Real Name: Gail Kellogg Hope

SCA Name & title: Mistress Abigail Kelhoge

Years in the SCA: about 10

How did you find out about the SCA?

I grew up in 18th c. reenacting and knew about “those Renaissance Faire people” but never considered going. Over the years I met several reenactors who encouraged me to check it out, and assured me that it wasn’t elf ears & turkey legs (awesome, but not what I was looking for). My husband & I tried to get in touch with Thescorre but never managed to make it to the meetings or practices. I asked for help on FB and an old school friend connected me to Katroina of the Groves in Heartstone, we took her to lunch and made a friend.

Where did you start, what was your first event?

We started attending Hartstone’s Friday fight practice and A&S Sundays. This far out I can’t remember which event was first; I think it was Crown Tournament or Celtic Fire Festival, but it could have been Ice Dragon. I do remember that we had a great time at Celtic Fire Festival and I had a great conversation with then TRM’s Kallista & Andreas which made us want to stay in the SCA. We’ve been playing with Thescorre for the last 5 years.

What is your persona?

Technically you mean? Early 14th c. lady from Essex England, though the name dates to the 15th century. Really I’m a costume history fanatic and a research junky so my kit does not match my persona, and my activities definitely don’t align with a landed noblewoman living on the shores of the English Channel. Most of what I do is more in line with people who had to practice their profession outside the town limits.

Why did you pick this persona?

I love the East Anglian school of Illumination. Yup. That’s it. Found some manuscripts I liked and said, “that’s what I want to look like!” and built a kit.

Do you have any group or household affiliations?

Right now travel is difficult, but we are part of the Barony of Thescorre. I am heavily involved with the AEthelmearc Scribal College, and I’m the instigator of the AEthelmearc Parchment Project which is a group of people who are interested in the process of making and using parchment for C&I and bookbinding.

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

I’ve been and done a lot of things, but right now I’m a stay-at-home wife and mother. We live on a farm with a large wood lot, and I keep angora rabbits and chickens. I enjoy spinning yarn and posting on Facebook. We are homeschooling our son this year.

What SCA activities do you or have you participated in?

Most of my SCA focus has been in the Arts & Sciences or purely social; I’m here to have fun, make cool stuff, and meet friends. Within the A&S arena I have done and taught a lot of things and perhaps gotten good at a few. I’ve cooked feasts, made award scrolls, assembled some books, sewn clothes for myself & others, helped people with their own research, spun well, woven badly, and most recently focused on the AEthelmearc Parchment Project (ask me about the AEPP)…

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

Well, since you asked so nicely, I’ll tell you about the AEPP! The goal of the AEthelmearc Parchment Project is to help people who are interested in making parchment learn to make it, and to help scribes who are interested in working on it have access to it. Parchment and vellum are expensive and considering the work that goes into it that is understandable; but our scribes donate their time, skill, and materials to make beautiful artwork which they give away. I wanted to work on parchment in my own scrolls and realized that a hide makes a lot of 8×10’s or 5×7’s. It is within my ability and resources to help my fellow scribes be able to work on a period correct substrate and not break the bank while doing it. It is a small way that I can participate in the medieval concept of Patronage without straining my own finances. That is something everyone should consider because it makes our Kingdom richer. How can you be a Patron?

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

When I first started in the SCA I had no idea what the SCA was. It is definitely not a jouried reenactment. I started with a boatload of terrible advice, misinformation and cluelessness. That poor lady had no idea what she was walking into. My goals were a good kit, find the holes in material culture, and change the world.

What are your goals now?

Now? I just want 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep…. Oh, you meant in the SCA… This year my goal is to continue working on the AEPP. To that end, I am hosting a free workshop here at my farm in southern Thescorre on October 19th & 20th. Master Robert l’Étourdi and I will be holding a joint workshop on parchment making and ink making, finishing out the weekend with several pieces of dyed parchment. Will it be a success or a disaster? Come find out! We will have the workshop officially scheduled by the time this interview is posted, so if you are interested please contact me on FB or via e-mail. I also want to finish my husband’s new kit and sewing for the kid is perpetual. Learn about 13th c. panel painting. Maybe some tapestry. Better content & quality for my SCA-related YouTube videos -OOH! SHENANIGANS OPPORTUNITY! I’m definitely not out to change the world.

As a new Peer, what do you hope to accomplish in the first year?

Learn how the Laurel list works (electronic technology is not my friend folks).
Avoid accidentally crushing anyone’s soul. Instigate more experimental archeology shenanigans.

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

Better parchment.

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?

Give yourself time to grow here. Almost everyone who is new wants to do everything and have the shiny stuff real quick, but a tree takes time to bear fruit, a jewel takes time to work and polish from raw stone, and you need time in the Society to become whoever you will be here. If you give yourself that time, you may be pleasantly surprised at who you become. Have fun. It’s a game and games should be fun.

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

Singing. Can’t carry a tune to save my life. Doesn’t mean I won’t inflict that inability on others occasionally.

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

Well… Gareth & Juliana saw fit to put the pointy Laurel leaves on my head, so now I’m looking forward to having fun, making more friends, upping my pretty objects game, and instigating experimental archaeology shenanigans for the next few decades. Self-imposed social pressure says I should think about going down the service path, but realistically I’m happy in Art Camp.

Any additional comments?

The SCA is a fun hobby, and a long game. If you play it as a long game, you’ll be rewarded by years of enjoyment and personal growth.

Interested in participating in Populace in Focus? Find out here: 

Participate now – find out how!