[HNW] 1597 Sibmacher
fran at lavoltapress.com
Fri Aug 31 20:56:23 PDT 2007
> That's your opinion, coming from your own world. If you were a historical
> needleworker, trying to find a pattern for an 8th century Lower Slobbovian
> colorwork knitted glove you wouldn't care if the information was printed on
> toilet paper. As long as you could find documentation and a pattern, you'd
> die happy.
You seem to think I'm making assumptions about you; but you are also
making a great many assumptions about me; and setting up a false "us"
versus "them" dichotomy.
It is not as if I have never been to an SCA event (I have), known anyone
in the SCA (a fair number of people), or am entirely ignorant of SCA
in-group culture (I think I understand it rather well). It is true that
there are some aspects of SCA culture that I dislike, but that does not
mean I am entirely ignorant of the SCA, or entirely unsympathetic to it.
However, the dichotomy SCA culture encourages between SCA members and
"mundanes," the self-image of SCA members as people living in a whole
different world that inherently must operate by a whole different set of
rules, while everyone else in the world is both exactly alike and
boring, is one of the things I dislike most about the SCA. This is not
a list for SCA members only; it is supposed to be for people who do all
forms of historic needlework. The fact that members are constantly
referring to the SCA as if everyone on the list of course belongs, or
should belong, to the SCA is one example of this.
It is not as if I have no idea what research is: I was educated to be a
professional historian, although I have never taught. I suspect you will
take this as an insult but: SCA members are not automatically
academics, even if they do research, and even if some of that research
is good. They are people pursuing an educational, creative, and
enjoyable hobby. While I personally think any form of historic
reenactment is a much more rewarding hobby than many things people do,
being an SCA member does not automatically train anyone to do research.
An academic--according to the standards of the "mundane" world--is
generally someone professionally associated with a university, or
research or scholarly institution. If it makes you feel any better, I'm
not accepted as one either.
It is not as if I am not a needleworker; at least, not unless you don't
count weaving, crocheting, hand sewing, and making historic costumes. It
is true that the last two are mostly what I do these days, but I've done
them for over 30 years. I was also professionally trained in clothing
If it is not as if I do no research on costuming, because I have also
done that for 30 years. (I also have spent about 20 years researching
And it's not as if I don't buy books for research: Many people not in
the SCA buy books. I'm a serious antique book collector, and I own
several thousand, the largest part of them on costume and needlework.
And I care a great deal about the quality of books. I want sharp text,
high-resolution illustrations, accurate color (if there is any color),
subtle graytones (if any), a sturdy binding, and paper that has not and
will not yellow, chip, or tear (not always attainable with antiques but
I do my best). I care very much if I get a book in a real binding, as
opposed to a photocopied one in a three-ring binder or comb binding,
where the pages will start tearing out as soon as I start to read it.
More to the point: I know what modern readers, in general, expect of
books. Yes, they also want good paper (these days acid-free), a
manageable size and shape of book, a "real" binding with a spine, an
aesthetically attractive and practically functional interior design, an
attractive color cover, and so on; as well as good content.
The only aspect of me about which your assumptions are correct is that
yes, I _do_ work in the professional publishing world, and also in a
world of readers/book buyers mostly outside the SCA. I assumed that
since you wanted an ISBN and were talking about offset printing, that
you wanted to publish at a professional level. I understand now that you
do not, and you have a perfect right not to. So what I am about to say
is partly irritation at SCA tunnel vision ("we're the whole world, or
the only part of it that really counts"), but it also may help someone.
What I have to say is this: If your book has good content and is well
designed and produced, you can do much better than sell only to the SCA.
If you think publishers like Dover, for example, are selling reprints
of old embroidery and lace-making manuals only to the SCA, you are
seriously overestimating the size of the SCA as a market, and seriously
underestimating Dover's marketing department and distribution network.
Even books on "niche" subjects like costuming and needlework--and
compared to things like diet books and revive-your-marriage manuals
these are very obscure topics by industry standards--are presented and
sold to as many markets as possible. And, BTW, I do know people who
have written, or published, books reenactment groups like, but did it at
the industry level. There's a whole world of readers, bookstores,
libraries, etc. out there, beyond the SCA event table selling
photocopied books (and yes I've seen the tables). If you want to make
real money from all your work, the SCA event table is not how to do it.
Again, I know you don't want to do this, and there is nothing wrong with
your publishing primarily for the personal rewards. So I'm just saying
to anyone on the list who wants to know: Yes, you can publish for and
sell to the world outside the SCA.
> That's who we are. <BG>
> SCA: Kathryn Goodwyn
> "too many centuries...too little time"
> H-needlework mailing list
> H-needlework at lists.ansteorra.org
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