Okay, I've been doing the selling thing for a long time. Ten years, to be exact. And while I've been to many events where the people were welcoming and the atmosphere was great, I have never had an experience like the one I had this past weekend in the SCA at the Blackstone Raid.
We stayed in the Marshall Cabin with the Black Priory, a house that one of our friends is part of. Even though he wasn't able to attend, the house members we met were gracious, welcoming, and tons of fun! As it turns out, many of the faces were familiar ones from local anime conventions, comicons, and the Ren Fest. Some of our old D&D friends are well known to them and others as well, so it felt rather like a reunion than a first meeting.
Dan Andre of Knights of the Classroom (an AMAZING chainmailler and all-around great guy) let me sell in a corner of his tent, and then spent the rest of the time introducing me to people. Among many others, I met Baroness Cerridwen, who encouraged Dan and I to enter the Arts and Sciences competition. Being brand new, I had no idea what this was, and despite being in the SCA since the early 80s, Dan had never entered his work into a competition.
I entered a fine silver and lapis necklace I completed last week into the contest, and Dan entered his handmade scalemaille dog armor. He took home top prize, and I took home some honors as well, which included a gorgeous illuminated scroll and a ribbon that are now hanging in sight of my design desk. I've never won an award for my jewelry before, so that was unexpected.
Brian and Lemony spent a lot of time wandering the grounds, meeting people, and watching the fights. He's up-loaded some videos of them to YouTube; here's the first of them:
The first night there, as I spoke with Lady Arianna, something amazing happened. I was getting out a book I had brought with me - "Jewelry, From Antiquity to the Present" by Clare Phillips - so that I could look up the proper documentation I needed to enter my necklace into the competition the next morning. She then exclaimed, "Oh, I LOVE that book!"
That has literally never happened to me before in my entire life. I read a lot of nonfiction, even back when I was in elementary school, so to have someone recognize, much less enjoy the books I read was astounding. I actually had to take a second to look around the room to make sure I was still awake.
On Saturday night I went to bed early after I completed my drawing and Brian spent some time that night wandering around, accepting drinks and meeting people. He later described to me a moment where he felt like he stepped back in time while hanging around some period tents. There was light flickering from candles in handforged fittings, the sound of people laughing around distant fires that shone in the lake and the smell of food cooked over an open flame in the air. There was not an electronic device in sight.
In short, we found home.