Ana Ilevna and I attended the Tir-Mara Crown Principality East Kingdom University on October 5th and 6th. We had a great time. Everyone was extremely hospitable!
For future EKUs, I would recommend that the class listing always be on a web site that is available to everyone. This class listing was not only on Facebook, it was evidently not public and so only available to people with a Facebook login ID. Not even for cool A&S classes will I create another Facebook account after the experience I had with my first one. The class list was evidently added to the EKU web site but it can't have been too much before the event because it wasn't there the last time I tried to find a class listing other than the Facebook one. Magestra Alisay did sent me a preliminary class listing when I asked for one via e-mail.
I also recommend that specific directions from the nearest freeway also be published in the Event Listing both on the EK website (GINGER) and in the Pikestaff. In this case, Mapquest more-or-less worked (aside from trying to send us *South* on Highway 55 instead of North) but having directions from the locals is always good. I e-mailed Magestra Alisay to ask; but specific directions from Highway 40 were not available. (Though a map available from the (French only!) website of the Boy Scout camp helped very much to reassure me that the Mapquest directions from Highway 40 were correct.)
The event announcement was not in the September Pikestaff. As the event was the first Saturday in October, not everyone would have received their Pikestaff even if the directions had been there. This also meant that the event was not as well publicized as it could have been, which was a shame. It was a great event and more participation would have made it even better. Not to mention, great site with beds and showers and all!
The site fees increased by $3 on *August* 15th. As the event announcement wasn't in the August Pikestaff either, we ended up paying $6 more than we could have. We volunteered to teach back in May and would have sent in our check that early had we known of the fee increase in time. As it was, when the event didn't appear in the September Pikestaff, we checked the listing on GINGER. By then it was too late to get the lower site fee.
On to the good stuff:
The classes we attended were well taught. The handouts were informative. The class kits were very well put together and the materials fees were quite reasonable given what the materials were. ($10 for everything to make a 12 signature notebook and $15 for all the fur you needed (and more!) to trim garments.) Both Canadian and American money were accepted, which was a good thing as I foolishly did not change any money before we arrived. (Having decided that all I needed was my Visa card--I utterly forgot about materials fees, silly me!)
Class hand outs were available in both French and English. We sent our handout for our Bayeux Embroidery class to Magestra Alisay de Falaise a month or so ahead of time to be translated into French. This was even more important than for many handouts as half our class is a lecture on the events of 1066 leading up to the Battle of Hastings. The how-to-embroider the Bayeux technique can be taught across a language barrier. The history not so much. There were two people in class who translated into French for the few students who did not know English so all went very well. This was my first experience teaching to students who did not speak any English and I was very happy with the results. I hope they were, too!
If any of you wish to teach in Quebec, Magestra Alisay de Falaise volunteers to translate handouts from English to French. They've evidently been trying for 15 years (!) to find a teacher for pewter casting and glass bead making. There were instructors teaching both all day Saturday and they were inundated with students! Everyone was so very friendly and welcoming that I highly recommend going up to teach. We look forward to going again.
I also recommend going up to learn. Baron Cristoforo Donatello dei Visconti taught a very informative class on how to sew fur and use it to trim garments. Ana Ilevna, who also does not speak any French, had no trouble learning all sorts of useful information in his class and I might now get that fur lined cap I've been wishing for all these years. She came away with a bag full of examples and extra fur.
Lady Cellach Donn inghean Mhic an Mhadaigh taught a class on making a Viking pouch with Bayeux style embroidery (that technique was also used in Scandinavia). She also felts. She won the Prince's A&S Championship with a gorgeous felted Mongolian wall hanging and the documentation (in both English and French) to go with it.
I took a class in 16th century Limp Binding (for books) from Seigneur Robin dit Dessaints. The pace of his class was well thought out. He'd done quite a bit of the hole punching and cutting out ahead of time so we could get down to the core of how to stitch it all together. I finished it all in three hours. I believe this was the same person who entered a replica plate, blackwork embroidered book cover and honey-combed gathered shirt in the A&S competition. If so he is a very well talented man! The teaching was very clear and the A&S entries were marvelous.
I cannot remember the name of the woman who won the Princess's Championship. But her entry was a from-the-sheep-up length of woven fabric. She scoured the wool, combed it, dyed it, spun it, and weaved it. Very nice stuff!
The feast was delicious, the hall was beautifully decorated. There were more kinds of muffins than I ever knew existed for both Breakfast and Lunch. (Lady Cellach Donn inghean Mhic an Mhadaigh also baked a lot of the muffins. Very talented woman!) Each of the instructors was given a block-print thank you to take home. There were lovely items for sale in the silent auction for the EK Travel Fund, and all the candlesticks on the feast tables had been hand turned to hold both a candle or a tea light and were for sale for $5 for the Travel Fund.
I again highly encourage anyone to consider going up to Tir-Mara to teach and also encourage Tir-Maran's, especially Francophones, to come to the States or the Anglophone areas of the Principality to both learn and teach. Magestra Alisay de Falaise and Baroness Tadea Isabetta di Bruno of l'Ile du Dragon Dormant both volunteer to translate handouts and documentation from French to English.
Oh, and the cost of embroidery supplies in Canada is outrageous! We had a swarm snap up every single one of our spare embroidery hoops. A skein of DMC cotton is somewhere around $2 up there! We should organize a Paternayan Airlift or Underground Threadway to get some supplies North for less money.