Tuesday, December 14, 2010

AandS 50 get-together

A handful of Northshield participants gathered in the presence of Jadwiga's magnificent "tapestry" at Boar's Head in Caer Anterth Mawr. (Milwaukee WI, for the geographically challenged.) It was inspiring, as always, to get together and share.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

SUN Shines

Half a foot of snow couldn't cast a shadow on the the Stellar University of Northshield, November 13 in Nordskogen. I offered two classes, both taught in persona. (Karyn did sneak in a few comments, but not many.) The Alphabeticall Bestiary came out of the vault with a few new pictures, and Kudrun's Herball was spiffed up and repeated. The Herball features pictures from period sources and from my own gardens juxtaposed with each other. It was fun testing Torch flower (mullien).

Their Majesties saw fit to invite me into Northshield's Order of Bridget's Flame, the grant-level arts and sciences award.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Research Day

The Shire of Rokeclif enjoys occasional trips to the library for research. We met at Murphy Library at UW LaCrosse on Monday, October 4 for some persona research. The question was, "How do you choose a persona?" I provided a sheet of suggestions and some library reference service. Is this a class? Sure.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Kudrun's Herball

Poor Kudrun. She has such ambitions to put together an herbal for northern climes, but she's befuddled by the enormity of the project. Kudrun shared her frustrations (and a good helping of information about pre-13th century herbals) with the folks at Novices, Neophytes and Knaves. This is a brand-new class, taught in persona.

Aristotle Joins the SCA

Novices, Neophytes and Knaves was an excellent introduction to the SCA intended for... well... novices. There were lots of classes, an excellent period feast, and a court-with-commentary. I revamped the presentation that I did in April 2009 into a PowerPoint presentation. (This is the class that uses Aristotle's Poetics to explore SCA persona development. )

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

More heraldry

I fixed up the heraldry class done without electricity at Poor Man's Pennsic and presented it in PowerPoint to the folks at Rokeclif's A&S Night.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Heraldry for Beginners

I am not an official herald, nor do I play one on TV, but I thought it would be interesting to the modern visitors at Poor Man's Pennsic as well as newish SCA folk to learn enough about heraldry to appreciate some of the heraldic display that was visible at the event. I explained a little about the role of the herald (as battlefield CSI, among other things) and introduced a tiny bit of herald-speak. My primary hope, though, was to tell the story behind some of the displayed devices. Thanks to Anna z Pernstejna, Gerald Loosehelm, Toki Magnusson, Otes McKee, and Mechthild zur Drachenhöle for telling me about their arms.
About 7 SCA folk attended.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Digging it up...

Warriors and Warlords XVII provided the venue for yet another take on persona, though any SCA research might benefit from it. On July 10, I presented "Digging it up, Dusting it off, and Putting it away." The purpose was to provide hints and tips for SCA research, from a quick look-up (Turkey is unsuitable for my 14th-century feast. I'd better serve peacock.) to an issue of Compleat Anachronist.
The main resources for research are to ask an expert, check the library, or search the internet. All have advantages and disadvantages, and there are strategies to make the most of each source.
There's a bit of risk in each of those sources. How can you minimize the risk, to assure that your information is accurate and up-to-date?
Once you've found good information, how can you retrieve it? More importantly, how can you remember where it came from in the first place? (Hint: "the blue book on the third shelf" is not a solid bibliographic citation.)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Trivium Pursuit

Rokeclif held its third "Pie Snit" event on May first, and allowed me to host another round of Trivium Pursuit, which is a game in which teams of contestants answer questions in order to get pieces of pie. The pie pieces (purpure, argent, azure, gules, sable, vert, and or) represent the subjects in the trivium (grammar, logic, rhetoric) and the quadrivium (arithmetic, astronomy, geometry, music), all loosely defined. (Music includes all the arts; grammar includes all things literary; geometry encompasses all earth-bound science, including agriculture, nutrition, and anatomy; rhetoric includes all things political.)

Most questions include multiple-choice hints, which are offered only when no team can answer correctly without the hint. If a team wishes, it may "beg a boon", allowing it to ask a Laurel, poll the audience, use the library (the event was held in the public library of a village of 500 population), or hack the possible answers in twain.

Why do I include a game in my list of 50 classes taught? If you'd been there you wouldn't have to ask. Many times I heard, "I didn't know that!" from the audience. Other times, someone in the room might elaborate on the explanation offered.

Here are a few samples:

Grammar: Is there a recipe for ravioli in Bartolomeo Plantina's 1475 Latin cookbook?

Logic: What is a calamus?

Rhetoric: Piers Gaveston of Gascony was the real brains behind what English king's throne?

Arithmetic: What, other than his famous rider, sets Sleipner apart from other horses?

Astronomy: Hailstones inspired what University of Pisa medical student to question the writings of Aristotle?

Geometry: According to Isidore of Seville, elephants mate when a female gives the male... what?

Music: In western Europe in the 8th century, wind replaces water in ...what?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Let the catch go round

Bardic Madness XX, which featured challenges on circles, cycles, returning, and remembrance, simply demanded a class on rounds, so I stepped up with Let the Catch Go Round: Canons, Catches, and Circular Songs. The subtitle tells it all.
Though the heyday of published rounds is slightly post-period, there is enough documentary evidence to make a pretty healthy list of period rounds. Sumer is icumen in is probably the most celebrated round of the era, but Three blinde mice and Hey, ho, nobody home were published in 1609, and were likely sung well before that date.
Though many 17th-18th century rounds were written for men's clubs. the Victorians turned rounds into a children's format. They should be for everybody, and I hope to hear more rounds at our bardic circles in the future.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

ABGs revisited

Rokeclif's chatelaine thought that having classes at our shire meetings would be fun. I got to be the first presenter, with "Now I know my ABGs". It's interesting presenting a formal class to people you know pretty well. Nobody fell asleep.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Kudrun goes Elizabethan

"Much Ado About Twelfth Night" -- an Elizabethan-themed event. (Nordskogen, January 9, 2010) What on earth can a 13th century persona do with such modern times? Nothing. I needed a sixteenth-century persona.

Enter Katherine Stackhouse of Giggleswick, who was able to describe the life and times of Roger Ascham, the Cambridge Greek scholar who is best known for a book on Archery. Toxophilus, though intentionally written in English for Englishmen, is a Socratic dialog on the virtues of archery. It is, perhaps, the geekiest sports book in existence.
He also wrote a book called The Scholemaster, which outlines a method and a curriculum for teaching Latin without recourse to beating and berating the student.
Ascham managed to serve all three of Henry VIII's children when they came to the throne; a remarkable accomplishment considering how many others lost their heads in the transitions. He was a worthy subject for a class.