What is your name?
Lady Runa Rauðfeldr (ROON-a RAUD-feld-r/OLE-rune), or Lady Olrun (Ol-rune). I wanted the name of a valkyrie, so I was going to put in for Olrun, but I was told it would not pass. A laurel somewhere had the name Olrun, but she did different documentation than I did. In the end it works out, anyways. I prefer to go by Olrun, and Olrun is a sort of nickname for Runa.
What was the hook for you to come into the SCA, and what has kept you here?
At first it was rapier, cause I realized I could hit people with real swords. After starting, I realized that I really enjoyed it. I am not half bad at it, either. I also realized that the camping wasn’t really camping as I thought it was. You could bring your whole house if you really wanted to. I’m not a camping in the wilderness kind of person, dealing with bugs and the like.
I find myself not wanting to leave because of the friends I have made over the last few years. I also found that I really enjoy the outfits here. The garb is really neat to me. I make some of my husbands and mine. It isn’t hand stitched, because I have a hard time with straight lines for that, but I make it look as close as possible.
Would you say that embroidery is your passion now?
Yes, but it can also be tied into making garb. I started embroidery about 3 years ago, about a year after I started the SCA. Mistress Fiona tried to show it to me at a fighter practice, but for the most part, it’s been a self-taught adventure. Pinstrest has been a primary source for me. I look at tutorials that show the different stitches and how to produce them in pictures. Video tutorials are tougher for me to follow.
Celtic-knotwork and Urnes Viking style are the type of designs I like to embroider the most. Urnes Viking style is my favorite. Kind of along the lines of my persona. I follow a very Norse/Viking style with my garb and other things.
Recently, I have been working on a project for Baroness Sigrid’s elevation. Much of the embroidery I have done has been used for elevations, Baronial regalia, or wearable things. I really like to make things and give them to people because it is a super nice feeling to see the joy on their faces when I give them something I made.
I also worked on some trim for Mistress Chivon, which was one of my longest projects. My favorite piece I have ever made is a toss up between two. I made one for Mistress Norah Rose Tenpenny. It has a black pelican with a thistle as one of the chicks it is feeding, and a checkered ring around it. I also completed one that was based off a stained glass image of a pelican.
What is the strangest thing someone has asked you to embroider?
When I was asked to make a scroll using embroidery. Baroness Sigrid asked me to make a scroll for my husband, Lord Floki. I drew out the design for the scroll before I started. I used a tear away stabilizer to help get the designs I drew out onto the fabric. I had to do a lot of hiding, working on it at work on breaks at work. My name is embroidered (I signed my scroll!) on the back of the scroll.
I would make another embroidered scroll in the future, but I may change a few methods. For example, I would do the words in runes. Putting the english on the scroll was very labor intensive and runes are mostly straight lines. There is a whole facebook group for unconventional scrolls, in case anyone might be interested in doing scrolls that are not just vellum.
Have you ever competed with your embroidery?
I have entered into a few baronial competitions: Barony of Tir Ysgthir and Barony March of Mons Tonitrus. The first time I entered, it was just as a novice and to get pointers. The second time, I entered both of those, it was for a household badge that I embroidered (that went onto the Barony of Tir Ysgthir household banner).
Showcases have been what I really put my art into now. I am waiting to see how things might change when it comes to the competitions for Baronials champions, or just competition in general. Having to do the documentation flusters me. I feel that I need more time figuring out my works before I compete for a Champion spot.
I have thought about entering a Kingdom Arts and Sciences competition at the Novice level. The hardest thing for me right now is trying to figure out what I would want to enter the competition with.
Who would you say is your inspiration?
There are so many people, that I cannot bring myself to name just one or two. I see a lot of people that are phenomenal with embroidery. I have trouble answering that questions because the dynamic has changed because of the pandemic. I see different people doing different things during this last year, I am not sure I would have seen them if there wasn’t a pandemic keeping us all home (with good reason). I also don’t have the same restraints as many other people have right now.
I can say that because of the Pandemic, I have also been inspired to keep up with my arts because of others posting pictures of things they are working on. I see how Her Grace Ianka and Lady Eyvor are always posting stuff on instagram. They are still working on arts even though we are not meeting up. I need to get on to the same thing.
What else interests you in the arts outside of embroidery and making garb?
I have worked on illuminations and calligraphy before. If someone asks me to do it, I will happily do it. I do not do calligraphy a lot anymore because of my arthritis. Illumination is easier on my wrist. I did work on a piece that makes me really happy, as a collaboration with other scribes. When you change the angle of the scroll, there is some subtle gold paint that glitters on the Phoenix. Makes it look like it is glowing a bit.
I have experimented with metal casting and book binding at Estrella at the beginning of 2020, but it was really just learning a little bit there, not a full dive into it. The classes were the basics and how to get started. It’s where you have to start, right?
I created a historical piece for the IKEA Exchange within the Kingdom. I burned a piece of wood for someone based on the fact that they liked wall hangings. It was a viking carving. I got the image and information for the piece from Jonas Lau Markussen. I signed up for his email list at https://jonaslaumarkussen.com/. Every Thursday, he sends out information about a piece of Viking art and the history behind it. Things in runes or viking, and it is translated. He is someone I would recommend for others to use as a helpful resource on Viking art. He also has a book on amazon.
On another subject, I find period tattoos interesting. Mostly because of all the tattoos I have, but I also find it really interesting that it has been done over thousands of years. I found it most interesting that some of the resources and older texts that we have access to as a society, have different interpretations to what a tattoo was. Tattoo is a modern description of having a painting on your skin. It was used by Polenisians who developed the word we use today (tattoo). I have a lot of books on it, if anyone ever finds themselves interested in it.
There are a few other art forms I want to learn. I started to get information from Mistress Ari with Bone carving. She gave me some tips on the tools I would need, but I have not had the time to go get them and get started. I also want to learn how to make my own patterns based on the measurements that I take of myself or my husband.
What is something that you wish someone had told you when you started?
Dont worry too much about making it perfectly period accurate. Don’t get discouraged if you’re not as good as you want to be right off the bat. We all have to learn. I would also tell them to understand that everyone has different interpretations on what the SCA is supposed to be like. Do not get discouraged if your view is different from others. Some people would want to do everything 100% period, and others may want to get out the buddy heater to stay warm while camping in a modern pop-up tent. It is all whatever your confront level is.
What are some other things that you do outside the SCA in the arts?
I am a published author. Outside of embroidery, I would say writing is my favorite thing to do, even if I hit blocks once in a while. I have thought about applying my writing to other things, but my style is very modern. I have several books coming out within the next 5 years. You can find much of my work on Amazon right now (https://www.amazon.com/A-J-Mullican/e/B00QB7G3M0). A lot of my publications are intended for mature audiences.