The Heretical Herald Rides Again!

Aside

The badge of the SCA Herald

The badge of the SCA Herald (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Greetings, I’m dusting off the old table and gathering up fresh parchment, for I am going to try another go at publishing “The Heretical Herald” once more! I hope that any conservative heralds do not cringe at the thought of a heretical herald, for I am quite conservative… just a bit creative.

My goal is to educate and share the creativity that can be a part of heraldry. I try for a lighthearted approach to make heraldry fun. Sure there are a lot of rules and regulations, but there is also the Art of Heraldry! There is the humour of “cants”. (Not “can’t, but “cant”.)

Good heraldry actually has a lot in common with good website design and good graphic art design. You would be surprised perhaps at how much these things have in common with heraldry. (Just try to read dark blue writing on a black background in the small print on the back of an item in the grocery store.)

antirfldsmll

Populous Badge for the population of the SCA Kingdom of Antir.

Iwill be writing from the point of view of a herald residing in the SCA Kingdom of An Tir. Be aware that there may be biases towards the way we do things up here.

I plan to contribute to this site on a regular basis, though I did in the past as well. LOL

Enjoy the ride!

 

H.H.

 

Don’t Talk To Me About Complications! or I’ve Got a Headache

The Heretical Herald Volume 1 Issue 2 February 22, AS XXXVIII being 2004 AD

(ed. Note that this was written a while ago and they may 
use a different way to judge complexity now. 
Consult your local herald.)

Acute song I have heard in the SCA dealing with Heraldry called “The Herald’s Complaint”, by Baldwin of Erebor is about the nightmares a herald has about a device he sees even in his dreams which haunts him in its ugly complexity. I won’t repeat the lyrics to this excellent song here out of courtesy to the writer and copyright, however I recommend that the reader look it up. You can find the lyrics printed with permission on this page: “http://www.florilegium.org/files/PERFORMANCE-ARTS/songs2-msg.text” Search down the fairly lengthy page for the phrase “The Herald’s Complaint” and you’ll find the articles on it with the lyrics. (Baldwin of Erebor is mundanely known as Derek Foster and the song has been published in the volume “Broadside of a Bard”, Copyright 1979 by Derek Foster) I can also reprint the registry of Baldwin of Erebor that includes the badge of which the song is written in illustration:

  • Baldwin of Erebor
  • This name was registered in March of 1980 (via Atenveldt).
  • The following device associated with this name was registered in March of 1980 (via Atenveldt):
    Azure, on a pile invected ermine a harp Or.
  • The following badge associated with this name was registered in April of 1980 (via Atenveldt):
    (Fieldless) A dove displayed upon a billet chequy Or and gules between a pair of cockatrices clad in motley like a fool’s, their feathers are dimidiated with a tree eradicated, limbed and fructed countercompony.

The badge you can see was passed in 1980 and likely wouldn’t pass today for a number of reasons, one of which is, it is just too complex. I’ll leave figuring out what it looks like to you. I’m not really sure what feathers that are half composed of eradicated trees look like.

In the SCA there is a guideline that heralds use to gauge how complex too complex is. In general as the number of tinctures used in a device increases the number of types of charges should decrease. The basic guideline used is that the total number of tinctures used when added to the total number of different types of charges should not exceed 8. Further three or more types of charges should not be used in the same group of charges. It is spelled out in the “Rules for Submission” Part VIII- Compatible Armorial Style 1. Armorial Simplicity a. Tincture and Charge Limit. I’m not sure how many colours “motley” counts as, but the badge in “The Herald’s Complaint” I’m sure comes out as more than 8.

There is a tendency with some newcomers to the SCA to want to virtually include their life story in their device. Their persona is from a port city so they want something nautical like a ship, their father was a miller and the byname they have selected is miller so they want a millrind, they love their pet dog whom they bring to all events so they want a hound and since they are welsh they want a dragon. Since they also want to be a crusading knight they also want a cross or saltire on the device somewhere too. They also really like the colours red, green, and yellow. The big thing is they want it all! Now before even trying to design anything just doing a count we have 5 + 3 = 8 for the complexity count. That is at the border. Now this does fit in. It just barely fits in. It would take a lot of care to incorporate all these items tastefully without it becoming indistinct and messy to look at. Simpler is better and if they were coming to consult with me I would try to convince them to pare down that list to what is truly what is important and what they want. I’ll remind them that they can also have in addition to a device up to three badges with which they can display these other symbols of their persona life.

It might be a good time to take them on a tour of period Rolls of Arms and Armorials and let them have a gander at what actually was done in period. Then have a look at some well known and recognizable SCA Arms and take turns pointing out the more striking ones and ones that strike each of your fancy and count out the complexity of them. Perhaps this might convince them to pare down their grand plans for their life story in heraldry. I’d suggest a wander down the online An Tir: Roll of Arms. There is nothing like some good examples to get the creative juices flowing in the right direction. There are also some very nice and very creative good examples of heraldry. Of course be wary of some that would not pass muster in today’s more stringent times.

…and if they still want everything and a bag of chocolate chip cookies proper… well work with it as best as possible and remind them that 8 isn’t a goal but a recommended maximum and that heralds really are sticky when it comes to the dreaded “slot machine” guideline!

The “slot machine” guideline refers to that second bit on complexity that you should not have three or more different types of charges in a charge group. In other words if you have three charges in a group, three the same are a winner; two the same and one different are a winner; but three different are a loser. So having a “bell” “book” and “candle” while sounding sort of neat and alluding to neat stuff just won’t go as a group of charges on your shield. (Though if you are cagey you could have your shield set up with a pale down the centre and but the bell to one side, the book on the other and then set the candle on the pale.)

Hark the Heretical Herald V1:2

The Heretical Herald Volume 1 Issue 2 February 22, AS XXXVIII being 2004 AD

Hark the Heretical Herald.

T

Coat of Arms in Metal

Coat of Arms in Metal (Photo credit: Looking for a Lighthouse)

his is the second issue of the Herald, I hope that you enjoyed the first and find this one equally informative and even more enjoyable. With a little luck and work any teething problems that haven’t been dealt with yet will be soon. Let us know if you see any room for improvement. We might not act on your recommendation, but be assured that we will listen.

If you are wondering why you are seeing the premier issue appearing at the same time as this issue it is because I wanted there to be a slightly larger body of work available when we first made our appearance. Also before the formal announcement of the whole project I had more ideas for articles and such which I did not wish to overburden the first issue with.

Thank you for taking the time for reading this and I hope you find it useful and entertaining.

H. Herald editor

Scentual Submissions

The Heretical Herald Volume 1 Issue 1 February 11, AS XXXVIII being 2004 AD

Ihave discovered that I am a person who loves to find mail in their mailbox. For me it is like a small birthday or Christmas every time, but I’ve found of late I don’t get much other than bills and junk mail and not even interesting junk mail like catalogues from gift companies. I have heard that the Herald in charge of Submissions gets many surprises in their mailbox through the function of their office. Some of these surprises are not those of seeing the interesting and creative heraldic submissions though. I have heard tale of one “surprise” a recent An Tir Lions Blood Herald found waiting in ambush.

Now I cannot do the full justice the Herald in question could, but they discovered an interesting “smell” coming from their mail. Upon going through it they discovered one particular submission package scent to them. The combination of odours to it was overwhelming, a combination of many smells. The submitter most apparently to all but the nose deaf had used scented markers to colour in the coloured copies of their device submission. If I recall correctly said Lions Blood tacked the submission to the inside roof of their porch for over a week to somewhat reduce the reek. I do not recall the actual combination of smells, but indeed I hear it was overwhelming even if individually the scents were pleasurable.

The choice of media to use for colouring in the shield on your submission form is very important. It has to be remembered that your submission form is not a “trial run”. It is the copy that will be brought to the people who decide if your submission will pass or not. If it does pass the actual submission forms will be put on file for reference in future. This is important to realise for not all inks and pencils and paints are created equal. Some are more colourfast than others. Some have even greater problems. (It also means that you should take some care with your artwork, but that is the meat for a future article.)

Things that are important to keep in mind are that whatever you use must have a rich bold colour that will not be mistaken for any other colour and definitely is the heraldic colour in question. Of course this is as much choice of hue and tint as medium used. The blue you choose should be a good middle of the road blue. Not a dark navy blue, nor a light pastel one. It is also important that the blue not be edging toward green or purple. It should be bold, but not fluorescent. There can be some latitude of course. It should also cover well. The green should follow similar criteria, as should the red. It is important that the purple not be too red or too blue. Perhaps a harder colour to judge than the others.

You should not be tempted to use the metallic options for argent and Or on your submissions forms. While it might look spiffy when done, most if not all the metallic inks change substantially over time to things very different. Some might in short order be left looking grey, black, brown, or even pink! For argent use white and not grey. For Or use yellow and not orange. Using grey or orange can result in your submission being returned to you, which would substantially delay your submission. Of course for charges that blazoned “proper” are actually grey or orange or brown, you may use that appropriate colour.

English: Back side of cheap uncoated wide-form...

English: Back side of
cheap uncoated wide-format plotter paper heavily soaked with inkjet
printer ink. The swelled cellulose fibers revert back to their
pre-pressed state, showing the papermaking mesh belt pattern on which
the wet fibers collected prior to pressing and sizing. (Photo credit:
Wikipedia)

In this day and age of the computer and a colour printer in so very many households you might think a colour printer a good device to print out your device with. Unfortunately the colour inks used in inkjet colour printers are

not very colourfast, even ones considered “archival” in quality. The colours can and do change in what can seem to be a remarkably short time. What might start out as black might end up pink; a red, orange; purple, red; and who knows what. In part that is just because the ink is unstable. Inkjet ink is also water-soluble and even high humidity can affect it causing it to run. This might not only effect your own submission but others that are adjacent to it in a filing cabinet.

TW a hint, if you wish to take advantage of your inkjet printer to print out the black and white forms it is advisable to print them out and then bring them to a copier shop and photocopy them. Then use the photocopies which won’t be using water soluble ink.

Remember that submissions do not travel in climate controlled courier pouches carried by diplomats, they are subject to the vagaries of the postal service and unheated trucks and aeroplane holds. This can cause things like condensation to form in unexpected ways and great changes in temperature shifts during transit. Your submission from the time you mail it off in perhaps winter might pass through -40 F weather and before it has even gotten to Laurel have sat in a filing cabinet at +100 F! That’s a huge temperature difference!

As well as the colour stability there are mechanical type issues. Some materials simply will do things like flake off. Some paints might seem perfect otherwise but would end up cracking and ending up eventually in small piles of flakes at the bottom of some file folder. Others don’t cover well like pencil crayon and just don’t give good dense coverage.

Everyday Stain and Odor Remover

Everyday Stain and Odor Remover (Photo credit: artizone)

rayon has lead to some horror stories likened to the scented markers. Consider a stack of mail on a hot summer day. In that stack are a number of submissions and in one the device has been nicely coloured in wax crayons. In the torrid weather the wax, like any good well behaved wax does what wax does in heat. It melts, and melted wax does what it has done even in period, it wicks. I wicks right through the porous paper soaking it through. Of course the wax doesn’t know the difference between one envelope and another and it happily wicks its way through other submissions it has been stacked. When cooled there is one solid waxy chunk where once there were a number of nice heraldic submissions. It has happened. I’d imagine more than just the once. In the one case I heard of the person who used the crayon was horrified to hear of what happened and very apologetic. I also heard that the combination wax and paper really burnt well in a fire at a later date.

The best thing to do is to talk to the Heralds about it and the best Herald to talk with is the submissions Herald and in An Tir that is the Lions Blood Herald. I have gathered that what is best in the end are marking pens and the best out of them are the basic “Crayola” ones. There are probably others as good, but Crayola are ones you are most likely to be able to find by name. But don’t use the Crayola fluorescent ones or other Crayola specialty ones like Crayola the scented markers!

But I Really Wanted Sanguine!

The Heretical Herald Volume 1 Issue 1 February 11, AS XXXVIII being 2004 AD

The other day as I was strolling I noticed an old Ford pickup on a flatbed truck going down the road. What caught my eye was that it was a maroon or dark wine red colour that reminded me of my Maternal Grandfather’s truck which was that colour. For that matter at least one and maybe more of his other vehicles were that same hue. Mom said that his favourite colour was red and started to wonder if perhaps this dark rich red was his actual favourite shade of red. It has actually become one of mine as well and has found its way into my mundane wardrobe.

Another favourite colour of mine is dark green. It also happens to be my Father’s favourite colour. I’m not sure if that is a coincidence or not. But while strolling I wondered. The colours of my device are in part dependent on my favourite colours. Now at the time I had not realized my actual interest in maroon, and blue is another favourite of mine so my device ended up with a field that incorporates both vert and azure.

But I thought what if I had really also wanted to incorporate maroon. Gules just is not the same. Sanguine is closer, but though known in later heraldry and even English Heraldry, it is considered a stain along with tenne. The SCA College of Arms does not allow sanguine as a tincture on a device unless of course you can find an allowable charge that’s proper tincture is sanguine and can back that up with documentation acceptable at Laurel level.

What else can a person do? I considered options. There actually are some that perhaps some people would not consider to be legitimate, but in truth are. But perhaps that is what might brand me the Heretical Herald. I’ll talk about other methods in other articles, but for this one I’ll stick with this one perhaps sneaky one.

irst off, as per regulation you must have a registered name in the SCA College of Arms Registry before you can register any armoury. You may submit your name at the same time as your heraldic device submission. Now in order to have a heraldic design with a sanguine background you will have to register a badge. I believe that first you must register a device before you can register a badge, but I firmly believe that you should have a totally proper heraldic device in any case that you can use for your Arms if you are made an Armiger. Now about that sanguine background, note that I did not say “sanguine field”, it is a subtle and important distinction and perhaps at this point at least some of the more creative heralds will begin to see what I am getting at.

Your next step is to design a fieldless badge using your charge of choice. I would suggest that you restrain yourself and restrict yourself to argent and Or for reason of sufficient contrast. You also will be under all the constraints that a heraldic badge comes with. This includes the fact that all parts of the badge must be attached to all the others. On the other hand fieldless badges are often less likely to conflict with other heraldic devices because all fieldless devices get 1CD from any other fieldless device or device with a field automatically.

nce you have designed your fieldless badge and run it past the heralds to ensure it is well designed and doesn’t conflict with anyone else’s heraldic design submit it to be registered. Then just wait for it to pass. Once it has passed, you’re there.

What about the sanguine background, you might ask? It is simple. A fieldless badge can be displayed on any medium of any colour. So you may place your badge on any colour. So feel free to paint your shield sanguine and plunk your badge right down in the middle of it. Et voila!

Now I suggest that you practice good heraldry and make sure you have good contrast between whatever background you do have and your badge. If needed put a buffer of contrasting colour between the badge and the background. Either that or make sure your badge is designed in an appropriate tincture for the background colour you wish in the first place. Also make sure that your badge is Big, Bold, and Butch in relation to the object you place it on. In Heraldry identification is important and you want your design to STAND out.

ou might have noted that I used sanguine as an example. But nobody has said you could have used tenne, orange, brass, brown, black watch plaid, herring bone tweed, paisley, or whatever you wish. I would ask that when you do so you keep with the spirit of the SCA and keep the background as something that suits the SCA and ensure that any pattern or colour you use is something that might be found in period at least for your persona. I also ask that you check to make sure that you are not placing yourself in conflict with anyone else by choosing an inappropriate background. This might take a bit more work on your part. But isn’t it worth it? I do hope that you respect these wishes if not simply because it is in the spirit of the SCA but as a favour to me for sharing this idea.

Powerful tools can be dangerous so use them with care!

Hark the Heretical Herald V1:1

The Heretical Herald Volume 1 Issue 1 February 11, AS XXXVIII being 2004 AD

Hark the Heretical Herald.

Setting the tone for The Heretical Herald this Premier Issue includes a number of articles. The first “What’s Good Contrast?” is the first of a number of simple educational pieces aimed at the novice to Heraldry. “But I Really Wanted Sanguine!” is an article on a novel approach to the problem of a client who really wants to use a colour or pattern that just is not allowed in SCA Heraldry. The solution is fairly straightforward and does not require any special permission, research, or documentation. “Cant Do That!” announces the start of a contest challenging readers to find interesting “canting arms” in the An Tir Roll of Arms and other Rolls of Arms both SCA and Real World. “Scentual Submissions” is an short article on choices when selecting just what to use when colouring in your heraldic submission form.

Carnation (heraldry)

Carnation (heraldry) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For now the staff of The Heretical Herald is only “one”. That means that only one person is writing all the copy that is coming out as well as being responsible for editing, publishing, promoting, bookkeeping, and whatever else might come up. I hope in time that this might change though not too quickly. I would like to at least stay in editorial control for some time. The state of affairs of the rather limited staff however is the reason behind why The Heretical Herald might be a bit intermittent in publication to start off with. I hope that this will eventually change.

I’m not sure how much fresh material is available to keep this publication going in the long term, but I am sure there is enough for a number of issues. In any case, I am planning on keeping an archive of back issues available and perhaps updated and improved as warranted.

Please let me know if you would like to reprint any articles or items you find in this publication in your own publication or another. I’ll most likely give permission, but I would like to be asked.

Thank you for taking the time for reading this and I hope you find it useful and entertaining.

H. Herald editor

Just a Little Tenné ( Rusty)

Aside

Table of the tinctures and furs

Table of the tinctures and furs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have mentioned that a number of the articles in this column come from around 2004 and so you must be aware that some of the regulations used in the Colleges of Heraldry in the SCA may have changed or may now be interpreted differently now than then. I also acknowledge that it has been a number of years since I have been actively been practising heraldry on a daily basis so I am a bit rusty and dusty and out of practice.

I do plan on remedying any deficits in my heraldic knowledge and practice however and will happily listen to any comments — whether I have missed something, something has changed, or if I am even just wrong — please feel free to let me know, but please do so politely. We are here to learn.

Tenné” isn’t exactly “rust” coloured, but I have seen rust that is close to that heraldic tincture. I know there will be an article on the odd heraldic colours we don’t use… and there is one or two on what you might do if you absolutely must make use of them. I mean aside from letting your shield rust (tenné) or having a carpentry accident (sanguine).

Later!
H.H.

The Heretical Herald Volume 1 Issue 1

Greetings, For a start I shall be posting articles from the first issue of The Heretical Herald which I published February Eleventh, 2004. I will not be posting them as a single monolithic block and I may have to edit some and even omit some of the articles for copyright reasons. I had special permission to use certain items and management changes as well as internal offices in some organizations. This will hold true for other past issues of The Heretical Herald.

I do plan on posting new material as well in future, but I think you’ll find the articles upcoming from past issues most useful and entertaining.

“The Heretical Herald Volume 1 Issue 1 February 11, AS XXXVIII being 2004 AD”

For your information, if you are not familiar with The Society for Creative Anachronism Inc. (SCA), “AS XXXVIII” stands for “Anno Societatatus 38” or the 38th year of the society referring to the start date of the SCA.

Hello world!

Cambridge University Heraldry--horizontal array

Cambridge University Heraldry–horizontal array (Photo credit: The Happy Rower)

In 2004 I was very active in Heraldry in The Society for Creative Anachronism Inc. — SCA Inc. — and prided myself with finding solutions that made my clients — as a Herald Extraordinaire — quite happy. I did realize there were interesting problems that people didn’t have solutions for… but I could find unconventional solutions for. On the other hand, I found that often, more conservative solutions, once explained suited better.

Often it was a matter of misunderstandings of just why certain rules were in place, and sometime it wasn’t a matter of rule at all, but rumour and memory of past mistake in application of rules. I decided to set forth in a slightly light hearted — masked hero — manner to come to the rescue and thus the Heretical Herald was born!

My thought was to somehow publish a slightly humorous publication to educate and entertain both seasoned herald and novice alike in the area of heraldry. This was a tall order being that many many heralds were senior to me. However I was one to sit at the feet of giants and actually listen and more so to ask questions.

An so my original website “The Heretical Herald” was born back 8 years ago.

It is my plan to bring back the articles I printed in the short run of that publication as well as to add to it. This format makes for less work in the publication — something that really bogged down the original. So if you knew the original, you will recognize some of the work. I also plan on new material including articles that will teach heraldry to the novice and beginner.

The articles will be published in this column. I only can wish for readers.

HH.