Today tastes like green glass beads, saltwater mud, and Harold Monro. It must be the solstice, and time for the Festival of Lyhr. This year, it's a tradition1.
I talked about Lyhr the first year we celebrated, where we all came together in masks to rejoice at the birth of the Holly King and mourn the passing of the glory of the Oak King. I confessed to my CDO (a true compulsive knows the only proper order is alphabetical, after all) and my slightly competitive edge (an edge much like a chainsaw, it's true).
And I skipped Lyhr 2008 as I was merely judging and could not compete (tho' the winners of 2008, well, they deserved it. Amazing isn't the word for their work.)
So this year, I decided to play to my strengths, and instead of sculpting, I knitted.
I was thinking about making a beaded shawl, and wanted to see about the technique--did it really work? Would I be able to stand it? Considering beaded goodies have been dripping from my needles ever since, I'm going to go out on a limb and say yes. But then, I needed a small piece to play with and see. A mask looked like just the right thing.
Do you know how hard it is to keep a secret like that for two years???
And then it hit me last year that I needed a shawl to go with it. What separates us from the animals, after all, is our ability to accessorize. And there's a beautiful beaded shawl from PinkLemonTwist and a great story that goes with it, and well, I had my whole outfit together. The mask took an evening, the accessory took weeks. But it was worth it.
I wasn't really feeling competitive--I had the nifty tiara from the first year (which I have worn each succeeding year thereafter) and so, well, what could top that? I thought it would be a funny little joke--Spike the lace knitter, draped in a lace shawl, wearing a knitted lace mask. Tee hee.
Then I saw this year's prize for the Lady of Lyhr.
If there had been mud, I would have lain there and howled for it. Howled for it in a deep lagoon. Covet. Covet covet covet covet covet.
Last year's Lady of Lyhr had made this mask as a prize for 2009's Lady.
Well. And am I going to leave you wondering just who got to take this piece of awesomeness home with her?
Of course not.
So, for next year, I plan to knit up a mantle for the Lady and a Dracoclava for the Fool. ("What kind of idiot wears a full-face wool balaclava to a party in Arizona in June?" "Not just any idiot--the Fool!")
Part of the fun of watching these more intimate gatherings form is watching people begin pushing their envelopes and trying just a little harder. Learning from their mistakes (and others') and seeing just how far they can go.
Pretty damn far indeed.
1. The first time is the thing itself. The second time is the way we've always done it. The third time it's traditional.