Aelana Cordovera: artist statement & biography
To learn to make authentic clothing, embroidery and other embellishments for a medieaval life led me into the fine arts. Surviving masters of ancient crafts are found in a variety of settings.
My first love has always been books and painting - so making an illiminated manuscript has been a long term goal. Lots of the skills I needed to do so were found in many places. For example, a list of the highlights includes the basics at Vancouver Community College and at Emily Carr University of Art and Design 1988 - 93, drawing, painting and book arts.
Icon paints workshops at Seattle's Realist Art Academy (now Gage Academy) provided workshops on egg tempera painting and manuscript illumination. Jim Croft at Oldway and Terry Rutherford, book conservator, provided training in medieval book construction.
Library research and university courses supplemented by these practical workshops enriched my understanding of medieval work, resulting in a diploma in Art History.
All the while, my skills ands research were supported and encouraged by SCA members Sieglinda of Elphinstone, Tamlyn of Wyntersea, and Steffano de Gucci.
The church was a great patron of medieval art, so to acknowledge this I chose Mary Magdalene as a secular heroine to take the place of the church in my art. At Emily Carr University, I did research into the life and legend of Mary Magdalene to support the fascination with an icon I saw in Italy. This work was the foundation for the Mary Magdalene shrine, embroidery, icon, and illuminated manuscript seen on this website.
However, recent media events have sensationalized Mary Magdalene's life, and my art has taken on a whole new meaning.
The (SCA) has recently celebrated its fortieth anniversary, and many of our long term players are now elderly and passing on. It was time to find a way of memorializing their lives and contributions to our Society. Icons and eggs tempera portraits are a way I have proposed.
Before the twelfth century, local saints did not need the approval of Rome to have their works and miracles recognized by sainthood. This practice has been revided to memorialize our SCA leaders and transformed into Renaissance egg tempera portraits and miniatures.
My current work, along with icons and portraits, focuses on a new illuminated manuscript - the Life and Miracles of Saint Edmund. Edmund, an Anglo Saxon king, was martyred by the Danes in the time of Alfred the Great. This post mortem influence paralleled that of Alfred's living influence in uniting and pacifying the Anglo Saxons, Danes and Normans in 12th century England. I am working on an icon and manuscript to celebrate his life.
This is important to me, as there are so many Viking and Anglo Saxon housholds in the northern regions of the SCA, it is is a very early source of northern fine art I can pursue.
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