Every year my husband and I attend Pennsic War. Now, this is not a real battle, but it is a contest between the East and Middle Kingdoms. Let’s just say it’s a huge event, with over ten thousand campers, that is sponsored by the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism.)
One of the things I love about this event are the classes. There are some very talented and knowledgeable people in the SCA and when they come to Pennsic they offer to teach, most of the time for free. I’ve taken classes in: playing the harp, herbs, falconry, metal working, wood carving, basket making, sprang (a one thread weaving method) and more. The aim is to keep alive the skills that were used in history until 1600.
Every day of the event, Artisan Row hosts a discipline, anything from glass blowing to spinning. You can go and chat with the artists and decide if that particular skill is something you’d like to explore. Or you can take a hands-on class. They even have Guilds for people to join that encourage members in their pursuit of interests such a brewing and lace making.
Every year they have a display of the various arts that members have created. They are judged for authenticity, but most of us walk around to admire the beauty of a book that has been illuminated, or a horn that has been carved with detailed figures.
Oh, and the classes can also highlight something you don’t want to do. Case in point, I always thought I’d love to have falcons. But after taking the class, I discovered you have to be with them twenty-four/seven, and feed them cut up pieces of small animals. Of course, the clincher came when my instructor described helping two other men tag a Golden Eagle. The bird broke free and put its talons through my instructor’s forearm. The other two men tried to loosen the bird’s grasp without hurting the animal, but it was impossible. How did my instructor get free? He had to play dead and the bird let go. No, much as I admire the beauty of the birds, falconry is not for me.
If you’re interested in Pennsic War, you can visit: http://www.pennsicwar.org/penn45/
Do any of you attend anything similar, or have classes like this in your area?
If you want to find out more about me and my new time-travel story, Highland Yearning, you can visit www.Dawn-Ireland.com