15 June 2020 – Magna Carta

Today I’ve been messing around with wax and glue and looking out the window. Today is the anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta in 1215, so I thought I’d have a go at making a traditional seal. Well, not quite a traditional seal as no clay, no lead, no ribbons, and no resin, plus I sealed an envelope. But other than that, totally traditional.

My first problem was deciding what I would seal. It’s not like a seal will survive a dalliance with a post box these days. So after a couple of minutes staring blankly at my packet of crayons, I created an emergency envelope in case of future disasters. It is 2020 after all.

My next dilemma was what colour wax to use. I am a bear with a very small brain today. I have to choose what I’m having for lunch next, and the way things are going, that might take hours. Despite red being the obvious choice and green being used for Magna Carta, I went for the orange crayon. Then the pink. Pink.

Holding a spoon over a candle flame melting a wax crayon felt slightly like I was in a Blue Peter version of Trainspotting. However, the glue stick remained mostly solid, and I had to do some serious swirling to get the two ingredients to meld. Pouring was easy, and then I branded the seal with the closest thing I have to a signet ring, a ring bought from an artist in Byron Bay. In the photo, you can see the back is all ridged, that’s because they signed and sealed the ring with their thumbprint. The whole process took less than 10 minutes, and was strangely satisfying. I now envision myself doing this on everything. Probably not my dissertation, but you never know. 

And it’s also St Vitus and Companions’ Day today. St Vitus, getting in on the St Swithin and St Medard vibe, also has a weather prediction:

If St Vitus’ day be rainy weather
It will rain for thirty days together

So far so good. Fingers crossed, eh?

Last word to Tony Hancock, obviously.


Resources

Cooper, Q. and Sullivan, P. (1994) Maypoles, Martyrs & Mayhem: 366 Days of British Myths, Customs & Eccentricities, London, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/great-seal-of-king-john#

https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/burnt-copy-of-magna-carta-with-the-seal-attached

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