My SCA "Firsts" - A Timeline

This is a timeline of my 'firsts' within the SCA, which I started as a private motivational tool. The first time something great happens to you can be a happy or exciting time, and sometimes when I'm feeling less than enthusiastic or negative the journal is a good way of reminding myself all the positive things that have happened to me and all the good times I've had so far.

There have been many more nice things that have happened to me within the SCA than I am writing about here. Like the time I unexpectedly received a gift of a great book on Renaissance female Italian artist Sofonisba Anguissola from a person whom I respect and admire very much. And the time I received a gift from an online friend of a copy of the Knowne World Costume Symposium CD - wrapped in ten yards of red velveteen! Or the two, yes two, times that someone I hardly knew wrote to me and offered up a sizeable chunk of web space for free. And many more besides, not the least of which are the many e-mails I receive from kind and generous souls who write to tell me how much they love and enjoy my site. But, for now, this journal will be a record of just my 'firsts'. I'll add more as they occur.

Update Jan 2013: A dear online costuming friend has died, and to honour her memory, friendship and kindness, I have added another 'first'. Chris Catalfamo was the first person to mention myself and this website in a newspaper interview in 2010. I have been meaning to add it for ages. I have also re-ordered the entries so they are listed most recent first.

(Last Revision and Update:  January 2013)

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March 2010: First mention in a national newspaper

Chris Catalfamo was a historian, historical costumer and former history professor from Indiana, USA, and also a past participant in the Italian Showcase, which is the part of The Realm of Venus that is devoted to Italian Renaissance costume re-creation.  In a 2010 interview in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Sunday section called Neighborhoods, Chris was generous enough say some very nice things about the website, so it was, I believe, the first time my website has been mentioned in a US newspaper. 

It's a small thing I know, but it still brought a smile to my face and a gave me a wonderful sense of accomplishment and pride that I hadn't felt in a while.

Sadly, Chris passed away peacefully in January 2013.

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article, first page and Second page

November 2008: First Citation in an Academic Publication

After devouring the wonderfully detailed information in my copy of 'Clothing of the Renaissance World', a few days later I was once again lovingly cradling the book and reading through the Bibliography when I noticed that three websites had been cited - including mine! It would be embarrassing in the extreme if I were to try to describe my reaction upon finding this, so I won't go into detail. Suffice it to say - I was surprised, tickled pink and honoured all at the same time.

May 2007: First Sneak-Peak at an Upcoming Academic Work

After finding a reference online to an upcoming work by Margaret F. Rosenthal (Associate Professor of Italian at University of Southern California) and Ann Rosalind Jones (Esther Cloudman Dunn Professor of Comparative Literature at Smith College), I corresponded with MS Jones about the planned translation of Cesare Vecellio's famous costume book. I had until then not seen the original accompanying text in any subsequent work on Vecellio. This was to be the first translation into English, so I couldn't help but be excited! MS Rosenthal, MS Jones and their publisher, Thames and Hudson UK, generously allowed me to preview 'The Clothing of the Renaissance World'  on my website.

April 2005: First Interview

One day I was contacted via e-mail by the editor of Miss Perle - a French beadwork magazine - asking me for an interview/story on historic Venetian fashion for the magazine's second edition which featured a Venetian theme.  I bemusedly said yes, and La mode au temps de Véronèse (Fashion in the age of Veronese) was published in April  2005.

April 2004: First SCA Name and Device Registration

It's not really a "first" as such, because I'm never going to do it again, but it should be listed on a timeline, so...

My chosen name and arms were passed by the SCA College of Heralds - YAY!! 

This is a scan of my submission, and the hand-drawn indented orle is VERY badly drawn. I will get a better version of this done one day, I swear!

January 2004: The First Rose Awards is Run

I decided to turn the Italian Showcase into an annual competition, voted on by the general public, to determine whom they saw as the best three costumes as Showcased that year. January 2004 saw the first 'Rose Awards' run, and it has continued every year. Since demand resulted in double the entries, the Rose Awards are now given to six recipients - the best three in the pre-1550 and post-1550 categories. Polling is now undertaken in December, and the winners are announced on the 1st of January the following year. This image is of the first 'Gold Rose' award winner - Jwlhyfer de Winter.

June 2003: The First Italian Showcase Goes Online

Having been wonderfully inspired by Jen Thompson's 'Festive Attyre' (a part of Jen's website where costumers could share their costumes from various times and places via a photo and small blurb), I created the Italian Showcase. This part of my website is dedicated solely to other's creations: costume created in the various styles of sixteenth century Italy. Here costumers get to not only share a photo of the finished item, but also a detailed write-up and step-by-step images, with the aim of inspiring the creation of, and disseminating information on, sixteenth century Italian fashions. It has been marvellously successful in both these aims. Having started as a once-monthly costume feature, demand has lead to showcasing of up to two costumes per month. The costumer for the inaugural Italian Showcase was Gina Van Acker.

First Official Face-to-Face Teaching

At Innilgard's Winter Collegium I taught my first class. First up I had a Show-and-Tell on Italian garb, and was very nervous! The second class was a class on Garb Research, and it went well, probably because I was less nervous by then. I didn't get to teach the third class on my list - Rapier Garb - because I got sick that night (I'd had a bad headache all day) and couldn't make it to Collegium the next day. I was told the handout was well received. It has since been webbed on Lochac's Royal Guild of Defence website.

 May 2003: First Entry in a Kingdom-Level A&S Competition

For one reason or another I had never entered a local A&S comp. But when the categories for the upcoming A&S comps at May Crown Tourney were announced I was inspired to have a go. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, and all that... The category was "Headwear", I had some suitable scraps lying around and Patterns of Fashion in hand, so I gave it a go. The result was a re-creation of the black cotton velvet flat cap/bonnet like that worn in the grave by Don Garzia de Medici, hand sewn and lined with silk. It was made to the same dimensions as the original, which was intended for a smaller head than the head of my partner who volunteered to model it. The competition inspired me to make my very first item of headwear! (Got second place)

February 2003: First Time Organising a Kingdom Guild Group

For the longest time I had been wondering why our wonderful Kingdom, with its emphasis on education and guild formation, had not spawned a costumers guild. So I hoped and prayed that one day someone would come along and create one. But no-one did. Finally one day it occurred to me that I didn't really need to be a Laurel to create such a group, after all I didn't have to run it, or judge comps or anything. All I had to do was create a venue. "Build it, and they will come..." So I did. It was a long and sometimes frustrating process to iron out all the nuts-and-bolts of the guild, and several times I felt like giving up, but thanks to the efforts of two wonderful motivated people, Lady Yvonne Yvette de Plumetot, and Mistress Countess Portia Vincenzo, I didn't, and that was the beginning of the Guild of Tailors, Haberdashers and Mercers of Lochac, as it has come to be known.

Link to the Website of the Guild of Tailors, Haberdashers and Mercers of Lochac

November 2002: First Article Published In Cockatrice

My first article for the Lochac Arts and Sciences Magazine - Cockatrice - is published in Issue 16: Venetian Underwear: First Things First.


Image Copyright Cockatrice

Image copyright mine. Golden Owl design copyright Barony of Innilgard.

Image copyright mine, Rose leaf design copyright West Kingdom.

May 2002: First Office, First Baronial Award, First Kingdom-level Award

I stepped up to my first Baronial position: Arts and Sciences officer. At the New Year's Feast I received my first baronial award - the Golden Owl which is given for excellence in the Arts and Sciences. He's a cute little thing isn't he?

At the same event I received my first leaf of achievement. Lochac was then a part of the Kingdom of the West, and I was honoured to receive the Order of the Rose Leaf, which is given for expertise in the Arts and Sciences.


April 2002: My first Crown Tourney, which was also Lochac's first Crown, at my first Rowany Festival

For those of you non-Lochac based readers, this is the biggest event in Lochac, a five-day camping event held during the Easter long weekend. This particular year it was also the location for Lochac's first Crown Tourney, Lochac having gained approval to become a Kingdom in its own right.

Image copyright mine. Festival attendance medallion design copyright Barony of Rowany.

October 2001: First Baronial Investiture, First Award, First E-Group Created - "Courtesan"

I attended my first Baronial Investiture in my home Barony, Innilgard - Dai Bach and Alycie of Stirling step up as Baron and Baroness. I received my Award of Arms at Baronial Investiture!

I had been thinking about creating an e-group for the courtesan persona for the longest time. At first I was worried that no-one would be interested, but as I met more and more courtesan personae from all over the Known World I began to think it would be well received. I started the group up and it has gone from strength to strength. We currently have 300+ members.

Link to Courtesan E-group on Yahoo

August 2001: First Web Site

By this time I had decided that the best way to share the knowledge I had been acquiring on Venetian clothing was to put my growing collection of information and pictures to good use and create a web site. It went online on August 23, 2001.

April 2001: First event, first Royal event, first time at high table

Eric is still delayed, but encourages me to attend my first SCA event alone - the German Feast, which turned out to be my first Royal feast when the Prince and Princess of Lochac decided to attend.

At the Royal German Feast I have another first - I got to sit at High Table for the first time. This came about because our beloved Baron Osgot had burned himself badly whilst preparing the Feast and had to be rushed off to hospital, thus places at high table were empty. Nonetheless I was honoured, if a little nervous, and was seated next to a very courteous Baron of Caid, who made my first event a very pleasant one.

March 2001: First SCA Garb Completed

Having found out that my sweetheart will be delayed in arriving in Australia, I take my time and construct the rest of my outfit. It had been intended for an event in March. Completed early April. It cost less than I had anticipated, and I worried more over this outfit than I have over any since! This is not only my first ever Venetian, but my first-ever costume/garb of any sort!

November 2000: First Arts and Sciences Meeting

I attend my first Arts and Sciences meeting. Mistress Myfanwy helps me to choose appropriate lengths of steel boning for my partly made up corset. I take it home to work on it some more.

October 2000: First SCA-Related Fabric Shopping Trip

I begin shopping for materials for my first garb, which had previously been decided on. It was a corset, camicia, partlet and gown. I had no pre-conceived plans as to fabric or colour - it was a bargain that I couldn't pass up. I start work on a corset/pair-of-bodies.

From left to right, top to bottom: dress fabric, lining fabric, ribbon to hide fabric loop seams, ribbon for tie-in sleeves.




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© 2001 - 2013 Anabella Wake (Known in the SCA as Bella Lucia da Verona) I hold copyright on all information on these pages, and on all images of clothing/costume that I have made. You are allowed to make one facsimile copy for your own use provided that this notice is included on each page. Please ask permission to copy, disseminate and/or distribute my work - I would like to know when and how you are finding this information of use.