AEthelmearc Gazette

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Covering the Kingdom of Æthelmearc of the SCA
Updated: 25 min 24 sec ago

Known World Party Volunteers Needed!!!

Sun, 2017-05-28 13:57


I have posted a prior notice about this event but as a lot was going on at the time and we are now much more in our Pennsic preparation mindsets I thought it was time to get this ball rolling.

This year for the first time Æthelmearc will be host to the Known World Party at Pennsic. We will be combining the event with our kingdom party. Our Æ kingdom Cooks and Brewers guilds have been called on by our Royal Majesties to put this event together and show the best of what we have to offer. I will be putting together organizations for this event on the Cooks Guild side. We will be looking for volunteers to be set up crew, bring/cook/or prep foods, clean up crew, and other miscellaneous needed tasks to make this come together at it’s best. The party will take place on Sunday August 6th at 8 pm, on the battlefield at the Æthelmearc Day-shade, with set up beginning earlier at 6 pm. Also understand that this can be as simple as a make and bring one thing contribution if that is all you are able to do. Help on all levels is appreciated, you do not have to be an existing guild member to help, simply a willing wonderful member of this kingdom.

If you are willing and able to assist with this event please contact me either via Facebook as Jessica Walker or via email at Thank you to all in advance. Help me and Their Majesties show how Æthelmearc shines like the beautiful Escarbuncle shaped gem it truly is.

Yours In Service,
Lady Arianna dal Vallone
MKA Jessica Sharpless/Jessica Walker.

Categories: SCA news sites

Christian de Launey Is Made a Master of Defense in Trimaris

Sun, 2017-05-28 01:13

Master Christian de Launey. Photo by Dame Katja Orlova.

Christian Amaury de Launey, former Æthelmearc Queen’s Rapier Champion and Rapier Champion of the Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands, was elevated to the Order of Defense at Trimaris’ Crown Tourney on Saturday, May 27, A.S. 52.

Seven Æthelmearcians traveled by car and plane to attend his vigil, play his prize tourney, or speak as a Worthy at his elevation ceremony.

Master Will Parris spoke as one of two MoDs, Countess Elena d’Artois spoke as a Royal Peer, and Mistress Irene von Schmetterling spoke as a member of the Pelican. The words of Duke Syr Malcolm Duncan MacEoghainn were also read as a member of the Chivalry.

Mistress Irene knitted the garters and wove the livery collar, while Master Anais Fenne cast the order medallion. Countess Elena sewed the capelet.

Master Christian is now the 8th MoD of Trimaris.

Master Christian’s MOD collar woven by Mistress Irene von Schmetterling, with a medallion cast by Master Anias Fenne. Photo by Dame Katja Orlova.

Categories: SCA news sites

Court Report: Crown Tournament

Fri, 2017-05-26 19:10

From the Scrolls of the Reign of Timothy and Gabrielle, King and Queen of Æthelmearc, as recorded by Dame Kateryna ty Isaf, Jewel of AEthelmearc Herald with the assistance of Lord Arias Beltran del Valle, Misty Highlands Herald and Kameshima-kyō Zentarō Umakai, Silver Buccle Herald, at Their Crown Tournament in the Shire of Sylvan Glen on May 13, Anno Societatis LII.

The Court of Their Majesties, Timothy and Gabrielle was opened.

During the procession:

As Lord Ardden Scot of Clan Scot and his consort, Lady Dierdre Scot of Clan Scot, were presented to Their Majesties for inclusion in the tournament, His Majesty questioned whether Lord Arddenn’s title and station were correct. His herald assured Him that both were as recorded, but if His Majesty believed there to be an error, it was His prerogative to change things to fit His wishes. So counseled, Their Majesties convened the Order of the Gage, granted Arms to The Honorable Lord Arddenn, and admitted him into that company. Scroll illuminated by THL Fiora d’Artusio and calligraphed by Mistress Antoinette de la Croix upon wording by Duke Sir Malcolm Duncan MacEioghann.

At the conclusion of the Tournament:

Their Majesties, Timothy and Gabrielle, accompanied by Their Heirs, Gareth and Juliana, called forth Gui Dai Li. Noting the grace by which she worked quiet service in water bearing and cleaning before and after events, Their Majesties Awarded her Arms and made her a Lady of the AEthelmearc court. The scroll was limned by Ana Ianka Lisitsina with calligraphy by Mistress Antoinette de la Croix.

Gui Dai Li’s AoA scroll by Ana Ianka Lisitsina and Antoinette de la Croix.

Later in the Afternoon:

Their Majesties called forth Bekah of Sylvan Glen. For her work in the kitchens and halls of the Kingdom and the joy she takes and bestows from that work, Their Majesties inducted her into the Order of the Silver Sycamore. The scroll was painted by THLady Maeve ni Siurtain with wording composed by Baroness Graidhne ni Ruaidh and calligraphy by Mistress Antoinette de la Croix.

Their Majesties called forth the rest of the children present and instructed Master Liam Mac An TSaoir to take the toy chest and run from the court.  The children were instructed to take one toy each, beginning with the youngest child present.  A countdown having been given, the eager horde chased Master Liam from the court.

Photo by Mistress Arianna.

Their Majesties invited before them Mistress Morwenna Trevethan. On behalf of Their Majesties of Atlantia, Cuan and Signy, she presented Their Majesties with a gift and affirmed Their Majesties’ wishes to be comrades in arms for the coming War.

Their Majesties, noting the sad news of the passing of more than one member of the Society in the past few weeks, asked that the court observe a moment of silence for absent friends and the families of those gentles impacted by their loss.

Duke Marcus is recognized for his chivalry. Photo by Mistress Arianna.

Their Majesties invited before Them the Ladies of the Rose, Garnet, and Edelweiss. Countess Caryl, speaking on behalf of the Ladies of the Rose, Garnet, and Edelweiss, stated they had much to deliberate this day. To that end they had resolved to provide tokens to two individuals who impressed them greatly in their conduct in the lists. They requested the presence of Sir Bye, otherwise known well as Sir Luis de Castilla.  Remarking on the joy his fights had been to witness and the fact that they wished he would relocate into the Sylvan Kingdom, they awarded him a Rose’s token, gifted by the hand of Countess Alexandra. Next they requested the presence of Duke Marcus Eisenwald.  Stating that his behavior upon the field was the embodiment of all that it means to be a knight, they also awarded him a Rose’s token, gifted by the hand of Countess Caryl.

The Order of the Rose, Garnet and Edelweiss advised Their Majesties of the final duty they needed to perform this day. They called forth THLord Oliver Sutton. They advised that watching him they were confident in their choice and asked him to bear the Shield of Chivalry for them. His Lordship agreed and was asked to take up their shield and be their champion.

Lord Oliver receives the Shield of Chivalry. Photo by Mistress Arianna.

Their Majesties called forth Benjamin of Heronter. Their Majesties knowing that They are well served by this man both on the fencing field and in his labors whenever needed, They made him a Lord of the court and Awarded him Arms. The scroll to mark this is a work of embroidery in progress designed by Baroness Graidhne ni Ruaidh.

Lord Benjamin receives an AoA. Photo by Mistress Arianna.

Their Majesties called forth Lady Mara of Hartstone. Content that her skills with knives grace both Their kitchens and Their throwing fields and mindful of the service she provides at both places as well as her work as a Royal Retainer, They inducted her into the Order of the Keystone.

Lady Mara receives a Keystone. Photo by Mistress Arianna.

Their Majesties called forth Lord Tiberius of Sylvan Glen. For his skill making youth weapons and event tokens Their Majesties inducted him into the Order of the Sycamore with a scroll painted by Lady Vivienne of Yardley. The wording was composed by Baroness Graidhne ni Ruaidh and calligraphed by Mistress Antoinette de la Croix.

Their Majesties called before Them THLord Grimolfr Ormalfrson. They advised that there are times when They are surprised to find a person is not speaking in Their orders only to find the person was somehow not a member of such order. Such is the case today and they would see this corrected. They called forth the Order of the White Horn. For his work in creating the rules for and teaching the Kingdom the use of the atlatl, They inducted him into the Order of the White Horn. The scroll was painted by Mistress Maria Christina de Cordoba with wording and calligraphy by Baroness Graidhne ni Ruaidh.

Their Majesties called forth Lady Isabel Fleuretan. They spoke of how They had seen her work for both Their previous times upon the thrones as a scribe toiling to complete or correct a scroll on the day it was being given, so as to ensure the recipient received the commemoration immediately. They advised her that it was the privilege of the Crown to recognize such nobility and let it be known that They granted her the station of Court Baroness so that all may see the value they placed in her loving work. The scroll forthcoming is a work in progress by Baroness Alex.

Lady Isabel is made a Court Baroness. Photo by Mistress Arianna.

Their Majesties invited before Them Kameshima-kyō Zentarō Umakai, Silver Buccle Herald. Before he was able to step down from his office as Principle Herald of the Kingdom of Æthelmearc, Their Majesties advised that They wished to correct the Title he was using. Speaking of how he had served the Kingdom for 4 years traveling to about 20 events per reign to ensure Their Majesties courts were heralded and giving up his free time and working tirelessly to ensure the continuity of the court, Their Majesties made him a Baron of the Court of AEthelmearc. The scroll forthcoming is a work in progress by Magistra Sólveig Þróndardóttir.

Master Kameshima is made a Court Baron. Photo by Mistress Arianna.

Baron Kameshima asked that with Their Majesties permission he may continue and requested the attendance of the Brotherhood of Old Buccles comma Silver (BoOB,s).  As has become custom, the BoOB,s presented him with his life back (cautioning him not to indulge overmuch as the said box of Life had expired in 2002) and then presented his wife, Baroness Isabel Fleuretan with her life back as well. Baron Kameshima correcting the BoOB,s presentation politely removed the life from his and his wife’s hands and presented them instead to their daughter advising that truly she is the one who gets her life back to the great amusement of the court. Their Majesties confirming that he had a worthy successor called forth THLady Sophie Davenport. The BoOB,s then divested him of the Tabard signifying his office. As his last act as Silver Buccle Herald, Baron Kameshima placed the Tabard of Silver Buccle Herald upon THLady Sophie’s shoulders.

THLady Sophie swears fealty as Silver Buccle Herald. Photo by Mistress Arianna.

THLady Sophie Davenport, swearing to uphold the office of Silver Buccle Herald, took up her station and as her first act in the office conferred upon Baron Kameshima the title of Herald Extraordinary.

Baron Kameshima is named a Herald Extraordinary. Photo by Mistress Arianna.

Their Majesties asked that all scribes who contributed to the scrolls given during the courts today stand and be recognized.

Her Majesty invited Maighstir Liam Mac An TSaoire before Her. For his work in organizing the voice heralds this day and on behalf of all those who lent their voices to the field, Her Majesty named him Her inspiration of the day and bestowed upon him the Golden Escarbuncle.

Maighstir Liam receives a Golden Escarbuncle. Photo by Mistress Arianna.

There being no further business this day, Their Majesties court was thus concluded.

Categories: SCA news sites

Spring Æcademy: Classes!

Thu, 2017-05-25 15:13

Here are the classes scheduled for Spring Æcademy, on June 17, in Angels Keep; details can be seen on our website and as well as the full event flyer.

Come spend a day of fun & learning with the Angels!!

  • Using the Guidonian Hand for Gregorian Chant – THL Mairghread Stoibheard
    inghean ui Choinne
  • Including Brewing at a Dry Site – THL Madoc Arundel
  • Organizing a Brewing Competition – THL Madoc Arundel
  • 1378 Italian Gown OR Short Sleeves for Pennsic, Part I- Therasa du Domremy
  • 1378 Italian Gown OR Short Sleeves for Pennsic, Part II – Therasa du Domremy
  • The Greenland Gown- Baroness Orianna Fridrikskona
  • The art of conspicuous consumption: putting “authenticity” in your 15th- and
    16th-century clothing – Maistresse Marguerite d’Honfleur
  • Cloth Buttons: easy as one, two, three! – Lady Felice de Thornton
  • Beginning Embroidery- Baroness Bronwyn nic Gregor
  • Brocaded Tablet Weaving – Baron Silvester Burchardt
  • Beginning Netting – Baroness Clarice Roan
  • You Too Can Warp and Weave on a Warp-Weighted Loom – Ld Hrolfr a Fjarfelli
  • Wearable Awards- Baroness Bronwyn nic Gregor
  • Blackwork – Beyond the Basics – Moniczka Poznanska
  • Itamae 1: Fundamentals of Japanese Cuisine- Solveig Throndardottir
  • Itamae 2: Fundamentals of Food Preparation- Solveig Throndardottir
  • Itamae 3: Japanese Meal Planning and Execution- Solveig Throndardottir
  • Njal Saga: Plot and Characters- Baron Fridrikr Tomasson
  • The Age of the Sturlungs: How the Commonwealth Ended – Baron Fridrikr
  • A History of the Settlement of Iceland- Baroness Orianna Fridrikskona
  • Social Structure and Status in Early Medieval Ireland – Master Cynwyl
  • Pirates!!! Aaarrgghh!!! – Dyryke Hastings
  • Science in the Middle Ages – Master Gille MacDhnouill
  • Hello Poppet! – Ly Mairin O’Cadhla
  • Introduction to Leatherworking for the Novice- Lord Otto Boese
  • Just a Little Sling – Baroness Anastasie De l’Amoure
  • So You want to Throw What?!?! – Baroness Anastasie De l’Amoure
  • Sand Casting Pewter – Baron Artemius Magnus
  • Vinegaroon – Never Dye Leather Again – Lord Snorri skyti Bjarnarsson
  • Soap in a Bottle! DIY hard soap for use in scented soap balls – THL Elska a
  • Who do I fight next? A fighter’s and spectator’s guide to tournament trees-
    Baroness Ekaterina Volkova
  • A Look at Documentation – Master Creador TwyneDragon
  • A Quick Look at Judging – Master Creador TwyneDragon
  • Siting Gate/Troll – Baroness Anastasie De l’Amoure
  • Talking with Your Hands – THL Gytha Oggsdottir
  • Gouache 101: gouache for beginners – Lady Felice de Thornton
  • How to draw basic manuscript flora- Baroness Ekaterina Volkova
  • Introduction to Pole Lathe Turning- Iohn Spooner
  • Pouch Making with Floki – Floki Bjornsson
  • Period Games – Douglas of Arindale and Timothy of Arindale the Younger
  • Brass Rubbing – Ly Maire ni Cathal ui Conchobar
  • Becoming a Youth Combat Marshal – Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope

Categories: SCA news sites

Court Report: A&S Faire

Wed, 2017-05-24 09:29

From the Scrolls of the Reign of Timothy and  Gabrielle, King and Queen of Æthelmearc , as recorded by Dame Kateryna ty Isaf, Jewel of Æthelmearc Herald with the assistance of THL Aindreas mac Ghille Fhionntaigh a’Ghaoithe Airgid, Nithgaard Herald at The Arts & Sciences Faire and Queen’s Prize Tourney in the Shire of Nithgaard on May 6, Anno Societatis LII.

The Court of Her Majesty Queen Gabrielle was opened.

Her Majesty called the children present before Her and ensuring they knew the rules, unleashed them upon Tassin Treseol with the ritual chase of the toy chest.

The children preparing to chase the toy box. Photo by Lady Mary Christina Lowe, aka Jinx.

Her Majesty asked that all pay head as Tetsutaka noh Tora was Awarded Arms in absentia on this day for his archery skill and service in helping with the ranges. The scroll is a work in progress limned by Lady Viviene of Yardley.

Her Majesty called forth Aurelie of Nithgaard. For her skill in embroidery and service as Deputy Chatelaine for the Shire of Nithgaard as well as her work at events, Their Majesties Awarded her Arms and made her a Lady of the court. The scroll was created by the hand of THLady Eleanor Godwin.

Her Majesty called Lady Elena de la Palma before Her. Lady Elena thanked the staff of the event and especially the cook, tollners, and set up and breakdown crew from Nithgaard for all their help ensuring the day went so smoothly.

Lady Elena, the autocrat, addresses the populace. Photo by Jinx.

Her Majesty invited before Her Baroness Orianna and Baron Fredrikr to discuss the Arts and Sciences Faire of the day. Their Excellencies were pleased to advise Her Majesty and the court that there were 22 entrants on this day, and thanked all artisans, sponsors, and advisers for their participation. As is the custom of the Faire, each artisan and sponsor came before the court where the sponsor presented a gift to their artisan to encourage their continued endeavors.

Click to view slideshow.

Artisans receiving gifts from their sponsors and advisors. All photos by Jinx.

The final gift of the Arts and Sciences Faire was presented to Lord Bjorn Bjorklund and Lady Theresa du Domremy. Theresa’s sister, Mistress Jeanmaire du Domremy, presented both with a pair of coronets made with pearls from Theresa’s grandmother’s necklace. Her Majesty advised them that this was at His Majesty and Her Majesty’s express request, as They felt this was a gift worthy of the two. The pair were made Baron and Baroness of the Æthelmearc Court.

Baroness Theresa and Baron Bjorn. Photo by Jinx.

His Majesty sent words from Cathay to both Baron Bjorn and Baroness Theresa thanking them for their hand in raising the young man he was so long ago. He advised that it has been His wish to be the model of chivalry and generosity that they showed Him and to pay forward their gift.

Her Majesty called forth Lady Abigail Kelhoge. Commending the Lady for her exceptional knowledge and skill in clothing, Her Majesty asked that the Order of the Fleur d’ Æthelmearc attend Her. Her Majesty granted Arms to THLady Abigail Kelhoge and bid Her Order to welcome their newest member. The scroll was the work of Mistress Gillian Llwelyn.

Her Majesty asked that all scribes please stand to be acknowledged for their continued contributions to the Kingdom.

Her Majesty then called forth Lord Robert of Ferness to advise him that he had been Her Majesties choice for the Queen’s Prize Tourney and that his work on the shoes for his daughters moved Her Majesty to make him Her inspiration for the day and award him the Golden Escarbuncle.

Lord Robert receives a Golden Escarbuncle. Photo by Jinx.

There being no further business, the court of Her Majesty was closed.

Categories: SCA news sites

On Target: Be Prepared

Mon, 2017-05-22 19:24

This month’s On Target topic: proper preparation prevents poor performance!

It was a privilege to be the archery marshal-in-charge at Blackstone Raid. When I got to the site, the weather seemed to be perfect, so I set the range up the night before the archery competition. What we did not know was that there would be a sudden change; a microburst hit around 1 a.m.

The next morning, I went out to look at the range and a good bit of it was down… but fortunately I was prepared.

I had an extra box with spikes and washers, as well as extra rope. As you can see, the rope had clips and rings on it, so that I could pound spikes and retie the hay bales.

I also had extra targets, which was good since some of the original targets were destroyed in the rain.

In addition, I had a roll of camo-patterned duct tape that was perfect for outdoors. And for the first time, I had built backstops for the targets. Placing a backstop roughly 4 feet behind each target meant many of the arrows never dug into the dirt, or as we like to say, became “worm chasers.” Not having to look in the ground saved archers a lot of time.

Finally, I had brought an extra prize, which turned out to be important – I had planned for first, second, and third place prizes, but then I had one shooter strike a deer target in the heart it well over 50 yards, so on the fly I was able to give a prize for the best shot of the day.

In conclusion, if you’re the MIC, it never hurts to overpack!

Yours in service,
THLord Deryk Archer

Categories: SCA news sites

Master Thorpe Wins Forged In Fire Competition

Sat, 2017-05-20 00:15

Master Thorpe displays the African blade he made in his home forge for the third round of the show Forged In Fire. Photo by THL Fionnghuala.

By Baroness Katja (Chris Adler-France)

Æthelmearc fans of the History Channel’s metalsmithing competition, Forged In Fire, recognized a familiar face last week: Master John Michael Thorpe.

One of four competitors in the sixth episode of the fourth season of the show, Master Thorpe was named the champion of that episode’s challenge and won the $10,000 prize.

In each episode of the reality TV competition show, four entrants forge bladed weapons in a three-round elimination, with the first two three-hour rounds to create and improve a specific kind of knife out of a specific kind of metal in a Brooklyn, NY studio. The two finalists then have five days to create a specific historic sword in their home workshops before returning to the studio for their creation to be judged in a series of sharpness and sturdiness tests. Past competitions have challenged contestants to create such blades as Japanese katanas, Elizabethan rapiers, Norse battle axes, Scottish claymores, German katzbalger, and cavalry sabres. (See the Wikipedia article here for more about the show’s history.)

A metalworking Laurel and an SCA member since 1982, Master Thorpe has lived in Myrkfaelinn, Nithgaard, Thescorre, and now Delftwood for the past 13 years. He has three apprentices and is the founder and guild master of the Royal Guild of Æthelmearc Metalsmiths. He has served in a number of officer roles over the years, including kingdom chronicler, baronial seneschal, and several rapier marshallates.

He talked to The Gazette about the competition experience:

Q: First, congratulations on your win! Second, how long have you been a practicing blacksmith/silversmith and what experience do you have with metallurgy?

I have been making knives since I was about 14 and forging them since about 1990 or so. I am mostly self taught as a blade smith, but have learned a lot about metallurgy and blade performance from ABS Mastersmith Kevin Cashen, and Tim Zowada, and have had long discussions with Dr. Roman Landes, who literally wrote (in German) the authoritative book on the metallurgy of sharpness. I started working with metal professionally as a bench jeweler at 19, although my first exposure to the jewelry trade was in fourth grade (when a silversmith visited his class as part of the American Bicentennial celebrations). I learned enough by watching him that I was able to teach myself chasing and repousse from memory eight years later and  started making jewelry in my dorm room at RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology).

When I dropped out for a year on sick leave I went to work at a wholesale jewelry repair shop in Ithaca, where I worked my way up from polisher to bench jeweler. Repairing thousands of chains and sizing hundreds of rings is a great way to refine the fundamentals of your craft!

I taught myself metallurgy so that I could make better knives, and so that I could make a metallurgically correct 13th century knife to prove Laurel wrong when he said to someone that you could make a perfectly accurate 13th century knife that would work as well as the period ones by filing a blade out of the welding steel you get at a hardware store. I learned enough metallurgy in the process that despite my math education effectively ending after 9th grade, I was hired as a metallurgical associate engineer at an aerospace superalloy manufacturing plant, testing the metal that spins at high temperatures inside jet engines, and at one point was literally doing rocket science with tools that Benvenuto Cellini would recognize (using a chasing hammer and miniature carving chisels to collect samples for chemical analysis from the castings that became the main engine nozzles for the last three space shuttle missions).

Q: From watching the episode, it certainly appeared that you were very familiar with the competition’s specific expectations, such as the tests to gauge that the weapons were actually usable and not just impressive looking. So, how did you learn about this competition show and when did you begin watching it?

I initially learned about Forged in Fire when my wife (THL Fionnghuala inghean Diarmada) stumbled on it somewhere in the first season. I came down to watch the “cooking show about bladesmithing” and recognized one of the contestants from one of the bladesmithing hammer-ins I am a regular at. I went back and watched all of the episodes that were available and started watching regularly.

As to the specific expectations of the show, at one level, my focus in bladesmithing has always been on performance. A knife is a tool, I have always put function first, edge geometry (which determines sharpness), edge metallurgy (which determines how long an edge will continue cutting), and blade geometry (which determines how well a blade will pass through the medium it is cutting), how it will dissipate stress, etc.

The society of bladesmiths I have been a member of for over a decade, the New England Bladesmiths Guild (, is a group of bladesmiths who organized the Ashokan Seminar as a vehicle to allow advancing knowledge of metallurgical science and bladesmithing outside of the heavily hype driven atmosphere of the more mainstream knife communities.

Q: What made you decide to enter this competition?

I am a horrible person. I sat and watched the show, armchair quarterbacking as the competition progressed with my wife (she can now recognize problems developing and strategic errors almost as quickly as I do, and as time went on I started bouncing some of my strategic ideas off of her for input).

As time went on, my ego got the best of me and I began to think that I could stand my ground against at least half of the winners skill-set wise, and that I had a better grasp of metallurgical knowledge than the majority of the competitors I had seen. I know and have shared an anvil with more than a few of the past episode winners, and I have a great deal of respect for the ones I know, but I felt that I had about a 50/50 chance in any given group and challenge.

Q: How did you prepare for the competition?

Since I don’t typically make blades over about five inches in length, before I even considered applying, I tested myself by forging a series of three blades giving myself a two-hour time limit from bar stock to quenched. I figured that if I could do that using all hand tools reliably, that would leave an hour for dealing with whatever material challenge curveball was thrown at me. When I proved to myself that I could do that, I sent in my application.

Q: First, you had to forge a Kukri (a large angled knife from Nepal) within a couple of hours in the studio with the other three contestants, then you and the other finalist had several days to make a specific blade in your home workshops. Had you ever made a Kukri or bent blade before? What were your thoughts about the in-studio challenge? Had you ever used the specific type of metal you were given to use?

Funny that you ask… I had never made a Kukri before, and in previous seasons competitors had always been tasked with “making a blade in their own signature style” for rounds one and two. I do not really have large blade signature style that would be appropriate for the typical performance tests, so I was planning to do a Persian style with a curved, tapered blade and trailing point, as that would perform well in the typical performance tests from the previous seasons. Then, they served up a curveball having us make a knife in (show judge) Jason Knight’s signature style. I had never intentionally made a blade with that kind of curve before. During the application process, the producer asked me if I had ever made anything “curvy or weird” before, so I ran out to the forge and made a quick serpentine dagger blade and emailed her the picture.

The Akrafena.

As to the type of steel, W1, I have used it to make little hand tools for chasing and repousse, but not for making a big blades. It is chemically similar to some other steels I have used, it is one of the most basic common tool steels, but not one of my usual choices for anything big.

Q: Had you ever made an Akrafena (an Ashanti sword with a perforated bulbous blade) or other large blade with cut-outs before? Your immediate response on the show, when told what you had to make, was that it was “scary.”

I have made several straight-bladed swords before, but not finished any of them into complete swords as I did not have the appropriate equipment to successfully heat-treat anything big to my standards (and the one rapier where I farmed out the heat treatment came back looking like a pretzel). The day before I left to go compete, I made a 45-inch-long electric heat treatment kiln (in his workshop) on the off-chance that I might make it to the final round and have to make something big, but I had not wired it or tested it before I left for New York. I did not have a quench tank big enough for a sword either.

I was not expecting to make it to the final round as I had not had any time to actually practice between the producers contacting me that it looked like I might be a contestant and when I had to get on a plane.

Q: What were your expectations when you entered the competition?

I went down with two goals: the first being to not get eliminated in the first round, and the second being to not embarrass my wife (Okay, not getting permanently injured is was also important.) Everything else was just gravy and experience points. I was going down to have fun.

Getting to the third round and facing the challenge of doing this extremely curved African sword with weird geometry and cutouts in the blade was intimidating. Then, adding in the logistical challenges that I had not had time to build any of the equipment that would speed up the build and make dealing with the odd shape easy was an extra piece of intimidation, not to mention that I was facing an opponent who had pulled off the unthinkable comeback (in the second round). I literally wired up the temperature control and modified a pottery kiln into a top-loading heat-treat kiln and welded up a quench tank during my home forge time with the camera recording my every move and the clock running. There were tons of logistical challenges to meet, and that was before I scrapped my first blade on the third day, and forge-welded five bars together to make up a bar with enough mass for a second attempt.

Q: How did you approach the Akrafena challenge? What was your process, how was it different or similar to blades you’ve made for the Society? What went well, what was the most difficult aspect of the challenge? How much did you research the historical weapon and how did that affect your design?

I researched the Akrafena on the Internet in the 32 hours I had between finding out that I was a finalist and the time my home forge time started. I was hoping that I would find one in the African section at the Metropolitan Museum of Art the morning before I flew back, but no luck. I analyzed about 20 examples and did up a CAD template that was true to the characteristics of the historic examples, and found about 30 pages of Adinkra symbols.

Then, after three days everything went sideways and I approached it basically as an exercise in situational triage. I started out with plans to make a fancy, very historically accurate piece while still following the design specifics designated in the rules. Things started to go wrong and I had to scrap the first attempt blade because it would be 1/8-inch shy of the required minimum in one dimension after finish grinding and trying to pull it out was not going as planned. I hit a point where I was not confident and abandoned my three days of work, starting over while there was still time. At that point, my whole strategy was just trying to make sure that I had a blade that could be tested, which was going to be a challenge considering the largest piece of stock I had was ¼-inch by 1 1/2-inch in cross section.

Q: What surprised you throughout the experience?

I won. Beyond that, the number of people involved in the production of the show, who are never seen on camera. During the three-hour forge sessions, there are easily more than 10 people just operating camera and sound equipment on the forge floor, all of us have at least one, more likely two or three cameras on us at any point during the three-hour sessions.

Also the lengths that they go to to ensure that everything is fair, the rules are followed, and that what you are seeing is real, despite the fact that only a tiny fraction of the footage makes it to the final edit. Seriously!

Beyond that, you expect that a reality show-type competition would have all sorts of artificially produced animosity between contestants to make drama happen? There was none of that. The production team was very professional and did nothing to try to encourage fake drama. While the four of us ribbed each other constantly in between the timed sessions, it was all good natured and we were laughing constantly (even when someone was the recipient of a particularly good barb) and have stayed in touch in the weeks since. We have plans to continue a good-natured series of build-off competitions under the name “Drunken Monkey Brotherhood Forge” to keep the camaraderie going.

Q: Brock, one of the other contestants, wore Ren Faire garb. Did you ever discuss the SCA with him?

I asked him if he does SCA. He does Ren Faire and LARP (live-action roleplaying), and that is where he makes his money.

Q: Have you ever entered any forging competitions before this? Do you plan on entering any future ones?

I do not typically do competitions, really not my style. Just like fencing tournaments, I feel most competitions bring out the worst in people and I want no part of that. This looked like fun and a unique opportunity, so I did it, not really to win, but just to do it. I had fun, and the experience was great, so I would go back and do it again given the opportunity.

Q: Is the $10,000 prize going toward any specific equipment or materials?

Medical debt. I plan to pay off some stuff, then the money that is no longer going to the creditors will go towards getting back to Florence and Munich, and taking the curator of European Weapons Collections at the Royal Armory at Leeds up on his invitation to take a close look at some pieces in the collections there.

Q: Did you get to keep either of the blades you created?

All weapons produced are property of the History Channel.

Q: Any suggestions or tips for others who want to try entering this competition?

My only real tip is this is an extreme athletic event with a technical challenge and a fire show. The round one conditions in the forge are tough, and have taken out several competitors, including one who had to be hospitalized. Understanding metallurgy and edge geometry is essential, as well as the ability to think on the fly.


If you missed the broadcast on the History Channel, you can see it here on the show’s webpage.

Master Thorpe’s metalworking business, Sunshadow Designs, can be found here on Facebook and here on the web.

Categories: SCA news sites

Court Report: Blackstone Raids XXVI, A.S. 51

Tue, 2017-05-16 15:15

From the Scrolls of the Reign of Timothy and  Gabrielle, King and Queen of Æthelmearc, as recorded by Dame Kateryna ty Isaf, Jewel of Æthelmearc Herald with the assistance of THL Kathryn McLuing, Millrind Herald at Blackstone Raids in the Barony of Blackstone Mountain on April 29, Anno Societatis LI. The Court of Their Majesties, Timothy and Gabrielle was opened.

Their Majesties called forth Tarryn of Port Oasis.  Having been observant of the handiwork of this fine lady in leather and cloth gracing the various members of her shire, Their Majesties inducted her into the Order of the Sycamore and further awarded her Arms.  The scroll was limned by Lady Elspeth of Wurmwald and calligraphed by Baroness Graidhne ni Ruaidh.

Tarryn’s Sycamore scroll by Lady Elspeth of Wurmwald and Mistress Graidhne ni Ruadh.

The Court was suspended.

Their Majesties’ court was resumed later in the afternoon.

Their Majesties called forth all the children present and instructed Lord Sittius to take the chest of toys and run away.  The children were instructed they may to take one toy each, beginning with the youngest child present.  A countdown was made and the children chased the toy chest bearer from the court.

Their Majesties invited King Edmund of the Midrealm before Them.  They spoke of Their appreciation for His Majesties presence and how They looked forward to the reign of His successors.  His Majesty Edmund offered gifts to Their Majesties Timothy and Gabrielle and thanked Them both for the fine day he had.

His Majesty Timothy apologized to His Guests and the assembled court for having been so thoroughly robbed of his lunch money by the fighters on this day and commented how it was clear to him that He had indeed been a poor host in this respect but He appreciated the thorough ‘whoppin’ He received from Count Cellach. Their Majesties and King Edmund exchanged hugs and His Majesty Edmund took His leave of the court.

Their Majesties gave The Baron and Baroness of Blackstone Mountain leave to hold Their Baronial Court.

Baron Ichijo and Baroness Cerridwen hold court. Photo by Lady Aine ny Allane.

Their Majesties called forth Matilda de Crepelgate and seeing and especially hearing her fine work as the Onyx Herald of the Barony of Blackstone Mountain, made her a Lady of the court and Awarded her Arms with a scroll painted and gilded by Lady Vivienne of Yardley and calligraphed by Isabella Montoya.

Their Majesties then invited Lady Sigrid Schreiber before Them.  Lady Sigrid presented Their Majesties with portraits she created of both.  Their Majesties greatly appreciated the artistry of the beautiful portraits and They thanked her for such a lovely gift.

Lady Sigrid presents Their Majesties with painted portraits. Photo by Lady Aine.

Their Majesties called forth Guillame des Aix an Provence.  When the gentle called forth did not appear, His Grace Duke Rurik Longsword advised he had seen the man on site and rushed from the court to fetch him and bring him to Their Majesties.

Their Majesties called forth Borivoj Skala.  For his fighting enthusiasm and stamina, They were moved to make him a Lord of the court and thus Awarded him Arms with a scroll painted by Baron Caleb Reynolds and calligraphed by Maureen O’Shea.

Their Majesties called forth Gretchen McKlay.  They, having heard of her sumptuous Tudor feasts, made her a Lady of the court and Awarded her Arms.  The scroll to mark the occasion was painted by Lady Felice de Thornton and calligraphy was by Isabelle Montoya.

Their Majesties called forth Jos of St Alban and Rohesia of Whytemere.  Remarking on how both did much service for their local group They were moved to Award both Arms.  His Majesty commented on how Jos had even built his own Viking tent, stating He was quite surprised at his lack of Viking attire, but thought the clothes most impressive nonetheless.  The scroll for Lord Jos was pained by Lady Saskia Feldmeyrin and the scroll for Lady Rohesia was painted by Mistress Felicity Fluβmullnerin and calligraphed by Baroness Ekaterina Volkova.

Lord Jos and Lady Rohesia receive their AoAs. Photo by Lady Aine ny Allane.

Their Majesties called forth Lady Barbaia of Misty Highlands, who They were advised was not able to be at the event.  Having discovered that it would be unlikely They would see her during Their reign, They asked Sir Gareth Kincaid to convey the scroll to her.  In absentia, They inducted her to the Order of the Keystone for her work as Chatelaine, Webminister, and Autocrat for the Shire of Misty Highlands.  The scroll upon a leather shield was created by Mistress Juliana Delamare.

Their Majesties called forth Lord Gremian Ulfhedna.  They advised that his dedication to his fighting, most especially time spent doing pick-ups on the field moved Them to make him a member of the Order of the Golden Alce.  The scroll was limned by Lady Elspeth of Wurmwald and calligraphed by Baroness Graidhne ni Ruaidh.

Lord Guillaume’s AoA scroll by THLady Pippi Ulfsdottir and Mistress Antoinette de la Croix.

His Grace Duke Rurik having fetched Guillame, he presented THL Guillaume le Noir to Their Majesties.  His Majesty, commenting that this appeared to be the incorrect Guillame as He was certain that the gentleman brought before Him had already received this award, He nevertheless asked the Herald to read the scroll for the Award of Arms present to Guillame des Aix an Provence.  After much merriment, Their Majesties determined that Lord Guillame des Aix would likely not be in attendance of the court and requested that Lord Fiachna accept the Award on his behalf and convey the story of how it was there presented unto the newly made Lord.  The scroll was drawn and calligraphed by Mistress Antoinette de la Croix, painted by THL Phelippe Ulfsdotter.

Their Majesties called forth Lord Andreas di Rossi.  Seeing he too was not in the hall, Duke Rurik fetched him, with encouragement to obtain the correct person this time.  Once fetched, Their Majesties noting that he was a workhorse of the barony and the “One Man Army of Blackstone,” They inducted him into the Order of the Keystone with a scroll painting by Baron Caleb Reynolds and calligraphy by Isabella Montoya.

Their Majesties called forth THLord Ulrich von Schwartzburg. They inducted him into the Order of the Keystone for his work as Shire Exchequer and Knight Marshall, and his work ensuring the fighters of the Kingdom have both clothes and armor.  The scroll was the work of THLady Kathryn McLuing.

Their Majesties called forth THLady Kathryn McLuing.  Noting that her work in had been handed out in both the Baronial and Kingdom court this day as well as her work making garb for herself and Gold Key, They were moved to induct her into the Order of the Sycamore with a scroll by the hand of Mistress Maria Christina de Cordoba.

Their Majesties called forth Lord Nikoli Lupiescu.  They, having known of his work assisting with armor repair and making armor, also noted that he was a fighter of some renown beyond his skill in emergency armor.  They inducted him into the Order of the Golden Alce with a scroll drawn by Luca da Cola, painted by Lady Rignach Inghean ui Chonaill and calligraphed by Baroness Graidhne ni Ruaidh.

Their Majesties, stating a song was required, invited before them THLady Silence de Cherbourg.  Her Ladyship sang a contrefactum (filk) of a 12th century cantiga, with lyrics created by her hand with assistance from Master Michael Alewright and Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope. The piece called forth Brehyres Gwendolyn the Graceful to come before Their Majesties as she has been chosen for song and poem to sit vigil in contemplation of becoming a member of the Order of the Laurel.

THLady Silence singing the Laurel Writ for Brehyres Gwendolyn the Graceful. Photo by Lady Aine.

Brehyres Gwendolyn was escorted to the court by Duke Rurik while the members of the Most Noble Order of the Laurel were invited to attend. Their Majesties commanded her to present herself to Them at War Practice to sit vigil and answer Their question, if she was prepared to become a member of the Order of the Laurel. Scroll by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope.

Her Majesty then asked that THLord Deryk Archer to come forth. Her Majesty thanked him for the archery targets that She so enjoyed that day. She was also advised that Lord Deryk was aided all day in keeping records and scoring all day by Torvi fra Bergstopt of the Shire of Montevale and asked him to bring her to the court. Her Majesty named them both Her inspiration of the day and bestowed upon each a Golden Escarbuncle.

THLord Deryk and m’lady Torvi receive Golden Escarbuncles. Photo by Lady Aine.

Their Majesties asked that the scribes who contributed to the works of art presented this day to the members of the populace please stand and be acknowledged for their gifts.

Duke Sven, having been moved by His Majesty losing so much lunch money, offered His Majesty a bag of coin so that He might be able to eat at least a small amount of food.

Duke Sven ensures that His Majesty has lunch money. Photo by Lady Aine.

There being no further business this day, Their Majesties court was thus concluded.

Categories: SCA news sites

War Practice Schedules Posted

Mon, 2017-05-15 19:05

Æthelmearc War Practice hosted by the Canton of Steltonwald is coming up this week. The schedules have been posted!

Click HERE ( to see the schedules for:

Some additional information (including Order Meetings, Class Cancellations, and Changes, Artisans’ Playtime, Scarlet Apron, and more) is HERE.

For those interested, here’s the link for the Facebook information for this event.

Categories: SCA news sites

Kingdom Youth Combat Champion’s Tourney at War Practice

Mon, 2017-05-15 09:26

Youth Fighters, pay heed! The Æthelmearc Youth Combat Champions’ Tourney will be held this coming Saturday, May 20th, at Æthelmearc War Practice in the Canton of Steltonwald. Anywhere from one to three Champions will be chosen by Their Majesties, King Timothy and Queen Gabrielle, based on the fighters’ prowess and chivalry. Champions will receive the regalia from the current champions, Karl (Division 1) and Timothy (Division 2), and serve as Kingdom Champions until the next tourney is held by Their Majesties’ successors.

Schedule for youth fighting at War Practice:

Saturday morning:

  • 9:00 am – List opens for inspections
  • 9:30 – Authorizations
  • 10:00 – Youth Champion’s Tourney begins
  • 11:00-12:00 – Melees

The Youth Combat list will be on the main battlefield, to the east of the thrown weapons range and alongside Currie Road. Look for a blue pop-up canopy.

For more information on Æthelmearc War Practice, see the Kingdom website.

If you have any questions about youth combat at Æthelmearc War Practice, please contact the Marshal-in-Charge, Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope.

Youth Combat Melee. Photo by THLady Aaliz de Gant.

Categories: SCA news sites

Spring AE Crown: Video of Finals Round 3

Sat, 2017-05-13 14:58

New Heirs Gareth and Juliana with TRM Timothy and Gabrielle. Photo by Master Liam Mac An TSaoir.

A video of the final round is here on Facebook, courtesy of Baron Friderich Swartzwalder.


Categories: SCA news sites

Sir Gareth Kincaid and Mistress Juliana Delamere new Crown Prince and Princess

Sat, 2017-05-13 14:28

Sir Gareth defeated Duke Sven in the third and final round. Vivant Prince Gareth and Princess Juliana!

Categories: SCA news sites

Spring Crown Finals Round 2: Duke Sven

Sat, 2017-05-13 14:24

Duke Sven won the 2nd round great sword.

Categories: SCA news sites

Spring Crown Finals Round 1: Sven defeated by Gareth

Sat, 2017-05-13 14:21

First round sword and shield, Sir Gareth is the victor.

Categories: SCA news sites

Spring Crown Tourney: Sir Gareth Defeats Duke Marcus

Sat, 2017-05-13 14:14

Sir Gareth Kincaid has advanced to the finals, defeating Duke Marcus.

The finals between Duke Sven and Sir Gareth will be best of three.

Categories: SCA news sites

Spring Crown Tourney: Duke Sven Defeats Sir Murdoch

Sat, 2017-05-13 14:09

Duke Sven has advanced to the finals.

Categories: SCA news sites

Spring Crown Final 4

Sat, 2017-05-13 13:59

AEthelmearc Crown Tourney finalists are, from the winners’ list:

  • Duke Sven Gunnarsson
  • Sir Gareth Kincaid

And from the losers’ list:

  • Duke Marcus Eisenwald
  • Sir Murdoch Bayne

Categories: SCA news sites

Spring Crown Tourney Round 4 Complete

Sat, 2017-05-13 13:50


Sir Murdoch defeats Sir Finn.



Sir Hauoc defeats Baroness Beatrix.



Categories: SCA news sites

Spring Crown Round 3

Sat, 2017-05-13 13:33

Round 3 is complete.

Reporting courtesy of Mistress Arianna.

Categories: SCA news sites

Spring Crown Round 2

Sat, 2017-05-13 13:10

Round 2 is now complete.

Reporting and photo courtesy of Mistress Arianna.

Categories: SCA news sites