Artisan Spotlight: Kale’ al-Raqqasa

Artisan Spotlight: Kale’ al-Raqqasa

Baroness Kale’ al-Raqqasa is a true talent when it comes to paint and a brush.  She is probably best known for her beautiful hand painted boxes, but her talents don’t end there.  She is also very accomplished with needle and thread, and she has a great eye for detail.  Beyond that, her excellency is always ready to lend a hand and brighten your day with her smile.  Read more about her in the interview following.

What is your SCA Name and Title?
Baroness Wintermist Kale’ al-Raqqasa

How long have you been in the SCA?
I was introduced to the SCA when I was 16 years old, but do to finances and other such matters I wasn’t able to start playing until 1989, and I’ve just never stopped.

How did you find the SCA?
I was always enamored by fantasy and swords and what not, as most of us are, so I used to hang out at Merlos Cutler in our local mall. The assistant manager was in the SCA, he’s the one that ultimately got me started.

What do you consider your primary art form?
I’m a painter, I always have been, since I was young. I used to draw pictures, mostly comics, and fantasy characters that sort of thing. On a whim I entered a period game I had painted in an art competition and won, then I thought to myself, huh maybe this is something I’d like to do. A short time later I became a merchant, and started painting for a living.

What other art forms do you enjoy?
I’ve done needle point and cross stitch for years, I’ve also been a singer all my life, and have done quite a bit of singing in the SCA. Though I admit that you have to sort of twist my arm to do it.

What projects are you currently working on?
I’m just now starting to dip my toe into making scrolls. Painting on paper is so much easier than painting on wood, which I primarily did. Though I do need to hone my calligraphy skills.

What do you enjoy about doing art/science?
I’ll be honest, it’s all about the end result. A lot of times painting is not terribly enjoyable. It makes my back and neck hurt, and strains your eyes, but when you are finished, there’s this tremendous feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment that makes it all worth it. It’s the thousands of hours of practice you put in along the way that finally pay off. I’m still learning, I know I can always do better when I push myself.

What is your favorite project to date?
That’s a hard question to answer, I painted my chair, which was probably the first substantial thing I ever painted, and it turned out great. But I also did a table which turned out awesome as well, it’s a toss up.

How often do you work on your art/science?
I recently closed for business as a merchant, this last December, up until that point, I was painting about six to eight hours a day, five days a week. I’m just beginning to get back into it. I really needed a break.

Who inspires you in the SCA?
Honestly there are a lot of people, and if I name one, I’d have to name them all, and I’m afraid of leaving anyone out. But I can say that there are just some amazing people within the society that are the main reason I’ve stayed in the SCA so long. The generosity, kindness and talents of some people within the society just staggers me at moments.

Where do you find inspiration to do your art/science?
I’m not sure how to answer this question, I just sort of look around and if I see something I like, I make a go of it. I’m a pretty determined person, and I’m always reaching to create something better than I have in the past. It’s really all about impressing myself, I need to be the one that looks at what I’ve done and say, ‘you know, that doesn’t suck.’

Is there anything else you would like to add?

As an (ex)merchant, I’d just like to give a shout out to all those hard working merchants out there. There are some incredible artists out there, that just happen to sell their art for a living. And they create at a much higher volume than the typical artist, which inevitably makes them very good at what they do. But unfortunately a lot of times people look past that fact, and just see the merchandise and not the art. I wouldn’t be the painter I am today if I hadn’t been a merchant.