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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Look What I Found - My Heraldic Device!

While I was writing a guest post on Wolfborn for Chelsey Carter at Starry Sky Books blog, I unearthed my old SCA device. I joined the Society for Creative Anachronism to get some idea of how to write fight scenes; at the time, I was writing a lot of swords and sorcery and having great fun doing it, but Sean McMullen, who was already a big noise in the SCA, said, "If you're going to write this stuff, you'd better know how it works."

In the end, I was in the group for a couple of years. It was fun and one of the things we did was put in a request to the College of Heralds in the US for a name and a personal device. We did this with the help of our own herald, Steve, whose Society name was Thorfinn.

I'm no artist, so I asked Robert Jan, who has now been doing his own radio show on 3RRR for many years, to do it for me, and a fabulous job he did, too!

The device has been up on the web site of Lochac, the Australian kingdom, for some time, and I've used it to show Year 8 art students an example of what they could do. My friend and colleague, Jasna the art teacher, used to get them to do a shield of their own. She pointed out to the students that in some ways we're still doing it, with logos that we recognise immediately, and that, really, was what the devices were for - you'd know immediately who was on that prancing horse in front of you - or who that man-at-arms was working for.

Here it is, with the heraldic terms:

Vert, two unicorn's heads couped respectant, horns crossed in saltire, in base a crescent, a chief argent.

My Society name was Gwenddydd Rhosyn O Gymru Newydd.

At the time, Robert and I were writing stories set in a place called New Wales, so I asked for that. You weren't supposed to be from somewhere fictional,but no one queried it and I created my persona to go with it. The two unicorns and the crescent moon were to symbolise my status as a female warrior, though it didn't take me long to realise I was never going to be that. Not with my lack of fighting skill!                        

When my guest post goes up on Starry Sky Books, I'll put in a link here.


Lan said...

I just cannot imagine what it would be like to be part of an SCA group. Sounds like a lot of fun though. I love the idea of creating my own heraldic device. I'd be useless at the digital design as well though :)

Sue Bursztynski said...

Oh, it is great fun! And because everyone cares about getting it right, you can do your historical research for your fiction while having a good time -singing, feasting, cooking mediaeval, watching or participating in tournaments, dancing (although the SCA versions of Renaissance dances are a bit different from the real thing, which I've also learned, from Helga Hill) - maybe even learning heraldry. There's a Melbourne branch, Stormhold, of which I was a member, but there may be more by now, it was a LONG time ago.

You do your device with the help of the Herald, who also tells you if your idea is taken. I was lucky to be friends with an artist.