committee seeks a qualified individual to become the Pennsic War Exchequer. This is a volunteer position which assists in coordination all financial matters, reports, and budgets for the Pennsic War, Inc. and involves a commitment of two plus weeks at Pennsic, travel to two meetings for Pennsic annually, and up to 10-20 hours of work during non-Pennsic hours. Ability to use complicated Excel spreadsheets and QuickBooks Pro V10 or later are a requirement. Previous Pennsic volunteer experience is a plus. Download the pdf here for more information on how to apply for this position.
Baroness Othindisa Bykona of the Barony of Delftwood will be answering a Writ of Summons from Their Majesties, King Titus and Queen Anna Leigh, to be elevated to the Order of the Laurel at the Feast of the Seven Deadly Sins on February 7th in Delftwood. The Æthelmearc Gazette recently caught up with Baroness Othindisa to talk about her SCA career and her unusual art of beekeeping.
Othindisa’s SCA Career
Baroness Othindisa Bykona joined the SCA 19 years ago in Thescorre. She had been visiting the nearby Renaissance Faire since she was 16, but when she was 20 a couple of friends introduced her to the SCA. She enjoyed the ability to play with lots of time periods, create clothing, and have the greater interaction with other participants that the SCA offered; the camaraderie of the SCA especially appealed to her. After four years in Thescorre, she lived in the Rhydderich Hael for a year and a half, and then in 2002 moved to Delftwood where she has been ever since.
Her Excellency’s persona is Scandinavian during the Viking age, but of no specific place. Her original SCA name was Olivia d’Anjou, but after a while she realized she wasn’t really wearing French clothing or relating to the French persona. She became interested in Viking clothing and embroidery, and began researching the attire of medieval Scandinavians including shoes, jewelry, and “all the shiny things,” so a few years ago it was a natural decision to switch personas and become Othindisa.
Baroness Othindisa’s primary mentors in the Society have been Master Fridrikr Tomasson av Knusslig Hamn and Mistress Orianna Fridrikskona. She was Master Fridrikr’s protégé until he was elevated to the Laurel in A.S. XLVII, then traded her yellow belt for apprentice green. She says Fridrikr and Orianna introduced her to a lot of people throughout the SCA, which opened up many avenues for her to learn new things and helped her to gain a better perspective on how the SCA works at the Kingdom level.
In addition to beekeeping, Her Excellency enjoys cooking and making Viking-style clothing. Her next costuming challenge will be making posament, or flat wire-weaving designs that were used as trim on clothing.
Getting Started in Beekeeping
Baroness Othindisa first learned about beekeeping when she was 9. Her mother took her and her sister to visit an 80-year-old woman who had a beekeeping store. Othindisa was hooked then, but didn’t get the opportunity to try beekeeping herself until 2007. Researching modern beekeeping inspired her to move to medieval beekeeping, especially since it meshed well with her other main SCA interest, cooking.
Researching medieval beekeeping has been challenging for a variety of reasons. To the best of Her Excellency’s knowledge, there are few people seriously researching it in the Society, and only a couple of other people in Æthelmearc who have kept bees. Few primary sources from the Middle Ages are available, and those books as well as many of the modern ones on the topic are written in languages she does not speak or read, like German and Italian, so translating has been a challenge. On the other hand, the tradition of beekeeping has been passed down in Europe without much change since medieval times, so some of those modern resources have served her well. In her research she’s learned some surprising and interesting things, like the fact that our ancestors thought that the Queen bee was male, calling her a King.
A few years back, Othindisa kept an apiary (a group of beehives) for two years. When asked what she learned from the experience, she laughed and said it mostly taught her what not to do. Beekeeping can be a trial and error process, like gardening. She hasn’t been able to overwinter a hive yet, but she did harvest about 50 lbs. of honey over those two years.
Another challenge to beekeeping in the context of the SCA is that it’s a non-portable hobby. Since she can’t bring the bees to events, she’s been talking about beekeeping, writing papers on the subject, entering projects like the scale model of a skep (medieval hive) shown here in Ice Dragon, and teaching a class on skep-making. Othindisa would like to spend a long weekend event just building a skep and encouraging others to ask questions and participate in the project.
Building a Skep
So, what is a skep? Her Excellency explained that it’s a type of medieval beehive in the form of an inverted basket made of wicker or coiled straw. Making a skep begins with straw or grasses that are soaked in water to make them pliable, then wound into coils. A tool called a “girth,” typically made of leather or cow horn, is used to keep the coils a consistent thickness. A bone or metal awl was then used to make holes in the straw coils to insert the binding cane, usually made from a vine like blackberry or bramble. Once the basket shape is complete, you cut a flight hole into the bottom so the bees can get in and out.
Other types of beehives used in the Middle Ages were made from logs, cork, or wooden boxes.
Upcoming Beekeeping Projects
Her Excellency has a new beekeeping project in the works. A group of investors are helping to fund ten new hives and the bees to fill them, which she will set up this spring on land volunteered by one of her investors. She plans to post photos and video of her beekeeping efforts on her blog at http://aebeelady.blogspot.com/ and also on her Facebook page at AEBeeLady, so others can follow her progress with this new apiary.
Unfortunately, there are limits to the authenticity with which Baroness Othindisa can keep her hives. Skeps are illegal in the United States because they don’t allow the keeper to open the hive to check for lice or other pests. Instead of skeps, she will be building top-bar hives, which are the closest she can legally come to medieval hives. Top-bar hives have bars that the bees build their comb on. Unlike a Langstroth hive, the bees are not given a wax foundation sheet to build on. This allows the bees to build combs as nature intended. A lid is placed over the hive to protect it from the weather.
The Future of Beekeeping
Another reason Othindisa likes beekeeping is that it’s so important to our ecology. As many people know, in the modern beekeeping world, Colony Collapse Disorder is causing massive numbers of bees to die. Scientists are still sorting out the causes for Colony Collapse, but Her Excellency did a research paper on the topic for her college degree and has concluded that much of the problem can be blamed on the use of pesticides on the crops that the bees pollinate. Also, in commercial beekeeping, hives are trucked from farm to farm as different crops come into flower. Since most farms only grow one type of crop, the bees are only getting nectar from one kind of flower at a time, so they are not getting a balanced diet. Finally, all that transporting from place to place puts stress on the bees.
Othindisa points out that we need bees to pollinate our food crops. We depend on them, so she’s happy to be able to help maintain healthy bee colonies and contribute to sustaining bees for future generations.
On Becoming a Laurel
Her Excellency is very much looking forward to her vigil, where she expects to receive a lot of helpful advice and learn more about how the Laurels of Æthelmearc see their role in the Society. For her elevation ceremony, she says Meisterin Felicitas Flußmüllnerin is making her a Viking-style Skjoldehamn hood with a coronet and Laurel wreaths embroidered on it, and Baron Artemis Andreas Magnus is casting a Laurel wreath with bees floating in it for her. She is also embroidering bees on a new Viking apron dress that she will wear that day.
When asked how she thinks becoming a Laurel may change things for her, she says she mostly hopes to keep doing what she has been doing and share what she learns, especially with her new hive project. She plans to make a full-sized skep along with the period tools for building skeps. She also intends to videotape herself harvesting honey from the hives in garb, and bring the video to events as well as post it on her blog. Mostly, she wants to inspire others to become beekeepers, help a beekeeper, or be aware of the importance of honeybees both in the Middle Ages and today. She also intends to inspire people in the arts and sciences in general.
Glossary of Beekeeping Terms from Baroness Othindisa’s blog:
Awl: Tool used to thread bramble binding between the layers of straw coils of a skep.
- Submitted by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope
This is a volunteer position which assists in coordination all financial matters, reports, and budgets for the Pennsic War, Inc. and involves a commitment of two plus weeks at Pennsic, travel to two meetings for Pennsic annually, and up to 10-20 hours of work during non-Pennsic hours. Ability to use complicated Excel spreadsheets and QuickBooks Pro V10 or later are a requirement. Previous Pennsic volunteer experience is a plus.
Download the pdf at the link below for more information on how to apply for this position. The application deadline is March 1, 2015.
Filed under: Corporate, Official Notices Tagged: applications, corporate, Inc., officers, Pennsic, pennsicwar, SCA, volunteers
Richard III died before the Reformation, but Leicester Cathedral, where the king will be buried, is staunchly Anglican, facts which should have produced strife. The funeral of a king, however, has brought the two faiths together to offer Richard III a burial "with the dignity befitting his rank."
Master Yehudah nagid ben Yitzhak, Minister of Protocol, reports that at Their Feast of St. Maurus. Their Majesties Vladimir and Petranella of the Kingdom of Northshield placed Peter Joyner (fka Petro Petrovitch) on vigil to contemplate elevation to the Order of the Chivalry.
The Barony of Settmour Swamp’s annual celebration of the Thawing of the Mud will be held on the last weekend of March at Waterloo Village, our new location in Stanhope, NJ. As usual, Mudthaw will include tournaments of armored combat, fencing, and youth fighting. The arts and sciences will also be celebrated through competitions and displays, as well as an artisans row.
Please note that our new location does not allow alcoholic beverages to be brought on site; however, a cash bar will be serving beer and wine for much of the day.
For more information, please see the event announcement at http://www.eastkingdom.org/EventDetails.html?eid=2790.
Filed under: Events, Fencing, Heavy List, Local Groups Tagged: mudthaw
The Ice Dragon is coming!
Once again the Rhydderich Hael invites the Known World to join the Barony for a day of food, fighting, pageantry, and fellowship. All set in the castle like setting of the historical Connecticut street armory! Ice Dragon offers a wide variety of activities and there is no excuse to go home unfulfilled.
Fighting: Ice Dragon offers a day full of heavy combat and fencing. The spacious first floor parade hall offers multiple lists for bear pits, pick up fights, and if time allows the odd melee and team events. With well over a hundred fighters expected it should prove a challenging and exciting day!
Salons: Located on the second floor and overlooking the fighting are the personal salons. Each Salon is a unique display of food, drink, and pageantry hosted by a mix of households, local groups, and individuals. People can enjoy relaxing in their private space all while getting a bird’s eye view of the fighting on the first floor. Salon space will book fast so make sure to reserve space as soon as possible.
Arts and Science: For the artisan’s pleasure Ice Dragon will once again host the “Pent”. This sprawling arts and science contest offers a wide selection of categories as well as youth and master work (Laurels Only) categories. For the brave of heart there is the option of entering multiple categories and winning the coveted title of “Pentathlon Winner”! Spectators are welcome to wander the hall and look at the entries.
Merchants: Save your pennies because Ice Dragon is also host to a wide selection of merchants selling everything from jewelry to clothing. Last year we had over 30 merchants packed into the first floor! If you are interested please reserve your spots as soon as possible. Prime space will go quickly.
Food and entertainment: All this action might leave a person a bit parched and hungry but fear not! The faithful tavern staff has planned a wonderful selection of food for the day and the tavern will once again host local entertainers for your viewing and listening pleasure. People interested in entertaining should contact the entertainment coordinator to book stage time.
The fine print:
When: March 21st, 2015
Times: Site Opens 0900 – Closes at 2100
Location: Connecticut Street Armory, 184 Connecticut St. Buffalo NY 14213
Adult pre-registration: 15.00
Adult onsite registration: 17.00
Child pre-registration (9-17): 8.00
Child onsite registrations (9-17): 9.00
Child 8 and under: FREE
Please make checks payable to SCA NY, inc – Barony of the Rhydderich Hael
Per Society, a $5 non-member surcharge will be collected at the event from any adults without proof of current membership.
Pre-reg Closes March 13th 2015.
Please note: We will NOT be using the ACCEPS on line payment system this year.
All visitors at the Armory are required to have Photo ID (except minors with their adult guardian)
Autocrat: Lord Magnus de Lyons (Lance Kazmark), 36 Wayne St. Depew NY 14043, 716-432-0763; firstname.lastname@example.org
Reservations Clerk/Head Tollner: Send preregistration to: Wanda Spencer, THL Eleanore Godwin, 1396 Eggert Road, Amherst, NY 14226, 716-837-2431. No calls after 9pm, email@example.com
For more information and staff contact information please visit the Ice Dragon Website:
For up to the minute updates please visit the Ice Dragon Facebook page:
Or contact the autocrat at: Magnusofnarnia@gmail.com
Lord Magnus de Lyons
Twice in seven years, 1274 and 1281, the Mongol Emperor Kublai Khan tried to invade Japan. On one of those missions a ship sank in a typhoon off the island of Takashima. Now arhaeologists hope to learn the secrets of the Mongol warship from the recently-discovered wreck.
Iconic baddie Vlad the Impaler seems to have slept more places than George Washington. The latest claim comes from Turkey which says that the young prince was held captive in a fortress there. Rachel Nuwer for Smithsonian Magazine online has the story. (photo)
The time draws near, and the Ice Dragon stirs. From the annals of yore comes this article from the Fredonia college newspaper in 1977. Replete with the mists of time (and somewhat amusing journalism), we bring you the birth of one of the longest running events in the Known World.
If you intend to Stand With King Edward and Queen Thyra at Gulf Wars, please get your reservations in NOW!
The online ACCEPS registration system is available for this event. Mailed registrations must be postmarked by January 31, 2015. Links and forms are available at the Gulf Wars Registration page.
Filed under: Events Tagged: Gulf Wars
The Shire of Quintavia is pleased to once again host the Keepers of Athena’s Thimble at our second Embroiderers’ Schola! As the wind blows cold and the snow lies deep, come join us by the fire for a day of artistry and learning.
This event will be a day of classes and good conversation focused on the art of the needle. Classes will be held on all forms of embroidery and needlework. All embroiderers are encouraged to bring their work to add to the display of needlework, and to present at the guild panel at the end of the day.
There will be a potluck lunch held mid-day. The event is donation only, no set fee.
Anyone interested in teaching should contact the Guildmistress of Athena’s Thimble: Mistress Briony of Chatham. Classes can be 1, 1.5, or 2 hours long. One classroom can easily be made dark enough for slides.
For more information, please see the event announcement.
Filed under: Arts and Sciences, Events Tagged: Quintavia, thimble