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feast-decor-msg - 4/10/01


Ideas on decorating the feasthall. Lighting the feasthall.


NOTE: See also the files: feasts-msg, feast-menus-msg, p-menus-msg, ME-feasts-msg, feast-serving-msg, feast-ideas-msg, headcooks-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org



Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: mchance at nyx10.cs.du.edu (Michael Chance)

Subject: Re: Feast decor

Organization: Nyx, Public Access Unix at U. of Denver Math/CS dept.

Date: Fri, 3 Dec 93 18:38:08 GMT


Branwynne of Seagirt writes:

>Help!!!! I'm in charge of decorating a large Norman feast and

>have completly run out of ideas. If anybody out there in the big

>wide world haws any ideas or suggestions please let me know.


A few suggestions:


- Banners.  Lots of banners.  Use the barony's arms (and badge, if it

has one), the kingdom arms, the personal arms of the baron and/or

baroness, and make simple banners using the main elements from these

arms as design motifs.  Or, simply hang long drapes in the baronial

livery colors.


- Play up on the theme of the event.  If it's just "generic Norman",

see if you can get a local artist to do a simple painted wall hanging

in the Bayeux Tapestry style (it doesn't have to be extravagent).  If

it's tied to a holiday or feast day, find out what the symbols

associated with the festival were, and use those.


- If you're planning table decorations, make them approriate to the

season.  Assuming that your feast will be held soon, this means using

evergreens rather than summer flowers (unless you're doing Sicilian

Norman).  If you plan on providing candles for the tables, have them

in the baronial colors.


Mikjal Annarbjorn


Michael A. Chance          St. Louis, Missouri, USA   "At play in the fields

Work: mc307a at sw1sta.sbc.com                             of St. Vidicon"

Play: ab899 at freenet.hsc.colorado.edu

      mchance at nyx.cs.du.edu



Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: ARCHER at utkvm1.utk.edu (T. Archer)

Subject: Re: Feast decor

Organization: University of Tennessee Division of Continuing Education

Date: Fri, 3 Dec 1993 21:07:22 GMT


>A few suggestions:


Assuming an evening feast:  period-esque lighting! Candles lamps and torches.

A fireplace.  Slay the evil incandescent/flourecent beast. Caution:  check

with the fire marshall. Stay safe.  Mr. Fire is our friend, but we must

respect his power.


Mail to PA142548 at UTKVM1.UTK.EDU.  Mail to ARCHER at that address will





Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Feast decor

From: amethysta at eric.stonemarche.org (Amethysta of Kensingto)

Date: Sat, 04 Dec 93 23:23:51 EST


Branwynne writes:

> Help!!!! I'm in charge of decorating a large Norman feast and

> have completly run out of ideas. If anybody out there in the big

> wide world haws any ideas or suggestions please let me know.

> Blessed Be!                                 Branwynne


When I visited Ruantallan, they had a really nice banner. It was a copy

of a section of the Bayeux tapestry done up on a piece of material about

the size of a sheet. They took the material (probably was a sheet),

traced the outline of the figures in pencil, then painted the figures.

Very nice effect. They even used very similar color to the original, or

at least similar color to the photographs of the tapestry (yea, like I've

seen the original. sheesh)


Good luck!

Amethysta of Kensington



From: jab2 at stl.stc.co.uk (Jennifer Ann Bray)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Feast decor

Date: 13 Dec 93 13:27:39

Organization: STC Technology Ltd., London Road, Harlow, UK.


>Help!!!! I'm in charge of decorating a large Norman feast and

>have completly run out of ideas. If anybody out there in the big

>wide world haws any ideas or suggestions please let me know.


I agree with whoever banners, as many as possible, If you're

really short on time get coloured bedsheets make a huge stencil of a

suitable heraldic device and use a can of spray paint to get instant

banners. Sounds tacky but looks good. For a norman feast you could try

the dragons with knotted tails shown on the bayeux tapestry.


If you have folks with spears and shields you can cross spears tie

them securely and hang a shield from the crossing point. This works in

halls that will not let you nail things to the wall and looks fairly

atmospheric. It doesn't work if you're so short of space that people

keep knocking them over no matter how securely tied!


(Spears are good for hanging banners aswell if you're not allowed to

tack them directly onto the walls)


If you can't get real shields you could spray paint cardboard cut outs

and hang them up, keep the lights dim enough and they look effective,

again if you have a stencil you can turn them out quite fast. Make the

design asymmetric and you can turn it over to get pairs of mirror

image shields.


(Big flat kite shields also make quite good trays for carrying the food

round on)


If you've got any spare drinking horns they look good hung up too,

but they are usually all in use at the average feast!


If you can get candles don't stick them in wine bottles if you can

avoid it. Cut up planks of wood with holes drilled centrally work

well, and the design was in use in the tenth century (As a find from

the Gokstad ship shows) We tried this for a viking feast recently, and

even went as far as carving fancy patterns into the wood. All the

pyromaniacs had great fun making little models out of the hot wax that

dripped onto the wood.


small pottery bowls make good candle holders aswell. You can stick a

short candle in them or ideally pour your own by tying a thick cotton

wick round a pencil, dangling it into the bowl then pouring wax round

it. The wick must be much thicker than a normal candlewick, or it will

drown in the extra wax.


If you can't have candles go for murky lighting, dim lighting comes

out much more atmospheric than a bright white glare. Take half the

bulbs out and make everybody squint if you can't alter the lighting

any other way. Lights low down work better than ones high up, and wall

lights are better than ceiling lights. (If you can switch out half the

lights switching them on again is quite a good way of getting people

moving if you need to clear the hall at the end, it's like raising the

lights at the cinema everyone automatically starts moving!)


For the tables small bowls of salt, rather than shakers are good.

If you can scrounge any jugs they look better than bottles.


We usually go for a high table with rows of lower tables at right

angles to the high table. I suppose its going to be a social thing

whether you go for that or not, but if you do you can concentrate on

making the high table a flashy centre piece to add atmosphere (give

them a tablecloth and a few jugs if you can't manage to do the same

for all the tables).


Happy feasting





Date: Tue, 06 Jan 1998 08:39:05 -0500

From: margali <margali at 99main.com>

Subject: Re: SC - table manners


I would love to do a formal very well researched feast, but the problem

is getting servers sometimes. A small, 25-50 person renn feast in the

style of catherine demedici would be opulent, but then again we run into

the problem of sca feast habbits.  Even the early period personas

decorate the tables in a hollywood manner[with a few exceptions i have

run across] little problems like the lighting[candles] on the table,

everybody having a full place setting in front of them, decorative

centerpieces and the like. Near as I have found, the earlier feasts had

the hall lit with torches, cressets and the like not on the table, the

decorations on the table may have beena fancy cloth, as i mentioned

before often they shared place settings, in the high court feasts it was

pretty much 1 server per 2 or 4 people...and about the only centerpiece

would be the salt celler, deviding the uppers from those 'below the






Date: Thu, 19 Nov 1998 01:19:49 -0600

From: allilyn at juno.com (LYN M PARKINSON)

Subject: Re: SC - Price of Feasts (was butter)


We aren't in the custom, in AEthelmearc, the East or the Mid, of buying

candles--the diners bring their own or sit in darkness. For one event I

autocratted (before we had Event Stewards or whatever they are nowadays)

I did blow a bundle (private money, not event money) on marked down

pillar candles after Christmas.  I put them in the window recesses, on

the dessert tables, on side tables--it looked great, added a great deal

to the atmosphere, and dis-spelled large dark areas. Those of us in the

habit of coming in a little under budget because we've learned how to

shop, and have good resources, really ought to think about buying extra

candles.  Extra, not replacing the candles we still expect the diners to

bring.  It adds so much to our events.


What surprised me about the Lochac post was buying space in the

newsletter.  We don't have to do that--the events are each listed as a

matter of course.  There may be some places that rent chairs, tables, and

cookware, but I don't know of any.



allilyn at juno.com, Barony Marche of the Debatable Lands, Pittsburgh, PA

Kingdom of Aethelmearc



Date: Tue, 26 Jan 1999 14:52:46 -0600

From: LYN M PARKINSON <allilyn at juno.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Ambiance:


Sorry for shouting, earlier, but this does push a button! I've sat

through 17 years of feasts, some well-lit, some very dark. One reason

the room will appear to be dark is that the candles which are brought are

only used on the diners' tables, at their places.  At an event I

autocratted, I put the fat, stand-alone candles all around the sides of

the room and down the serving/ dessert buffet tables.  It made a

tremendous difference in the sense of light, since it eliminated that

dark area surrounding the immediate feast.  We've talked about so many

cost-saving ideas on this list, we should surely be able to fit a few

candles into the budget.  Don't you want people to SEE your beautiful



One problem with the fat candles is that the entire surface does not

burn.  The heat of the wick doesn't reach that far.  You get lots of

light, gradually diminishing, until it burns itself a hole in the candle

center, light hidden by the 'walls', and eventually drowns itself in

melted wax.  Paring down a front portion of the candles that will stand

by a wall can help, and cutting a channel for the melted wax, provided

you have a heat-proof, liquid-proof holder.  Saucers are fine.  The cut

away wax can be melted down and made into new candles, or molded while

warm into something interesting.



allilyn at juno.com, Barony Marche of the Debatable Lands, Pittsburgh, PA

Kingdom of Aethelmearc



Date: Wed, 27 Jan 1999 12:21:39

From: Micaylah <dy018 at freenet.carleton.ca>

Subject: Re: SC - Ambiance:


One thing we do to get around this AND let our wonderful choir see what

they are singing is to make a candle shelf.


Its like a picture frame without a back, made out of plywood, with shelves

in it to put votive candles (in glass containers) on it and is popped up on

an easel. When lit it creates wonderful ambiance with 20 or so candles on

it and provides alot of soft light just right for our type of events.


As long as these are put in a place (corner) where it is not a hazard they

work quite well and are reusuable over and over again.





Date: Fri, 9 Feb 2001 23:12:48 -0800

From: "E. Rain" <raghead at liripipe.com>

Subject: SC - Theme Menus What would you like your hall to look like?


Ratboy asked:

> Having been on the comittee for what turned out to be my third event,

> and haing recieved fairly good reviews, and a Silver Nautilus.  I was

> curious what kinds of decor had been used for Themed Feasts around the

> country and beyond.  I understand trying to be period correct, I even

> appreciate it.  But this  is a subject that I did not see

> alot of info on.


When Anne-Marie and I worked on our late period/OOP English Renn Feast

several years back we tried to go the whole 9 yards. we researched not only

what foods were eaten, (and in what order) but how they were served, and how

the hall was decorated.  We then tried to incorporate as much of this into

the event planning as possible.


The hall we were using had big ugly pillars down either side of the feasting

area and I (with much help) created long paper flats painted to look like

English renn carved pillars (shadowed and everything), with a matching

border for the roofline all the way around the hall. There were fabric

hangings in the spaces between the pillars as well.  The high table was up

on a stage, with velvet curtains which if I recall correctly, we carefully

pulled back to create the impression of a canopy over the high table.  the

high table was also decorated with garlands and an appropriately excessive

number of table cloths.  And there was a multi level cup-board to the side

of the high table stacked with flashy plates & cups etc.  I wanted to rent a

fountain for our banquet course, but couldn't find one that looked right :-<


All in all though, it was pretty cool.


Eden - who really should have gotten pictures from that one...



Date: Mon, 12 Feb 2001 08:32:26 -0800

From: Steve <s.mont at verizon.net>

Subject: Re: SC - Re: ... What would you like your hall to look like?


In our last Yule the Barony of Altavia had the good fortune to be using the

offices of a company owned by some long time SCA members. This allowed us

to do things not normally allowed, we half-timbered the main eating area,

hung banners and strung garland throughout the building, and replaced the

flourescent lights with chandeleirs.  We also did the normal stuff of

covering the shelves and hiding as much of the mundane things as possible.


Ęduin of Skye,

Altavia, Caid



Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2001 21:28:35 -0000

From: "Olwen the Odd" <olwentheodd at hotmail.com>

Subject: SC - Feast at University


As I have been wading through the email I came across some entitled feast

hall lighting.  It put me in mind of the feast hall at Atlantian University.


The great care taken to every detail of the feast hall was most impressive.  

I must say, I have not seen this level of detail in any other feast hall I

have been in.  The tables were arranged in rows and draped with white

tablecloths.  There were gold painted leaves and pinecones and such placed

along the tables.  Adorning the walls were wreaths made up of the golden

foliage and twigs and ribbons.  There were sweet blue and white planters

with blooming crocus in them placed among the gold foliage and lighted

candles.  There were lots and lots of small lighted candles all crimson.  

The High table was adorned with candles, gold painted leaves and foliage

with a golden stag leaping among.


There were platters of bread and something with shrimp lying along the

tables as a first course or appetizer.  Servers came out of the kitchen with

bowls or trays and water was offered at least twice.  The cooks were rousted

out of the kitchen so the feasters could give salute. During the feast a

harper played and sang and a storyteller gave entertainment as well.  After

the feast the dancemaster gave lead to many couples on the dancefloor.


Well done.



<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org