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Bess Brechin lived in Caledonia in the kingdom of Circinn in the reign of Talorc mac Achiuir in 401 AD.
First SCA event attended was Panteria 2015.
Though a peaceful farmer, the repeated incursions of the Romans caused Bess, like many of the other Picts, to respond with force. The Picts had learned that pitched engagements against the Legions would lead only to defeat so they continued their pattern of guerrilla warfare to stifle and beat back the southern invaders.
With bow and sword, Bess partook of glorious raids to liberate the Romans of life, wealth and cattle. During one raid over Hadrian's Wall, she and her band were able to catch a Roman auxiliary troop separated from the rest of their Legion and the protection of their forts. The battle was fierce and bloody. In the end, the Picts captured a goodly supply of arms and armor as well as a sizeable herd of cattle.
Knowing now that it was best to engage the Romans at a distance and from hiding, Bess' raids became increasingly more daring and vicious. The plunder taken from the Romans would make Bess one of the most prosperous and respected members of her tribe. Her roundhouse became a meeting place where raiders would stage and plan their forays south of the wall, looking to Bess for guidance and leadership in the coming battles.
Romanes eunt domus!
- House Serpentius - Pennsic 2016
- House Argent Fist - Panteria 2017
- House Crimson Company - Pennsic 2017
- Birka 2017 - award of arms and Silver wheel
- Birka 2018 - award of the Silver Mantle
- Lost Tip 2018 - Shire of Panther Vale Armored Champion
Offices & Positions
- Panther Vale Chatelaine - March 2017 to present
- Combat Archery Marshal -since Lost Tip 2016
- 3rd Division Combat Archery commander - Pennsic 2017 to present
- Panther Vale Social Media Officer - November 2018 to present
- Northern Region Combat Archery Lieutenant - January 2018 (pending)
- Panteria Merchant Coordinator - 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
- Panteria CA MIC - 2017, 2018
- GNEW Combat archery deputy marshal - 2017
- GNEW Combat archery Marshal in Charge - 2018
- Panther Vale Newport Centennial Demo Organizer- 2018
- Harper's Retreat CA MIC - 2017, 2018
- Carnage Gaming Convention Demo Organizer - 2018
- Combat Archery - since Panteria 2016
- Sword and Shield - since Panteria 2017
- Intro to Combat Archery - Birka 2017, Panteria 2017, Harper's Retreat 2017, Harper's Retreat 2018
- Intro to Nalbinding - Panther Vale Studium Generale 2019, Panteria XXIV 2019
- Command structure and combat archery - class co-taught with Master Tiberius Iulius Rufus as a last minute teacher substitution - Mimir's Well 2019
- Make Easy Garb - Panther Vale Studium Generale 2019
- Intro to SCA Court - Panteria XXIV 2019
Arts & Science
- Garb making
- Lucet cord
- Inkle weaving
1. Teaching myself nalbinding - I've been working on teaching myself nalbinding, trying various stitches and making various items. Here are some of the items I have worked on.
- This mitten is made with the Asle stitch. I chose this stitch for these mittens because of the 16th century mitten found at Åsle Mose in Gotland, Sweden. That mitten was made with the Asle stitch. This pair of mittens was for me to practice making garments and get used to a new stitch. I made these for a friend in the way she requested, which is why I did not copy the Asle Mose mitten exactly. The Asle stitch is wicked thick!! I can see why it was used for mittens. It also has no stretch at all so it is important to size correctly if using this stitch.
Here are a few other photos of items I've worked on. Without patterns, making an item is a 'make it up' as you go along, so I am learning with each item I have made. I've made two pairs of mittens, a coin pouch, and a hat.
- Mittens in Finnish stitch - 1st pair made
- Making a hat with Oslo stitch - 1st item made
- I did not photograph the coin pouch I made. I wish I did. It was a recreation of this pouch, the Vasa shipwreck pouch, done in Mammen stitch -
- I made my friend with an Icelandic Viking persona at hat. He had mentioned Icelandic wool, so, I found some and made him a hat. It was a thin yarn, which I had not used before and wasn't sure how to regulate the gauge of the stich. I tried with the first hat, which turned out okay but was a looser weave than I wanted. So, I made a second using the needle to control the stitch size. The hats are made with the Oslo stitch, which I chose because one garment found in Iceland was made using this stitch. In the photos, you can see the place I purchased the yarn from and a comparison of the two hats:
- For the royal fundraising auction in spring of 2019, I put up for bid the offer of making one nalbinded item (hat, mittens, pouch). The winner of the auction chose a hat. Her persona is an Irish Viking with roots in Denmark. She asked for the yarn to be 'yellow ochre' in color. Since color was the one thing I wanted to be sure to get, it limited my choices of wool types. I ended up having the wool custom dyed to try to get a color as close as I could to yellow ochre. The stitch I chose is the York or Coppergate stitch. This stitch is based off a sock found in York. While that is not Irish, the York Vikings were the ones to found Dublin, so, I felt the York stitch was a good one to choose.
2. Various garb My sewing skills are basic but enough for me to attempt to make some pieces, all machine sewn. My husband wanted a coat and asked if I could make the Sassanian/Persian riding coat. I did and made it how he wanted. And, as a Pict, it is hard to find documentation of Pictish clothing, so, I decided to create an anachronistic household dress.
- My husband in the Persian riding coat
- Pictish style household dress - I used Pictish carvings as inspiration to create a household dress. In Pictish carvings, it is common to find the serpent and z-rod, double disc and z-rod and the Pictish 'beastie'. Apparently, the beastie accounts for 47% of animal carvings on Pictish stones! I took those carvings, added a twist by incorporating my households' devices and 'carving' them onto my dress. I taught myself how to make lucet cord, made a bunch, drew a design, and sewed it onto my dress.
- Skirt and top based upon the dress found at Lønne Hede. This is an iron age dress found in Denmark. Pictish clothing is something I am struggling with. I have found the 'Well Dressed Pict' but not much beyond that. Much of the Pictish carvings remind me of many Viking images, which makes me wonder if the Picts may be very early Scandinavians who landed in Scotland. So, when I was trying to figure out what to make with a sari I bought, when I saw the Lønne Hede dress, I thought the sari pattern was perfect for it. This is completely anachronistic, since silk would not have been used and, I am taking major leaps in guessing a 5th century Pictish woman may have worn a similar style.
3. Even though it pains my Pictish persona, I have been known to become one of the East Kingdom Vestal Virgins. While a Vestal, I have decided to be called Flavia Flava. Becoming a Vestal was done for King Ioaness and Queen Honig's coronation but has become something I will wear when part of a Roman ceremony. This is the first attempt at the Vestal garb using linen, cotton 'cord' for the head piece, and wool for the head covering. Sometime, I hope to upgrade it to be more accurate by using wool for the stola and palla as well as the head piece.