Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A little scroll painting.

(Taken from my Cell phone)
 First time I have picked up a paintbrush in a while. I don't know, not my best work, but its certainly going places, I think.

 Lord Ivo Blackhawk
Protege to Master Robert Fitzmorgan
Nordsteorra Herald
Kingdom of Ansteorra  
"God Save the King!" 
Google Voice - (405) 385-9214

Friday, July 9, 2010

A little bit on herald's point.

I wanted to take a moment and talk a little about the idea of a Herald's Point for medium and small events. The main reason I am mentioning it here is because I have spoken to several people on the topic in the past, and frankly got a lot of resistance to the idea. Reason's varied, but the cornerstone argument is usually centered on tradition more than anything else. "We just don't need a herald's point" is an all too common rebuttal. Well, there are cases where that may very well be the situation, but I would like to submit that more often than not, an event would benefit from the establishment of a herald's point.

What is a Herald's Point?
Let me start off by defining what I mean. I am not talking about the complete administrative center for heralds of all types that goes up at Gulf Wars and (reportedly) Pensic. These things can certainly be included at a herald's point, and at larger events, probably should, if for no other reason than the sanity of the lead site herald. A herald's Point is rather literally any identifiable point on a site where people can readily notice it and gather. So, with that definition, any table, tree, bench or pavilion could easily work. In fact, any spot of ground will work. This truely is a case of location, location, location.

Why would we want to make a Herald's Point?
Depending on the size of the event, a steward could easily find themselves gathering as many as twenty, or as few as five heralds for things like site, list, court and feast heralding duties. I can say from personal experience is that even a "well oiled"  system can burn a lot of time just getting everyone in the right place at the right times. And at the larger events, there are always people who are late finding the gathering site, or didn't hear the instructions clearly. I'm not saying that these are crippling factors by any means. Events go over well all the time, with good heraldry from good people. However, I doubt that anyone is willing to argue that the current system we have is perfect.

How would we do it?
Okay, so I am talking about a quick and easy way to do a Herald's point that doesn't involve parking a 'period office building" in the middle of site. What do I have in mind? What I am talking about is a banner, or standard on a tall pole. Too simple? Not really, and here's why. First of all, if the standard is the SCA herald's Green with crossed gold trumpets, than everyone will know that it is for heralds. And even if it isn't that, but the arms of a group (like it should be), it is something that can quickly be identified as "the place to go for issues heraldic".

Standards have been the cornerstones of military maneuver for centuries, and in the modern context, they still serve a very functional purpose in and out of the military. We recognize not only our national flags, but the white field with a red cross is internationally recognized as a place for emergency aid and medical care. Maltese crosses on the doors of cars and SUVs instantly denote them to the general public as fire department vehicles, and the traditional gold or silver shield are commonly used to mark official police vehicles. These modern forms of heraldry clearly show that people still respond to visual symbols, and know to react to them in select circumstances. Historically, military formations predating the Romans, and as late as the American Civil war, actively used large flags on tall poles to guide formation maneuvers, rally troops and signal other units.

Okay, that was a little more history that was probably really needed, but it does give some depth to my statements.

What are the benefits?
Functionally, having a place that is for the heralds allows people to say "meet at herald's point" rather than have to remember which corner of what building or pavilion to met at. Also, seeing the banner during the day can act as a reminder to people about heraldry, and that they might want to help heralds. In a word, advertising.
Additionally, a simple pad of paper, clipboard and pencil can be tied to the flagpole for messages. An example would be one page that lists the times heralds will be needed, and another down below that says "if you need something announced, please write it here and we will cry it the next time we go out." That way anyone can leave a written message with a reasonable assurance that the site herald will check in and see the note.

Lastly, even if the point is only used once, and no one leaves any notes, a colorful period banner displaying on an event ground will add another level to the feel of the event, and is that really a bad thing in any way?"

Lord Ivo Blackhawk
Protege to Master Robert Fitzmorgan
Nordsteorra Herald
Kingdom of Ansteorra
"Long Live the King!"

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Back into the game

Well, tonight was my first SCA meeting (or anything, for that matter) since the end of January this year. Little fanfare, a few handshakes and not much more. All in all I can hardly complain.
I spoke with HL Emma De Featherstan more or less right off the bat when she came in. Aside from her being the Star Principal Herald, she is also the autocrat for Mooneschadowe's Provincial Triumph this year. Now that I am no longer working weekend swing shifts, I can reasonably state an intent to help with my own group's event.
Not surprisingly, I asked to head up heraldry. Emma said that she was hoping to speak with me on that same topic, though later on in the year. Short and sweet, we had a fairly traditional handshake agreement naming me had head herald.

My major goals this year:

and foremost, I am going to make sure we have a herald's point, and that it is more than a table stuck out in the corner of a room. I was fairly adamant with Emma that I wanted a visibly distinct  location that people come come and meet at. I did this two years ago with good results, and I think it is enough of a low cost/high return investment that it is worth doing.

, and I think Emma and I are on the same page here, is to make sure we have heraldry this year. If you were at Triumph last year, you more or less know what I am talking about. If not, than the best summary statement is that the heralding situation kind if suffered from an acute case of neglect that year. Emma and I both agreed that we needed to make sure that site and list heraldry needed to be planned ahead for, and that our goals needed to be beyond "adequate".

, I very specifically insisted on being in on the planning portion of the Insegnuante tournament.  For more than a few years now, I have been very upset with the type and quality of heraldry that the rapier tournament has been getting. Three years ago it was changed to a two field-format without any warning ahead of time, meaning that I had to scramble to get a second herald. The end result was my drafting a non-herald who was less than enthusiastic about the effort. The second year was little better and I was on the verge of being livid at how sloppy the heraldry was. This year, I plan on tapping shoulders and pulling shirt-sleeves early and often. Emma said tonight that there would be multiple fields, so I know I need at least two people, and should try and get three or more out there. Beyond that, one of the major hurdles I am going to run into if actually getting people to herald as our rapier tournament is held on a Sunday and most people are packing up then.

I guess that more or less covers the basics. I do know that there are some people out there that I am going to talk to early; good people who either herald, or want to learn how. Over the past year, I think I kind of lost sight of what it was that I really enjoy about heralding. Watching someone learn the skill and make it their own is a reward unto itself, and knowing that you improved that person's experience is the type of satisfying experience that makes the day worth getting up for. Somewhere over the past year or so, I forgot that. Now that I remember, maybe I can start having fun again.

Lord Ivo Blackhawk

Protege to Master Robert Fitzmorgan

Nordsteorra Herald

Kingdom of Ansteorra

"Long Live the King!"