Tag Archive | SCA

Scroll: Calon Cross for Saito Takauji

So now that it has been handed out, here are pictures of the scroll that I was working on. The Calon Cross is a Grant of Arms (GOA) level award in Calontir (they do pre-prints for AOA level awards) and is given out for service. Uji is a friend, so I was very happy to be given this assignment.

The text says: That the loyal civil acts of Saito Takauji, for the Society, the Grand Council, and as Gold Falcon Herald are excellent and will be rewarded, is stated thus. We raise him to the Order of the Calon Cross.
Damien, King
Issabel, Queen
Year of the Society 52 year, 8 month, 26 day

Saito Takauji dono ha Shakai ya Dai hyougi-kai no chuusei koto to kintaka denreisha koto ga shinmyou, onjou no jou koto kuden.
Shin juujika gumi ni irareru.

Damien mikado heika
Issabel chuugu heika

Shakai gojuu ni nen hachigatsu nijuu roku nichi
斎藤高氏殿社会大評議会忠誠事金鷹伝令者事神妙可有恩賞之状如件
心十字架組入
ダアミエン帝陛下
イサベル中宮陛下
社会五十二年八月二十六日

The model I used was from the Documents of Iriki, 96-2, #83-C, from Kenmu 3, 8th month, 17th day (September 22, 1336), given to one Shibuya Shigekatsu by Ashikaga Takauji, the first Shogun of the Ashikaga line. I took some set phrases from it, and added what phrases were needed for this award. I had Foro Pallavincino (Baron Christoforo from Northshield, who has a degree in Japanese and lived there for a few years), look over my Japanese text and make suggestions, which I then modified a bit. It is all in kanji–the hiragana that would be used in particles were not usually written down in these documents. Ink on washi paper, pre-mounted scroll. The kanji is written in kaisho script (the original was in gyousho script, but I was going for clarity here). The painting is based on a portrait of the poet Ki no Tomonori (who bears an amazing resemblance to Uji!), done in the Nise-e style.

takauji_finished_scroll_detail

takauji_full_scroll

I definitely learned a lot while doing this scroll. There are some things (mainly in the brushwork) that I feel could be better, but the recipient was very happy, and that is what matters. I’m looking forward to tackling another design in the future.

The Falcon’s Cry

I wrote a new song, that I hope to debut at Feast of Eagles (if the Shire allows it). The tune is Palestinalied (12th century). Here is an example of the tune and original words.

The Falcon’s Cry
by Ki no Kotori

Calontiri, gather ‘round me
Tuck your tender tears away,
Battle calls, we must be ready
To march in and join the fray
Turn your eyes unto the sky
Listen for the falcon’s cry
Thus we live and thus we die

Fierce Huscarls, sharpen your axes
Gallant Fyrdmen, whet your swords
Knights, prepare your best advances
Courage brings its own rewards
For this green and fertile plain
That we may ne’er see again
Our lives will not be in vain

Riders, rally forth your horses
Archers, nock your arrows clean
Artisans, walk proud beside us
Hasten forward with our Queen
For our proud and gracious land
As one people now we stand
Waiting for our King’s command

Forward now, shoulder to shoulder
Lift your shield and set your spear
Though the enemy grows bolder
Their onslaught shall endeth here
Turn your eyes unto the sky
Listen for the falcon’s cry
Thus we live and thus we die

Just for fun, here’s a modern rendition of the original Palastinalied, by the band In Extremo:

On Recruitment in the SCA

I posted this in response to a discussion in the SCA FB group, and I thought I’d share it here as well. The question asked what people were doing to recruit/retain younger members into the SCA. Honestly, the question made me wince, because I think new members of any age have a lot to offer, but I tried to answer as best I could:

As a long-time member and former chatelaine, I would advise listening carefully to any newcomer (of any age!). There’s a time for introducing all the SCAdianisms to new folk, but first, find out what they want from the group, what they are looking for, what they need help with. Some areas are going to have more resources than others (speaking as one who has lived in large baronies and also in a small rural contact group), but do the best you can. Make sure new people know that the SCA is a large umbrella organization, and that there are a variety of ways to participate AND THEY ARE EQUALLY VALID.

For those who are interested in parties, direct them towards others who like that. Some people (like me) really came for the history. I have always enjoyed the courts and ceremonies and courtesies. The SCA is a great place to learn new skills and make new friends (especially if you have to move around a lot), and that is a good thing to emphasize to new people as well. Some of the things we teach for free or low cost are hugely expensive if you try to take a workshop outside the SCA.

Also, check in on the newer people from time to time to see how things are going, and listen to their worries. Sometimes you can help them, sometimes you can’t, but at least they know their opinion matters.

Listening is the key here.

Notes from Successful! Event Planning

Someone on FB was requesting copies of this handout from a class I taught several years ago. I’ve tried to update the information somewhat, but it’s probably a little flawed. However, some might find it useful. In the class, I had also handed out a few copied forms from “Autocratting 101: A Comprehensive Guide for Planning SCA Events” (Compleat Anachronist #113, Fall 2001), but as that is copyright material, I will not post those here. The pamphlet is still available from the SCA Publications Online Store and although it needs updating, still has some excellent advice and useful forms for groups planning an event.

You can find the handout here: Successful! Event Planning.

At the Turning of the Tide

It always amazes me how small things can just turn life on its side. In this case, this Costochondritis or whatever–life has been reduced to managing the pain and trying to get simple things around the house accomplished. One day I’m all ambition, going to do ALL THE THINGS!, and the next, I’m just trying to make it to the next minute. Life suddenly shrinks to simple daily needs.

I was hospitalized last Tuesday with severe chest pain and breathing problems. There were further complications when I had an allergic reaction to some medicine they gave me. I was released after a day, with a tentative diagnosis (Costochonritis–the inflammation in the joints between the cartilages that join the ribs to the breastbone), some pain pills, and instructions to follow up with my primary doctor for further testing next week. The pain is still there, but tests ruled out cardiac issues, so I got sent back home.

I should be grateful that this isn’t a heart problem, but OTOH, people are more understanding about a heart attack than about some weird-ass chest joint inflammation virus which just feels like a heart attack.

I’m seeing the doctor on Wednesday, probably for more testing to make absolutely sure this isn’t a kidney issue. The nurse said that this is physical therapy that can help and since I have decent insurance, I might give that a shot. I’ve had other issues in the past (usually injuries) that physical therapy has improved.

NEW!! EDIT: Doctor’s diagnosis is Tietze syndrome, which is Costochonritis’ mean cousin. The two are quite similar and both involve chest inflamation, but Tietze’s has some localized swelling as well. Further testing determined that this is NOT a kidney issue, for which I am grateful, but dang, I still hurt. I’m scheduled for Physical Therapy until this thing runs its course. Life’s going to slow down for a bit while I recover.

What gets me is that this pain which reduces me to tears and foul language is called “benign.” Supposedly, Costochondritis is usually caused by injury (a fall, a car accident, overtraining at the gym), but none of that applies to me. I walk a bit and swim about three times a week, being very careful NOT to push things because it’s easy to get injured when obese.

However, the doctor said it could also be a virus, which might make more sense, as I get all the weird ones. And somehow this ties in with anxiety, which yes, that definitely has been a big factor in my life lately.

Extremely depressed about all this. I felt like I was starting to make friends around here, make some progress, but now? Who knows? My biggest concern is stupid: I don’t know what to do about my new tent. Should I try to sell it? Should I just wait and hope things even out in the next year or so? First I suppose I need more information from the doctor. Besides, it is tough making good decisions while writhing in pain.

Anyway, hobbies are being shifted into low gear for the time being. I was already starting to pull back from my SCA-stuff because I know I will be needed down in Texas more due to my father’s illness. I can still do local things (and since we’re central, local includes several nearby groups), and keep playing with my little projects, but I’ll be more of a background presence. I’ve had to do this before (which no doubt explains my lack of awards) but real life comes first.

Incidentally, these kind of regular life mishaps are one of the reasons why I encourage SCA newbies to NOT focus on awards, peerages, and other such things. Life happens. To Everyone. To some of us, it happens a bit more. If you are in this hobby for more than a few years, there WILL be times you have to step away. Marriage, moves, new jobs or your current job gets busy. Money troubles come up. People have kids. Parents get sick and require care. That’s just how life works. And the SCA is a HOBBY. A game. And when Life gets Real, you put the game aside and deal with what you need to deal with. The game will still be there when you get back.

Unfortunately, the way the SCA works, there can be set-backs for stepping away. People forget you, they forget what you have done, no matter how hard you may have worked over the years. It is what it is, and honestly, most social hobbies are like that. Which is why I tell people to find what makes them happy in this hobby and cherish that aspect. There is so much to love about what we do, and those things will still be there when you come back.

As for me, I’m not leaving, but just slowing down for awhile. And don’t worry, still writing my poems and doing research!

This Old Thing

This was going to be a “Help, fashion emergency, should I wear this old thing or my standby Anglo-Norman garb that everyone has already seen this weekend?” but since the Calontir Coronation got pushed back a week due to the impending Ice-pocalypse, I should have time to finish something else, so I’m just posting these because I have so few pictures of myself in Japanese garb.

At my size, I feel a bit self-conscious wearing it. My body type is 100% Hungarian-American Good Peasant Stock–we’ll live during those famines!–and utterly lacks the narrow-shouldered, slim silhouette common to the Japanese. Which is why I like to make and wear garb of various cultures and not just Japanese. I do look better in European styles.

I’m wearing this as a kosode (“small-sleeved” kimono), but it was originally made as an uchikake (worn open over kosode) some 12 years ago. I’ve gain a lot of weight since then, so it doesn’t fit properly. It should be more baggy, actually, with very wide panels. There are some design things I would do differently now because I know better, but this wasn’t bad for an early work. While the Chinese brocade I’m wearing is modern, it’s not too far off from what might be worn–the Japanese DID import Chinese brocade. Besides, this was on sale and affordable.

I am wearing two kosode underneath–it’s cold here. They wore narrow obi (belts) during that time, just below the waistline, similar to how men wear obi now. This one has some interfacing to stiffen it up a bit, but time has softened it and I need to make a new one.

The wimple-like thing is called a zukin (I’ve written a few times about those–this one is a sode-zukin). My short and modern haircut just doesn’t go with medieval garb (of any country) at all, so I always wear some kind of head covering. Fortunately, it was common for upper-class women to take partial Buddhist vows, so you can wear zukin with fancier garments, although they are much more commonly used with lower-class or monastic garb.

01122017_moi_kosode_kawaii_large

SCA Plans for 2017

There’s a meme going around Facebook asking “What would you like to see me do more of in the SCA in 2017?” I was going to post it myself, but my husband said it would be a waste of time. “Who cares,” he said, “what other people want you to do? You’re already doing plenty!”

He has a point. So instead, I present a list of things I’m actually working on in 2017.

woman-writing

(Picture: 北国五色墨』「おいらん “High-Ranking Courtesan” (Oiran), from the series Five Shades of Ink in the Northern Quarter (Hokkoku goshiki-zumi), Kitagawa Utamaro (Japanese, 1753?–1806) Part of the collection in the Metropolitan Museum, New York, USA)

Service

My knight, Sir David Dragonhawk, taught me that service to your local group is vital, because the local groups are the backbone of every SCA Kingdom.

I’m continuing to serve as the Chatelaine for the Shire of Cum an Iolair in the SCA Kingdom of Calontir. We are located in the suburbs just south of Kansas City, an area with a lot of population growth, so we get a number of SCAdians moving in, as well as the occasional very new person. Because there are so many active groups in the KC area, the bulk of what I do is try to guide these people to the resources they need, some of which are in the other groups near us.

My usual event service is volunteering for troll/gate, not only in our Shire, but for other nearby groups if I am available for that event.

I just recently became part of the Lanner Herald committee, which is working on cataloging the ceremonies of Calontir (peerages, investitures, coronations, that sort of thing). Right now, that involves mostly data entry. I’m hoping to get a chance to write a ceremony eventually. In the meantime, I should learn a lot from assisting in this project.

I’m also trying to comment more for Heraldry entries on the SCA OSCAR system. I’m not great at heraldry (so much to learn!), but I can help with the Japanese names, especially if someone is looking for something not covered in the usual sources.

Teaching

One of the greatest things about the SCA is how people share their knowledge and techniques. In the real world, you usually have to pay quite a bit to learn some of the skills that people share for free (or cost of materials) in the SCA. So teaching is a way to give back to the community.

It’s also really difficult for me. I’m a hot mess of anxiety if I have to speak up in public. It may be Imposter Syndrome? OTOH, my handouts tend to be excellent, though. But I need to push through the fear and get my butt out there.

Classes I Plan to Teach in 2017:

1. Kosode Construction Tips and Tricks (documented Japanese stitches, getting that collar on straight, getting lining to lie flat, issues on proportion, etc)–scheduled for Clothiers’ Tailor Track
2. Introduction to Shodo–Japanese calligraphy. My (non-SCA) shodo teacher has been urging me to teach this, and I’ve been gathering materials. Venue is an issue, as I need adult-sized tables and free-standing chairs (not picnic tables).
3. Let’s Tanka!–because Japanese poetry is awesome and anyone can do it.
4. Let’s Renga!–because Japanese poetry is even more awesome when you do it with your friends while drinking.
5. Poetry in Everyday Life–using the Japanese concepts of yugen and mono no aware, I’d like to help students notice the intricacies of small details (the cobweb on the window sill, a single leaf remaining amidst bare branches) and how to use those details to construct poems.

I’d also love to do a class about Japanese Courtiers, but I’m not sure if anyone would be interested. Most people focuses the Samurai, and while they are fascinating, they have not been a main area of study for me.

This blog is also a teaching tool of sorts, and I plan to post here regularly with bits of research, answered questions, and poetry.

Have Fun, Make Stuff, Learn

Wow, I have such a long list of stuff I want to do! ALL THE THINGS!! Finances limit me to the materials on hand, but fortunately, I’m a hoarder with a lot of materials. What is on my plate at this moment is:

Lives of Famous Women Project: Cecilia de Gatisbury is doing a photography project recreating Richard Tessards’ illuminations of Giovanni Boccaccio’s Lives of Famous Women. The illuminations were done between 1488 and 1496. I have volunteers to do Cornificia, a Poetess. She is 1st Century BC Roman, but is portrayed in 15th century attire. I have not tried to make a dress from this era before, so it will be an interesting challenge. I will be making a dress, underdress, cloak, veil, and felt shoes.

Japanese garb: I put on a lot of weight and most of my old Japanese garb no longer fits, so I’m making new Japanese garb. I’d like to have a court-worthy outfit finished this year, plus some simple lower-class camp garb (kosode, mobakama, ichime-gasa). I’d like to experiment some with construction techniques, reusing vintage kimono silk, or trying dyeing and fabric painting for embellishment.

Norse garb: my man needs his trousers! Alfgeirr has been after me to make a couple of pair of Thorsbjerg trousers for him. I didn’t get them done this year, but he’d like them by Lilies War next summer. He could also use some new tunics, a hat, and a coat. For myself, I’d like to make an apron-dress. Since I’ve sewn a lot in this style over the years, it’s just a question of fitting in the time to sew and learning more about embellishment (embroidery style, card-woven trim).

Fiber Arts: Some of this ties in with the sewing–fiber arts is a “dabbler” area for me. I want to play more with card-weaving and kumihimo, and learn the basics of sashiko stitching and maybe mess around some with dyes.

Calligraphy and Illumination: I’m still taking shodo lessons. Shodo is a lifetime art–there is so much to learn and do and try. I have two projects I want to complete this coming year: calliging the Iroha Poem in a variety of styles and carving some inkan (seals). I want to make a couple of European scrolls as well in 2017, either for kingdom or maybe as prize-scrolls, just to get back into practice. Calligraphy used to be my main art, but I’ve veered more towards poetry in recent years. Still, I’d like to keep my hand in.

Poetry: I’m in the middle of my first 100-poem sequence and wow, it is more difficult than I thought. So I plan to do another one in 2017 (or two, if I can manage it). I was playing around with the idea of straying into European poetic forms, but right now I have my hands full with the Japanese and Chinese. There is a boatload of background reading I have to do, since I have gotten my hands on some translated medieval poetic treatises. This is research heaven, but it also takes a lot of time.

Language study: Japanese language study continues at its slow, self-study pace. I’d be doing this even without the SCA, though, because it is fun.

Research: I want to learn more about the different medieval schools of Japanese Buddhism, as well as how Confucian and Daoist philosophy became integrated into the mainstream of Japanese society. There’s also been more published on nikki bungaku (diary literature), which I would like to get caught up on.

Events

Besides local meetings, I’d like to average an event per month in 2017, finances and health permitting.

It’s a lot, isn’t it? I prefer to dream big. I may not get to everything I want to do in 2017, but this is just a template.