If you have ever thought you were born in the wrong era, it might not be too late to go back in time.
At the Whatcom chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism, members research and recreate the arts and skills of pre-16th century Europe with sword fighting, rapiers, weaving, art, costumes and food.
The 100-member chapter meets weekly at Baker View Christian School during the winter and early spring. During the summer and fall, they meet at Hovander Homestead Park, where they engage in period-style fighting and such non-combat pursuits as calligraphy, silk banner painting and hand sewing.
Ravyn Schmidt, 33, is the chapter’s social media coordinator and Shier’s Herald, helping new members come up with their coat of arms and medieval names. She joined with her spouse, Dustin Schmidt, four years ago after they saw sword fighting on display at the Bellingham Scottish Highland Games in Ferndale.
“We found out there was so much more than just sword fighting to the SCA,” she says. “We were hooked!”
Ravyn’s medieval name is Jadwiga Radomyskowa, a noble woman from late-15th century Poland.
Dustin’s medieval name is Mikolaj Radomyski, a heavy fighter, someone who wears armor and a helmet while fighting with a shield and a rattan sword. He recently became a knight at a society event in Portland, Ore.
“That’s a really high honor,” says Ravyn, whose persona is a rapier fighter. She also does calligraphy and drawing for chapter awards, which resemble medieval manuscripts.
The society is an international organization with some 30,000 members worldwide. At meetings and events, members wear clothing styled from the Middle Ages and engage in tournaments, royal courts, feasts, dancing, classes and fighting.
While fighting is a regular feature, people rarely get hurt.
“We have strong requirements for gear, and you’re not allowed to fight unless you have that gear,” Schmidt says. “You might get bruises and bumps, but that’s about it.”
The Whatcom chapter holds two large events each year. In the spring, the Sir Edward’s Memorial Tournament features heavy fighting, rapiers, archery, a feast and arts and sciences classes. At the Warren War in late summer, fighters battle with armor and swords.
Anyone interested in the Middle Ages is a good fit for the society, Schmidt says.
“You’re not just learning about that period, you’re living it,” she says.
The Whatcom chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism hosts monthly coffee socials for potential newcomers. For details, send an email to Genevieve.email@example.com or Jadwiga.firstname.lastname@example.org.