Friday, 21 August 2020

Demo: Upper Canada Village, 2017

By Fáelán Ruadh ua Aodha [See the original post on her blog, complete with pictures.]

I have been quiet of late, and that is perhaps due to a lot of SCA (medieval living history) stuff that was going on. So without further delay, here is an overdue update on what exactly went on with this SCA stuff. Let us start in the order of events, so for this article we will focus on the weekend of June 9th – 11th where we demoed for the Medieval Festival at Upper Canada Village.

The weather was hot, the Festival was busy, the mood was congenial, the food phenomenal. It helps that we were hosted by Skrael – The SCA Barony of the Ottawa region, Ontario, Canada. Fantastic cookery goes on in Skrael, and open fire roasted meat is hard to beat. They were organized as the “14th Century Archers” located by the Eastfield on the map.

The role I played was wool comber and novice spinner, having had a lot of wool I had bought raw, cleaned, and needed to learn the next stage of the process – wanting to learn and do the process from sheep to cloth. The thought was that since I would be sitting in one place demoing this for a whole weekend there would be no better opportunity to work on this labour intensive stage.

That is when I learned that demoing means very little work actually gets done as you need to continually address an audience.

Among this fluxing audience was one notable family. A young man saw what I was doing and said he was familiar with combing, and his grandma – who did not speak the language, so I assume the young man was among the first generation Canadian in that family -showed us how it was done more properly. Damn she was good. And from that I now know how to card without straining my wrists – by holding the ‘anchoring comb’ with my palm upright, and the driving comb is moving either outward or inward. I am sure that there were more subtle layers to the technique that were lost in our language barrier. Even so, it was a fun and great experience to learn from those who breathe this sort of thing since childhood. If a member of that family happens to be reading this, I would like to say thank you for sharing your knowledge – because knowledge ever always is a wonderful gift.

Following that step in processing wool is spinning, and my goodness do I have a lot to learn on mastering Spinning. What I was able to demonstrate was how the fibers were twisted together and with a thick piece I had attendants pull on it as hard as they could and would not be able to break it. Wool is tough. But other than that, I am a complete newbie. So I ended up making attempts at showing spinning, failing horribly, then Dame Helen – a master spinner, would show how it should go. Being a great visual aid in demonstrating that it is not as easy as it looks. Though some people do take to it easily, many others, like me, struggle in accomplishing that skill.

In the Skrael “Medieval Daily Life” & “14th Century Archers” camp around me and my little corner of wool stuff, there was leather working – more specifically cordwaining (shoe-making), fiber crafts, wood carving, food preparation, Carnival Games, full sized siege engines (that I got to launch a few times), archery, axe throwing (did a bit of that as well), and armored combat demonstrations.

These Siege Engines are operating on their lightest possible setting so that the stones remain in the demonstration field. For the Trebuchet, it’s counter weight bin is literally empty.

So those big beautiful horses went on to do this,

Nearby our camp and the Jousting Field were other Living History Groups. The following images are of DARC – Dark Ages Re-Creation Company. Though these folks pictured are also involved in the SCA as well – as there is a lot of cross over between such groups.

Because I was demoing at this event, I did not get much opportunity to take photos of the other groups at this Festival. There were quite a few groups and performers that I did not get to see at all. So demonstrating Living History does have its draw backs. What I did see was still pretty awesome.
ESCAPE TO THE FUTURE – The Pioneering Future!

The Sunday, immediately after closing to the public, and within an hour before the village is completely closed off, a few of us decided to briefly check out what the future had in store in the Upper Canada Village proper.

“Cous” is Middle English spelling and pronunciation of Cows.

Next SCA installment will be Trillium War!

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