Society of Creative Anachronism brings medieval Europe to Maine

Posted May 10, 2013, at 5:49 a.m.
Matt Johnston of Dedham aka Matthaus Kettner, his SCA name, poses in his 1520s Bavarian dress. Johnson is a metalsmith who created his own fencing helmet made from hammered sheet steel in his work shop. Johnston has also created metal armor made in the same fashion.
Matt Johnston of Dedham aka Matthaus Kettner, his SCA name, poses in his 1520s Bavarian dress. Johnson is a metalsmith who created his own fencing helmet made from hammered sheet steel in his work shop. Johnston has also created metal armor made in the same fashion. Buy Photo
Matt Johnston of Dedham aka Matthaus Kettner, his SCA name, poses in his 1520s Bavarian dress. Johnson is a metalsmith who created his own fencing helmet made from hammered sheet steel in his workshop. Johnston has also created metal armor made in the same fashion. Johnson has made every item of 1520s Bavarian outfit except his socks and shoes.
Matt Johnston of Dedham aka Matthaus Kettner, his SCA name, poses in his 1520s Bavarian dress. Johnson is a metalsmith who created his own fencing helmet made from hammered sheet steel in his workshop. Johnston has also created metal armor made in the same fashion. Johnson has made every item of 1520s Bavarian outfit except his socks and shoes. Buy Photo
Karen Childs of Bangor aka Alys Treeby, her SCA name, poses in her 10th century Viking apron dress. Childs creates glass and copper jewelry to adorn her SCA outfit. She creates the jewlery in the same way craftsmen in the middle ages did, melting glass onto copper over a open flame. Childs' creations are made for gifts for her SCA friends or as prizes at SCA events.
Karen Childs of Bangor aka Alys Treeby, her SCA name, poses in her 10th century Viking apron dress. Childs creates glass and copper jewelry to adorn her SCA outfit. She creates the jewlery in the same way craftsmen in the middle ages did, melting glass onto copper over a open flame. Childs' creations are made for gifts for her SCA friends or as prizes at SCA events. Buy Photo
Karen Childs of Bangor pours powdered glass onto a copper brooch she is creating in the basement of her home in Bangor. The piece will be fired numerous times as she adds different colors to create a look-alike brooch that might have been used in medieval times.
Karen Childs of Bangor pours powdered glass onto a copper brooch she is creating in the basement of her home in Bangor. The piece will be fired numerous times as she adds different colors to create a look-alike brooch that might have been used in medieval times.
Karen Childs of Bangor checks the arrangement of copper pieces as the first layer of powdered glass melts to form a seal on the copper brooch she is creating. Childs is using copper and glass, items that would commonly be used to create similar jewelry in medieval times.
Karen Childs of Bangor checks the arrangement of copper pieces as the first layer of powdered glass melts to form a seal on the copper brooch she is creating. Childs is using copper and glass, items that would commonly be used to create similar jewelry in medieval times. Buy Photo
Karen Childs of Bangor checks the arrangement of copper pieces as the first layer of powdered glass melts to form a seal on the copper brooch she is creating. Childs is using copper and glass, items that would commonly be used to create similar jewelry in medieval times.
Karen Childs of Bangor checks the arrangement of copper pieces as the first layer of powdered glass melts to form a seal on the copper brooch she is creating. Childs is using copper and glass, items that would commonly be used to create similar jewelry in medieval times. Buy Photo
Matt Johnston uses a torch to heat the metal on his fencing helmet to cherry-red before taking a hammer to it to adjust the way it closes. Johnston made the helmet as part of his 1520s Bavarian SCA outfit.
Matt Johnston uses a torch to heat the metal on his fencing helmet to cherry-red before taking a hammer to it to adjust the way it closes. Johnston made the helmet as part of his 1520s Bavarian SCA outfit. Buy Photo
Metal armor hangs on the back of a chair in Matt  Johnston's Dedham workshop. Johnston is an active member of the SCA and makes his own metal helmets and armor to match his 1520s Bavarian outfit.
Metal armor hangs on the back of a chair in Matt Johnston's Dedham workshop. Johnston is an active member of the SCA and makes his own metal helmets and armor to match his 1520s Bavarian outfit. Buy Photo
Matt Johnston uses a torch to heat the metal on his fencing helmet to cherry-red before taking a hammer to it to adjust the way it closes. Johnston made the helmet as part of his 1520s Bavarian SCA outfit.
Matt Johnston uses a torch to heat the metal on his fencing helmet to cherry-red before taking a hammer to it to adjust the way it closes. Johnston made the helmet as part of his 1520s Bavarian SCA outfit. Buy Photo
Using an old railroad spike and his imagination, Matt Johnston of Dedham created a whimsical figure in his metal shop. Matt will use the figure as an adornment as part of his SCA activities.
Using an old railroad spike and his imagination, Matt Johnston of Dedham created a whimsical figure in his metal shop. Matt will use the figure as an adornment as part of his SCA activities. Buy Photo
A metal helmet made by Matt Johnston awaits being made into a cooking pot in Johnston's workshop. Johnston creates his own metal armor and helemts for use at the SCA events he attends. His plans to make the helmet into a cooking pot mimic what might have been done with a old helmet in medieval times.
A metal helmet made by Matt Johnston awaits being made into a cooking pot in Johnston's workshop. Johnston creates his own metal armor and helemts for use at the SCA events he attends. His plans to make the helmet into a cooking pot mimic what might have been done with a old helmet in medieval times. Buy Photo
Matt Johnston of Deham, aka Matthaus Kettner, and his wife Eliannas Johnson, aka Petra von Mumpf, their SCA names, pose in thier 1520s Bavarian dress.  Johnson is a metalsmith who created his own fencing helmet made from hammered sheet steel in his work shop. The Society of Creative Anachronism has only one rule, that you come to their events dressed in clothing that is within the SCA time frame, pre-17th-century Europe, according to Monique Bouchard aka Baroness Aneleda Falconbridge of Old Town.
Matt Johnston of Deham, aka Matthaus Kettner, and his wife Eliannas Johnson, aka Petra von Mumpf, their SCA names, pose in thier 1520s Bavarian dress. Johnson is a metalsmith who created his own fencing helmet made from hammered sheet steel in his work shop. The Society of Creative Anachronism has only one rule, that you come to their events dressed in clothing that is within the SCA time frame, pre-17th-century Europe, according to Monique Bouchard aka Baroness Aneleda Falconbridge of Old Town. Buy Photo

Take a look at a map of the state of Maine and try to find the Barony of Endewearde. Search all you want, it will not appear on any maps. Members of the Society of Creative Anachronism, however, know well the borders of this imaginary land within the state of Maine.

The Society of Creative Anachronism counts 80 or so active members in the Barony — encompassing an area of Maine from Millinocket to Bar Harbor and Bethel to Calais — engaged in researching and re-creating the arts and skills of pre-17th-century Europe.

Karen Childs lives in Bangor, but her SCA alter-ego, Alys Treeby, dresses as a 10th century viking in an apron dress. SCA members make most of the clothing and utensils they use at their tournaments, royal courts, feasts and dancing events. Childs became interested in making copper and glass brooches after attending a SCA event in Vermont.

Childs scours the Internet for images of viking brooches and adds them to her Pinterest page. She then cuts copper from wire and scrap sheets that she purchases from a local roofing craftsman, arranging them to resemble the viking brooch she has just found online.

“I just love fire,” Childs says as she sparks a torch used to melt the powdered glass she has gently spooned into cells created by her arrangement of copper. After repeatedly adding different colored glass and refiring the brooch, she files the exposed copper to give it a shine.

Elsewhere in the Barony — Dedham — Matt Johnston, aka Matthaus Kettner, makes adjustments to the 1520s medieval fencing helmet he crafted using sheet metal, fire and a hammer. A hand-crafted piece of armor hangs on the back of a chair as he hammers away on his helmet. Johnston’s love of working with metal began years ago, when he was making chainmail turtles from washers and small chain links commonly found at hardware stores. Johnston says working with metal is like taking a chunk of clay and forming it into a bar.

“Just whack it and it behaves a lot like hot metal,” Johnston says.

Childs, Johnston and his wife, Eliannas — Petra von Mumpf to those in the Barony — took part in an educational evening at a Bangor school recently, showing off their dress and talking to kids about medieval times.

Paid membership in the SCA is not required to participate. “The only real rule is that you come dressed in something that is within the SCA time frame,” says Monique Bouchard of Old Town, aka Baroness Aneleda Falconbridge.

And though you may see some SCA members on what you think is your own Main Street, they might view things a bit differently. To them, you might be dressed inappropriately for life in the Barony.

“There are people who make SCA a lifestyle,” Bouchard says.

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