Thursday, January 30, 2014

Some more arrow making

The knock and one fletching are completely gone,
and most of the second fletching is as well

After arriving home form work yesterday, I received a message of Derega, our archery marshal, inviting me over to come and help paint some more arrows.

The truth of the matter is that I had had a horrid day at work and needed to do something constructive before I said something highly "unproductive". The invitation was well timed, and headed that way after having dinner with my family. 

When I got there, the first thing she showed me was the rests of the first test firing Several shafts had had their heads knocked off, but one in particular has suffered a catastrophic failure. The knock, most of the wood attached to it, and one of the three fletching were ripped clean off the shaft. Derega said that the funniest thing about the destruction was that the wood around the fletchings exploded  on impact, not on the rack itself.

So, the first order of business that night was to recreate an arrow with that pattern so we could replace what we had. I used the painting jig like before, and even found my old pattern guide on the table to help me space the paint properly.

The white bands on each end of the color more or less vanish in this photo. 
After that, I set to work on the next dozen. I decided to keep them cleaner and simpler than the first set I painted, so I stuck with my heraldic colors (nothing wrong with signing my work, right?) and slowly worked my way through the set. It took about an hour to do all twelve, but I wasn't in a hear hurry. A good portion of the time was spent talking, it seems that our good archery marshal had not exactly had the best of days herself.

In the end, I had a dozen freshly painted shafts that looked sharp, and were easily identifiable.

The night was as much about conversation as it was about archery, and all of this was while we were listening to/watching "Into the woods", on her Netflicks account.

I seem to recall there only being one dozen shafts left to paint out of the 200 shafts we purchased for the group. Wonder who will paint the last dozen?

Lord Ivo Blackhawk
Kingdom of Ansteorra
"God save the King!"

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

2014 is going to be a busy year!

I would post my news and information here, but it belongs on my site so I invite everyone to go there and check it out.

Lord Ivo Blackhawk
Kingdom of Ansteorra
"God save the King!"

Sunday, January 26, 2014

"Build your team"

Yesterday, I attended Northkeep's Winderkingdom event, which was also the hosting event for King's Roundtable (Redtape). Part of the activities were several heraldry meetings hosted by the leadership of the college of herald. One, specifically, was the Herald's warranting class, hosted by HE Tostig.

Things have changed substantially in the administrative side of heraldry since I first joined the SCA. The original warranting class (15 years ago) was three hours, and was more or less "drinking from a fire hose" in terms of information volume and it's retention. Now, the class is an hour, and about half of that is conversation. Tostig has really boiled down the critical things for the office, most importantly who the critical officers are, and who/what to look for for help.

"Let me tell you now, the most important words you need to learn are 'I don't know'." ~Tostig

And in this, he was very correct. time has shown that knowing when to ask for help, and whom, is more important than almost anything else we can teach in one class.

I was sitting in the back of the room listening when an important comparison came to mind. So I said my hand, asked for permission to rabbit trail, and got it from Tostig. (forgive me yet another military allusion, but I grew up a Marine brat, what can you expect?)

"I read a book some time back talking about a member of the US special forces (Green Baret) who served during Vietnam. He said that for his first assignment, he was given a list of all 100+ men in the company and told 'here, build your team'. While he was a member of the (then fledgling) special forces, he did not have advanced training in tactical medicine, demolitions, scouting, radio communication, heavy weapons or just about anything else. So... he looked at what he had to do, and built his team of twelve men around those requirement.

And went on to cause total and utter devastation throughout the VC/NVA infrastructure in their area. 

But the point here is that he didn't have what it took to do the job, so he hand picked a team that would lt him do it.

As officers in the SCA, and local heralds, what you need to do is build your team. You need to have phone numbers, e-mail addresses, facebook connections, ect... for people who know various aspects of heraldry. Your list if requirements will change as time goes on, as will your team. But, the point is that your team is how you do the job, so build a good team, and coordinate with them well, and you will be able to be an outstanding herald."

~Lord Ivo Blackhawk 
So, anyway, that was my metaphor for heraldic officers. I imagine that it can be applied much more broadly than that... but still, there it is.

Lord Ivo Blackhawk
Kingdom of Ansteorra
"God save the King!"

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Scroll painting night.

Got a chance to sit down and finish the AOA I was working on from a few weeks ago. It was actually a good night all together. Derega, Uallach, Catarina, Liliana, my wife, and I all huddled around the kitchen table and working on award charters for close to three hours.
I finally finished the charter I was working on from two weeks ago [sorry for the light]. All in all I was semi-satisfied with it, and I think it looks too busy without looking sophisticated enough for me. But, I can nit pick myself to death. My wife liked it, so I turned it in as shown here.

I also started another one of the same design, this one using more of the red and less of the gold (intended away).

Lord Ivo Blackhawk
Kingdom of Ansteorra
"God save the King!"

Monday, January 20, 2014

History and song, an interesting partnership.

Some time ago, a core group of Mooneschadeen began to notice that there was a disconnect between the "new guard" and the "old guard" of the group. Specifically, a lot of the why we did what we did was being lost between generations, and some of what we actually had been doing was being misrepresented (sometimes politically, and sometimes through honest error). Lady Liliana Barns took the initiative on what became a pet project of hers, the historian's dinner.

 In summary, she would provide food for anyone who showed up, and the whole meeting would center on the recollections and experience of our historian, HL Haldane Sparhawk and his wife, HL Estril Sweet. Soon after the first few, the basic ground rules were laid out, specifically one that said questions were welcomed from anyone, but answers needed to come from someone who had been playing longer than twelve years.

Over time, (and these have been going on for several years now), the importance of the meetings has shifted, but the meetings have become an important political, social and historical venue. Policy decisions have been shaped,  officerships guided, events evaluated, and  people measured, in part, by the verbal record generated in these discussions.

"Sky" (knight marshal)
Last night we had a larger than average turnout, with our knight's marshal and our archery marshal in attendance, as well as the senechal (our hostess), and the normal load of children that follow our regular crew (no fertility issues in this group, let me tell you). The final count of warm bodies was fifteen, with three kids, three teens, and the balance sitting in a circle talking, and then singing.

The bardic is actually a relatively new addition to the schedule, and one born mostly of convenience.The turnout used to be lukewarm, but with our new bardic champion, Lady Svetlana running the practices, turnout and participation has increased noticeably.

I point these out because song and history have a lot of overlap, at least in our group. Whether its expanding on the hidden jokes in "the herald's song", or explaining the meanings behind each verse of  "the Rising of the star", out history shapes a lot of who we are as a group, and recent activity has shows that ignorance of it is even more dynamic in shaping our decisions, usually for the worse.

So, last night, we gathered, and crammed ourselves into Liliana's living room, shoulder to shoulder in a circle, and ate lots of spaghetti and garlic bread and cupcakes.

And then Liliana started the conversation off with a request for some history on the guard, as one of our attendees was a member of the guard. Haldane started the conversation, as was the norm for us. But to my surprise, he looked at me about three sentences in, and said "And actually, I believe Ivo is has done more research on this than I have."

Its one thing to participate in a conversation with Haldane, and its another thing still to offer valuable input on a topic he is talking about. But to have him wholesale turn the proverbial floor over to me was something of a "moment" for me in itself.

As it happened, I outlined the foundation of the guard, and all the way up to the passing of the captaincy to the third captain before we moved on to other topics.

We went on to talk about matters of heraldic protocol, letters of introduction, the origins of the kings, and the time the first crows of Ansteorra got lost on the way to our first ever "event" (a revel).

The whole conversation transitioned nicely into bardic, where we did "God rest ye frantic autocrat", and then summarized a few of our own "memorable" events. We also did "red is for purity" as something of a tribute to the fact I finally got Derega's arms submitted.

My wife and myself had to depart early from the festivities, she and I had work (even though our son had off from school, lucky kid).

Word is that the singing carried on until close to 10:30, and a good time was had by all.

Lord Ivo Blackhawk
Kingdom of Ansteorra
"God save the King!"

Sunday, January 12, 2014

heraldic emergency

So, I'm sitting at home, goofing off, not even thinking about the SCA when I get an IM from our group herald.

There is something potentially wrong with Lady Derega's arms submission.

"Christ have mercy, the last thing we need is a complication now!" I've already submitted the things for her, including cutting my own check rather than making her pay for them.

So, long story short, the way she has them drawn shows the bird more or less from the top down in silhouette. The drawing actually needs to be voltir, which is very clearly a side view, not a top down one.

"Not now!" I said to myself. Never mind that I didn't catch that before, the last thing I needed was to tell my first heraldic client that I botched up the drawing check on her submission.

So, anyway, we wind up holding an emergency "right this minute" pow-wow at Deraga's house with myself and Kazimir, as well as a choice heraldry book from Kaz'es collection.

I don't think any of us are what you want to call "passive" personalities. In fact, the three of us in a room together are three very different, but definitively type-A personalities. So, rather than a calm, sit-down conversation, there was a lot of walking around, a lot of talking and a lot of... enthusiastic conversation as we talked about the college of heralds, heraldic policy, and the percent likelihood that someone in the college would make an issue of this.

Derega wound up fixing the issue herself by adding to the head to make it more of a profile and less of a top-down perspective (sorry, I didn't get a photo). A small change, but if push comes to shove, there is enough there for Kaz and I to argue with in it's favor.

Fortunately, we all walked away happy, and with a good game plan. And, most critical (to me, anyway) no time lost.

Okay, crisis averted. Back to the rest of my life.

Lord Ivo Blackhawk
Kingdom of Ansteorra
"God save the King!"

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Breaking in my new paints

Well, I finally got to sit down and try out my new paint set that my wife got me for Christmas. Definitely a new experience dealing with paint right out of the freshly opened tube. I think some of it had separated out, because I had to mix it a little. Still, all told, I wasn't unimpressed with what I had to work with.

There is definitely a lot of cleanup work to be done here, and I am not entirely sure what to do about the background of the letter, but that will come as I work with it some more. I also need to clean up the top blue flower, has an accident with it and now I need to clean up blue (of all colors) from over top of green and yellow.

Lord Ivo Blackhawk
Kingdom of Ansteorra
"God save the King!"

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Paint and arrows

So, tonight Lady Derega, Lady Liliana, myself and my son all congregated to work some more on arrows. It wasn't what I call a terribly fast pages effort, but it was good conversation, and good time spent with Derega acting as host to the evening's activities.

The major effort tonight was painting sets of a dozen arrows so that the set matches. I took first crack at it, and got to learn the ins and outs of the rig that had been assembled by a Namron archer from wood and the cannibalized parts of a sewing machine. the question wasn't so much one of period as noticeable, which is what I was aiming for.

In the interim, Derega worked on the fletching chopper, readying white/white/red sets, and I Liliana did both for a while before the work meeting came to a close.

Liliana was halfway through her set when thing wrapped up. I managed to get my dozen complete, however, and this is what some of them looked like as they were resting up against the wall to dry.

Lord Ivo Blackhawk
Kingdom of Ansteorra
"God save the King!"

Saturday, January 4, 2014

The 2014 Agenda

An agenda.

Well, short as sweet, I wanted to visually map out my game plan for this year in the SCA. I'm starting with events, and this calendar (which I will link elsewhere as well) is where I am starting. This has all the events I plan to attend (with the understanding that I will modify schedules as time and logistical allows).

Take a look, and let me know if you plan on coming to any of these?

Lord Ivo Blackhawk
Kingdom of Ansteorra
"God save the King!"