The Accuracy/Accoutrements Curve and Where I’m Going

So, anyone who’s spoken to me in the last… six weeks or so, has heard me talk about what my plans are from this point. Having gotten my Laurel, I’m now thinking where I want to go. Certainly I’ve got commissions to work on and finish, and some other things that I need to complete that are long overdue. As mentioned before, I’ve got some long-standing personal projects to work on, plus more glasswork and a few other things here and there. But that’s continuing what I’ve been working on, and I feel like it’s not pushing me quite how I want.

After all, as a Laurel, shouldn’t I push myself? Shouldn’t I find new challenges that make me happy and can be used to spread more joy (and as an excuse to teach)? Something to get me out of my head and pushing ever onwards. Because, after all, How Hard Can It Be?

So what do I want to do? Well, let’s talk about what’s been going around in my head. There are two parts to this plan.

First, we’ve got the Accuracy/Accoutrements Curve, which really needs a better name. But the idea is simple – when you start out reenacting/recreating (my experience is, honestly, more the latter), you are basic. What fabric you can afford and pretty items that may not be as accurate, but still look alright. You also don’t have much. You pass the 10-foot rule, definitely. Then, as you get more involved (and grow up, getting more money, let’s be honest), you buy the bling. And maybe as you get more you focus on certain regions, with the intention (in theory) of being more accurate. As you go more accurate, you realize that the amount of jewelry you should be wearing is less than you are, and so now you’ve got some choices. Bugger.

But you look all kinds of awesome with so much metal and jewelry, don’t you? And honestly, it’s really neat to be able to go ‘all this stuff is from this particular grave/geographic site’. And we’re told (in a very basic sense) that more jewelry = high status, and so forth. It means that there’s a good amount of an excuse/reason to show off, because you *want* to look like someone of high status. (Even subconsciously.)

And I was that way for awhile, to an extent, still am. There’s some absolutely gorgeous pieces I own, and that I probably should wear more. But I’ve also been thinking about how I wear clothing, and what I want out of everything. And I realize, for most events? I’m happy wearing something fairly simple, and that I go with certain sets of jewelry more often than not. They’re pieces that make me pleased, and admittedly that I can find more quickly in the absolute mess that my kit is.

I do recreation, not reenactment – despite what I’d like to believe. I look right-ish, but not until you start looking closely, do you realize I’m not quite right. You also definitely need to know a decent amount about the period I’m working with. My *goal* is something that’s reenactment quality, but I’ve got a ways to go. Part of that process will involve streamlining what I’m after, and putting together a more cohesive, tight if you will, kit. Not wearing all my jewelry, and working on what goes with what.

So where do I go? How do I make these scattered thoughts come together? Am I making even any sense in this case?

This brings us to our second set of thoughts today – let’s talk clothing, and how it ties in. Well, let’s go back just over a year when I saw this video. Ideas started to run through my head which haven’t left. Namely, I wanted to make this for my husband, because we’ve been talking about getting more accurate. I like the look, the few layers, and it seems like a pretty versatile outfit for what he tends to go for when not fighting. (He likes it as well, which is most important.)

This has been a project sitting in the back of my head for awhile, and it was on the list of ‘things for 2023’. As 2022 progressed, however, I’ve also been thinking about various aspects of consumption, my personal life, and streamlining – especially my mundane, personal, wardrobe. I love the idea of going almost capsule with it, and developing my personal style. It’s started, and I’m pleased with how it’s turning out, and how much I’m liking it all.

So why not carry this over to my SCA wardrobe? It feels like it would make sense to narrow down what we have as well, and to create new things we’ll be regularly wearing. I also like it on a historically accurate level, because having many, many, outfits wasn’t the norm. Wouldn’t it be better to have a few outfits, rotate them, and add more thoughtful pieces? The tentative plan, as it stands, is we’ll alternate who gets a new set of clothing each year. I need to inventory fabric as the shop gets organized, and probably will be making some choices as to the stash. We’ll likely end up wearing a good amount of wool as well, because light-weight wool is perfection.

I’m circling Hedeby more and more, and he’s looking at 10th/11th C Novgorod. Having a definite place will help with narrowing things down for projects, which helps my squirrel brain. This isn’t to say that there’s not going to be things that are modern callbacks – The Wookiee’s got the Overlook Hotel carpet charted for me, and I want to put that on something once it’s woven. But I want to go from ‘accurate-ish’ to ‘more accurate than not’. If it’s slow, that’s alright, because we’ll always be working on things, and making improvements.

It’s a challenge that I’m looking forward to, Something that should help to keep me engaged and that will allow us to grow and talk about what we’re doing and why.

It should be fun.

On Art and Generosity

I’m rather behind the times, but because of this, there’s an interview with Kalbard on Youtube that can be found here:

I have long said that one of the best things about the SCA is the generosity of the artists. People in general, but it’s most notable when it comes to art.

This generosity is amazing. It really is. Mind blowing at times. Your friends, your chosen family, your kingdom, people you may or may not know put time, effort, money, and heart into creating works of beauty that we treasure. Pieces of art that we show off in our homes, on our bodies, in our everyday lives. Works that tell stories of great deeds, hard work, or even just special memories that can be as simple as a good day in the park with friends.

But it comes with a downside, and I think it’s not one that is spoken enough about. There’s an unspoken, or rarely spoken about, status quo for artists that indicates you should give gifts, you should be wiling to share your art, and as for getting compensation for it… well… that’s not necessarily a thing. You should do the art because you love it, and that should be enough. Additionally, saying no may not be something that artists feel they can do, because the requestor may take it poorly (if they even do take that answer) or because they feel that not taking it will hurt them in the long run.

Now, this doesn’t extend to things like trades. When both parties are making something the other will use, and each thinks they got a good deal? That’s something else. Also, if this doesn’t apply to you – and you’re able to churn out art regularly without having to worry about the emotional cost? Awesome! Carry on.

(I’ll also be the first one to say that I’ve been guilty of this – I’ve requested art of people and then didn’t properly acknowledge the person making it or try to reciprocate in some ways. I’ve been trying to learn from my mistakes and get better, and it’s a process. I’d like to think I’ve improved on my past mistakes, but I also know that I have a long way to go.)

(I’m also pretty sure I have some gifts/prizes that are buried in my workroom and unfinished.)

So what am I talking about? And why now? Well, much of it comes from having spent the last 12+ months following a lot of creative people in the mundane world, and some talking with SCA artisans. I think that much of the discussion that’s happened in the one sphere can carry over to the other. One thing that seems to be often discussed is that artistic endeavors are not properly valued by and large. And I do mean valued in a monetary sense. There’s a perception that it’s not as valuable because artists have other jobs, this is a hobby, or simply that some work is perceived as women’s work and therefore have less monetary value. (And no, I won’t be hearing arguments against that last one.)

What I’m talking about here is the culture of expecting art, or taking it for granted. Expecting that you’ll get certain art/scrolls/clothing/etc because of your status, or something that you’ve done. That artists have the time and ability to do the work that they are asked to do, without some form of compensation. And the idea that they’re going to be making art no matter what their personal limitations or problems may be does a disservice to everyone, and it’s nothing but harmful in the long run. for many of us, there’s an emotional (or at least psychological) element to creating art, and when that’s forced, it’s brutal and can be really hard to balance out. It eventually reaches a point of burnout, where it doesn’t make us happy, and it’s just a slog. (And eventually, tied into this, let’s talk the strangeness that can be the mindset for one who would like to become a Laurel and getting their work out there.)

Artists are humans, not machines. They have lives and jobs, and when not getting paid for that art, it may fall lower down on the list of priorities. This is fine. this is normal. This needs to be understood. Also, as we continue to take art for granted, artists will be less inclined to make more of it, because why continue to do work for someone that doesn’t appreciate it?

Over the years, I’ve heard stories about nearly killing oneself over clothing commissions to get no feedback/thanks/assistance, of people doing commissions because the person who requested it just couldn’t take no for an answer and then gets really pushy the longer it goes on, of getting asked to do things like largesse or commissions but not being offered anything in return and having it held against them when it’s not possible because of time/cost/etc.

So how do we handle this? Well, I think we need to start by talking about this. We need to have a very serious discussion that addresses the role of the artist and how they work. Artists need to feel comfortable with saying ‘no’, and people need to accept that as a final answer. When art is given or received, it should be appreciated and the maker needs to be asked what they’d like – is just word enough? Do they want art or something, or just favors to cash in later. We’re adults, and while we may not be good at our words, that doesn’t mean we can’t be better. At least we can always work on it.

This post is brought to you by years of hearing artists talk about how much time/effort/energy they’ve poured into projects only to get nothing as a thank you, or half a comment somewhere. And how utterly frustrating it is. I mention above having spent awhile listening/reading/etc non-SCA people talk about taking their work for granted, or undervalued. I think that all of us need to step back and contemplate how we interact with or function as artists, and see how we can help our fellows to enjoy making art, instead of dreading it.

For now, if you’re an artist – do something selfish, just for you. If you’re a commissioner/lover of art – buy something premade from someone who does good work and don’t question the price of it (unless you think it’s too low – then talk to the artist!). Buy it and show it off.

Nalbound Hat with Appliqué for Ceara of Novgorod

The final hat!

I’ve been promising this for too long, and here we go!

So, back in August, a request came to my Laurel that clothing be made for her sister-in-law, who was getting jump-laurelled. I was asked to make the hat, and while it’s been awhile since I finished any nalbinding, I was more than happy to do so.

With much cursing and frustration (I’ll be honest), the result is honestly one of my favorite things in the last few years.

Continue reading “Nalbound Hat with Appliqué for Ceara of Novgorod”

Let’s Talk Glass!

Some of the results of a week of intensive glass fun.

So, a few months ago, at the end of April, I learned how to make glass. It was more geared towards a studio setting, but there’s plenty of knowledge to be had and damn it, I’m still nearly overloaded on it. The reason for that is simple, and it’s the fact that I adore glass. I love it in all it’s forms, in how much you can do with it, and how varied the applications are.

Some of the photos and things I learned there are below. It’s caused some dangerous rabbit holes to start to form, and I can’t wait to see where things go from here.

Continue reading “Let’s Talk Glass!”

Long Time, No See!



It’s certainly been a chaotic time since I last updated this page, and there’s been quite a bit that’s happened on the art front. (Also personal, but let’s not go there.)

Namely, my utter love of glass has been renewed, and I’ve also been doing more research  into specific regions. Mostly looking at Northern Europe and Hedeby/Haithabu, but I’ve also been looking at Hallstatt. In general, it’s time to start working once more on the art and research and figuring shit out.


On Event Information – Namely on Facebook

Why yes, it’s been awhile. I have projects to update here, and stuff to talk about, but as it happens life comes up and so here we are some time after the last post with a grump. One related to the SCA, to advertising for events, and to communication thereof.

When I joined the SCA, the way one found out about events was on the Kingdom website, through Yahoo Groups, and Southwind (our monthly newsletter). Facebook existed, but by no means had the overwhelming majority of communication moved there. Now, about fifteen years later as things have changed, I find myself getting more and more frustrated with how information is disseminated about events. (I cannot speak to other kingdoms, so this is limited to my experiences here in Atenveldt. This post is also not about anything other than event listing and information associated with said events.)

Before we go further, there’s something that I think bears repeating. Endlessly.

Facebook is not designed with you in mind. You do not pay for the service, and you do not bring any form of monetary value to the company other than as a pair of eyes that can be sold. Therefore, there is no value in making the platform easier for you to use.

Let us start by saying this: not everyone uses Facebook. The reasons for this do not matter, but those who are posting events/things need to be aware that not everyone will see information pertinent to the event and so you run the very real risk of people not being aware of what’s going on. Even if an event is public, finding it on Facebook without an account can be… challenging.

For those who do use Facebook, it can still be quite hard to find information on events. Upcoming things are not always pushed to those invited/attending (unless you’re willing to pay, and even then) so it can be hard to miss the information as it comes. Additionally, Facebook’s feed moves quite quickly and depending on what platform you’re using what you see could be quite different.

With these basic issues, why keep using it? Honestly, I think that mostly it’s because it’s what people are used to. They’re used to finding events on that platform and having them accessible there. I suspect it’s also got to do with a perception amongst many that events will run themselves, and people will attend no matter what. So sharing the event information is perhaps a secondary concern.

It shouldn’t be, though. Getting the event details out to people is the most important part of making sure they attend. They let them know if the event needs anything (like prizes) or if there are any details that would necessitate changing their plans or schedules (like certain parts of an event being held on certain days). Our kingdom is small, but traveling from one end to the other can be four to five hours, and that requires logistical planning – especially when one has commitments for their job, life, etc to work around.

Now, is there a perfect way to get everything to everyone? No. There’s always going to be someone who complains about not seeing event listings, no matter the location they’re at. But we shouldn’t say ‘well, this hasn’t been used or worked properly for awhile’ and move to a service that limits access to it.

At the very least – having complete information on the Kingdom’s website means that anyone can pull it up and look at all the information they may want or need. Email has the advantage of being able to be filtered so it can be received and viewed as desired. Facebook is going to be the choice for many, so I’m not saying we abandon it entirely, merely make sure it’s used equally with other options to ensure that the information gets to everyone equally.

New Year, New Stuff

So, I swear, this isn’t dead. It’s been a weird second half of the year, but I have at least completed some things that I’m pleased with. My Laurel was Queen, so that meant a chunk of brain energy was diverted there, but at least I got some work done. Did her Queen’s Grace scrolls, and worked on clothing for various people, as well as turned out some naalbinding. Must do more naalbinding.

I also went for Kingdom Arts and Sciences Champion. It was… Oh, let’s not lie – it was an unqualified disaster. For a variety of reasons. However, I’m really glad that I did it – even if it means that there’s now a larger plan in the works for the 2019 competition. One sort of started over dinner the night of the competition and that I won’t regret as much (even if the book I’m eying for the matter is currently pushed back for the second printing).

I’m actually pleased with the documentation that was submitted, though – so I’ll be posting that in the next few weeks.

The highlight, though, was that I returned to my first love of SCA art. Lampwork. Gods, that’s so much fun…

And now, the Estrella prep continues.

Spring Project Roundup

Atenveldt Coronation is done and behind us, which is good. My laurel, Ian’ka, and her husband, Ivan, stepped up as Queen and King, and so things were pretty busy. When it’s members of your household who are reigning, things are always mostly on.

Okay, really busy. But we made them work and it came together really well. And then I ditched my household at Champions to hit the Iris van Herpen show at the Phoenix Art Museum, which was very much worth it.

Anyway, back to the art and projects. Somewhere in the middle of all of the madness, I decided that I’d like to start making a list of things that I’d finished. After all, it really wasn’t much, right? Last year, I was horrible about making things and getting them finished. The weasels were breeding, and I needed to find a way to help counter them.

It ended up being a pleasant surprise, because so far, here’s what I’ve made this year.

Continue reading “Spring Project Roundup”

On Brain Weasels and Their Ilk

In an effort to make sure I’m talking about more than the actual art I make, and also about process, let’s talk about brain weasels. (which, incidentally, are what’s kept this post in draft form for too long!)


Anyone who thinks there is little of anything but joy in art really has no experience in the field. Yes, it can be fun and rewarding and relaxing and enjoyable, but it’s never always that way. Ever.

Brain weasels (a term I first heard from a dear friend) are a general blanket term/idea for those ideas that sabotage being able to complete work.

Continue reading “On Brain Weasels and Their Ilk”