Artisan’s Village and the Musicians of Bremen

Yesterday, Rachael and I decided to head out to Hartshorn-dale for Artisan’s Village. Before we left, I decided I was going to enter a Scherenschnitte (German paper cutting) piece for the “Show Us the Minstrels” Challenge by Mistress Sabine. The challenge was to create a period piece of art depicting musicians/poets/etc. I decided at the last minute (the night before) to enter just for the heck of it. Scherenschnitte has a few subject themes often done one of which is fairy tales so I decided to go with the Bremen Town Musicians. For those unfamiliar with the story, a donkey, a cat, a dog, and a rooster are too old to be of use so they decide to go to Bremen to become musicians. On the way, they find a house filled with robbers so they climb on each other’s backs and make a lot of noise and scare off the robbers and live happily ever after (ironically never making it to Bremen or becoming musicians). I’m fully aware that it didn’t fully meet the challenge but it was my attempt at doing something with my own twist (technically right but only kinda). So the morning of the event, I finished the piece, printed out a copy of the fairy tale, and we headed out to the event.

We got lost on the way and got there a little later than planned but I was able to go to Paper Village and learn how to make paper and get a lot of great tips and information from Baroness Christina Jenevra de Carvalhal. It was really exciting to get to try it out first hand and get some information that I can use so that I can start making my own paper for my pieces with more historical accuracy. After Paper Village, I went over to Science Village and hung out with Master Alesone Gray of Cranlegh (she is a Laurel and goes by the period term as a Master Grocer which goes with her persona which is why she goes by Master, not Mistress) who was making period rosewater and jams. It was really cool and really interest and if you ever get the chance to talk to her, do so cus she’s got a wealth of information in so many fields.

My cadet brother, Brendan Firebow taught a class nearby on historical fencing from the teachings of an Italian fencing master by the name of Salvatore Fabris. I wasn’t able to participate the whole time (my knee didn’t want to cooperate) but I’m not worried because I see him most Tuesdays and can work with him when my knee is feeling up for it. It was a really interesting class and definitely something I will keep in mind for the future when I have time.

At the end of the day, all that was left was the challenges. In the case of the challenge I had entered, I turned out to be the only one who entered. I had left a book for comments from anyone who wanted to leave any advice. Unfortunately, I did not get the chance to talk to Mistress Sabine who had to leave early but she left me a note in my book saying she really liked my out of the box approach to the challenge. When I was collecting my piece, I met a man named Reb Eleazar ha-Levi and got to talking. It turns out he had a lot of information related to another form of cut paper, this one from Jewish culture. I had recently found out about it but was hesitant to do anything before I found out more because I didn’t want to do anything that could be considered sacrilegious or offensive. He gave me some great advice on subject matter to avoid as well as several to consider as symbols for my pieces. It was really helpful to listen to some of his stories and his knowledge of history. I can’t wait to start working on one piece called a mizrach which is put up to point in the direction of Jerusalem. Overall, it was a nice event that I learned a ton from and has really made me excited to dive in to A&S.

For those curious, here is the piece that I submitted. This is all from a single piece of paper. Hope yall like it. Stay tuned for more to come. Southern Region War Camp is coming up Saturday and it’s going to be a blast.Bremen Town Musicians

Quest Recap aka “Do All the Things”

This weekend was Quest for Wit and Wisdom, the Settmour Swamp camping event where the new Archery, Fencing, A&S, Heavy, and Brewing champions are decided. Saturday was archery tournament run designed by the former champion Kinryu for which I was the Marshal in Charge for because he is not a marshal. The heat was brutal and the sun bore down on us all but overall, it was a fun shoot. Unfortunately, the day started a bit rough when Rachael sat down for the first shoot and her quiver shifted under her and ended up breaking two of her eight bolts. During the shoot, she hit the targets but her bolts blew through the target and got lost in the tall grass behind the range. Just like that, she was down to three bolts and would have had to bow out after the first shoot if not for the kindness and generosity of Baron Thor (seriously, thank you from us both). The first shoot ended up being a head to head shoot with 8 targets and each person having 6 arrows. Targets only counted for the first person to hit them. I’m not sure of the name of my opponent but we both rushed and missed our first few shots. After that, I slowed down and focused and took 4 targets for 8 total points. As the shoot went on with advancing men (which were actually really cool targets), making the best of a set of 5 shots in dice (which Miles and Rupert destroyed by getting straights of 2-6 for 80 points each), laurels, and saving Caesar. It was a lot of fun and in the end, Miles had the highest score but I had the highest score among those willing to take on the job making me the new baronial archery champion of Settmour Swamp. Rachael shot really well especially for her first tournament and she should be really proud of how she shot (I promise I’ll get your new set of bolts done before the next archery tournament). After the archery, we had a couple of kids come shoot on the range (out of respect to them and their parents, I will leave them nameless unless they would like me to mention their names). They seemed to enjoy shooting the targets especially the roman soldier. The heat and sun made most people call it short so the range cleared out for the most part after the tournament and the kids shoot. I decided to go check out thrown weapons since it’s on my list of things try when I don’t have so many other things to do. It turns out I have a knack for it because I was able to hit the target with all three axes (unfortunately, one went into the pink card that was negative points) but it definitely is something fun to try out more when I can. We ended up spending the night at my mom’s (since she lives up the road and a bed and air conditioning beats sleeping in the heat on an air mattress especially when the next day involves fencing and we both got sunburned a bit)

The next day started off with us both turning in our entries for the A&S display. Rachael had been asked by Don Orlando to make a pair of beautiful black-work cuffs prize for the historical tournament he runs at Pennsic which she submitted for the competition and I made a trio of squirrels in the German style of cut paper known as Scherenschnitte (pictures will be posted later). After that, we were off to fence. The tournament was very interesting and involved coins and cards and lots of stabbing and fun. In the end, Rachael had a beautiful kill on Don Owynn and I managed to land a very nice shot on Firebow’s mask. Everyone fought really well especially Rachael, Lucy (Berenika), Stacey (Elizabeth), Jonathan, and Dutchess Caoilfhionn (the f is for fun!). I love fighting you guys and can’t wait to fight yall again soon. At the end of the day, Firebow became the new rapier champion and, for a short time, all three of Orlando’s cadets (Vivian was the A&S champion who stepped down) were all champions in the barony. That’s all I got for this post. I’m sorry it couldn’t be longer and have more details but I’ll try and edit it later and add more. Keep doing what you love and finding new things and always have fun.

Blue Tiger of the East- Mudthaw 2016

Blue Tiger

This is my first post on here so let’s see how this goes. Last weekend was another of many firsts for me; it was the first event I was a deputy autocrat (supervisor) an event under the eye of Master Alexander and the first time I had entered an Arts and Sciences (A&S).

Now, onto the arts. As many people may know, I sometimes do cut paper art but never in the period correct style. The style I tended to do was more around using multiple sheets of paper of different colors to create images like the ones above (the templar knight, Odin and Fenrir based on a Viking stone carving, and a horse triskelion as the symbol of the Celtic goddess, Epona). I learned this style back in high school and got into doing it in college when I got bored in my dorm room. Several people in the SCA told me that I should look into doing some pieces for A&S but I never felt like I could because 1) it was a completely different style, 2) I didn’t think I was good enough to do it in the period style, and 3) I never could find any information or extant pieces. The Chinese who had originally created the cut paper art could do intricate works of art and had been doing so since the creation of paper. I started looking into paper cutting history but couldn’t find a site that had credible information and was in English. I tried looking for the Chinese term for paper cut art (jian zhi) but it turns out that Jianzhi is also a Chinese name. Eventually, I checked wikipedia and checked their sources. I hit the jackpot and found a research paper that led me down the rabbit hole that is A&S.

Now filled with a new found excitement for the art I had been working on for years, I decided to do a piece for Mudthaw representing the thawing of the mud. I looked into Chinese mythology and found out that there are five celestial tigers, one for each season, and the last to oversee them all. I took this and ran and found that the blue tiger represented Spring and the earth element so I decided to go with this. Most traditional jian zhi is done on red paper because it represents good luck and prosperity but I couldn’t really do a blue tiger in red especially because the red tiger represented fire and summer. I was so excited that I completely overlooked the fact that the blue tiger represents the east kingdom as well (ok, it’s a blue tyger, not a blue tiger but still). I spent some time finding the perfect piece to create and found one from an amazing artist with ALS who made jian zhi by holding the knife in his hand and pressing his face to the end of the knife to make the cuts. I wanted to do the artist justice and used his piece as inspiration to create the blue tiger that I went on to enter. As I cut away the pieces, the image of the tiger started to come through and I started getting really excited as the tiger took shape. It has become one of my favorite pieces of all time. I finished the piece and set it aside so I could focus on smoothing over the remaining details of the event.

The day of the event was finally upon us and Rachael agreed to set up my piece as part of the display for the event. I left a small book and a pen next to the piece so anyone who wanted to could leave comments. When the event was over and I collected my piece and book. I could not believe the feedback I had received and had never expected people to react to it as well as they had. I can’t wait to figure out my next piece!

-Ciaran Ua Meic Thire