Society of Creative Anachronism brings medieval Europe to Maine

Posted May 10, 2013, at 5:49 a.m.
Last modified May 10, 2013, at 12:57 p.m.

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.