Monday, September 29, 2014

A whole new level of nerd

This weekend, I attended my very first SCA event. The SCA, or Society for Creative Anachronism, is an organization that researches and recreates skills and arts of pre-17th century Europe. So, basically it's a bunch of nerds getting together to do nerd things but instead of nerding over the latest technology, they nerd about things like blacksmithing, archery or cosmetics from days long past.

So, I was a bad blogger and didn't get a single picture of me (or anything else for that matter) but I was wearing my red peasant dress as seen here except with a different shift and partlet. I really wanted to have my Italian dress done to wear but that didn't happen. Hopefully, I'll be able to share some progress on that later this week.

So instead of pretty photos of me and other people from the event. I thought I'd share my experience and maybe give some tips for going to your first SCA event. Also, lots of pictures from the Borgias tv show because right now I want to make one of those dresses!! In silk!! Sew all the pretty things!!!

Ok, moving on.

Tip #1: Bring a Friend

This is the type of thing that can be super intimidating to go to on your own especially if you are shy like me. If you go in a group, at least there will be two of you running around having no idea what's going on.

Even more helpful than bringing a friend is bringing a friend who's in the SCA. The SCA is kind of like the military where they have all of these code words and acronyms that you will have no idea what is going on when people are talking. Even having been to several of the meetings and reading some SCA blogs online, the jargon was a bit overwhelming. Will wasn't able to come with me but luckily, I ran into some of the people we met at the Kentucky Renaissance Festival and they showed me around, introduced me to people and explained things to me.

Tip #2: Go to some meetings before hand

Local SCA groups usually meet at least once a month. Going to at least one meeting before hand will allow you to meet some people and get used to some of the lingo before you go to the event. You can look up your local group on the SCA website. It was nice to see some familiar faces at the event. These people can be your "bring a friend" as long as they are not heavily involved in running the event (because then they will be busy).

Tip #3: Dress comfortably

For your first event, wear a comfortable costume that you can go all day in. Nothing is worse than major pain at an event due to uncomfortable costumes!!

If you don't have a costume to wear, there are loner costumes available. Go to the "troll" (where you check in and pay) and ask for the "gold key" (loner garb). Again with the jargon!!! While I did have a costume, I only learned about this magical stash of loner costumes by attending the meetings.

Tip #4: Try something new

The SCA encompasses a wide range of topics with many winding rabbit holes. In much of the historical costuming community, 1500s is quite old but in the SCA, it's on the new end of the time scale. This is a great opportunity to take a class on something you've never even heard of before. I happened into a class on paternosters, which are prayer beads, and it was very interesting.

Tip #5: Bring some snacks

Both at this event and the previous event that my local group hosted (but I didn't get to attend), the dinner feast got sold out. I'm sure this doesn't happen at every event, but bringing extra snacks will save you from having to leave and go to the drive through in your costume!

Over all, I had a lot of fun at the event. I really enjoyed the classes. It felt very much like Costume College. Plus I adore learning new things! I did get to watch a bit of fighting but that's not really my thing. (I hates all sports.) I'm not 100% sure that the SCA and I are a perfect fit. Really, I just want to costume, but I'm definitely going to go to more events and see how I like it.


  1. The gown in the second picture is just too gorgeous!

  2. Sounds like a fun time! "Paternoster" is an interesting word and I feel the need to explore it further.
    Those Borgia costumes are stunning. I hope you get to make one and show us how amazing you look in it.

    1. On your exploration of the word: "Paternoster" is Latin for "Our Father", the first two words of the Lord's Prayer which was one of the two prayers (the other being "Hail Mary") one would pray when using a rosary. Which is what these beads were for.

  3. Welcome to the pre-gunpowder nerd crowd! Couple of costuming faux-pas to mention. Don't wear a red belt or sash or a white belt or sash. Red indicates that you are squired to someone (not a big deal but you will get tired of people helpfully mentioning the customer). White means that you are a knight and it is frowned upon to accidentally claim that honor. Mostly because knights work their tail ends off for years to be knighted. If you see someone with a pelican medallion on they are a 'pelican'. These are generally super helpful and super busy people who will be more than happy to talk to you and introduce you around. If you want to hear some of the history of the SCA try finding and older 'pointy hat' (person with a crown on) or a bard. Most of the history of the SCA is made up of stories that are about 87% true. The SCA was founded by a surprising number of people that became well known fantasy authors...which really explains a lot about us. :-)

  4. Welcome to the hoard! ;) I just started myself and 'accidentally' got my husband involved as well. It's so much fun, isn't it?! :)

  5. Wow, really interesting! I was already looking at re-enactment groups but this is yet another branch historically inspired nerd-dom I had never heard of. Just a pity that my 'local' group is in the next country (OK, from the Netherlands to Belgium isn't very far, but still)

  6. That sounds awesome! And something that is really needing in ALL decades for film and TV!


  7. I wish I liked the medieval era more! I love the level of dedication that SCA folks have, and I think Chris would enjoy it. If I could have some of those gowns you posted though, I might change my mind...