Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Four Levels of the SCA

Recently, there was a Renaissance Faire in my neck of the woods. It was a first time affair, and months before it happened they had reached out to the SCA community for support and thoughts. The responses were... varied.

I went to the event on the one weekend they were open and rather enjoyed myself, as well as saw quite a few SCAdians there.

I was asked my thoughts, asked who I saw, and I responded that it was nice hanging out with three very different sets of people there:

Some were aloof and just checking out the space.
Some had jumped in head first and was ready to show off what they could do.
The other was just happy to be there and be a support without needing to be a major support.

The ones we didn't see were the ones who were flat out against the idea of Renaissance Faires because they were not period and do not fit into the ideals of the SCA. Which I can understand. I have many times wandered a Ren Faire and had to bite my tongue to keep from playing the 'that is so not period' game.

Suddenly it dawned on me: There are four factions to the SCA. I'm going to talk about them in general terms as well as in terms of the new people joining the SCA in hopes that the insight will help us, as a group, to determine how to go about creating safe space or havens of creativity for all the types of new people that will be coming to the SCA just like how the SCA was asked to join the Renaissance Faire.

The first group are those people who are experts in their field. They feel they know best and they are rather knowledgeable. If they do not see things being done to their code, they will not take part. They want things to be a certain way. People may view them as snobs or elite when, in reality, they only see a point in doing the things that are done to their standards and don't find a reason to waste energy when they are not. These traits, when found in newbies, can cause a very hard sell on the SCA. There are always going to be modern laxities that will make the purists uncomfortable. And when they are new to the SCA, they wonder why they bother if it isn't strict enough.

The next group are those who are cautious, trying to decide what is in it for them. They want to see if they can bring a certain type of glory by using things as a tool to get what they need or want out of it. They will do things if it will be a benefit to them, but otherwise they would typically steer clear. They are more cautious and aloof, watching from the sidelines to see what they can get out of things. A lot of newbies can be seen in this genre. Inviting them in to learn or showing them what they can gain is typically the goal in these situations, but it can be difficult because of their stance.

Another group is happy to jump in and very enthusiastic. They love what they do and are happy to show it off anywhere, teaching and talking to everyone they come across. They are the people you will find at every event with their hands into everything, just wanting to do it and try it all. They want to be seen in the sense of showing what they know and learning what they don't. These are a fantastic type of people and finding newbies in the SCA that are like this is a great find! Unfortunately, because of the 'have to do it all' attitude, they can burn out quite easily. These are the SCAdians that want to make and do and have a hard time sitting still. They want to be teaching classes, learning things from everyone they meet, and volunteer for any role the instant that there is a need/desire for filling it.

The last group just wants to be of support to anyone and everyone they come across. They see something that excites them and they don't necessarily -need- to be a part of it, but they are going to support it in a big way. Sometimes this just means going to the event as support for the autocrat or even going to a class they have no interest in just because they want to support their friend that is teaching it. They want to see things flourish and grow, even if they are not the ones that are doing it. Sometimes just being one of the number counts in a big way towards helping things lean in one direction or the other. This is an aspect seen in newer members in the SCA that are not sure where they fit in. They would like to be of help, but they want it to be something small or something where they can show support but can still sit on the sidelines and smile and have a good time without having to be on the field and fighting. They can easily be urged into the service field of helping out at troll or maybe serving tables during feast. I have seen quite a few SCAdians start in this manner.

These are all just different ways to enjoy what we do. I know people who fit into each of the categories and am proud to call them all friends. I have noticed me flipping back and forth between two of the categories and find I am quite happy to be filling both of them. You don't have to be just one of these. Some people hold various different traits depending on what part of their passion you are talking to them about. Some people want to support the arts even though they may not know a thing about it, but they dive into the enthusiastic marshal activities and may be very strict when it comes to heraldry. There is nothing wrong with it at all.

This is merely just to point out that we are all different and suppose we should be looking at all these different things and discussing what the best tactics are for each of the four factions when it comes to demos and trying to recruit new members.

This is also not to say there are only four attitudes in the SCA. These are just the most prominent ones that I have seen.

Friday, June 13, 2014

AoA for Irmel von Lubeck at War of the Roses 2014

I was given the rare and amazing opportunity to create an AoA for someone I didn't think I knew! But, I knew the person who had recommended them and asked about the identity. I came to find out it was someone I have known for years! They just finally decided on a SCAdian name! I was so excited to work on something for someone I knew, so I had to make sure to work it well.

Unfortunately, I wasn't given much more than 'German' for the persona, so when I began my words, I decided to work with the fact that the current King and Queen consider themselves Emperor and Empress. That made it easier. These were the words I came up with (with help from Alys to clean them up) based on A letter from Cunegund of Swabia, Queen of Bohemia (1238, February 22):

"Brennan Imperator Orientalis, and Caoilfhionn Imperatrix Orientalis, to all those to whom this current letter will come, Our favor and all good will and the witness of truth to this writing.

Since the dignity of Our nobility and royal mercy demands this, to benign and favorable assent to the just requests of all, so that anyone may enjoy the presence of Our mercy for their necessity and need, among all whom We support with such consolation of our protection and fostering comfort, We embrace them to the utmost with very wide arms, from whom We hope merit to increase the tranquility and governance of Our temporal realm.  

So heeding these demands, We, in the custom of the Empire, bring Irmel von Lubeck into Our presence.   We have received word in Our court and in Our presence establishing her loyalty and dedication to the Empire.  Service for service, she teaches, advises, and guides those who wish to learn her crafts of dance or fiber, as well as imbibes in the teachings of others. In dedication, she has offered service to Our events. Considering the sincere devotion to her craft she has thus far shared and her loyalty to the Empire, and wishing that she herself should immediately hold and also recognize always from Us and from the Empire great favor for all of the aforesaid things, we do therefore award Irmel von Lubeck the right to bear arms.  We do further establish and decree the aforesaid award by imperial edict, in order that no person high or lowborn, ecclesiastic or secular, no duke, marquis, count or viscount, should presume to challenge with audacious attempt the rights herein granted.

That all of this may have the force of stability, we have had the present page fortified by the authority of Our signs manual.  Enacted at Concordia of the Snows, Anno Societatis XLIX, in the month of May, day 24."
The font for the calligraphy as well as the illumination was based on the manuscript of the Gospels of Henry the Lion. I actually stared at the manuscript and searched out each letter and made myself a cheat sheet of the styles of lettering used.

AoA for Kataryn Mercer called Kit

On January 8th, 2014 I was given my first ever scroll assignment. It was an AoA due at King and Queen's Arts and Sciences competition for a women I didn't know at all. But I got to view a lot of her work through facebook photos and also got to know her through what was written about her. I also had the honor of sitting next to the quite amazing woman at the event as we were stationed beside each other.

I wasn't fully certain what I was doing, but I was given a time and place(she liked doing arts in late period Italian) and worked with that. I decided I would first start with the words since the words would help me work from there.

The words which were based on various resources from Period written works (with help editing and cleaning up by Alys):

Whenever our faithful subjects propose things that are in harmony with the motive of justice and pertain to the good weal of the Kingdom, not only should they not be denied with stubborn mind, but they should be granted laudably with ready heart and benevolent mind. Further, since the memory of men is fleeting, lest those just and harmonious acts urged upon us by our faithful subjects fall away in time, such acts are and ought to be secured by writings and witnesses.  Therefore, let it be known to all present and future that we, Kenric King and Avelina Queen, for the comfort and honor of the Barony of Dragonship Haven, call upon their subject Kataryn Mercer.  We have partaken of your great generosity of gifts contrived and entrusted to the Crown and Barony. As well We have heard of the establishing of classes and your service at Our events. Thus it is that we honor, recognize, and award  unto Kataryn Mercer, known as Kit, the right to bear the arms Per pale Or and argent, in chief in fess three pine trees couped sable, the said arms to be borne without let or hindrance from any person, and do further invest and endow the said Kataryn with all the rights and responsibilities attendant upon such an elevation to this rank from this day onward.   Sealed and signed by our hand at King’s and Queen’s Arts and Sciences Championship in Barony of Concordia of the Snows on  February 22, AS 48.
Next I decided on the choice of illumination as well as calligraphy option. I used the Hours of Lorenzo de' Medici as my manuscript inspiration. The calligraphy was a cadel first letter with a gothica littera bastarda font for the rest of the manuscript.
This was also the first time I ever read a scroll in court. It was kind of a trifecta of making someone's day for me.