Raven Qara ton

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Raven Qara ton lives in the Barony of Adiantum in the Principality of the Summits. She is a member of the Household of Caer Lutris. Though her persona was originally a Sarmatian nomad of the fifth century A. D., in the last decade or so her focus has shifted to the Scythian-related Altai culture of the third century B. C. She is a scribe, textile artist, teacher, scholar, cook, and general compendium of arcane knowledge. She judges A & S contests, does community demos, and teaches formal and informal workshops in Adiantum, Summits, and occasionally elsewhere. She loves teaching and learning new things, for both bring the joy of discovery.


Main SCA art forms: painting (including egg tempera) and drawing, calligraphy, illumination, water mordant gilding, bookbinding, paper making; felting, embroidery (including goldwork and stumpwork), applique, sewing, costuming, fabric painting and dyeing, natural dyes, wheel and spindle spinning, loom and backstrap weaving, needle-lace, finger weaving, knotting and braiding; period encampments; herbalism and edible plants; cooking, subtleties, food preservation.

Main research specialties: general textile and costume history (mainly early period); central asian and asian textiles, especially Scythian, Tarim basin, Pazyryk/ Altai, Silk Road, and early Chinese; early nomads (Scythians, Sarmatians, Huns) and general nomadic lifeways; medieval painting, pigment history, book arts, calligraphy and illumination, gilding; history and construction of yurts; period cooking (including European, Middle Eastern, Chinese), outdoor/ fire cooking.

Other occasional interests: medieval music (voice, harp, percussion); knitting; beading, bead-making, wire jewelry; basketry; archery; sculpture; leatherwork; history of medicine; etymology; trying a little of everything!

Want to learn or try: flat silk embroidery, work more with period pigments, scribing on real vellum, real metal bullion embroidery, repoussé, gilding on leather, secretary hands, silverpoint drawing, lace weaves, girdle books, horse archery, falconry...

Personal History

Raven first encountered the SCA in September 1985 when a poster at South Eugene High School (put up by Yseult of Broceliande, then a teacher at the school) led her to the Joan of Arc Demo at the University of Oregon campus. Though she was immediately captivated, she did not attend her first "full" event (with garb and instruction) until the Adiantum Midwinter's Feast in January 1986, around her fourteenth birthday, at which point she was completely hooked.

The first camping event Raven attended was the infamous May Crown Tournament XXI/1986 /Egil's (aka Cregil's) at Elijah Bristow Park. At that event she (under a different name), Marian Staarveld, and Seonaid Connsacheal were made wards of the household of Caer Lutris. After several name changes and persona variations, she settled on her current name and persona in 1987. "Qara ton" means "black cloak" in Turkish, and may have been a nomad tribal designation.

Raven was Adiantum Chatelaine in 1987, and was part of a group from Adiantum who helped the Shire of Briaroak get established. At the first Summits Defender's Tourney, in October 1988, she received her Award of Arms from Queen Angharad Banadaspus Drakenhefd (King Thorin Njalsson was not at the event). Having received her AA, she then became a full member of Caer Lutris.

To the best of her knowledge, she built the first yurt in An Tir, predating those of Sunjan Temujin by several years. It first appeared at September Crown XXIV/1989. The yurt has gone through several incarnations and is still in occasional use. It is constructed in the style of the western steppes (Kazakh rather than Mongol) with natural willow roof-poles.

She was apprenticed to Lao Yu (then Lao Tao-sheng) in 1989, and served as a lady-in-waiting during Lao Yu's second reign, 1993. At the Crown's request, she created replacement Kingdom cloaks. She was offered membership in the Order of the Laurel by Barak and Lao at Twelfth Night in January 1993; after taking a vigil, she accepted and was made a Laurel at Egil's Tourney in May 1993. She was the regional combined Peerage secretary for Summits from 1994 to 1996.

She and Marian Staarveld ran a merchanting business called Flying Tigers' Aerie for several years, specializing in silk fabrics. She held the office of Summits Chronicler jointly with Marian Staarveld from summer 1994 to summer 1996.

She was active in the movement for Summits to become a full Principality. She worked on the supporting documents for both the Crown Principality and full Principality petitions, and calligraphed and illuminated both petition scrolls. In August 1996, five months after Summits became a full Principality, she founded the office of Summits Principality Scribe, which she held for six years. She was also unofficial Adiantum Baronial Scribe for many of those years. She has designed several Adiantum and An Tir award charters, made many original scrolls, and painted and filled in countless Adiantum and Summits charters.

She was a general retinue and support person for Ambrose and Marian during their tenure as Baron and Baroness of Adiantum and their two reigns as Prince and Princess of the Summits. She has also advised and served as informal retinue for many other Adiantum and Summits royalty. She has been Cupbearer of the Summits three times.

In 2005, she helped write the text for and coordinate the making of the Summits pages for the 40th Year Domesday Book, a tremendous but rewarding challenge. She calligraphed eight pages, designed and drew four pages, and painted three.

She has extensive experience in period fire cooking for large groups, and has cooked various indoor and outdoor feasts, most in collaboration with Marian Staarveld. In January 2007, together with Yseult of Broceliande and Isobel MacKenzie, they cooked an Adiantum Midwinter's Feast with a Silk Road theme. In July 2007 they self-published a cookbook of the recipes and research from the feast.

In 2008, Marian Staarveld and Raven developed The Three Pillars Competition, which built on the foundation of the long-standing Norse Ithrotir Competition. They successfully ran the first Three Pillars Competition at Egil's 34, and the second at Egil's 35, awarding much handmade loot for deeds of service, valor, and artistry.

Raven has occasionally autocratted, but it gives her the screaming heebie-jeebies.


Award of Arms Oct 22 AS 23 / 1988;
Jambe de Lion Sept 23 AS 24 / 1989;
Baronial Brownie (Adiantum) May 26 AS 25 / 1990;
Laurel May 30 AS 28 / 1993;
Forget-me-not (Lao) July AS 28/ 1993;
Fern and Quill (Adiantum) AS 29/ 1994;
several pre-Principality Grail tokens (Summits);
Throne Favor (Summits) June 23 AS 36 / 2001;
Grail of the Summits - Service (Summits) Jan 26 AS 36 / 2002;
Order of the Summits (Summits) Dec 7 AS 37 / 2002;
Evergreen (Summits, Duana) - year??;
Grail of the Summits - Service (Summits) June 18 AS 40 / 2005;
Grail of the Summits - A&S (Summits) June 18 AS 40 / 2005;
Fern and Quill (Adiantum) Aug 12 AS 41 / 2006;