Today’s post is a bit of a departure from my normal postings, but between some very odd link behavior on a post at CareerNiche yesterday and my recent decision to return to Amtgard, I felt that this might be a safe and fun way to go.
So, what is Amtgard, you ask? It’s a medieval recreation group. We’re sort of like the SCA, but our fighters use boffer weapons (foam-padded sticks) and we are capable of doing non-authentic crafts due to the fact we admit both medival/renaissance and fantasy themes. As a result, we end up with a very interesting ambiance. People in recreated garb sat beside people wearing large wings made from wire and any variety of light materials.
We do occasionally get people who demand that we dedicate ourselves to recreating the period, right down to the materials. They generally are ignored right up until we have an arts competition, and then they frequently manage to get into a position to judge pieces. Naturally, every entry is marked down for a lack of authenticity, be it in design, pattern, or creation.
As an artisan within the game (and slowly moving to without the game), I have often found this practice annoying and have tried to reason with these people to no avail. The simple fact of the matter is, while it would be nice to only create garb from pieces of cloth 24″ wide from non-cotton/polyester based materials, we will choose to do things more easily and grab a bolt of 45″ cotton-based brocade to make a dress. Dishes that would not be available to any but royalty are going to be served to the common masses because in this period, the ingredients are easily come by.
It is fun to research and create a piece that resembles something from those periods, but more often than not, it will be done in more commonly available materials relevant to the period we live in.