Great Friends of the Museum Annual General Meeting and day of talks
The Friends of the Museum met up in Boscastle this weekend for their Annual General Meeting or AGM. This is held every year in winter and is free to attend for Friends members. Not a member of Friends yet? You can find out more about the organisation and join here: http://museumofwitchcraftfriends.blogspot.co.uk/
The day started with a fascinating talk by Victoria Musson on winter and the customs associated with it. She spoke about the books that had inspired her and folklore as the “fiction of the poor”. Victoria explored the connections and differences in tone between Yuletide and Christmas including the symbolism of holly, ivy and mistletoe in both the Pagan and Christian celebrations. She also discussed different winter rituals and their meaning such as the Abbots Bromley horn dance and Wren Catching. She ended her talk by considering the different beings associated with the winter months such as the Holly King, Krampus and Jack Frost or the Judderman. Victoria also had a stall with her beautiful pieces on it (photographed below, photograph courtesy of Gillian Nott).
The second talk was by Judith Noble, one of the Friends trustees. She presented an interesting talk on two 20th century surrealist female artists who she described as “painters, witches and best friends.” First Judith spoke about Leonora Carrington whose eventful life ended in 2011. One of the wonderful paintings discussed was this self portrait.
Judith also spoke about Remedios Varo, in particular her paintings Celestial Music, Samhain, Moon Temple, Witch in the Wood, Star Maker and Thefts of Substance. The talk explored the connections between surrealism and occultism and the inspiration both painters drew from the writings of Dion Fortune and Gerald Gardner.
In the afternoon, Circle of Spears productions put on a special performance of WITCH (the play which they wrote for performance in the Museum and which is now going on tour). Friends really enjoyed the play as it explored the complexity and tension of the persecution period.
After lunch, the AGM proper took place with discussions about the Friend’s membership, finances, future meetings and future projects. There was also a “Museum update” by Simon Costin, the Museum Director and a manager’s presentation by Judith and Peter Hewitt.
In the evening, the Museum was open by candlelight just for Friends. Thanks to Jason Karl for organising the day of talks.