In the Society for Creative Anachronism, I participate in a range of activities that started with costuming but are always based in my lifelong interest in the real lives of 16th-century women, particularly in England, Scotland, and France. I dabble in other areas of costume and reenactment, but I always seem to come back to that focus.
This page is an index to all my SCA work, past, present, & maybe future too. For my complete SCA profile including awards, offices held, and some event photos, please see my entry in the frequently updated Who’s Who in the History of the West Kingdom — my SCA name is Violet Ruthvene. I live in Crosston Shire, Principality of the Mists, Kingdom of the West.
While all my efforts in this genre could be, and usually are, worn at SCA events, some garments are more specifically intended for SCA tourneys or 12th Nights than others. Here are some outfits worth noting:
- 1590s white wheel farthingale gown — created for 12th Night 2014
- Pink & black English fitted gown — created for October Crown 2013
- 1530s gown a la Veronica Gambara — created for Collegium Occidentalis “Feast in Correggio” 2012 (which I autocratted)
- 1560s black & white “Medici” gown — created for 12th Night 2012
- 1570s black & grey kirtle — made in 2011
- 1580s pink Florentine gown — made in 2011
- Elizabethan loose gown — made in 2010
- Faux-embroidered Jacobean jacket — made in 2008
Violet Ruthvene’s wardrobe should be 1570s Scottish lowlands, meaning English with some French influence, moderately wealthy but not necessarily the highest of fashion. Of course, Trystan sews whatever I feel like at the moment or need for a certain type of event, whatever I find materials for, and what I have time for. Still, the things I wear over and over again at tourney events tend to fit with Violet’s persona, like the Jacobean jacket, loose gown, kirtles, and fitted gown.
Arts & Sciences
I haven’t entered many A&S competitions in the SCA. I’m not a very competitive person by nature, so the idea doesn’t appeal to me much. Here is what I’ve entered:
- A Sonnet for the SCA — A tongue-in-cheek sonnet about how and why people should submit documentation for their A&S entries. Entered into the Kingdom A&S competition at June Crown 2013.
- Heuke — Called the “duck-billed hatapus” by the A&S minister. Entered into the Kingdom A&S competition at Purgatorio 2012.
Queen Etain named me as one of her Queen’s Artisans for her reign in A.S. XLVIII (May to August 2013), and she charged us with making outfits for specific people who had contributed to the arts and serving the Kingdom. So I made a gown for my good friend Mistress Gianetta del Bene, who is a fabulous cooking Laurel (and has taught me all I know of period cooking, plus fed me :). She requested a Venetian gown from some beautiful silk she had.
As part of my attempts to understand “what would a 16th-century woman know,” I’ve tried to learn some historical cooking. It should be noted that I hate cooking in my modern life, so this is quite a challenge. But I scour the Internet for period recipes and get advice from cooking Laurel friends. Some of my historical cookery attempts are listed here (with details forthcoming):
- Friday Fish Day Dinner — A Lenten meal for the Chateau Rose at Beltane 2014.
- A Royal Supper — Dinner for King Thorfinn, Queen Violante, the Prince and Princess of the Mists, and the Prince and Princess of Cynagua at March Crown 2014.
- Documentable Dinner, Redux — Dinner at sunset for the Chateau Rose and guests at Purgatorio 2012.
- A Documentatable Dinner — My first period dinner, for my SCA household, the Chateau Rose, and guests (about 10 people) at Beltane 2012.
Violet Ruthvene might not get her hands dirty with the cooking, as she is a noblewoman, with staff to do such things. But she is a thrifty manager of the estate while her husband is away, and she would spend time in the kitchen instructing the cook, planning menus, ordering special ingredients, and keeping track of what’s in the pantry. And having a French background, Violet would want to keep up with the finer foods as well.
Teaching events are some of my very favorite types of events! Outside the SCA, I regularly teach at Costume College, & for decades I’ve been a panelist at science-fiction conventions and CostumeCon. I love attending classes as well, that always gives me new ideas of stuff to make. These are some classes I’ve taught for the Society:
- Get Them in the Door: Promoting Your SCA Event — A handout with a sample publicity schedule from a class I taught at the Kingdom A&S Tourney in 2014.
- Making Period-Style Largess — A handout from a class I taught at Collegium Occidentals in 2013 and the Kingdom A&S Tourney in 2014.
- How to Make an Elizabethan Wired Cap & Wired Caps Preview — An article (also published in Your Wardrobe Unlock’d) based on a class I taught at the Kingdom A&S Tourney in 2012 and at Costume College the same year. Includes supporting research, instructions, and a PDF pattern.
- Elizabethan Hairstyles, 1560-1600 — An overview and how-to from a class I taught at Collegium Occidentalis in 2010 and Costume College 2011.
- Teach the Teacher Workshop — An outline of a class I taught at the Kingdom A&S Tourney in 2011.
- Newbie Garb That Doesn’t Look Newbie — An overview, how-to, PDF of images, and links from a class I taught at Southern Shores Newcomers Tourney in 2011.
- Period Purses and How to Carry Your Crap — Resources, how-tos, and examples from a class I taught at the Kingdom A&S Tourney in 2009.
Early on, I realized that making largess — items for royalty to distribute as gifts — was a relatively easy and very rewarding project. I rather enjoy making lots of small things more than one big thing, so perfect for largess. Here are some of my largess submissions:
- Quill pens and a memento mori paternoster — For the Secret Santa Largess Swap at 12th Night 2015.
- 12 “Recipes for Newe Cookes” booklets — For the Dirty Dozen Donation Derby at Beltane 2014.
- Wax seals, painted knife sheaths — A collection of largess projects for King Thorfinn and Queen Etain (as their court’s largess coordinator) in summer 2013.
- Portrait miniature, jewelry — Largess given to Queen Ascelin in spring 2013.
- Two styles of purses — Largess made for West / An-Tir War in summer 2010.
Related Historical Research
More things I’ve worked on related to the pre-1600 era. These projects or bits of research may not fit into a specific SCA project or event, but the content is relevant to the period and what I do in the SCA as a whole.
- Men’s 16th-Century Purse Gallery — AKA ‘fancy man bags.’ Some research I assembled as background for an A&S display I put on at 12th Night 2014.
- Elizabethan Tall Hats Gallery — Specifically tall pleated-fabric hats (as opposed to pulled-felt hats). Some research I assembled as background for an A&S display I put on at 12th Night 2014.
- 16th-Century Women in Crowns — Because if you’re going to wear a pointy hat, why not have a historically accurate one?
- An Introduction to Masks in 16th-Century Venice — An article requested by Queen Kara to help people prepare for a masked ball at March Crown in 2010.
SCA Offices and Websites
Currently, I’m Arts & Sciences Minister for the Principality of the Mists. In addition to the traditional duties of this job, I update the A&S section of the Mists website myself, and I created the Mists Arts & Sciences Facebook group to help disseminate information on competitions, documentation, and other arts and sciences topics.
I was Kingdom Collegium Chancellor from 2011-2012, and since I do not have an official successor, I still maintain and update both the Collegium website and Facebook page I created for the event. They remain as resources on past classes.
The rest of my offices are listed under Violet Ruthvene on the Who’s Who site.
For SCA purposes, I can be contacted at violet(at)trystancraft(dot)com.