So sorry for my months (!) of silence! You’ll soon see why. We’ve adopted a new hobby, which I’m excited to share with you…
When Vincent and I first started dating (back in 2006), I revealed to him that one thing that I’d always wanted to do was go to a Renaissance Faire. I’ve always loved history and fairy tales and knights and princesses and all that fun stuff. When I was in high school at our local Hastings, I found a great magazine called Renaissance that was full of photos of people at Renaissance Faires and articles about life during the Middle Ages. I found it all absolutely fascinating and fantasized about one day dressing up as a fair maiden and perusing the wares of medieval shopkeeps, perhaps watching a joust…you get the picture.
So when I told Vincent about my love of the Renaissance and Middle Ages, he told me that some friends of his were involved in a local group called the SCA, the Society for Creative Anachronism. I’d never heard of them. He told me that they were sort of like a Ren Faire group, but they liked to be a little more historically accurate. They were having an event soon in Little Rock, and he suggested we go check it out. Honestly I don’t remember a whole lot about that particular event. I do remember being disappointed because it didn’t look like any of the Renaissance Faires in the magazine. I also remember it was cold and raining and that no one in the group was particularly welcoming so we just sort of wandered around. I mean, it was kind of cool, and we bought a few things and got to see an archery demonstration so that was fun, but overall, we didn’t get the best first impression. Because of that sort of “meh” impression, we never went back to another event.
Fast forward to 2012. We went to dinner with a bunch of Vincent’s old friends because one was visiting from Canada, and I finally met his friend, Brad. I’d heard about Brad a lot before, but never happened to meet him until then. He is very active in the local SCA group in Conway, called Shire Lagerdamm, and they just so happened to be having their annual Newbie Collegium soon. Brad and I talked about our different crafting interests– he likes to make clothing and I showed him my knit and crochet projects. Vincent suggested that we go to the next event and see if we liked it. We both thought it sounded like something we could have fun doing together, and since we already knew Brad we felt pretty comfortable going.
It was much different from our first experience. We were enthusiastically greeted when we arrived and scuttled off by the chatelaine to find some suitable garb for us to wear.
There were various classes going on and a lists set up (where sword fighting takes place) with an on-going tournament. There were also a few vendors and a silent auction. We decided to split up on the classes so we could get as much experience as possible. I took a class on making lampwork beads, which was really cool. I even got to make a bead using a torch and everything. I took another class on drafting period clothing using modern patterns. I also took an introductory class to herbalism, something I’ve always found intriguing. Vincent learned about heraldry, developing a persona, making leather armor, and rapier fighting.
After the classes, they had a Newbie Round Table where we could ask any questions about SCA in general. It was very informative, the hosts were great, and we decided that we definitely wanted to join up.
Since the Newbie Collegium, we have been to one business meeting, one Arts & Sciences (A&S) meeting, one event and several rapier practices. We also decided on the kinds of garb we wanted to wear and got patterns for them:
I’ve already finished Vincent’s garb, though I’m sure it will be embellished in the future. Mine is going to have to wait because the amount of fabric I need gets really pricey! Besides, I have some garb that I bought long, long ago. Here we are at our first real event, the Investiture of the Baron and Baroness of the Barony of the Small Gray Bear.
We had a great time! It was really cool to see the court and feast, which we missed at our newbie event. We also learned what all goes into putting an event on since our shire hosted this event for the Barony of the Small Gray Bear. As thanks, we were all awarded The Bear’s Heart by the new Baron and Baroness and received a little token. I was tickled to get an award.
Here’s a photo of the feast taken by the talented Kenneth Eden:
You can see Vincent and me (or my hair anyway) on the right. It was a potluck, and everything was very tasty. It was kind of magical to see everyone whip out their feast gear from various trunks and baskets, complete with period-looking table cloths and make the plain utilitarian tables look like proper feast tables. I only wish I’d thought to bring some things. Live and learn.
The event took place at the St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Conway. They have a lovely little chapel that they also allow us to use for our Arts & Sciences meetings each month.
Speaking of Arts & Sciences (or A&S), here are a couple pics from the last one we went to.
Vincent learned how to make Celtic knots from the talented Signy.
Then, Lady Arianna showed us how to make Roman fibulae (Roman safety pins, basically, but pretty).
We’ve also been learning how to fence with rapiers. With our tax refund, we bought swords. Admire the shiny:
Here’s Vincent in some borrowed gear, ready to take on a foe!
That’s him fighting one of our instructors, Victoria, who also happens to be an old college friend of ours. She’s an amazing fighter.
We even got the kids involved.
There they are with Binn, our other instructor, who is also amazing and very patient with us newbies.
Start ‘em young, we say!
So far, joining SCA has been a wonderful experience. We have never met a friendlier, more welcoming group of people. I haven’t met anyone who’s been snobby (Yes, I was worried about garb snobs. It’s totally a thing!) or stand-offish or anything negative. Everyone (seriously, everyone) is eager to help with anything and everything. It’s really amazing. We love it! I can’t wait to share all the things I learn with all of you, too.