Challenges


All the forms

Go to this webpage:  http://www.verseforms.com/

Write one of every form listed down the left-hand side. You may be excused one form. You are not limited to any one theme.

Challenge set by Dame Arianhwy Wen


No more registrations accepted for: Capping it all off

In many SCA places and periods, it was very common to cover one’s head/hair, regardless of age or social station.  Rich or poor, young or old, noble or commoner – a variety of head coverings and hats were worn for a variety of reasons, by all classes. 

For this challenge, research and create a type of headwear your persona would have worn during their normal days, or for a special occasion (or both!)  I’m happy to discuss sources, patterns, materials, and construction tips.   

Please note: this challenge is limited to 5 participants. All spots are filled.

Challenge set by Maestra Victoria Piera Rosselli

Cook like the first celebrity chef

Choose a recipe from the Opera of Bartolomeo Scappi to research and redact. Bonus points (which don’t exist) for knowing if it was ‘borrowed’ or an original.

Challenge set by Baroness Magdelena Grace Vane, patent pending


Document one thing

Pick one item of your soft kit or personal accoutrements, that you have not previously written documentation for, and research as much about it as possible for your chosen time and place. Who would have had such an item? Who would have made it? How would it have been made? What would it have cost? What materials would it consist of? How would it have gotten into the hands of your persona? What would have been a usual threadcount?

Go deep! Write it down! Cite your Sources! And tell us about the wierd or interesting things you found out along the way.

Challenge set by Mistress Lia de Thornegge


Gesso – The Real Thing ™

Stretch your gilding wings and experience the joy of the sparkly mirror shine of polished gold on raised gesso. Dots, bars, leaves, initials – try your hand at the real thing. You can make your own gesso, or I can provide dried gesso. I am happy to consult on the entire process.

Challenge set by Mistress Oriane d’Avallon

Great great great great … (keep going)… grandma’s recipe for?

Choose a recipe you love and trace it back to its medieval origins. How has it changed? Make both and compare.

Challenge set by Baroness Magdelena Grace Vane, patent pending


Knitting in the round

Have you always wanted to learn how to knit? Now is your chance to cast on and knit in the round with 4 needles, and make a simple pouch.
Anna will help you to choose the right yarn, needles and how to begin your project.

Challenge set by Viscountess Anna Laresdotter


Produce camp textiles incorporating your heraldry

To beautify and make our SCA camping comfortable and colourful, produce some sort of textile to enhance your encampment incorporating your heraldry, or heraldic colours. Bonus points (there are no points) if the item is made in a way that you can document within the timeframe of the SCA.

Challenge set by Mistress Lia de Thornegge

Put your things away properly

To observe a prized possession of your own or your friend’s, and make a case to protect it when travelling or working.

Challenge set by Dame Lyonet de Covenham

Puzzling letters!

Embellishing Initials and capital letters is something that can be found all over the world in all kinds of documents in every century since humanity learned its letters. I want you to look at the embellishment known as “puzzle letters” and tell me all about it. When did they start to show up and where? Are there other names for this style, did it develop and if so into what? Show me the simplest and most complicated (biggest) examples of puzzle initials you can find from documents of the middle ages. Is there rhyme, reason and a way to construct/draw them easily?

If all of your research culminates in trying out your hand in making one for yourself or a friend even better. I will be so excited and happy to help you, be your sounding board and fascinated listener! I will cheer you on and tell you honestly my opinion!

Challenge set by Meisterin Ellisa von Berenklau


The sad occasion

A relative or acquaintance of yours has died after a long, fulfilling life, and has been sent on according to your mediaeval culture’s requirements. Research the final rites accorded to this person, and write a letter to a mutual friend or relative (in a modern language) describing the whole thing.

Challenge set by Dame Lyonet de Covenham

Singing their praises

Write a song or poem in praise of someone else and spread their Word-fame. Share it at a bardic circle, or perform it at a feast, or publish it on an SCA web page or group where others who know the one you praise will see it. Bonus points (there are no points) if you use a period style for your creation.

Challenge set by Mestari Kareina Talventytär


Tangling it up: using knots to solve a problem

Grab a large needle and some yarn and do some nålbindning: tie a knot. Add another. Keep tying knots till you have made a useful object. This challenge is especially aimed at people who have never tried this textile making technique, but would like some warm mittens, or socks, or at or a bag, or a milk strainer, or something… (see https://www.en.neulakintaat.fi/ for some good suggestions on knots you might try tying).

Challenge set by Mestari Kareina Talventytär

There is no such thing as too much gold!

Make a scroll (or blank) using three different kinds of gilding: painting (shell) gold, flat gold leaf and polished gold leaf on gesso, based on a period example and true to style.

Challenge set by Mistress Oriane d’Avallon

Three rounds of boasting

When couples proceed in Crown or Coronet list, they are usually preceded by a herald who boasts for them, setting forth in words what the virtues of the couple are, and why they alone are the rightful heirs to the throne.
Find three couples who intend to fight in the next Crown or Coronet, and write a boast for each of them. If you can, do the actual boast at the tourney. (You will not be penalised if you cannot, due to the plague or other reasons.) One of these boasts must be poetry; one a very short fairy tale OR comedy; and the last is whatever you like.
If you do not know anyone who intends to fight for crown, one boast may be for their current majesties, and the other two for any two couples you know.
You are not bound to period forms of poetry for this challenge.

Challenge set by Dame Arianwhy Wen

To travel the world

“Do there exist many worlds, or is there but a single world? This is one of the most noble and exalted questions in the study of Nature.”

Albertus Magnus

Have you been curious about the exquisite silks from the far east?  The food of the New World?  Trade goods out of Africa?  This is your chance!  Chose a project based on non-European cultures from the pre-1700s.  This is open to any form of arts or sciences, such as clothing, cooking, perfumes, trade goods, etc.  One page of documentation with at least two sources is required, and I’ll be happy to help you with it! 

Challenge set by Maestra Ellisif Gydasdottir

The true history

Be a mediaeval history-writer. Write a history of a one year period in the life of your SCA group (at any level: village, shire/canton/college, barony, principality, kingdom). Because you are a mediaeval history-writer, your story should be true from a certain point of view, but it need not be precisely truthful. It should, however, be exciting.

Challenge set by Dame Lyonet de Covenham


What is That doing There?

One of the most common uses of tablet woven or narrow bands is as trim on clothing.  However, historically they have been used many other ways as well.  Create a project using a narrow-woven band – card woven, inkle, lace making, etc and show us how it was used on something other than apparel.  I will be delighted to help in any way that I can!  Please cite your sources and let’s share all the fun ways to use gorgeous trim!

Challenge set by Maestra Ellisif Gydasdottir

Where did you find that?

Head to the great outdoors and harvest one or more local wild-growing food items, then use it in a recipe of your choice and enjoy eating what nature has to offer. Bonus points (there are no points) if the recipe is a period one that actually calls for that item.  Note: harvest wild foods responsibly: take only what you need, take only from places it is safe and legal to do so, and be absolutely certain that what you are harvesting is what you think it is (and is safe to eat).

Challenge set by Mestari Kareina Talventytär

Who’s that from?

Every so often I get asked how do I sign a scroll or medieval document or other piece of art. So I herewith challenge you to dive into the history of signatures and makers mark! Find out how different people (artists/royalty/clerks/builders) signed their art/work/documents and design your own.

You will make me really happy, if you can design one that fits your chosen persona/preferred medieval time frame or region. And I will be in total bliss if you can make something that will have your designed makers mark/signature on it (stamped/stitched/engraved/painted/written). I will not pretend to know all there is to medieval signatures and makers mark but I am happy to give you the pointers I do know and look forward to joining you in the adventure of researching, finding and designing your signature or makers mark!

Challenge set by Meisterin Ellisa von Berenklau

Write a sonnet crown

Write a sonnet crown. Sonnet crowns are explained here: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/learn/glossary-terms/sonnet

You may use Petrarchan, Shakespearean, or Spenserian sonnets. Or mix them. The sonnet forms are explained here: http://www.verseforms.com/

Challenge set by Dame Arianwhy Wen

Write home to mother

Write a letter to an older relative in which you discuss a significant problem at a particular time and place. You may compose the letter in a modern language, but write it using materials and writing forms appropriate to that time and place.

Challenge set by Dame Lyonet de Covenham


How to register

To register yourself as a challenger, please send the following information to dw.arts.challenge@gmail.com at any time before October 2021.

  1. SCA Name
  2. Which challenge(s) you intend to take up
  3. Tentative description of what you will make (this may change)

(Please note you may withdraw at any time, for any reason, but do let us know through email)

You will be put in contact with the Laurel whose challenge you have taken up so they may help you along the way.