Youth Exhibit Products of their Talents
By Ursula the Widow
For the Pennsic Independent
The young artisans and artists of the Known World had the opportunity to display their work Tuesday morning at the premier Youth A&S Exhibition held at Youth Point.
Inspiration for the event came from Lord Valdis of the Kingdom of the East. His two children have been making projects for many years and had exhibited alongside their father at adult A&S exhibitions. However, their work tended to get lost among so many other contributions, and Lord Valdis suggested they have “something they could call their own.”
Young SCAdians from the age of seven to 17 took part in the display of high-quality artifacts both useful and beautiful. “I am absolutely amazed today by the work we’re seeing,” said organizer Mistress Safia al Khansaa’. “I think I’m more inspired by the youth than by anything I’ve been inspired by in the SCA.”
Like adult artisans, the exhibitors filled out display forms. However, Mistress Safia, who is an art teacher in modern life, designed a set of forms graded by age level and the youth completed them in their own words and without help. In both their arts and their descriptions, they were able to express themselves in their own terms.
The event is not a competition but a display. The presenters did receive informal feedback as well as many tokens of appreciation from older artisans and Laurels, and a Certificate of Participation.
Mistress Safia al-Khansaa’ organized the exhibition with the aid of Mistress Ardania, director of Youth Point. A major concern was getting the word out before Pennsic. Although online pre-registration was available, this year most of the exhibitors were from the East.
Queen Madeleina of the Midrealm visited the exhibition early in the day. She expressed her delight at the work she saw. “I am always encouraging more participation by children in the SCA,” she said. Children are dear to her Majesty, as she has three of her own.
Ana Ximenez de Hume, 7, created a woven pouch in pink and purple cotton yarn. She wove the fabric on a rigid heddle loom and also sewed, braided cord and made fringe to complete the pouch. She spoke of her work with great confidence, saying the most difficult part of the project had been choosing just one button to close the pouch out of the many possibilities she had available..
Some know Rusty, 7, of the East Kingdom as “the little red dragon.” She has autism and has gained comfort in social situations from attending SCA events. She was wearing a pink gown she cut and sewed, then decorated with painting of the front and back. Her colorful designs of fairies and roses displayed her skill as they set off her beauty.
Cehero Oakensword, 17, displayed four longbows and a quiver of arrows of his making. His accomplishment was all the more remarkable because he is a self-taught bowyer who has completed this work with the aid of books. He hand turned the ash arrows and fletched them with goose feathers hand tied with linen. Cehero was not present to be interviewed because he was at the archery range.
In the corner of the tent, a serious-faced young man was getting advice from a silver-haired gentleman. “Keep your first piece,” the older lord said. “When you get to be my age, you’ll be glad you did.” Perhaps only in the SCA can the age-old mode of the senior advising the junior, and each listening respectfully to the pother, still be found.
The advisor was Lord Aquel; the artisan was Zohar Hruschka, 14, who is learning blacksmithing. The showpiece of his work was a Viking bearded hand axe decorated with acid etching on the blade.
Zohar hot-forged the axe in a coal fire for which he mined the coal himself in a an open mine near his home. He also showed two portable holes he had made from mild steel, one with a leaf embellishment at the top.
Zohar came alive explaining his techniques and his study of smithing. He became an informal apprentice of Little John the Blacksmith by haunting at his shop at War Practice. “I stayed at the booth long enough that his apprentices told me to come back the next day and meet him.” Zohar is working for Little John here at War.
“I want to be a much better smith, I don’t want to stay an apprentice,” Zohar said. Although he doesn’t intend to make his living at smithing, he does expect it to continue to be part of his life. “I want to do pieces for other people. I want to make what people want.”
Lord Aquel said, “I think that this young man has a great future. Not only does he have skill, he has heart.”
The Youth Exhibition will be repeated next year. All artists and artisans 18 and younger are welcome.