belfebe (belfebe) wrote,
belfebe
belfebe

Bugs, Lectures, Rapier, and Blah, Blah, Blah

Last Wednesday we attended Carole Collier Frick's lecture on Italian Clothing, based on the exhibit Italian Women Artists from Renaissance to Baroque at the National Museum for Women in the Arts.

In case you are wondering, Collier Frick is the author of Dressing Renaissance Florence, an excellent source for those 15th and 16th Century buffs.

The lecture was very entertaining and informative, as expected, and my only regret was not having thought of bringing my book for her to sign. For the record, salviati did think ahead and got hers signed. I am so jealous! (Must think ahead next time!)

I also got the chance of meeting with perronelle beforehand for dinner, and to meet at the museum with ballistabob, and greta_k, where we also encountered salviati, and a nice lady called Allison who just has moved into the area. We all had a great time.

I did learn some very entertaining things at the lecture, particularly regarding certain bugs.

For instance, having been born and raised in Mexico, I am very familiar with cochineal, one of the sources for expensive red dye (carmine), since the little bugs are all over the place in my native country. They are very cute, and they roll into a little ball when you touch them.

(Regrettably, I have not found any decent pictures of cochineal bugs on the net. The ones portrayed there may be a different kind because they don't look anything like the cute little ones I am familiar with.)

Kermes, on the other hand, was different matter. Although I knew it was also a bug, from where scarlet dye comes from, I did not know it was from the family of lice.

This is the description from the handout from the lecture:

"chermisi: kermes; the most expensive dyestuff for crimson or scarlet; made from the tiny dissecated bodies of tiny pregnant kermes lice (imported from the Caucasus or Near East)."

Pregnant lice did you say? Now, that's impressive. Can someone tell me how you figure out if a) your lice is a female; and b) it is pregnant.

A couple of methods come to mind:

"Excuse me Mrs. Lice (or is it Mr. Lice?), can you please lift your skirts so I can see whether you are a boy or a girl? What? You've got no skirts? No pants either? This is outrageous! Someone call the Moral Police!"

And . . . (provided you have finally determined that your bug was a girl, probably after having the little varmint arrested for offending public sensibilities):

"Excuse me Mrs. Lice, can you please pee on this strip?"

(This may take some convincing since at this point the bug is very pissed off at you, the police, and the horse you rode on, and is not cooperating.)

Damn. No wonder the damned thing was expensive!

On other news, I made fencing practice last night.

I must say, it was quite entertaining since my butt and quads were killing me due to the previous day's workout. (If it was any consolation, Marcellus was not in any better shape either.)

Having said that, I was very happy that my stamina did not give up on me, and that I was able to fight all night without much trouble.

Add to that the fact that domynik and Benjamin decided to pay us a visit, and the result was a very fun practice.

Today was upper body workout.

My butt is still killing me.

And tomorrow my upper body will kill me too.

I love the gym.
Tags: costuming, rapier
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