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Friday, December 4, 2009

Boy, time flies

Well, folks, if you're not following me on Twitter, you really, really ought to be; I've been posting there much more frequently than here, largely because, as they say, sharing your thoughts with the world is a lot easier in 140-character increments.

The holidays have been bearing down on us, the days have been getting shorter, and my brain has been trying to hibernate while also trying to focus and get things done.  I'll let you know how that goes.

I love winter, I truly do, but I have a real problem when I can't recharge my solar batteries outside every now and again.  The constant gloom of overcast days and long nights wears on me after awhile.  It's no wonder Norse mythology is so depressing: those people lived in this kind of thing practically year-round.

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On the creative front, embroidery is continuing, and continuing to look good, too.  I'll even be teaching a little tomorrow at our local SCA chapter's Christmas Court, assuming anyone is interested in learning about it.  This will be my first foray into teaching any of my crafty stuff in several years; back from about April 2000 to September 2003, I was crazy busy with calligraphy and did a lot locally, both making stuff and operating a small scriptorium where people came and practiced each week, and I taught, coordinated projects, and such.

Because let's face it – if you're in a society devoted to recreating the lifestyles and art forms of the Middle Ages, and you're giving out award certificates to your members, you're not going to just print something off at the local copy shop.  You're going to look around until you find yourself some scribes in that society, and you're going to get them involved, and they will proceed to fall all over themselves creating stuff for the joy of it that would otherwise cost serious cash to commission.

(Note to self: get some of those photos up here on the blog, now that the website is defunct.)

Anyway.

In early 2004, Politics Happened, because politics eventually happen in just about any large group of people, only this time they Happened all over some friends of mine.  Between that and the burnout I was starting to accumulate, I was pretty soured on the SCA in general, and didn't have the heart to continue scribing.  My most recent calligraphy project, back in December of last year, was my first in about four years.

I had a point – oh, yeah – when I stopped doing calligraphy, I didn't have anything to teach either; so sitting around at Christmas Court tomorrow, chatting with friends about the embroidery and offering samples for them to work on, will be the first "teaching" I've done in quite awhile too.

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Something else I'm looking forward to seeing, since it was my idea originally, is the Class Handout Library/Swap Meet.  SCA chapters host events; classes get taught on every topic you can imagine, and then some; the teachers produce handouts for their attendees to take home.  When I was at Pennsic this year, a lot of us sort of mutually agreed that if we happened to get to a class that someone else wasn't able to attend, we'd share our handouts with them once we got back to camp.

It occurred to me that it would also be a good thing to share those handouts with the folks who didn't get to come camping at all, and that's how the handout library was born.  (It's still in an early enough stage that we're not quite sure what to call it.  Is this a lending library?  Are we making photocopies to distribute?  We're definitely making our stuff available for reading, but are we letting people take them home?)

I've got handouts on everything from Queen Elizabeth's handwriting style, to period oil lamps and how to create your own.  I've got stuff from the deep inner meanings of Eastern Orthodox iconographic symbolism (and how to make your own), to the best ways to accessorize your outfit by time period, to something called stick-weaving, which is believed to date back to the Ice Age, and which was taught that day by a 7-year-old.  And that's not even getting into my whole subset of calligraphy-related handouts: the bookbinding classes, various alphabet styles, or how to craft good-looking "fakes" of English letters that resemble Arabic, Oriental kanji, or other foreign writing systems.

(Screw politics; if you're a geek who likes a little of everything, you will love the SCA and all the stuff there is to learn there.)

And that's just my own handout collection; I have no idea what other cool topics will be represented tomorrow, though I admit I'm hoping to snag a copy of the period underwear handout to look over, any maybe something on authentic dyes and safe ways to use them.

*blink* What?

I will never understand the people who think that it isn't cool to want to learn new stuff, or to admit that you enjoy learning all these weird little tidbits.  Seriously?  I was made to feel like a freak growing up, and I'm now having the time of my life diving into this great big swimming pool full of nifty topics and splashing my way through a little of everything.

I mean, wouldn't you be proud to know people who can build authentic working ballistae, and get to fire them on battlefields every weekend? 

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Clearly, this is what happens when I don't post often enough to the blog; perfectly ordinary "going to an event tomorrow" topics build up pressure in my brain and turn into rants when I let them out (geeks rule!).

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In other news – yes, I have other news – I got a booking call today to do some henna for a baby shower in January.  I am so stoked.  I really enjoy slinging henna, and I don't get enough bookings in the winter, so I'm thrilled every time I get a call.  I mean, I'm probably supposed to be all "well, let me see if I can fit you in" when I talk to clients, but life's too short to be snooty.  Don't get me wrong, I certainly don't want to sound pathetic and do the "you really like me!" thing either – but man, I just love getting bookings.

Which reminds me, I had a gig a couple weeks back where I got to pull out and really devote time to the North African designs for the first time, and it was terrific.  One of my clients posted her henna onto her Facebook page; once I can find the link, I'll snag it and post it here for the curious.

That's it for now, I think.  Cheers to one and all, and please, don't let holiday stress get to you.  If it starts to, give me a call and I'll come do an intervention involving chamomile tea, and/or ice cream, and/or henna for you.

Bless!
Heather

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