"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.
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.
and Update: January 2013)
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
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
Chris passed away peacefully in January 2013.
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article, first page and Second
Citation in an Academic Publication
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.
2007: First Sneak-Peak at an Upcoming Academic Work
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.
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
I bemusedly said yes, and La mode au temps de Véronèse
(Fashion in the age of Veronese) was published in
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
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
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
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
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
article for the Lochac Arts and Sciences Magazine - Cockatrice - is published in Issue 16:
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
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
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
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
March 2001: First SCA Garb Completed
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.
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
From left to right,
top to bottom: dress fabric, lining fabric, ribbon to
hide fabric loop seams, ribbon for tie-in sleeves.