madshutterbug (madshutterbug) wrote,

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A Trend?

Yesterday, I wandered down the road with chaosloki and day-tripped the Trimaris 20th Year Celebration. Two S.C.A. events in one year! Oh My. In some ways, things have changed in the Knowne Worlde as represented in this kingdom; in others, not.

It would be difficult to defend the proposition that I took a major part in the growth and formation of a major sub-division of a club dedicated to (having fun) education via re-creation of the arts, sciences, and crafts (having fun) of various cultures around the world (having fun) from the time period spanning the Fall of Rome (or approximately 600 AD) to the Rennaissance (or approximately 1600 AD) (having fun). On the other hand, I did take part in that process.

A friend from a martial arts class introduced me to other friends of his because of an overall interest on my part in things Japanese. These friends were all members of the Society for Creative Anachronism, and the little "events" and revels he took me to were great costume parties which included something more than simply getting drunk and eating. For a fellow subsisting on what the G.I. Bill provided for income, supplemented with a montly self-stipend from savings accumulated over four years as a Federally Subsidised Tourist and the sale of a wholy-owned Dodge van, the cost of the fun also proved right... i.e not terribly expensive.

Those very first steps, all entirely local, were taken while the local S.C.A. group, An Crosaire (Gaelic for "Crossroads") was still a shire, but within a few months there was a bigger event (which I did not attend) when two of my new friends were invested as Founding Baron and Baroness An Crosaire. I'm not real positive about the dates, it I do occasionally say that during my tenure, I never moved and lived in both a shire and a barony, and was part of three kingdoms: Atenveldt (which itself is now a much smaller geographic area), Meridies, and Trimaris. My very first official event was Trimaris Memorial Tourney (V, I think... it's been too long) over the Memorial Day Holiday weekend 1980, and An Crosaire had been a barony for just a bit over a year. Trimaris at that point in time was a "region" of the Kingdom of Meridies.

Not long after that, I took part in a small procession to the Court of Meidies to present our petition to become the Principality of Trimaris. Three and a half years later, as stated without moving, I lived in a new kingdom.

I remember when a big event meant that 50 people showed up on site. There were over 900 at 20th year. I can probably claim I know 50 of them, in varying degrees, and half that for any length of time. Then again, I've not been active in the S.C.A. since 1991. The last Kingdom event I went to I think was in 1996 but I won't swear to that. Anything else I've done has been very local, and I've not been a member since 1996. Possibly longer.

So why this meandering through personal history? Because I did visit with people I've not seen for a long time. And there are some other sideline thoughts too.

I used to make clothing. Japanese clothing in particular, since my persona was Japanese. Taught several classes on it, did a couple of pamphlet publications. There's a bit of a Japanese renaissance going on in Trimaris, and apparently those pamphlets are still being reproduced...

And I do mean clothing, not costumes. To me, a costume is something meant for short term, not terribly strenuous use. What I wore to 20th year, well, the kosode (most people would call that a kimono, but kimono at its root means "clothing") is nearly 23 years old, and the kamishimo (a matched hakama {trousers} and a "vest" called a kataginu, roughly equivalent to a dress suit) is 14 years old, and I've continued to wear them long since the days I wore them regularly. It's handy having such clothing about when one receives an invite to a costume party. The hilts of the daisho (pair of swords) were covered with the appropriate silk brocaide covers to make the public statement that my weapons were "peace tied" and safe. Alas, I'm going blank on the word that names those covers. On the other hand, I was also the only one representing Japanese present with them; a small bit of trivia regarding the type of social occasion and what would indeed be appropriate dress. I didn't make the swords nor the footwear (waraji, a heavier duty straw sandal than zorii, which is the type of "flipflop" most people are familiar with for Japanese wear); I did make everything else.

I also played "Japanese Tourist" and did some of my usual silliness: a very poor and fake Japanese "English" accent, terribly mis-quoting a Paul Simon song: I am Nipponese tourist, have Nikon camera, rove to make photograph, prease don't take my Kodachrome away... Wonderfully anachronistic at an anachrosim event. Eh, I thought it funny.

I used to demonstrate Chanoyu, what most Americans know as "Tea Ceremony" and do not understand is rather more a form of moving meditation. I still do moderate frequently make a bowl of green tea. I used to demonstrate Iaido (the Way of Drawing Sword), but no longer lay claim to knowing much of anything about that moving meditation. I made several items of daily use from wood, using at least some Japanese wood working tools. My toolbox is a bit fuller these days than it was then, with both Japanese and Western hand tools (not to mention power). Part of the reason I stopped actively submitting my work to Kingdom Arts and Sciences events was the feedback provided on one item (placed For Display Only, not Judging), a simple wooden stand for the iron or ceramic charcoal braziere used to heat the water kettle in Chanoyu:

"Japanese woodworking is widely known for the intricacy of the jointery and the beautiful laquer finishes, which this piece shows neither of. As such, it deserves no award."

This by a Peer of the Realm.

Well, right. It's a block of wood intended to keep a hot iron brazier off the straw mat floor, and laquer was not always applied to all woods, it depended on the particular wood and the purpose. There's no joint in a single block of wood that isn't connected to another piece of wood, even in Japan. And laquer can be heat-damaged, so depending on the style of brazier being used, the wood may not be laquered.. Oh, and those intricate joints seen in the various and sundry books about Japanese Joinery? Those are joints intended to connect large pieces of building structure to other pieces of building structure, not small, daily use furniture or other objects. Look for the joinery in a shoji screen, the "paper wall" of a house. You won't find it. It's hidden. Oh, and did I mention, "For Display Only, not Judging?" Ah, yes, I did.

Things had changed. People didn't seem to be getting together for fun and friends anymore; it was all about being properly period and many who knew nothing about a category/culture/era would freely judge and state on the merits or lack thereof of an item. It was about who you knew, not what you knew or how generous you may be with knowledge, time, energy.

Tsuji Ryuuzo retired to his country estates where he continued his study of Chanoyu and a rather unusual interest in "drawing with light" while seeing to the well-being and status of his tenents and lands.

We got back to chaosloki's a shade after midnight, and I rolled into bed a bit after 01:00 after reassuring the Kittens of the Apocalypse and Mamma Munch that all is well with the world.

There are four people on my FList I knew then; two whom I know directly because of the introductions of that old friend, a guy who eventually also stood with me as my Best Man, two whom I met after I ventured into The Knowne Worlde. There's another half dozen people I'm still regularly interacting with who aren't part of the LJ community. I treasure them all for our friendships. Yesterday, I came "out of the woodwork" to catch up, however briefly, with a few of those people and double handful more. Apparently, a couple of them at least read my LJ friends who share that background, and experienced the pleasant surprise that, "You're madshutterbug !"

 It helped make my day richer.

Tags: life, sca

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