Years in the SCA: 14
How did you find out about the SCA? When I was in college at the University at Buffalo, I had a friends in my co-ed service fraternity (both local and scattered throughout Æ and the East) and Baron Fergus, a friend of my housemates. While in grad school, the Hael’s fight practice was a few floors down from my office on campus (as a computer lab supervisor), and I’d hang out and watch the fighters & fencers. Yet, I did not play at the time nor became a member of the SCA because of my heavy involvement in Alpha Phi Omega.
Where did you start, what was your first event? My official start in SCA was in 2007, when I moved to a very rural part of Coppertree for a teaching job. I knew practically no one in the area, my involvement with APO was winding down after being a section chair for 5 years, and I needed something to do. As SCA had been an long-time, back-burner interest, it was time to check it out. I would travel to Coppertree to watch the fighters at practice and have some social time. Before leaving the Shire, A&s nights had restarted, too.
When I returned to Syracuse, I sought out the Barony and started attending their weekly A&S meetings. The first Æ event I attended was an Æthelmearc Æcademy in Coppertree in the summer of 2008. I was only there for 1/2 the day. I remember taking a kennings class from Master Fridrikr and a bardic sharing class from Sir Haakon. There was a quiet moment before leaving when I saw a monarch butterfly flutter across a grassy field between buildings, which was the impetus for my poem “Butterfly on the Battlefield” —written 2 days later while proctoring a Regents exam.
What is your persona? My persona is Sinti, circa 1350-1400 in Southwestern Germany.
Why did you pick this persona? Partially honoring some family stories, I remember growing up and partially because nomadic people could pick up customs and culture from the areas in which they traveled/settled.
Do you have any group or household affiliations? I am currently the landed Baroness for the Barony of Delftwood. I was a member of a household for a few years, which disbanded in 2014. Now, my SCA family is Master Alaxandair and Mistress Maria — my SCA parents — and all of my siblings, aunts, uncles, and all the other strange combinations of our awesomely tangled family web.
Tell us a little bit about your life outside the SCA. In everyday life, I help teachers with educational technologies in their schools and classrooms. I also am a merit badge counselor for Scouts BSA and was an advisor for APO at SUNY Oswego prior to COVID. Oh, and of course, I spend time playing games and watching movies with Ixac and spend lots of cuddle time with Elmo and Jupiter!
What SCA activities do you or have you participated in? Arts & Sciences, including some fiber arts (kumihimo & inkle weaving), copper enameling, bardic arts, and calligraphy & illumination. Marshal Activities, including thrown weapons and archery. Webministry. (more below) Heraldic arts – helping others with name and device submissions.
Tell us a little bit about your SCA experience (jobs, offices, duties, etc.)
At the Baronial level, I am currently Delftwood’s Baroness, and have been a former webminister, Minister of the Lists, unofficial scribe (taking minutes for 7+ years), did an extremely brief stint as Chronicler.
At Kingdom level, I am currently the Historian and was the Kingdom Webminister for 5 years.
I am also the current webminister for Their Royal Highnesses Byron & Ariella, the Historian (as it’s easy to be one’s own webminister 🙂), the Kingdom Earl Marshal, the Kingdom Thrown Weapons Marshal, the Kingdom Chatelaine, ÆLeads, the Kingdom’s Moneyers Guild, and Blackstone Raid. In the past I also have been webminister for the Kingdom webminister’s Office (again, it’s easy to one’s own webminister!), Kingdom Arts & Sciences, TRMs Tindal and Etain, and Blackstone Mountain.
So, as Kingdom Historian, I am currently working on a few different projects. One is creating a Book of Lists, which with the help of Baroness Antoinette and Lady Genevieve, we are working on creating officer lists dating back to the beginning of Æthelmearc. Another major project will be updating the Kingdom’s history paper, so it is brought to the current time. It currently ends in AS LI (2016). (If anyone has anything they wish to be included, please send me an email!)
As Kingdom webminister, I did many things, including keeping the site up-to-date. Under my tenure, the site was revamped, moved twice, kept the email forwarders in order, received officer reports and in-turn sent reports to the Society webminister, created the icon system for the Kingdom Events Calendar with THN Rhys and Mistress Aine (the other 2 Musketeers!), created and maintained the Pennsic Periscope, set up ÆTube, created the pictoral timeline of our Royalty, helped train and mentor webministers (and anyone desiring to learn to build a website), helped institute Zoom with THL Sumayya when the Great Plague came to our lands, assisted with ÆLive and Æthereal Courts, and instituted Google for Æ. I also have a new Zip Code finder ready to go once there is data, as this is one of the most requested features that was lost from our old website.
Also, during the kingdom’s jaunt into Zoom, Sumayya and I were training people to use Zoom and helped with consults from other Kingdoms, answering questions about Virtual Courts and how to effectively use and moderate Zoom rooms (as Æ was first!!).
As the Earl Marshal’s webminister, I also maintain the marshal database. In general, once a website is created, it needs to be maintained. Each site has it’s own personality, so what “goes into it” is based on the site, but the maintenance of these other sites takes only a few minutes here and there. The main builds, though, can range from a few hours to a week or so, depending on how much data is needed to be posted.
When you started in the SCA what goals did you have? To learn. Everything and anything — absorb it all… just like a sponge!
What are your goals now? To continue learning. To continue teaching. To continue being of service and fostering others to do service. (& to not have helium hand) and to continue having fun with what activities I participate in (and encourage others to try them out!)
The webminister position was open in the Barony and I submitted a Letter of Intent (with the encouragement of many of my friends) to be the next Baronial officer and was turned away (coupled with a second retracted offer) in a fashion that would make many people leave forever. I am ever thankful that my friends were there to lift my spirits and that I did not walk away.
After the unexpected shutdown ends, what is one thing you would like to accomplish in the SCA? I would like to attend some larger events outside of Æthelmearc, like Gulf Wars or Birka.
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?
1. Don’t be afraid of people in shiny hats or people with titles like Duke, Duchess, King, Queen, Sir, Master, or Mistress. Every single person in our Society started playing at one point and were in the same place you are today.
2. Ask ALL the questions.
4. Try ALL the things.
5. You don’t need to be good at all the things.
6. Only do the things that you enjoy doing.
7. If you are able, help with set up and tear down. You will make friends and many hands make light work.
8. Ask about / know the rituals for elevations. Be aware of what takes place so there are no surprises to you while watching one for the first time.
9. Always say thank you.
If you magically woke up with an SCA talent you do not already have, what would it be? Pattern drafting. I could then make “all the garb” (and other really awesome fabric-inspired projects)!
If you had to join the SCA in another “era” (1970, 1980, etc.), what “era” would you pick and why? 1980s. I have this vague recollection of seeing fighting somewhere in Thescorre as a kid. I wish my family had stopped to see it that day, rather than rubbernecking in the car. I think I’d have been a member 30 years earlier if that had happened. Then instead of hearing all the stories of what happened in these years, I’d have seen some of it first-hand.
A Fleur. I have been doing arts and crafts my whole life. Now, I have learned new art forms because of playing in the SCA and have found some niches — like micrography.
If you could pick one thing you would like to see more of in the SCA, what would it be? Openmindedness.
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