Stefan's take on this.

I apparently saw this differently than most people. I saw this as a suggestion to stretch yourself by doing something different. Both for yourself and others.

I run a large medieval/SCA website called Stefan's Florilegium. See the address in my signature below if you've never been there. :-)

I have a lot of info on many of the "standard" SCA subjects, but I am always amazed when folks send me, or I see, something on a subject I've never even thought of before.

And I like unusual subjects that you might not see elsewhere. Period uses of urine, beaver tail recipes, snail recipes, alcoholic horse milk beverages, etc.

If you feel that you can't research and find out anything new about the common SCA subjects, try to look at something more obscure.

Did you know they had metal tipped writing devices in period? Not everyone used quills. I didn't, until I saw a research paper that was submitted to me.

Did you know there were medieval European kites, not just medieval Asian ones? I didn't until I read another paper.

Did you know that they baked a special bread to feed horses in the Middle Ages? Again, I didn't, until someone submitted an article, including recipes to me.

Did you know that sometimes medieval pottery was used like we use aluminum foil? As a disposable way to cook food. You would cook the food in a sealed pottery container and then break it to get the food out. I have info on this, but no article. What do do some research and write an article?

Did you know that some medieval cultures tapped birch trees for their sap and made a beverage from it? Again, I have some info, but no articles on this.

Did you know that there were all types of horses and pack animals in the Middle Ages? Not everyone rode on war horses. They also used donkeys, burros and mules.  I've got a little info, but no papers. If you are interested in horses, perhaps something to investigate.

So, if you think there is nothing left to research in the objects you commonly see in the SCA?  Consider something less common, and see where that takes you.

And once you write it up, considering sending it to me to add to the Florilegium. :-) Since I take updates, it doesn't have to be perfect. As you learn more, perhaps from feedback, you can update and improve your paper.  And nothing keeps you from publishing it elsewhere or entering as an A&S entry.


On Apr 16, 2017, at 8:19 PM, Vels inn Viggladi <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Greetings Calontir,

A family of three came by my table Saturday to have a look at my entries. The young daughter was asked if she thought she could make something like the Sgabello that was displayed. The little girl emphatically responded, "No! I can't do that," which elicited a laugh from her mother from the exuberance of the denial.
I looked at the young lady and said, "You can do a chair like that. It'll take practice and a lot of work, but you can make a chair like that. It won't be today or tomorrow, but you can do it if you want."

That became something I wanted to scream across the hall by the end of the day. I believe that everyone in that room can do better than they individually think they are capable in their chosen field. There were a lot of entries that seemed to retread the same common themes. I do not intend that to belittle or denigrate anyone's labors or accomplishments, there was already a lot of learning and work evident from everyone who entered in the Championships and the Tri-Levels. But, I believe you can do better. I believe that you can choose something two or three steps beyond your comfort zone and execute it well. I believe that if you think talent is more valuable in success than practicing and learning to reach new levels, then you have accepted a comfortable untruth, and, if no one has told you before now: that's a lie you don't have to believe.

I would be ecstatic to see people take a look at what they think they can do and set a goal to go several steps beyond. You may fall short of that goal. But you practiced and learned to get there, more than you might have otherwise. I can't be the only one who would relish the chance to see everyone take two emphatic leaps forward in their Arts and Sciences. You can get there, the only one stopping you is you.

Seven years ago I was asked if I could make a Sgabello. Two years ago I had finally developed the skills to make one, though it took every bit of what I had learned to make it happen. In the last couple months I made a second one that is better than that first, and didn't seem such a daunting challenge.

So the man asks, "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?" and the local says, "Practice, man, practice."

Y'have a nice evening,


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THLord Stefan li Rous    Barony of Bryn Gwlad    Kingdom of Ansteorra
   Mark S. Harris           Austin, Texas          [log in to unmask]
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