Amazing & Surprising

27 May 2014 by gebhard, No Comments »

I spend most of time in the SCA getting hit in the head and contemplating ways of not getting hit in the head. Granted I would like to look nice while this both of these processes are going on. So, I had to learn to do a number of odd things, like set gores, make buttons, smith armor, and so on.

I can’t suggest I’m good at any of them. I always muddle my way through somehow and get something at the end that is usable enough. I certainly wouldn’t suggest I could teach or judge this muddled process of creating a product usable on the lists or to try to not look like such a slouch in court.

Then, my local household Pelican, Stasi, informed my wise and graceful Baroness that she was going to judge Kingdom A&S entries as judges were badly needed. She of course had never judged before, and I couldn’t let her get thrown to the lions alone, so I too jumped into the pit.

I signed up on the judge’s web site. I looked at each category. I didn’t even know what a few of them were. I clicked the only boxes for which I felt I knew anything, Music.

When it came to time to give out the assignments, I got: Metal working and Cooking.

The metalworking project was a spangenhelm. I suppose I’ve been on the list enough to know a good helm from a bad one. If I did not, I would not be here writing this.

While the artist was explaining his project, I thought back to when I made my elbows and knees and gorget. Hey, I know all about dishing, raising and annealing. Oh my word, I know stuff! And suddeningly, the judging process got a whole lot less scary, and I could enjoy reading and talking with someone who made something amazing. I had a great time.

The whole process, and the day of looking at all the A&S entries, was once again a reminder of what it is, that makes this eclectic group of people and this crazy “dressing-up-funny” to do “odd things” on the weekends so worthwhile.

The metalworker was considering taking up armored combat. To do that you need gear, and so he order some 12 gauge steel and proceeded to make himself a helm (without heat). Through a lot of pain (because 12ga steel is thick and hard), he beat the cold metal into shape and made an exemplary helmet, for which he claims his shoulders will never be the same again. I don’t doubt it.

A very bold project, but this highlights the ideal that we live by. I wanted to do something cool, I need to make stuff to do it. We do not learn solely from looking at pictures in a book and pontificating what may have been, we actually do it.

How many other groups grow the wheat, to feed the sheep, to make the wool, to turn into string, then loom into fabric, dye, and hand sew into an outfit? I bet you know someone who has.

I am always in awe of these works of art, made by people with far more skill than a simple guy lacking enough common sense to duck will ever have.

I was truly impressed by all the projects I saw, as well as I was surprised and pleased I had something to offer. I will certainly judge again in the future and would encourage anyone to give it a try. It’s not as scary as you think, and you’ll see something truly impressive. I promise.



The image is an example of what a spangenhelm looks like, it was not the spoken A&S entry.

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