Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Feast of a Kingdom

Four years ago, I had this idea about an Elizabethan immersion event, comprised of an all day feast with loads of entertainment! Three years ago, I started planning it. Bit-by-bit, pieces came together. Master Valentine agreed to be my Deputy. Lord Joel agreed to be our Feast Steward.Master Emerson agreed to be our Master of Ceremonies. From there, things came together beautifully.
The first project was making the feast tokens, the linen napkins and serviettes. Concordia truly stepped up here and made this happen as a community. All 58 of these were hand-hemmed by Master Emerson, Mistress Pakshalika, Lord Jonathan, Lady Janna, Jeremy, Lady Ruth, Master Magnus, Lady Finnguala, Lady Anne, Stephanie, Mistress Ose, and Lady Jacqueline. (I believe this is everyone. I apologize if I missed anyone.) Lady Ruth offered to embroider all of the above the salt napkins (and even insisted on doing them all after I told her our expected number had doubled!), and Lady Anne, Baroness Maria, and Mistress Heather Rose embroidered the below the salt napkins.
The next project was the invitations. The wording was done by Lady Katrusha, Master Emerson, and Mistress Heather Rose. The calligraphy was done by Mistress Heather Rose, and the illumination was done by Mistress Heather Rose, Lady Lorita, and Lord Faolan.
Master Valentine used his extensive network to reach out to experts from all over the kingdom to organize and cultivate our entertainments.
We began with His Excellency, Baron JP who organized the Duel between Lord Robert and Master Grim. Their seconds were Lord Mikulaj and Lady Elewys and the marshall was Master Caine.
Master Philip came up from Østgarðr to organize both the dance practice in the morning, and the ball in the evening.
Our instrumental musicians were organized by Mistress Sabine de Kerbriant of the Barony of Bhakail. Our Musicians were: Mistress Deonna von Aachen, Mistress Judith Fitzhenry, Master Kobayashi Yutaka, Lady Alison Winter, Lord Udalrich Schermer, Lady Ysabel da Costa, Lord Drake Oranwood and David the Creepy Bard. Our musicians hailed from Concordia, Østgarðr , Carolingia and Bhakail.
Our vocal artists were organized by Lady Sólveig Bjarnardóttir. Our artists were Lady Cecelia, Lord John, Lord Robert, Lord Drake, Lady Janna, Gwennen Mel, Sarah Byrd, and Margretta Wunderin, and Master Grim. Our vocal artists hailed from Concordia, Anglespur, Malagentia, Østgarðr
Our masque was organized and run by Catrin o'r Rhyd For of the Barony of Carolingia. Our Masque performers were Master Alexandre d'Avigne, Maester Gaius Quintillius Alopex, Duchess Thyra Eiriksdottir, Lord Gundormr Dengir, Lady Agnes Edith Godolphin, Margretta Wunderin, Mistress Cassandra Grey, Pomestnik Andreiko Eferiev, and Piero Quagliati. Our masque performers hailed from Principality of Insulae Draconis and Barony of Carolingia.
The games of chance were organized by Master Valentine and Master Grim, and run by Master Grim, with the assistance of Lord Robert. The prizes were painted by Mistress Heather Rose of Concordia and Thory Vedardottir of Carolingia. Words were done by one who wishes to remain anonymous. The gambling coins were designed by Baron Ian of Tadcaster from the Shire of Draca Mor.
Our phenomenal kitchen was run by Lord Joel, who truly earned the title of Feast Steward. While Joel had several metaphorical balls of fire launched at him, he and his persevering team made it through, and served up a feast that was not only delightful on the tongue, but also delisious to the eyes. His team consisted of Master Aethelhawk, Mistress Siubhan, Marion, Mistress Judith FitzHenry, Harvey, Magnus, Grim, Kelton, Aife, Jill Silver, Riva Silver, Phelan, Eloise, Maria, Finnguala, Emerson, Muirenn, Irene, Isobel, Duchess Thyra, Mistress Cassandra Grey, Lady Cecelia, Mistress Alesone Gray of Cranleigh, Anjuili and March, as well as some non-SCAdians: Pete's mom, Sarah Katz, and Chris Persans.
What would a feast be without staff to serve it? Our team of servers were Lady Finnguala, Lady Cecelia, Baroness Maria, Lord Temyl, Lord Robert and Lady Elowys, with help from Erik, Aidan, Ally, and Charlie. Special thanks to Erik and Aidan for being our Messengers for the day, we put them hard to work sending messages throughout the event site!
With the event being what it was, gold key was also something that needed serious consideration. Lady Katryne Morgant outfitted several people who contacted her prior to the event. and also helped to provide additional outfits for some who needed clothing at the door.
Gate was organized and run by Lady Anne, along with her team of Kevin Sibley, Eleanor Grey,  Aurelia Colleoni a'Buccaforno, and Elena de Los Libros
Our set-up team consisted of Master Emerson, Master Magnus, Lord Guy, Lady Rebekah, Lord Rhys, Lord Joel, Lord Harvey, Mistress Annastrina (Barony of Bergental), Lady Cecilia (Barony of Bergental), Mistress Pakshalika, and I'm sure several others who stepped in to help out.
Our tear-down team swept through and cleaned the entire building in less than 2 hours! I said we'd by out by 11, and we were! This is thanks to our amazing team, consisting of Their Excellencies, Baron JP and Baroness Lylie, as well as Sheena, Shane, Erik, Aidan, Master Grim, Lord Mikulaj, Lord John, Lady Janna, Master Emerson, Lady Isabel, Lord Harvey, Lord Joel, Lord Robert, Lady Elewys, Mistress Annastrina,
In all, the event had "staff" from Concordia, Anglespur, Østgarðr, Carolingia, Bhakail, Principality of Insulae Draconis, Bergental, Panther Vale, Shire of Quintavia, Malagentia, Stonemarche, Shire of Draca Mor, and Shire of Mountain Freehold.
To say "thank you" does not truly express the gratitude I have for all of these people, and the many others who supported this dream of mine. In particular, I would recognize Master Valentine for the amount of effort and time he dedicated to making this event everything it was, even through the time of growing his family. Additionally, I would like to recognize Master Emerson for his assistance, from my invasion of his personal library, to all of his expertise on etiquette and feasting, to his help with all of the set-up and tear-down of the event.
I am humbled by the graciousness and generosity of so many over the past few years of planning, organization, and execution. We as a Barony, and as a Kingdom made this event happen. So, again, I say a thousand times, thank you!
Humbly yours,
Lady Olivia Baker
Event Steward
The Feast of St. Nicholas in Queen Elizabeth's Court

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Every Journey Begins Somewhere

People often complement my garb and level of authenticity in it. I've heard people say they wish they could make garb like mine. I've heard people say they don't have the talent to make clothes like mine. However, I didn't start with this garb. It's taken years of practice, research, and more practice, to get where I am.

Let's start with a picture for some perspective, shall we? This is me just before I began in the SCA. When I began, I didn't know what a 16th century English woman would wear, let alone what fabrics or construction techniques she would use. I didn't know that linen and wool were the fabrics of choice. I had never even considered embroidering anything. To be quite frank, I didn't care know, either. I could sew a straight line with a machine, and I could darn a sock, but I did not hand-sew things by choice.

When I first joined the SCA, I joined as a "Rennie" (as we are referred to). I wanted a place to wear more fun Renaissance clothing. I was young and shiny, and knew nothing about the Society. After joining, I was given both positive and negative feedback on my clothing choices, among other things.. Very quickly, I realized there was more to the SCA than just wearing the clothing I love. I began to look through paintings. I began to read about fabrics, techniques, trim, accessories, etc....

I made gown after gown, researching more and more after each one - changing and improving, making each piece a little more accurate. I fell in love with the Armada Portrait and began working to put the pattern from the sleeves onto a red velvet stomacher (after learning what a stomacher is, of course).  I used couched bead-work to create the effect, though I didn't know that's what it was called until many years later. I did it because I though it looked cool. Would I make that same choice today? I'm not sure. I'd need to look into the fabrics and applications of patterns first. Though, with what I know now, I believe it is plausible, given: we know the pattern existed in period, velvets were used in period (though the one used here is synthetic - sometimes compromises must be made due to budgetary constraints), and couched bead-work is prevalent in the mid 16th century as well.

I continue to learn and grow, just as we all do. I am happy to share when I am able. I find teachers and students in nearly every person I meet.

The next time you look at someone and feel overwhelmed by the authenticity of their garb, or the terminology they use, or the knowledge of their art, or their skill with a weapon; remember they, too, started somewhere. They did not join the society as a Master, Mistress, Baron, Baroness, Duke, Dutchess, etc; they began as a bright-eyed, eager student, excited to do something that makes their heart light up. I bet if you ask them about their craft (whatever form it may take), their heart will still light up.

We love to share our crafts, and we share our crafts with love. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Lily and the Peacock

I am happy and proud to announce I have taken a student in the area of clothing research and construction. At Wars of the Roses, it was officially announced, Lady Anne de Basillon is formally my student. I have committed to impart my knowledge to her and to learn and grow with her.

If you see her doing something well, please tell us both. If you see something that may need improvement, please tell me. I thrilled about this next step in our relationship and excited to see what the future holds for us both. 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

What's in an Order?

I'd like to take a break from my regular crafting posts to talk about a subject I find important. I was having a discussion with a Peer of the Realm, the content of which is irrelevant at this point. In that conversation, we realized that a person we both felt was beyond deserving of a particular award, had not received said award. The conversation went something like this:
Peer: Wait does [person] have their [award]?
Olivia: Yes. I'm sure they do. Do they? It's not listed on the OP. Let me check the Wiki. No, it's not their either. And they keep their page very up to date.
Peer: How is that possible? I was sure they had their [award] years ago.
As I delved further into the matter, I discovered that the person in question was not well-liked by enough of the order to receive the support for the award. This, my friends, I find disconcerting. While the person in question can be quite abrasive at times, there is no denying, they are deserving of the award, based on the standards presented on the East Kingdom website. 

The more I thought about this, the more I thought about another conversation I had a year or so ago regarding someone who was receiving an award. This conversation went something like this:
Person A: Did you know [person B] is receiving their [award] at [event]?
Olivia: Oh? I didn't hear. That's wonderful! And certainly well deserved!
Person A: Uh, really? But they don't do anything to deserve [award]. They just do [thing].
Olivia: Actually, if you really look at what they do, they do [thing], [other thing], [another thing], [one more thing], and all of that is on top of the [thing] you mentioned. Given the parameters of [award], they're well within what is considered deserving.
Person A: Oh, yeah, I guess. I didn't really think about that. I just...well, I had a bad experience with [person] and I guess that sort of sways my opinion.
Now, to be clear, we're not talking about Peerages here. We're not talking about an award that requires specific personality traits to be found deserving. We are talking about Kingdom-level awards, which are typically presented based on merit, experience, etc. 

So, then, why? Why are so many of us so focused on our personal feelings that we would withhold an award from a deserving person? By the same token, when we do have strong negative feelings about people, why are we not keeping our personal feelings out of the discussion? These are merit-based awards. They should have very little to do with how well a person is liked. 

To that end, I ask you to truly consider each nominee based upon their merit. How is a particular award recipient defined? Does the nominee fit those parameters? If you don't feel the person is deserving of an award, is this because their work is truly not befitting? If you have a negative opinion of a person, is this truly the time to air those grievances? 

We should always remember, the words we use toward those not in our favor are a direct reflection upon ourselves. 


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Drake Oranwood's Troubadour Scroll Words

A few months back, I was asked to write wording for Lord Drake Oranwood's' Troubadour scroll. My apologies in the delay for getting this post up. However, here's the information for his wording.

When I was first asked, I had one thought about the wording, "It must be in iambic pentameter." Nothing else would do for Lord Drake. So, I began digging around for inspiration. I came across some poetry by Sir Thomas Wyatt, as well as William Shakespeare that I used for inspiration. I've included two of the inspiration pieces below.
Ryght true it is : and said full yore agoo :
"Take hede of him that by thy back the claweth " ;
For none is wourse than is a friendly ffoo :
Though they seme good : all thing that thee deliteth :
Yet know it well, that in thy bosom crepeth ;
For many a man such fier oft knydeleth,
That with the blase his berd syngeth.
~Sir Thomas Wyatt

Full many a glorious morning have I seen
Flatter the mountain-tops with sovereign eye,
Kissing with golden face the meadows green,
Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy;
Anon permit the basest clouds to ride
With ugly rack on his celestial face,
And from the forlorn world his visage hide,
Stealing unseen to west with this disgrace:
Even so my sun one early morn did shine
With all triumphant splendor on my brow;
But out! alack! he was but one hour mine,
The region cloud hath mask'd him from me now.
Yet him for this my love no whit disdaineth;
Suns of the world may stain when heaven's sun staineth.
~William Shakespeare
The first line of Lord Drake's scroll was taken directly from the first line of the Wyatt poem. The second is a slight alteration of the second line of this poem as well. Apparently I was extraordinarily tired when I wrote the second line, as it follows neither the metre of the inspiration poem, nor the metre of iambic pentameter. Whoopsie!

The most difficult part was working the required language into the metre. This took several days of wiggling and bending the words to the will of the poem.
"Ryght true it is and said full yore ago,“Take hede of him that rounde thy fire dothe presenteth”;Thys Goldsmithes worke and goodley song dothe groBoth voyce and visage for all deliteth.Full many a wondrus tale he recountsWoven stronge wyth thredes of thyne and Owre owneMemoryes. Lo! Have We cause goode to dance,Syng and rejoyse in tyme-cloth he hath sowne.
For as wyth cause We, Brennan and Caoilfhionn,Nobyll King and true Quene of the EasternLandes do inducte to the Order hereinOf the Troubadour, Drake Oranwood doneOn thys third day of October, A.S. L, Owre joyusCoronation in the northerne Baro-Ny of Owre Concordia of the Snows."
Overall, I'm happy with the first scroll I've ever done wording for. Were I able to alter it, I would re-work that second line to fit the metre, and also perhaps re-work a few of the other lines so it flowed a big more smoothly.

Congratulations (belated, as they may be) to Lord Drake on his induction into the order of the Troubadour!