Article and Illustrations by Sophie Cunningham | http://www.sophiecunningham.co.uk
Tereza Buskova’s procession ‘Clipping The Church’ is a celebration of rituals and traditions, which will be re-imagined in Birmingham on the 11th June at St Barnabas’ Church.
A central motif to the procession is the universal and ancient pass time of baking, a ritual that Tereza Buskova is fascinated by. She is interested by generations of women preparing food in different cultures, and the passing down of tradition and craft. This ritual evokes her own personal memories of baking with her mother, which she now enjoys doing with her own children. Motherhood is another important theme to her work. The ‘mother’ archetype will be explored through the live performance, with music and more intriguingly with baked goods.
For the Procession, Buskova intends to re-create a traditional Czech Wedding cake that originated from a small town called Hluk in the Czech Republic. The Wedding Cake is a symbolic ceremonial object; each culture has a different version. It is more than a foodstuff as it acts as an emblem of cultural identity and tradition. This particular wedding ‘cake’ adopts an unusual structure; composed of a wooden frame, which looks like a tall spire that rests on long wooden arms, used for members of the procession to carry it.
The frame is decorated with 300 “Bozi Milosti” which are small pastries; the English translation is “Celestial Crusts”. Bozi Milosti is often referred to as ‘food for the poor’, as it does not cost much to produce. They are also given to new mothers to give them strength.
The women of Hluk who make Bozi Milosti, cut out the pastry into ornate shapes; they are then fried in oil and rolled in sugar and vanilla. They make them in bulk in order to have enough to completely cover the wooden frame of the cake.
The wedding cake structure is dressed up like a Christmas tree. The Bozi Milosti are tied on with string, along with a garland of leaves and flower decorations. Traditional ribbon is used to embellish the cake; the brightly coloured patterns match the costumes of the people who participate in the ceremony.
Buskova’s re-imagined version of this strange and intriguing object will be central to the procession of Clipping The Church bringing the bizarre wedding cake from Hluk to Birmingham.
St Barnabas’ Church will be embellished with the baked goods made from the Clipping the Church workshops with both Bozi Milosti and Salt dough decorations, (a popular craft in Czechoslovakia and Germany). The decorations will then be shared with the community after the procession. This idea of sharing with the community is a reference to the 16th century Christian tradition of Mothering Sunday, reminiscent of when children returning back to their mother church would bring baked goods and flowers to their mother.