Real Name: Ren Finnemore

SCA Name: Renata Rouge

SCA title: Her Ladyship

Years in the SCA: 18

Where did you start, what was your first event?

I started in the Shire of Hartstone. My very first event was an Ice Dragon in the Barony of Rhydderich Hael. I remember what I wore. At the time, I was very proud of it, and had no idea how inaccurate it was, lol. It was a black dress from Gypsy Rose, with a red velvet corset. And the first person to come talk to me was Mistress Gillian Llewellyn of Ravenspur. I was in awe of the pageantry and all the merchants! I was hooked.

What is your persona?

14th century French, the wife of a wool merchant, but I do a lot of Viking age, we also participate with another historical group outside of the SCA.

Why did you pick this persona?

It’s kind of a funny story, really. I wanted to register my name, Renata, which I had traced to Eastern Europe. I told the herald I was willing to go with whatever culture we needed to pass the name, as long as it wasn’t French. And it wound up being French. So now I try to wear it with pride.

Do you have any group or household affiliations?

I am a member of House Laughing Fox, and protégé to Master Brian of Leicester as well as apprentice to Master Emrys Eustace hight Broom. I am also a member of the Sisterhood of Bellona, which is kind of a support group a few of us started, with the goal of making events easier on anyone who has anxiety, physical disabilities, sensory overload, etc. We have an online Facebook group that we use to network and for online peer support, and we also have been working on ideas for events; for example, one of our members made arrangements last year to have a quiet space set up at Ice Dragon. You may also see “Bellona Boxes” around at events, which are stocked with activities to help people decompress, cough drops, tea, new mittens, band-aids, (really, almost anything the group can think of to help make an event easier for everyone attending.) If you, or anyone you know, is interesting in being a part of the group, let me know!!

Tell us a little bit about your life outside the SCA.

Family is the most important aspect of my life. We have a combined family of six, including three adult children; Kit (known as Catalina de Luna in the SCA,) who is currently living in Northshield, Kenzie (known in the SCA as Mara of Hartstone,) who lives at home and helps keep after me at events, and Keagan, who is finishing up a 4 year degree at SUNY Alfred State. Aside from the bipeds, we’ve been rescuing and fostering cats for the last few years, which provide us with endless entertainment. I used to work as a victims’ advocate, and then in addiction recovery; the human services fields are not adequately funded in the US and I found myself working between 70-80 hours a week, with being on-call 24-7 indefinitely. I much prefer working with felines, I have to be honest!

What SCA activities do you or have you participated in?

I think most people know me as an artisan and for thrown weapons. At some point in time, I have tinkered with every activity, other than rapier. Sadly, I am not physically able to do some of the things I once did, such as fighting or working in a kitchen for any amount of time. I miss those things, but I have found other venues and methods of maintaining involvement.

Tell us a little bit about your SCA experience (jobs, offices, duties, etc.).

Currently, I am serving a term as the Kingdom Minister for Arts and Sciences. I am just finishing up my first year and it really has been a great experience, thus far. Æthelmearc is blessed to have some amazing, talented artisans and it has been a pleasure working with them! On a smaller scale, I have served as an officer in different capacities for the shires I have lived in.

When you started in the SCA what goals did you have?

My first few years, I think I was too overwhelmed by the breadth of activities to really have any tangible goals. It took some time to find my niche and balance. I think the one real goal that I’ve kept throughout my SCA tenure has been to create lasting friendships, and in that, I have absolutely succeeded.

What are your goals now?

Right now, my main focus is on the Kingdom Arts and Sciences and how to best serve our artisans. My predecessors, Master Fridrikr and Mistress Orianna, left big shoes to fill and while I can never live up to their legacy, I do hope to see it flourish. They began the annual Æthelmearc A&S Faire and Queen’s Prize Tourney, as well as the annual Æthelmearc Championship. It is my goal to see those events continue and grow.

If you could accomplish only one thing in the SCA in the next year, what would it be?

I want to win the thrown weapons Glowstick Tourney at Pennsic, lol. Last year, I made it into the final round, the only female left throwing and the only Æthelmearcian left throwing. Master Antonio, my lord, has won it countless times. I really, really want the bragging rights for winning it next year!

What advice would you give to a new person in the SCA, or if new yourself what question would you ask and who would you ask it of?

Don’t talk yourself out of trying everything you have interest in. You may never know what you wind up excelling at! My first few years, I swore up hill and down I had no interest in scribal. And it wound up being something I loved. I also swore I’d never get into embroidery, and, well, that’s my main arts focus! Let yourself try new things. Don’t look at something and automatically think, “I could never do that,” because ALL of us have started at the beginning and worked our way up by practicing and trying new things. You may not see all of our failures, but fail we did! It’s how you learn and grow.

If you magically woke up with an SCA talent you do not already have, what would it be?

Sign heraldry. It would make Court so much easier for those around me because I wouldn’t endlessly be asking, “Wait? Who? What award are they giving??” No, seriously, I think having silent heralds is an AMAZING service to our community and I very much respect what they do and wish I could help!

Don’t be modest, what award or honor would you like to receive above all else and why?

I would love a Court Baronage just so I had something heavy to hold veils on my head, lol! Actually, I have kind of hit all of my award goals for the moment; I have a Fleur, the grant level award for arts and sciences, and my White Horn, which is the grant level award for thrown weapons. I suppose I am still pursuing my Cornelian, which is the token for courtesy… but the only thing holding me back from that is my own tongue, lol. I don’t really put much thought to other awards, really. As far as honors, the only real goal in that respect is to someday serve on a Queen’s guard, as that is something I have never done.

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