Category Archives: artsci competition

I did a Laurel-y thing.

Actually, I did a very, very period thing. I became a Patron of the Arts.

I had the wonderful experience this past weekend of judging at the Outlands Tri-Baronial Arts and Sciences competition (that’s Caer Galen, Unser Hafen, and Caerthe, the hosting group this year – it rotates – and my new home Barony). I managed through some dumb luck to land entirely first-time competitors, which was absolutely a blast – these folks all had such interesting, varied projects, they all had been doing the work for some time but were just now delving into competition, and seriously, I could have spent the entire day with each of the three of them. So much fun.

The last of the entries was a jewelry entry, but it was only one of the gentleman’s five projects, and as Master Rhys and I sat and geeked out with him we touched on all five projects at least a little.

One, a Mongolian quiver, had been made as a commission piece, and as I listened to him and Rhys talk about the quiver, it dawned on me – the constraints the client had laid on him were in conflict with his own desire to make the piece more period, and his extensive knowledge about how to do that. It was a beautiful piece, but he could have taken it farther, and he knew it, and it was tremendously frustrating to him. That was so disappointing to me!

Now, I’ve been meaning to make a quiver and bowcase for ages, and I have the skills, and I have the funds for the materials, and I really could make the time, but I haven’t yet, and every time I go to the range I’m embarrassed by my $10 polyester sporting-goods-store quiver. Juan had been pretty excited about starting work on it this winter, but now, I just can’t even think about it.

So while I was off filling out the judging form, I realized – these are two intersecting problems, and the solution is throwing money at them. I went back, returned his documentation, and said, “I’d like to talk to you about a commission.” I proposed: I supply parameters, he supplies an estimate, we tweak the plan a little, and he gets to go bonkers. By commissioning the pieces, I’ll provide the patronage, and he gets to do the research, make it kingdom-level-competition-worthy, put into practice all that knowledge he’s accumulated and just not had a chance to manifest. And I take a project off of my plate that was supposed to be a “me and Juan together” project and would have probably been delayed ANOTHER few years while I get to a place where the thought of it doesn’t make me want to sob. Reframe the question. Make it something new and different, with some joy in it and something for the future.

The look on his face as he wrapped his head around the idea was worth the price of admission. Pure awesome.

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Moving forward on Motiño

UPDATED: all recipe redactions here.

I spent all winter careening from one Big Looming Deadline to the next, and now that Kingdom A&S is less than a week away and I’m wrapping up the loose ends on my last big deadline, I’m thinking about where to go from here.

I’ve never managed to do a proper feast writeup. I pour every bit of everything I have into the event itself, and when it’s over, I’m exhausted, but I take a couple of days to recover and then turn around and plunge into KA&S (usually seven weeks later; this year, four) and by the time that’s over I just don’t even want to look at the material again. And I don’t.

But documentation is half the work, and I don’t want to lose sight of the bigger picture, or momentum on the bigger project: the Motiño translation. I’ve added skeleton pages for both the translation and backlogged feast writeups. I’m going to devote one evening a week over the next few months to working on these content areas and on Baltic Costume Reference Pages.

As a teaser, a new recipe, not presented in the feast but will be presented at Outlands Kingdom Arts and Sciences in the Shire of Aarquelle this coming Saturday.

Un pastel de Membrillos. 219 [pp 470-472]

 TOMARAS dos libras de acucar, y haras almibar dello: luego haras dozena y media de huevos hilados en esse almibar: luego echaras ocho, o diez membrillos sobre el almibar, y echarle has agua demanera que se cobra, y echarle has unas rajas de calena detro, y dos pares de clavos enteros, y un poco de vino: luego ponlo a cozer todo poco a poco, que se vayan conservádo los membrillos, y tapalos con una cobertera, y de quando en quando dales una buelta con el caco: y quando dales una buelta con el caco: y quando esten bien conservados, y con buena color, sacar los has del almibar que se enfrié: luego haras un pastelon de masa blanca, y meteras membrillos détro: luego meteras los huevos mexidos entre membrillos y membrillos, y dentro dellos porque se han de sonservar enteros y luego cierra tu pastel: y en estando cozida la masa abre el paste, y hinchelo de almibar, y metelo en el horno assi deftapado para que los huevos se tuesten un poco y tomen una colorcilla dorada. Y advierte, que se fuere dia de carne le podras echar una caña de vaca hecha trocos: y si no le quieres echar huevos mexidos con sola la caña de vaca que le eches, y unas yemas de huevos duras parecere bien: y a estos pastels que no lleván huevos mexidos, has de echar unas revanadas de pan blanco tostadas entre membrillo y mebrillo: y despues de lleno el pastel con el almibar parece muy bien.

Quince Pastry.

Take two pounds of sugar, and make syrup of it: then add a dozen and a half beaten eggs into this syrup: then cast them eight or ten quinces on the syrup, and pour you water so charged, and pour you some cracks of cinnamon, and two pairs of whole cloves, and a little wine: then put it to cook everything slowly, that will be preserved quinces; cover with a lid, and occasionally give them a stir with dipper: and when you give them a stir with dipper: and when they are well preserved, with good color, you take out the syrup to cool: then make white pie dough, shall put the quinces inside: then shalt pour the mixed eggs between quince and quince, and within because they have to retain whole and then shut your pie: and being cooked dough opens the cake, and swelling of syrup, and place it in the oven uncovered until the eggs are toasted a bit and take a golden little color. He warns that on a meat day you can take whatever bone can be made​​ [into gelatin]: and if you do not want to mix the gelatin into the eggs, the hardened [custarded] eggs will be good: and if these pastries are not to carry scrambled eggs [if you want to make an eggless pastry], you have to [instead] add a few slices of white bread toast between layers of quince: and then fill the pastry with the syrup and it will be fine.

Version 1

  • 2 lb. sugar
  • 2 c. water
  • 2 c. sweet white wine
  • 4 lb. quinces, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 lb. pie crust of choice (I used Ruhlman’s 3-2-1 Pastry Crust out of Ratio)

Combine sugar, water, wine, and quinces and cook down until quinces are thoroughly cooked (soft, and begin to take on a rusty color). Separate quinces and spices from syrup using a slotted spoon. Temper syrup into eggs; return to saucepan and cook until well thickened. Return quinces to filling, removing spices. Fill prepared pie crusts and bake 20-25 minutes at 400°, until crust is golden and filling is solid. COOL THOROUGHLY before slicing.

Version 2

  • 2 lb. sugar
  • 2 c. sweet white wine
  • 4 lb. quinces, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 1 packet gelatin, prepared in 2 c. water
  • 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 lb. pie crust of choice (I used Ruhlman’s 3-2-1 Pastry Crust out of Ratio)

Combine sugar, wine, lemon juice, and quinces and cook down until quinces are almost cooked. Add gelatin and cook down  until quinces are thoroughly cooked (soft, and begin to take on a rusty color) and mixture is well thickened. Remove spices. Fill prepared pie crusts and bake 25-30 minutes at 350°, until crust is golden. COOL THOROUGHLY before slicing.

Version 3

  • 2 lb. sugar
  • 2 c. water
  • 2 c. sweet white wine
  • 4 lb. quinces, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • fine white bread, sliced very thin (I used Basic Boulé out of Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day.)
  • 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 lb. pie crust of choice (I used Ruhlman’s 3-2-1 Pastry Crust out of Ratio)

Combine sugar, water, wine, lemon juice, and quinces and cook down until quinces are thoroughly cooked (soft, and begin to take on a rusty color). Layer bread and quinces into prepared pie crusts using a slotted spoon, beginning and ending with quince; or, layer bread and quinces into a well-buttered dish, beginning with bread and ending with quince. Pour syrup over all and allow to settle for a few minutes. Bake 30-35 minutes at 350° , until crust is golden and filling is solid. COOL THOROUGHLY before slicing.

updated: Because I was not able to source as much quince as I thought I would, I was only able to take the custard version to Kingdom A&S. I think quince is gone for the year, but I’m sure I can find an excuse over next winter’s feast season to show up at potlucks and such with the gelatin and costrada versions!

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Outlands Kingdom A&S 2011: Full Circle

After an incredibly hectic month and more, I’m finally getting caught up on some overdue posting. I’m only just now writing about Kingdom A&S in the Barony of Fontaine dans Sable on April 9th.

It’s hard to articulate just how significant this event was to me. I never competed in A&S in Meridies; I was the perpetual newbie, never feeling that my work was up to competetive standards, not sure how to go about getting from here to there, too shy to ask for help, ever more wound up over it and just unable to jump over my own shadow. I’ve joked that it became a 40-Year-Old Virgin kind of thing. So when I started thinking about coming back, I promised myself an unencumbered new beginning in this. Among other things.

And so I came back. And my first event back, my first event in this kingdom, was Kingdom A&S 2010 in Caer Galen. It was an incredible event – a high-intensity madhouse in too small a venue, incredible entries, glorious clothes, intense conversation, everbody constantly elbow-to-elbow. I was dazzled and astonished and inspired, and for the first time in my SCA life, I thought, I can do this. I’m in the same league with this.

The year flew by; I attended Battlemoor I and helped a bunch of newbies find their way; I went back to Trimaris to assist at Fall Coronation/25th Year; I helped found a shire, and that took almost all of my time and energy for several months; and during all of that, I was starting from scratch myself, building up garb and gear for myself and my family from nothing. I came up for air in mid-January and realized that Kingdom A&S was 11 weeks away, and I dove headfirst into my project, a handwoven, natural-dyed, tablet-woven belt. (I always seem to be careening from one thing to another, just-in-time style…) I secured a sponsor, got my research written up, worked through the project, and made several friends along the way, and, finally, I met with one slight aquaintance and five total strangers to roadtrip to a barony on the other end of the kingdom. Because this is the SCA, several of these people had become dear friends by the time we made it back to Walsenburg, a few hours short of two days later..

This event was slower, sprawlier, more comfortable than last year in Boulder. I got on site quite early (because I stayed with the trollcrat) and set up my display and settled in and started getting visitors immediately. I got a LOT of visitors. I talked about my research and my persona and my vision of Baltic studies and my passion for underrepresented cultures in the SCA endlessly, it seemed; it all blurred together. I broke away now and then, to do the circuit of other entries, to work the competition/donation luncheon (reprising the Feast of Fools cumin broth and earning a respectable chunk of money for the kingdom travel fund) and a couple of times just to clear my head. Finally the call to break down went out and I changed out of my old, now-ragged, first-attempt belt and into the lovely new competition belt I’d just pulled off of my table.

I was wearing it for court, when they announced I’d taken the Costume Accessories category and placed second in the Textile Arts division, and a little while later, when I was called up to receive my Award of Arms.

There are some truly awful pictures on Facebook. My hair (which had just been cut in layers; it’s cute as hell in a professional style, but fell out of braids terribly) is in disarray, I’m crying and my face is red and splotchy, and the pattern of the cloak I’m playing is terrifically busy. I treasure those pictures. I never did get any pictures of my own; I did not know that my camera charger had shorted out, so I pulled a battery off the charger and loaded it back into the camera still depleted, and didn’t know it until I got to the event.

I have to make this clear: I loved Meridies. I still do. I was very happy there; and those things about it that were dissatisfying, I entirely brought upon myself with my timidness and my anxiousness – and, to be fair, life circumstances that extremely limited my ability to be involved. There’s absolutely no one in Glaedenfeld or Meridies in general who ever gave me anything but the warmest welcome, and I have many dear friends there still, and will always think of it as my first home.

But I played there for years, and never left the fringes, and sometimes I felt like I never would. The long, unwanted break from the SCA gave me a lot of time to think about what I wanted, and the fresh start in a new kingdom gave me the chance to go after it. The Outlands, this year here, has been a revelation and a transformation. I feel that I have finally, truly, begun.

(View online version of paper here.)

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