My Rewrite of the New Peerage Survey

In 2015, the Society for Creative Anachronism created a Peerage (the highest award) for Fencing. Previously, the Peerages had been for Heavy List combat, Knowledge, Service, and Royalty. Four years later, a Peerage is being discussed for Archery, Equestrian, Siege Engines, and Target Throwing.

This post is my re-write of the Society for Creative Anachronism Peerage Survey found at https://surveys.eastkingdom.org/index.php/313648?lang=en 

I have a breakdown of each question on this survey on my post My Thoughts on the New Peerage Survey.

Part 1: Peerages

This survey asks questions about the creation of a new Peerage or Peerages to cover the martial arts of Archery, Combat Archery, Equestrian, Siege, and Throwing. Some of the questions in this survey cover the Order of Defense, the Fencing Peerage that was created in 2015. These questions are included as points of reference.

1. Do you participate in any of these activities?
Select all that apply:
o Archery
o Combat Archery
o Equestrian Activities
o Fencing
o Heavy List
o Siege Engines
o Thrown Weapons
o None of the above
o I prefer Not to Answer

2. Do you feel superior martial skill in Archery, Combat Archery, Equestrian, Siege, or Throwing deserves a Peerage?
o Yes
o No
o I have no opinion
o I prefer not to answer

3. Currently, the Peerages in the Society are Chivalry (Knights), Laurel, Pelican, Masters of Defense (Fencers), and Royal Peers (Companions of the Rose, Duke/Duchess, Count/Countess). Do you feel these five Peerages are enough, or should more be added?
o The existing Peerages are enough.
o One more Peerage should be added.
o More than one Peerage should be added.
o I have no opinion
o I prefer not to answer

4. Instead of creating a new Peerage for Archery, Combat Archery, Equestrian, Siege, and Throwing, should these martial activities be covered under an existing Peerage?
o Yes, include them within the Laurel.
o Yes, include them within the Pelican.
o Yes, include them within the Chivalry.
o Yes, include them within the Order of Defense.
o No, they should not be recognized.
o I have no opinion
o I prefer not to answer

5. Should there be an all-in-one Peerage created, or should Archery, Combat Archery, Equestrian, Siege, and Throwing each have their own Peerage?
o Create an all-in-one Peerage.
o Create individual Peerages for each martial art.
o I have no opinion
o I prefer not to answer

6. Do you feel a Peerage for a specific skill will increase participation in that activity?
o Yes
o No
o I have no opinion
o I prefer not to answer

7. Do you feel that a peerage path for Archery, Combat Archery, Equestrian, Siege, and Throwing will encourage cross-over from other SCA martial disciplines?
o Yes
o No
o I have no opinion
o I prefer not to answer

8. Do you feel that participation in Archery, Combat Archery, Equestrian, Siege, and Throwing has suffered because of increased focus on other martial pursuits?
o Yes
o No
o I have no opinion
o I prefer not to answer

9. Do you feel that a Peerage path for Archery, Combat Archery, Equestrian, Siege, and Throwing will attract membership from other recreation groups?
o Yes
o No
o I have no opinion
o I prefer not to answer

10. Do you feel that a Peerage path for Archery, Combat Archery, Equestrian, Siege, and Throwing will encourage more people to participate in these martial arts? Will it also encourage more studies of period practices, more classes, and more tournaments?
o Yes
o No
o I have no opinion
o I prefer not to answer

11. Do you feel that additional Peerage(s) will increase membership?
o Yes
o No
o I have no opinion
o I prefer not to answer

12. Since the Order of Defense was created in 2015, have you seen more crossover between the Heavy List fighters and Fencers?
o Yes, I have seen more crossover.
o No, the crossover has remained about the same.
o I have seen crossover depending more on age and physical condition than on the creation of a Fencing Peerage.
o I have no opinion
o I prefer not to answer

13. Since the Order of Defense was created in 2015, have you seen notable crossing over from other medieval groups, such as HEMA, since the Order of Defense’s creation?
o Yes, I have seen more crossover.
o No, the crossover has remained about the same.
o I have no opinion
o I prefer not to answer

14. Has the creation of the Order of Defense taken time and focus away from other activities?
o Yes
o No
o I have no opinion
o I prefer not to answer

15. Has membership has gone up in your local group since the Order of Defense was created in 2015?
o Yes
o No
o I have no opinion
o I prefer not to answer

Part 2: Who are you?

This section gathers information about who you are and what you like to do in the Society.

16. Are you a member of the Society?
If yes, please tell us your member number and enter your expiration date.
________

17. If you are not a member, how long have you been a part of the Society?
________

18. What is your current Kingdom?
________

19. How long have you been in the SCA?
o Less than 2 years
o 2-5 years
o 5-10 years
o 10-20 years
o 20-30 years
o 30-40 years
o Over 40 years
o Lifetime member
o I prefer Not to Answer

20. The Order of Defense was created in February 2015. Did you become a member after that time?
o Yes
o No
o I prefer not to Answer

21. If you became a member after February 2015, did the creation of the Fencing Peerage called the Order of Defense effect your choice to become a member?
o Yes, a Fencing Peerage encouraged me to join the Society.
o No, a Fencing Peerage did not influence my choice to join the Society.
o I prefer not to Answer

22. Did the creation of the Order of Defense make YOU more or less likely to participate in the Society?
o Yes
o No
o I have no opinion
o I prefer not to answer

23. What is your level of recognition within the SCA?

Non-Peers Peers Mentored Peers Royal Peers
o Member o Squire o Knight o Count/Countess
o Award of Arms o Apprentice o Laurel o Duke/Duchess
o Grant of Arms o Protegee o Pelican o Pince/Princess (current)
o Baron/Baroness o Cadet o Master of Defense o King/Queen (current)

24. What is your age?
o Under 20
o 21-30
o 31-40
o 41-50
o 51-60
o Over 60
o I prefer not to answer

25. How many family members participate in the SCA?
o I am the only one
o My spouse/significant other and I
o Family with children
o My extended family
o I prefer not to answer
o Other: ________

26. If a new peerage is considered for any endeavor, how would you like to hear about it?
Check all that apply
o Email to all members
o Kingdom Chroniclers
o Kingdom newsletters
o Kingdom website
o SCA Website
o Social Media
o Mailings to members
o I prefer Not to Answer
o Other: ________

27. How can this process be improved?
________

28. How can this process be more transparent?
________

In closing, I would like to say I did not realize how much work goes into creating surveys! I thought this would be an hour or two of work. Instead it has turned into several days’ worth of work as I analyzed the original survey and re-wrote it. I also want to thank Schwarzer Turm Herald Ulric von der Insel, who proofread my original analysis and gave excellent feedback. I have spent over a decade editing textbooks, and I can honestly say that everyone needs editors. Including editors!

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My Thoughts on the New Peerage Survey

In 2015, the Society for Creative Anachronism created a Peerage (the highest award) for Fencing. Previously, the Peerages had been for Heavy List combat, Knowledge, Service, and Royalty. Four years later, a Peerage is being discussed for Archery, Equestrian, Siege Engines, and Target Throwing.

This post is a question-by-question breakdown of a survey shared with every person involved with the Society for Creative Anachronism, which has over 30,000 members around the globe.  This survey is at https://surveys.eastkingdom.org/index.php/313648?lang=en  I have listed each question as it appears, with my comments in blue text.

0. Are you a member?
Asking this question sets a negative tone for the entire survey, implying the Society of Creative Anachronism only wishes to hear from its paid members. This is not a good way to approach new members and people who participate infrequently.
A better way to approach this is to include a follow-up question for non-members, asking how long they have been involved with the Society, and why they are not paid members, due to constrains such as lack of money or lack of time due to education or multiple jobs.
o Yes, I am a member.
o No, I am NOT a member.
If yes, please tell us your member number and enter your expiration date: ________

1. Do you believe that the addition of the Order of Defense has been a good thing for the Society?
This survey is focused on the creation of a new Peerage. Opening with a question about a different Peerage suggests this survey does not care about the creation of a new Peerage, and is only going through the motions of asking for Populace feedback. Asking if the creation of the Order of Defense is “good” for the Society is vague. Asking specific questions about participation and membership would be better.
o Yes
o No
o No opinion/Prefer not to answer

2. Have you seen an overall increase in activity since the Order of Defense ‘s Creation?
This is an impractical question to ask the Populace. Sending a request to each Barony’s Seneschals and Heavy List and Fencing Marshalls would be the best way to find information about each group’s membership, practice, and event attendance from the past five years.
o Yes
o No
o No opinion/Prefer not to answer

3. Did you become a member of the SCA to participate in fencing activities since the creation of the Order of Defense?
This question’s audience is members who have joined the Society after the Order of Defense was created in February 2015. That information should be included in the question.
o Yes
o No
o No opinion/Prefer not to answer

4. Have you seen a notable increase in the crossing over of Rattan Fighters into the Fencing arena?
This is a very complex question. Many crossover fighters focus on one martial art for years, only changing to another once they have mastered the first or need to change their martial participation due to illness, injury, or age. The creation of the Order of Defense does not impact those life changes.
o Yes
o No
o No opinion/Prefer not to answer

5. Do you believe that any other areas of the Society suffered due to the attention that the Order of Defense has placed on fencing in the last two years?
The phrase “other areas have suffered” implies a negative response to the creation of the Order of Defense. An unbiased way to phrase this question would be, “Has the creation of the Order of Defense taken time and focus away from other activities?”
o Yes
o No
o No opinion/Prefer not to answer

6. Do you believe there has been a notable crossing over from other medieval groups, such as HEMA, since the Order of Defense’s creation?
Unlike event and practice attendance, there is no metric to measure group crossover. It will be interesting to see if the Armored Combat League’s Knight Fights television show will lead to an increase in Heavy List fighters and overall Society membership.
o Yes
o No
o No opinion/Prefer not to answer

7. Do you agree with this Statement?: “Persons who were fencers before the Order of Defense’s creation are taking a more serious approach to the Society now that there’s a Peerage for their focus’ activity.”?
How can “seriousness” be measured? By the historical accuracy of arms and armor? By the study of period manuals? Or does this question about how people feel fencers impact the Society?
o Yes
o No
o No opinion/Prefer not to answer

8. Has membership has gone up in your local group since the Order of Defense’s inception?
Just like Question 2, this is an impractical to ask the Populace. Sending a request to each Barony’s Seneschals and Heavy List and Fencing Marshalls would be the best way to find information about each group’s membership, practice, and event attendance from since 2015, when the Order of Defense was created.
o Yes
o No
o No opinion/Prefer not to answer

9. Do you agree with the following: “Superior martial skill at a martial art, such as archery, thrown weapons, siege, and equestrian, deserves recognition with a Peerage.”
Asking agreement puts implies there will be a positive response to the creation of a Peerage for Archery, Combat Archery, Equestrian, Siege, and Throwing. An unbiased way to phrase this question would be, “Does superior martial skill in Archery, Combat Archery, Equestrian, Siege, and Throwing deserve a Peerage?”
o Yes
o No
o No opinion/Prefer not to answer

10. Do you participate in the following?
This is a useful question!
Select all that apply:
o Archery
o Armored Combat
o Combat Archery
o Equestrian Activities
o Fencing
o Siege Engines
o Thrown Weapons
o None of the above
o Prefer Not to Answer

11. Do you think there are enough peerages?
This is a vague question. Many people only care about a thing if impacts them. For people who are not involved in Archery, Combat Archery, Equestrian, Siege, and Throwing, the only time other peerages would impact them is during Court. Specifically, when a new Peer is Elevated, a member of every other Peerage speaks for them. Noting a significantly longer court for multiple new peerages is critical, and has not been addressed anywhere in this survey.
o Yes
o No
o No opinion/Prefer not to answer

12. How do you believe displaying skills in equestrian/archery/etc. should be recognized?
This question asks about the creation of an all-in-one Peerage, individual Peerages, and if non-martial Peerages should cover martial actives. This should be three separate questions.
Check all that apply
o Within a shared peerage (all in one peerage)
o Within their own individual peerage (several peerages)
o Within the Laurel
o Within the Pelican
o Within the Chivalry
o Within the Order of Defense
o Do not recognize
o No Opinion/Prefer Not to Answer

13. Do you agree that a Peerage for a specific skill will increase participation in that activity?
I would like to see how Peers answer this question in comparison to non-Peers.
o Yes
o No
o No opinion/Prefer not to answer

14. Do you agree that a peerage path for Archery/Equestrian/Thrown Weapons/Siege will encourage cross-over from other SCA martial disciplines?
This question asks for agreement. It should be worded, “Do you feel that a peerage path for Archery/Equestrian/Thrown Weapons/Siege will encourage cross-over from other SCA martial disciplines?”
o Yes
o No
o No opinion/Prefer not to answer

15. Do you perceive that participation in Archery/Equestrian/Thrown Weapons/Siege has suffered in recent years because of increased focus on other martial pursuits?
I am interested to see how these responses correlate to each Barony or Shire’s membership, practice, and event attendance numbers.
o Yes
o No
o No opinion/Prefer not to answer

16. Do you believe that a Peerage path for Archery/Equestrian/Thrown Weapons/Siege will attract membership from other recreation groups?
If the Society wants to grow larger, we must focus on encouraging new members to join and have fun.
o Yes
o No
o No opinion/Prefer not to answer

17. Do you believe that a peerage path for an Archer/Equestrian/ Thrown Weapons /Siege will make those persons take their participation in the Society more seriously?
Is the goal of the Society to be serious, or to encourage existing members to participate while incorporate new members? Also, how can “seriousness” be measured? By the historical accuracy of arms and armor? By the study of period manuals? By the study of how period materials and tools were created and used?
o Yes
o No
o No opinion/Prefer not to answer

18. Do you believe that Additional Peerage(s) will increase membership?
Membership will be increased if people are enjoying themselves and having fun. I am interested to see the comparison between how long people have been members of the Society and how they answer this question.
o Yes
o No
o No opinion/Prefer not to answer

19. Were you a member of the SCA when the Order of Defense Peerage was created?
The Order of Defense was created in February 2015. Its first two responses should be, “I was a member before 2015” and “I joined the Society during or after 2015.”
o Yes
o No
o No opinion/Prefer not to answer

20. Did the creation of the Order of Defense make YOU more or less likely to participate?
This question would be an excellent follow-up to Question 3. Another good follow up question is: “If you were not fencing before the Order of Defense, did the creation of a Peerage make you interested in fencing?”
o More
o Less
o No opinion/Prefer not to answer

21 What is your current Kingdom?
This question is useful for gathering data across Kingdoms.

22. What is your level of recognition within the SCA?
This question is limited because it lists four non-Peer ranks and nine Peer ranks. This list should include the Peer-in-training ranks: Squire, Cadet, Protegee, and Apprentice. If the number of Cadets has increased from before 2015, the is a strong argument that the Order of Defense has encouraged fencers to become formal students.
Check all that apply
o Member
o Award/Grant of Arms
o Court Baronage
o Knight
o Laurel
o Pelican
o Master of Defense
o Landed Baronage
o Viscount/Viscountess
o Count/Countess
o Duke/Duchess
o Prince/Princess (current)
o King/Queen (current)
o Prefer Not to Answer

23. What is your age?
This is useful information to compare responses.
o Under 20
o 21-30
o 31-40
o 41-50
o 51-60
o Over 60
o Prefer not to answer

24. How long have you been in the SCA?
There should be an added option for people who have been in the Society their entire lives.
o Less than 2 years
o 2-5 years
o 5-10 years
o 10-20 years
o 20-30 years
o 30-40 years
o Over 40 years
o Prefer Not to Answer

25. How many family members participate in the SCA?
o I am the only one
o My spouse/significant other and I
o Family with children
o The whole family
o Prefer not to answer
o Other:

26. If a new peerage is considered for any endeavor, how would you like to hear about it?
This question should a short write-in option.
Check all that apply
o Email to all members
o Kingdom Chroniclers
o Kingdom newsletters
o Kingdom website
o SCA Website
o Social Media
o Mailings to members
o Prefer Not to Answer

27. How can this process be made more transparent?
This question should be broken into several questions about concerns for the creation of a new Peerage, how people can support or not support a new Peerage, and if there should be a single Peerage or four separate Peerages.

The following is my personal response to Question 27:
The word “transparent” is used to show how visible the process of creating a new peerage is. This survey has shown many things, including bias, poor planning, and poor editing. It heavily implies that the of the Order of Defense took away from the seriousness and enjoyment of non-fencers in order to acknowledge Fencing as a Per-worthy Path just as the Order of Chivalry is the Peer-worthy Path of Heavy List.

Of the twenty-six previous questions, 10 concern the Order of Defense, 9 concern Peerages, 8 concern Activity, 4 concern new members, and 2 concern the seriousness of the SCA. This survey claims to concern the creation of a new Peerage, but the repeated references to the Order of Defense make this survey less transparent.

For this process to be transparent, this survey must be completely re-written to remove any and all negative biases regarding the Order of Defense.

My opinion is: the addition of the Order of Defense Peerage has not taken away focus from the other Peerages. Instead, it has allowed Fencers to be recognized for their deeds and skill. The creation of the Order of Defense has allowed fencers to be made equal to the Orders of Chivalry, the Laurel, and the Pelican. Creating a new Peerage to empower people who are archers, throwers, equestrians and siege engineers will not take away from the other Peerages. The Society is a volunteer-run organization. We recognize one another’s deeds with Awards and in Courts. Providing a new way to empower our members will not weaken us. Any person who thinks the addition of a new Peerage will take away from theirs needs to ask themselves if they are peers or peers-in-training because they want to support the Society, or if they only want the prestige of new awards.

With this breakdown complete, I have also created My Rewrite of the New Peerage Survey. I have spent over a decade editing textbooks, and I feel that if you have a problem with how something is done, you should note it, and propose a solution to the problem!

In closing, I would like to say I did not realize how much work goes into creating surveys! I thought this would be an hour or two of work. Instead it has turned into several days’ worth of work as I analyzed the original survey and re-wrote it. I also want to thank Schwarzer Turm Herald Ulric von der Insel, who proofread my original analysis and gave excellent feedback.

Common Heraldic Misconceptions

I’ve been a Herald since Pennsic 42, and in all that time I have heard many incorrect things about both Name and Art Heraldry. This post covers some common misconceptions.

SCA Membership Cards, called “Blue Cards”
BlueCardMany misconceptions revolve around membership cards.

My name is on my Blue Card, so the Heralds have Registered it! The Heralds have absolutely nothing to do with membership cards. Whatever name you choose to put into the Membership Registration Form will be printed. One herald had “King Richard the Lionheart” on his Blue Card just to prove this. (Heraldic rules will not allow you to register names of important people in history.)

I can’t Register my Name and Heraldry until I have an Award of Arms! There is no award prerequisite to register Heraldry in any kingdom. If the person does not yet have an Award of Arms, their heraldry should be referred to as their “Device.” I have found that most people who pay attention to this distinction are Heralds, so this post uses “heraldry” as an inclusive term.

My name is on my Award of Arms scroll, so the Heralds have Registered it! Many people do not have Registered Names or Heraldry when they receive an Award of Arms. Scribes will write the name you use on your Award and leave a space blank for your Heraldry.

I’ve been using this Household Name and Badge for decades, so it’s Registered! A large fighting household in the Midrealm discovered at Pennsic 46 that their name and badge was not registered. (This was corrected.)

I need a Blue Card to Register my Name with the Heralds! Heralds do not care if you are a Paid Member of the SCA. All we ask for is your legal name and date of birth. We will help you complete the paperwork so you can submit it with the registration fee.

I have to be 18 to Register my Name with the Heralds! Really, we just need your name and date of birth, because things are registered to you, not your persona. Parents can submit name and armory paperwork on the day their child is born. Children can also register their Name and Art Heraldry. Registered Names and Heraldry can always be changed.

Once my name is Registered, it’s permanent! All Registered Items can be changed or Released. Releasing a name or other registered thing is free; changing it requires a submission fee.

I have to do all of the research on my name myself! There are Name Heralds who have become Laurels for Period Name Research. You absolutely do not have to look it all up on your own. I always ask what time period or culture you would like to take your name from, and then I email a group list to ask for experts for that period.

Other Misconceptions
I want to register a funny or crude name, but the Heralds won’t let me! As long as appropriate documentation is provided and the name is not Offensive, Presumptuous, or Obtrusively Modern, the Heralds will register it. Here some registered examples: Brick James Beech, Crow Barr, Effing ThomasHelena Handbasket, Hillarius Clock Werk, Margarita Martini, Monkey Makgee, Oliver Oxen Free, and Violet Hughes. A few names that did not pass for being too modern include Portia Audi and Ragnar Drogo.

You’ll never get that past the Heralds! No kidding, there I was: checking in at the War of the Roses. After I handed my Blue Card (shown above) to the Gate, the person checking me in would not believe that anyone with the legal name of Anakin could register the last name Veðardóttir. I pulled out my phone and showed him the registration on the Ordinary & Armorial. (All the names above link to their entries on the O&A.) Heralds love puns, and even if only a few people get the joke, we’re happy.

Lioness

I want a German name and French Heraldry, and the Heralds won’t let me do that! Heralds will look at the name you are registering only to make sure it will not be presumptuous when combined with your Heraldry. The last name Tudor and the Tudor Rose are allowed charges. If you attempt to register them both, you would appear to be presumptuous. I am a Viking, and my Heraldry is not something a Viking would use. My Heraldry shows that I am a Ravenclaw and a Tamora Pierce fan.

The question I have learned to ask is, “Have you paid the College of Heralds for your name and heraldry registration?” If the answer is no, then you have not registered anything.

How do I know when my Name and Heraldry are passed? The registration process takes roughly nine to  twelve months after submission. Your Baronial Herald should be able to look up. If they are unfamiliar with the heraldic database, you can send me a note at my blog handle at gmail.

Vedardottir’s Viking VeraStorium Design

Sometimes design ideas are simple: you have an idea, you draw it, and you’re good to go. Other times you have an idea, you draw it, and…you need to adjust it because it’s good but not quite right.

I am transitioning from making things for myself and my close friends into actually trying to make money selling things in the Society for Creative Anachronisms. I’ve worked for vendors in the past, so I have an idea of what to do: show up, bring a table, and display wares with price tags. Finally, it’s good to have a shop name and logo. Since I’m a Viking named Vedardottir, I thought a shop name with V’s would be fun. After playing with a lot of words, I decided to play with Veritasium, a bastardized Latin word for ‘Truth Serum’. I especially like the -ium ending, which is neutral case, instead of being male or female. (Yes, I studied Latin. I am over educated.)

VnutTry1
Vedardottir’s Viking VeraStorium would have three Vs, like an inverted Valknut. Some neo-nazi groups use the Valknut as a symbol of hate, which meant I needed to modify it with more than shades of grey: this design can only be black and white.

Starting with outlines, I focused on the overlapping V shapes. The outline wasn’t quite correct, so I removed it in the next version. I tried to simply fill the three Vs, but without something to tie the design together as a whole, the last orientation looked boring.

Looking at the images above, I felt I needed to tie the knotwork overlap together. This element would need to have less visual weight then the Vs, so I decided it would need to be nothing but a white outline. Vikings are known for swords and axes, and a sword weaving between the Vs seemed the simplest solution. After several drawings of a Viking sword that didn’t seem to fit with the straight lines of the logo, I resorted to graph paper.

Building the sword into the design let it fade into a background image, instead of introducing jarring curves into a design of straight lines. Even when the design was filled, the white space around the handle seemed out of place. I added fill behind the handle, and the design solidified.

I dislike to use guess-and-check as a design process, but sometimes the only way to find the right solution is to try others. Each step of the process brought me closer to this outcome. I’ll take that as a Vivant-worthy Viking Victory!

VnutSwordFinal

Planning Creates Proper Placement

Dyrfinna-Sigurdsdottir-device

Part of the challenge fun of creating Heraldic Art is choosing where all the parts of the design should be placed. Each visual element needs to be identifiable. This submission features an oak tree, two ravens, and a chief with three Mjollners. (Mjollner is the name of the Norse god Thor’s hammer. It has been affectionately dubbed “meow-meow” by a minor character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.) In this original submission, it is hard to distinguish the ravens, which are about the same size as the tree’s leaves. As Pallet Herald, my job is literally redrawing submissions like this one.PDFprint

 

My first step is to print the original art to copy it. I was sent this image of a raven to incorporate into the final design, so I used Paint to place the raven on the shield shape. The image appears to have two shields because I needed to scale the original slightly down so I would be able to trace the oak tree at roughly the correct size. (Smaller tree + larger ravens = everything is easier to see!)

 

RavensHammer

Once I had the print-out, I placed it under a shield template of the correct size on my light box. I have a template of my Mjollner badge, but it has some small irregularities. I measured 1/4″ margins around the edge of the shield, and made sure there was 1/4″ between each Mjollner. I also elongated the roots of the tree so it would fill the space better. Finally, I made a point of drawing extra lines around each leaf. This creates outlines of white space between the solid black shapes, allowing the final image to be more than a black shadow.Redraw-Dyrfinna-Sigurdsdottir-device

 

The final image is precisely aligned, with easily distinguished ravens, oak tree, and a chief of Mjollners.

 

Heraldic Heartwarmers and Hangups

Many of the fine folks who work to register Heraldic Names and Devices are history nerds. The Society for Creative Anachronisms is full of history nerds, but Heralds tend to take our devotion to exponentially higher levels.

I love being an Art Herald, but I often find myself face-palming when I hear horror stories from people who dislike or even despise their Heraldry. When I ask why, the responses tend to be some form of, “My Herald made me do it this way.”

This does not bother me. “Bother” is too simple of a word to describe my anger and frustration with any heraldic consultant who forces their clients into a “proper” decision. Sometimes we heralds have to adjust the client’s design to fit within our rules, or to clear conflict. Adjustments are fine, but no client should ever hate their heraldry!!

The whole purpose of Heraldry is a visual display, declaring who you are to the world. Heraldry is the oldest form of Identify Friend or Foe. If a client does not love their Heraldry, then I feel I have failed as a Herald.

My rules for Heraldry are simple:

  1. Does the client like it?
  2. Does it fit within our rules? (Does it have color-on-metal and metal-on color for high contrast? Does it conflict with any other registered devices?)
  3. Is it registerable? (Some charges, such as testicles and swastikas, are forbidden.)

As long as the client’s design is covered by all three of these rules, I consider my work as a Herald well done. Not everyone agrees with me.

I have met Heralds who encourage clients to create period designs and will deliberately withhold information. All in the name of ensuring the  heraldry with their name as consultant is Properly Period and Will Not Make Them Look Bad.

I am not one of those Heralds.

I am the Herald of Helheim Yeah, Let’s Register That!

MarvelvsDC

When Guardians of the Galaxy came out in 2014, (A.S. XLVIII) there was a comparison meme floating around the interwebs. It shows a stark contrast between DC Comics being “edgy” and Marvel Comics being written for character depth and humor. Box office sales have shown well-written, witty movies are more well-liked than dark, boring brooding ones.

So when a friend asked for a green squid on a gold background, I went the extra mile. He has more Cthulhu memorabilia than I have Captain America paraphernalia.

Not only did I give him a color-on-metal completely registerable piece of Heraldry, I slapped wings on the squid, and then made them look like demonic horns. I also suggested he align the design Facing to Sinister,  because Cthulhu is the most sinister thing out there. The first design was my original submission, but I learned that both wings needed to be fully displayed and the tentacles could not overlap.

PunchHydra

On the note of Marvel geekery, I have a lot of Captain America collectibles, most notably my shield backpack. This is me a few Pennsics ago, punching a Hydra street sign. Not shown are my Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. jackets, my Captain America shield cell phone case, wallet, keychain, cufflinks…well, you get the idea!

Do you want a tree and a raccoon wielding a gun on your Heraldry? Because I’m the Herald who will help you register it!

Sewing a Skjold (Viking) Hood

20180621_123037As a Viking reenactor, one of my challenges is recreating garments worn centuries ago, with no instructions on how they are put together. I read through several sets of instructions for how to make a reproduction of the hood found in Skjold Harbor. After several tries, I now understand how the squares and rectangles work together. I used this pattern to construct my  Pronoun Hood.

Explaining how to assemble this hood requires both color-coded diagrams and photographs of the assembly process. The photo on the right shows my completed hood.

The skjold hood pattern is deceptively simple: two rectangles (1-2 and 3-4) form the hood and sides, and the front and back panels are squares half the size of the rectangles (5 and 6).

RedoSquaresI have colored each section’s edges to explain which edges should be sewn together. Black edges indicate the outer seams of the garment, and the dashed black lines show where the fabric folds. HoodHead

Suggested dimensions for the hood are to make each colored length one foot, requiring a rectangle of material two feet by three feet. If you have an unusually large head or are making a child’s hood, cut a brown paper bag and hold it behind their head. The square should be a few inches larger than their head.

HoodLayoutIsoThe hood is tricky to assemble because the edges align in an odd fashion.

First, join the two purple edges of (2) and (3) together to form a very long rectangle. Another way to make this hood from a piece of fabric one foot wide and six feet long, removing the need for the purple seam. The purple edge can be a fold or a seam, and sits over the top of the head.

RedPurple

 

Next, join the two red edges of (2) and (3) together. This seam sits over the back of the head. The black edges of (2) and (3) are the open front of the hood.

 

BrownOrange

Starting at the end of the red seam, pin  and sew square (6) to the back to the hood. You will need to align the orange edges of (1) and (6) as well as the  brown edges of (4) and (6). Don’t start at one of the corners with a black edge, because the fabric can slip and misalign the entire hood.

Green

 

The next step is the hardest. Carefully align the front of the hood to sew the front seams. I like to pin the open front of the hood (the black lines of (2) and (3) closed so they align. This ensures the front square (5) will align with the back square (6).

Finally, sew the blue edge of (5) to the blue edge of (1). Now you only need to roll the seam around the open front of the hood and its outer edge.

HoodWorn

 

It looks strange, doesn’t it? When flat, the hood will look like this. I have drawn a person in the hood so you can see how it sits. The dashed lines indicate folds.