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This is THL Jerusha a'laon, your Virtual Herald.

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The Academy of St. Clare de Assisi - April 1st 2017

Moving from a large metropolitan area to a small town that shuts down at 7pm was quite the challenge.  One of the results of my move to the Middle Kingdom is a change in my SCA focus.  While I still enjoy The Virtual Herald and still provide coverage at events I attend,  this past year has seen me shift towards a focus on the arts, specifically embroidery.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend a Collegium style event in the Kingdom of Aethelmearc called the Academy of St. Clare de Assisi, which focus is *exclusively* on embroidery and similar art forms.  The format and schedule is very different from Collegia that I have attended in the past, and I had a fantastic time.  I was unable to do my usual style of coverage due to no internet access at the site.  

The Kingdom of Aethelmearc consists of the majority of Pennsylvania (including the Pennsic site), western New York State, and small parts of West Virginia.  The Shire of Abhain Ciach Ghlais, who put on this awesome event, consistes of nine counties in the North Central part of Pennsylvania.

The event website is located here.  Here are some pictures I took of the site, which is a pretty awesome Boy Scout Camp:

Camp Entrance

The Dining Hall, where the Majority of the activities happened.

The Edna Sheary Lodge, one of the cabins as well as were some classes were held and the Sunday Morning activities as well.
The view from the Edna Sheary Lodge

Kirby Cabin - Used as a sleeping place for event attendees and where I stayed.
My bunk.
I didn't get in until very late on Friday night, due to multiple stops along the way.  However, I was up bright and early and made my way to the dining hall to sign in and get my program and site token.

It was an all inclusive day:  We had breakfast served (a variety of breakfast casseroles).  We had a couple of merchants, a fabulous Silent Auction (the proceeds of which went towards offsetting the teacher's expenses, which was a nice touch), a library in which attendees provided books for everyone to look at, and plenty of room for folks to set up and socialize before the keynote speech.

The morning's first activity was a speech by Patrikia (Mistress) Maria Agrissa Sgourina, OL (Linda Blowney) called "Dismantling Musiaphobia: Learning to Approach Museum Collections with Confidence".  She was a delightful speaker, full of good information and stories. Her message was well revived.
Starting her speech

Example of Patrikia Maria's embroidery
After her speech, we broke into our first session of the day. I chose to take Duchess Siobhán inghean uí Liatháin's class on Finnish Iron Age metal applique, which was very interesting.  She provided lots of examples of her work.. 

  I also took pictures of the other classes happening during the first hour.

The second hour, I chose to take Lady Vika Grigina z Prahy's class about 14th Century Purse Embellishments.  She provided a comprehensive handout and I came away with lots of ideas for future projects.  There's a large contingent of 14th Century enthusiasts in my area of the Middle, so I'm hoping to parlay this into some possible barter opportunities.

After a lovely lunch of breads, cheeses and soups, we moved on to the highlight of the day - the 3 hour kit classes.  I chose to take HL Christina inghean Ghriogair's class on embroidered book covers.  I was able to start my project as well as get additional materials to make additional projects.  


After the class ended, we returned to the dining area for Tea, socializing, and the conclusion of the Silent Auction.  I was able to secure more goldwork supplies, some postcards from the V&A's Opus Anglicanum's exhibit, a Russian bead embroidery kit, and other various items.  In total, the auction raised a little over 400 dollars, which was split among the teachers.  There was also a wonderful feast, with chicken, meatballs and brussel sprouts.  I was able to take some pictures of the tea set up, but I was too busy eating to take pictures. 

Finally, there was an embroidered fashion show, with attendee's showing off their embellished clothing.  Some of the embroidered items were based on classes that attendees took last year.

The rest of the evening was spent socializing.  I'm happy to say that I was one of the last people to leave the dining hall, after spending a wonderful evening with Duchess Siobhan, her husband, Duke Sven and Mistress Felicity and her apprentice, Baroness Helena.  All of my interactions with everyone, including the staff were extremely positive.  I am already looking forward to next year and if you have any interest in embroidery and its associated arts,  you should make it a point to try and attend.  I have offered my services to the Steward to promote this event and help bring in teachers.  

Additional pictures of this event are posted on the Virtual Herald page under its own album here.