Sunday, October 21, 2007

These Medieval clubs

Constantine sautes pork in a pipkin with rice cooking in the lided pipkin on the edge of the braiser.

Chances are you have seen us clashing loudly with swords and armor in city parks, looking comfortable promenading through Renaissance Fairs, or demonstrating everyday activities of a Medieval Household at Libraries.
In particular the medieval organization named The Society for Creative Anachronism, or SCA, has been growing and changing since the 1960s when it began. Now with 30,000 paid members and many more unpaid members. Other than a fervent interest in the medieval era there seems to be very little in common between the individuals Medievalists, who run the gamut of education, professions, age, and aspects of the various medieval organizations they favor. From the extremes of people who just like to party in odd clothing, through the range of those who try to live so authentically among other activities they part with their eye glasses for the weekend event. Most participants, however, fall in between the two extremes and, as much as we love spending weekends camping in pavilions and wearing ‘garb’, we are more than aware that it isn’t possible to be completely medieval and we are happy to be back in a land of refrigerators and central heating when the event has concluded.

Hrafnir Fiachsman roasts a pork loin in a pipkin.

Since the 1960s when the SCA began there has been a noticeable increase in medieval scholarship and putting the crafts and tools of the era to practical use in the form of experimental archaeology. It is not unusual to see a Viking starting his campfires with flint and steel, a Norman grinding the pigments for her Illuminated Manuscripts, or a Celt carving bone needles for embroidery. The focus of my medieval experience is pottery.

Katerjine kneeds bread for baking and uses the jug in the foreground for adding liquid when required. In the background craftsmen prepare to cast pewter. Others enjoy the beautiful day