Noise and Quiet Moments
Isn’t that really the best part of an event, the contrasts? I tend to be a relatively early riser at events. It is a rare morning that I am not out of bed and dressed by 7:30 AM. Being up at a relatively decent hour (that is late for me at home) gives me plenty of time to take Jack for a nice long walk, and make and eat a leisurely breakfast, before it is time to sweep and dust the shop and open the doors. It also gives me time to take advantage of early morning light for photographs, but more about that later.
The first day that we were completely set up at Golden Beltane we all jumped…a lot. The folks next to us had a very special piece of equipment set up – a drop hammer. Our next door neighbor was Master Emmerich of Vakkerfjell, and if you haven’t seen his work yet, you have really missed out. He has a lovely website where he explains the process that he uses to create period reproductions of real coins, and well as household tokens and special event tokens. His work is really amazing, and I am now the proud owner of a limited edition silver Golden Beltane Commemorative Coin. Truly awesome.
I was fortunate enough to catch Master Emmerich while he was setting up his display case one morning, and he generously gave me a tour of his masterworks. The gallery on his website contains a considerable percentage of the coins that I saw, plus a bunch of custom work by Master Emmerich and others, and some very nice “how too” pictures. In a time frame where a lot of SCA items are made using computer generated art work, printed resists, and etching, when the item would have been stamped, or engraved in period, I found it genuinely exciting to discover someone who was actually making things in a period fashion. I had the great fortune to take a basic class on striking coins taught by another member of the West Kingdom Moneyers’ Guild many years ago (Master Emmerrich is currently the head of the guild), but I had really forgotten how much fun the entire process could be. Seeing the glory of handcrafted struck coins was a breath of fresh air, and I have a feeling that I will be working on some struck coins in the future.
Unfortunately I did not take a picture of Master Emmerich’s drop hammer in use, but it really was very cool. The basic principal is that a weight is raised up about ten feet, and then released to smash down on the die set, which has a blank in between the two halves, to create a coin or medallion. A very cool period process.
There were literally a zillion other artisans working in various nooks and crannies around Golden Beltane. Just about every one of the West Kingdom Guilds taught classes, and one enthusiastic group of folks even recreated an Antwerpen Market, complete with period clothing, vegetables and goats!
Our last day at West Kingdom Golden Beltane we had fog in the morning.