katherine kerr of the Hermitage, her site

AS 50 Challenge

[Depth Challenge] [Breadth Challenge] [Persona Challenge]

The A&S 50 Challenge involved doing 50 things in the Arts and Sciences between May 1st AS 42/2007 and May 1st AS 50/2015, in honour of the SCA's 50th Birthday. It was a great incentive to get on with various projects, and got me into

There were three kinds of challenge:

The Depth Challenge : to do, make or learn 50 of any one type of thing, to push skills and knowledge to new levels
The Breadth Challenge: to do, make or learn 50 new and different things
The Persona Challenge : to do, make or learn 50 different persona-related things

Since then, I have been undertaking every entry I can in the various Baronial A&S Challenges, covering a broad range of topics: Garb and Accessories, Stuff, Applied Heraldry, Printing, Entertainments.

And there are a batch of associated A&S Challenge entries in my consorting section: Consorting for the Crown, Consort Correspondence, Rat Heraldry, Consorting Garb, Rat Stuff.

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Depth Challenge

I've completed this in one sense - I've made over 120 commonplace books. I did learn some new things:

  • quicker ways of doing the binding for mass production
  • further evidence that the stitching I was using was used in period
  • all the material related to the production and selection of content
  • some ideas on period layout of such books

However, these were produced in two large batches, for Canterbury Faire and Festival, and so I don't really feel as if I've really met the intent of the challenge. There wasn't an on-going improvement in skills and knowledge as such.

I had hoped to be able to bind 50 books, but soon passed on that area in favour of concentrating on content and layout, and left the binding to the hands of people like Lady Isabell Winter and Mistress Sancha da Sylva. They have very generously alternated in binding the Royal Journals which we gift to the winners of each Crown Tourney, and that has led to further developments in the printing and publishing area which have been great to see.

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Printed Materials and Period Communications

I have really gotten hooked on late period printing over the past five years and have gone from producing the odd so-so menu item and one-off projects to looking for more and more ways that I can use period printing practices to add an extra layer to events. It got to the point where I couldn't escape the notice of the Laurels, and I was invited to join the Order based on my body of work in the reproduction of period printed materials.

Producing a medical volume for Lady Elizabeth Braythwayte and gearing up for the Bespoke Book Project have really upped up my awareness of late-period printing conventions as I sought to reproduce texts in the same layout as the original editions. This work has now driven me well and truly over the 50 mark in terms of output, though much of it has been in the form of title pages and extracts of 1-32 pages, rather than entire volumes. But I have learned a lot!

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Mapping the Known Worlde

I've started work on another AS50 Challenge: to map the Known Worlde and our part in it. I've been inspired by the huge Volume III of the History of Cartography and now have a journal full of ideas and different styles of maps. Most of the work I've done to date has been achieved while away on family holidays far from the computer, when I get the chance for a burst of creativity. And I've finally gotten around to putting the start of the my AS50 Map Challenge online -- take a look at it here.

Here's the completed count so far, with a batch of ones that have been sitting in pencilled form at various stages on the way to completion for a couple of years:

More to come!

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Applied Heraldry

I'm not really sure if this is a breadth or depth challenge, but I'm looking to learn more about period applied heraldry -- display, ceremonies, usage, development. So I'll record the many and varied things I research or do (or intend to do) into this category here. There are some overlaps in here with other categories, but I figure cross-fertilisation never hurts (and may even help make things more findable as this site continues to sprawl outside its original navigational structure!).

  • standards, banners, heraldic achievements et al:Yes, I have made it to 50 in this category!
  • a bunch of heraldic-related manuscript materials as part of the family papers: jousting cheques, birthbrief, heraldic visitation notes, impresa, roll of arms and armorial
  • Garter Stall plate drawing, as done by Richard Ker
  • the Flags of Lochac
  • heraldic chair seat
  • betrothal goblets
  • An Heraldic Interlude: a play for Half-Circle Theatre
  • Heraldic Act: reading the riot act for bad heralds and bad heraldry
  • painted arms on: tourney chest, A&S workbook -- done
  • funeral plaque and hatchment: probably for my grandfather or father as I haven't "died" yet!
  • personal seal
  • cushions
  • tent valence with lots of significant charges, based on period examples; more on the valence here and the related class handout here: Pavilion Decoration: some quick, easy ways to bling up your canvas tent or gazebo popup
  • coronets: not made by me, but I learned a lot doing the research for how they should look (including the fact that baronial coronets are not period)
  • my cup: runneth over, thanks to Master Edward Braythwayte
  • Dag project: making up a whole batch of dags to support the Known World Tapestry Tour
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    Period Reading List

    Mary Queen of Scots had 240 books listed in one inventory, so with a literate father and grandfather it's not unreasonable to think that I could have had access to 50 books. Admittedly, some of the works would not have been translated in English/Scots by 1566/7, but at least they were doing the rounds in various languages by that point.

    Here's what I've managed to read through so far:

    Books from Mary's Library:

    • Erasmus Colloquies
    • Rabelais Pantagruel
    • Ptolemy Geography
    • The Book of Hunting

    Other books of the period

    • Roger AschamToxophilus: The Schole of Shootinge
    • Ariosto Orlando Furioso
    • Beural The Romance of Tristan and Iseult
    • Boccaccio Decameron
    • Castilgione The Courtier
    • Celsus Book III De Medicina
    • Froissart Chronicles
    • Homer Odyssey
    • Juvenal Satires
    • William Latimer Chronickall of Anne Bullen
    • Machiavelli The Prince
    • Machiavelli The Art of War
    • Sir Thomas Malory Morte d'Arthur
    • Marco Polo The Travels
    • Marie de France Heptameron
    • Sir Thomas Moore Utopia
    • Sir Thomas Moore History of Richard the Thirde
    • Ovid Metamorphoses
    • Christine de Pisan The Book of the City of Ladies
    • Christine de Pisan The Treasure of the City of Ladies
    • Pliny Natural History
    • Romance de Rose
    • The Song of Roland

    Of course it is a different experience reading material in translation, but I don't have enough time to relearn Latin or take up Greek or do anything better than nut out Middle English or early modern Scots.

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    Breadth Challenge

    One of the things I embarked on for my Breadth Challenge was to enter Kingdom A&S competitions during the Challenge period. Some of these topics overlapped with the Persona Challenge; this was deliberate as a means of finding ways to undertake A&S projects that could tie in with my ever-expanding persona story and background.

    As of Twelfth Night Coronation AS50, I succeeded in entering 50 different items over eight years of the Challenge. Whew! Here's the completed list:

    AS 42
    May Crown: Painting on Cloth or Leather
    July Coronation: no entry (I was co-Steward for our first Kingdom-level event, so was rather busy)
    November Crown: no entry (no excuse)
    Twelfth Night Coronation: Banner in the Style of the Wars of the Roses

    AS 43
    May Crown: Period Favour (Velvet Sleeves)
    July Coronation: Sonnet in Praise of the Queen
    November Crown: Parade Shield
    Twelfth Night Coronation: Earrings

    AS 44
    May Crown: Patents of Nobility: papers that show noble descent to enter lists

    Midwinter Coronation: Rosaries: six entries
    November Crown: Antiphonals: two entries Twelfth Night Coronation: Silk Painting: A Painted Forepart

    AS 45
    May Crown: Item of clothing or armour re-created from a portrait / illumination / woodcut: Turkish Venetian Coat and Chemise
    Midwinter Coronation: Gardening - a treatise on the properties of a perfumed plant (in the style of Culpepper): A Crescent Isles Herbal
    November Crown: Glassware: Venetian Betrothal Goblets
    12th Night Coronation: Bestiary:

    AS 46
    May Crown: Tudor or Elizabethan Jewellery: 15 items

    I took a break at this point, partly because of the major earthquakes which had been hitting my city every couple of months over the space of a year, which made life fairly frantic at times; partly because I was Laurelled and that was a deterrent as I've seen very few Laurels enter any competition; and partly cos I'd been Kingdom A&S Champion four out of five years just because of entering regularly, and that was becoming a bit embarassing. So that was 46 different entries. Not far to go.

    AS 50
    November Crown: The Hippocratic Oath
    12th Night Coronation: Summer Accessories as used on hot summer days: A pair of Venetian flag fans
    Things for fun such as period games, toys, dolls: A Game of Goose -- El Juego de la Oca Del Camino Santiago de Compostela

    Yay! Done!

    Other Projects

    Things I have made or would like to make (these are in addition to the things directly listed in my Persona Challenge:

    A set of instruments as found in Holbein's The Ambassadors
    A curiosity cabinet with contents such as cowrie shell, coconut cup, fossilized shark's tooth, unicorn horn
    A proper set of roundels
    More clothes for my children: Achieved three items for Grace
    A triptych, possibly of arms or some suitable literary theme
    A clock
    A selection of interesting things from Queen Elizabeth's New Year's gifts
    Heraldic Achievements for Bartholomew and me

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    Persona Challenge

    This is going to be the most interesting of the challenges I think, as it will involve making a much richer persona story to tie in divers elements. There are at least three generations involved in this, as many of the things I am doing will have relevance to my English grandfather (Francis Lovel), my Scots father (Richard Kerr) and my Venetian mother (Caterina Mocenigo).

    Here's the current listing of completed and planned projects, some of which have involved other people or purchases. I'll be fleshing out the family history as part of this, but have included notes here relating the projects to the people concerned. It has formed a useful example for a class on persona development and how that can be tied into a more focused look at A&S.

    Francis Lovel (1446-1536), born in England, died in Scotland

    In 1487 (June 16) Francis fought in the Battle of Stoke, the last large battle of the Yorkist cause. He fled to the court of Margaret of Burgundy, and in November 1488 came to Scotland on a safe conduct, bearing messages from Margaret to James IV. Francis chose to stay, taking up a new identity and new life in Scotland, marrying Anne Kerr, of the Border clan the Ferniehirst Kerrs.

    Service with James IV during the latter's campaign against the Lord of the Isles and his brief invasion of England in November 1495 in support of Richard Duke of York (called by some Perkin Warbeck) saw Francis granted Scottish arms and a holding under the name Francis Kerr of Jedburgh.

    Francis Kerr took part in the tournaments which celebrated the marriage of Richard, Duke of York and Lady Katherine Gordon, in 1496. That was to be the last time he faced a lance, but in 1507 he took his son Richard to Edinburgh, so that the latter could enter the Tourney of the Wild Knight.

    Francis rode to Flodden with his King in 1513, but left before the battle (along with 20,000 others) when James took a week to dally with Lady Heron.

    He died in 1536, when the English took Ferniehirst Castle, killing many inhabitants and despoiling the women.

    Richard Kerr (1490-1546), born in Scotland, died in Scotland

    In 1518, my father, Richard Kerr, went to serve in the Garde Ecossais, the personal bodyguard of the French King Francis I. The following year, he met up with an Italian artist attached to the French Court, one Leonardo da Vinci, and became friends with the old man. This gave him an interest in engineering and Things Mechanikal.

    In 1520, the Field of Cloth of Gold meeting between Francis I and Henry VIII of England saw a great deal of combat over three weeks. Richard took part in the various tournaments on the French side. One of the court attendants sketched a number of combatants, so Richard has a record of his attendance at this event and of the impresa he bore against an English competitor Francis Bryan (this man seemed to keep popping up at various times in Richard's life).

    When Francis I stopped paying his troops during the wars in Italy, Richard left his service and joined Giovanni (de Medici) della Banda Nere's condittiere group as a man-at-arms involved in mapping and engineering (interests sparked by his time with Leonardo). Following the Battle of Pavia (24 Feb 1525), Giovanni was shot in the knee, Richard himself was lamed and they both went to Venice for treatment. In 1526, Richard married Caterina Mocenigo (1500-1535), the fifth daughter of a cadet line of the noble Venetian house. While living in Venice, he took an interest in the art of printing, pioneered in La Serenissima by the likes of Aldus Manutius.

    Richard and Caterina had three children: Katherine, born in 1526, and two short-lived sons: Androu and Francis, born in 1532 and 1535 respectively. Caterina died shortly after the latter’s birth. Following that, Richard left for Scotland with his daughter, taking with him his wife’s wedding cassone, a chest filled with the most precious items and memorabilia which would be given to his daughter.

    Richard and Katherine travelled via Paris where they saw James IV marry his French Princess in January 1537, and then journeyed back to Scotland in his train. Richard used his Venetian experience in publishing to invest in the developing book trade in Edinburgh.

    Caterina Mocenigo (1500-1535), born in Venice, died in Venice

    Married Richard Kerr; mother of Katherine; the fifth daughter of a cadet line of the House of Mocenigo.

    • Wedding cassone
    • Garb from Venice 1520s :The Lotto Dress (made by the good ladies of Ildhafn)
    • Venetian Betrothal Goblet: representing Richard and Caterina (parents and goblets both deceased)
    • Turkish Venetian Coat
    • Venetian Chemise
    • Venetian veil
    • Zibellino: though I still need to make a jewelled head for it
    • Bookmarks
    • Venetian betrothal/birthing gifts: rings, coins, coral teether, ribbons, gloves, handkerchiefs, thimbles, spindles, globes, jewellry boxes, Venetian necklace
    • Deschi da parto: painted trays to celebrate a birth -- preliminary test done on a folding tray
    • Maiolica birth set: a bowl with a lid
    • An Arnolfini mirror: now have one gracing the Hermitage
    • Cameo: now have a family one purchased in Italy, will need to check to see if the mounting is appropriate
    • Testament (as in will)
    • Venetian flag fans

    Katherine Kerr (1526 - ), born in Venice, came to Scotland in 1537

    My father Richard died at the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh (1547) fighting against the English troops led by Francis Bryan; I was left as sole heiress to the arms of Kerr of Jedburgh. I left Scotland after the battle of Carberry Hill (June 15, 1567), and have resided in the Laurel Kingdoms thereafter.

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