Catrin ferch Gwillym o Gonway
Photo by Marc Carlson
|Order of Precedence|
Vert, a hind trippant reguardant, on a chief wavy argent, three Catherine wheels gules.
- 1 Her Excellency, Mistress Catrin ferch Gwillym o Gonway, OL
- 2 Offices:
- 3 Persona History:
- 4 Interests:
- 5 Timeline of Activity:
- 6 Populace Provided Information:
- 7 Notable Contributions or Accomplishments:
- 8 Affiliations:
- 9 Mundane Information:
Her Excellency, Mistress Catrin ferch Gwillym o Gonway, OL
Also Known As:
Other Registered Heraldry
Timeline of Activity:
Populace Provided Information:
I would speak of the first time I met Catrin ferch Gwillim O Gonway. (This photo shows her as an iconic image in a dress that surprisingly can still be seen today. The notes on that image say it was possibly from the Spring 1983 Norman Medieval Faire. That dress was one that Catrin gifted to my wife in 1994, when we returned to Tulsa, and it still looked brand new then. Later, in 1999, it was passed on to Lady Faolan McFarland, and today is one of her favorite possessions with in the SCA...such is the skill and art of Mistress Catrin's craft in clothes: she build them to last.) Many people know that William Blackfox and Catrin were dear friends. They - and all those first members of Northkeep so long ago - were all close. I first met them at the home of Lord Anton Thoth Rukhkh and his lady wife at the time, Patricia Fionna McGregor (now known as Mercedes Lackey). This small local gathering was being held for the needle workers. I was so shy and quiet barely a teenager visiting my cousins in Tulsa for the summer.
At the time, I spent most of my time drawing anything and everything fantasy and science-fiction. My pencil and sketch pad went everywhere with me along with a pile of art. At this first meeting of mine with this crowd of people whom I was awed to be in the presence of, they appeared dressed in tunics and gowns adorned with hand-sewn trim and cloaks with fancy clasps. They were walking, talking examples of the stuff of my imagination. It was Keigan who introduced me to everyone - a proper introduction with bows and all that. They made me blush at the time, but in my mind I was standing before truly noble folk. It was Kevin who convinced me to pass around my art.
So there is William Blackfox, a renowned cartoonist, looking at my art and when everyone has taken a turn looking over the fantastical works of the imagination of a teen scribbled in pencil on paper, it was Catrin who first told me that she liked my work. The care she took in giving me positive feedback was really amazing. It was William Blackfox who told me that he saw in my art real talent and he wished that he had real talent like mine. These people - who I had made into legends with in my mind - were so accepting, kind, and warm. They even addressed me as Milord...a fact that tickled me to no end. These people took the time to make me feel relaxed and comfortable among them. These great people made me feel like I belonged and for awkward farm boy from Missouri who liked sci-fi and fantasy, making him an outcast among his peers (who were at the time only into sports,cars, and farming), that was a big deal. Kevin and Keigan led me to the SCA, but it was people like Catrin, Anton, Alanna, and William who showed me all that it could be...they were living examples of all my imagination had created. Their skill and their art in living this dream were the masterful works of a craft that is still visible to day.
I met Catrin shortly after I moved to the Kingdom of Ansteorra from the Middle Kingdom eleven years ago. She was introduced to me by Duchess Willow de Wisp who said that she thought we would have a lot in common. Duchess Willow was correct, there was an instant connection between us and we began a close friendship. I admired Catrin for many reasons. First, she was a kind and generous person. She had great empathy for other people. She was generous with compliments and kind gestures. She was encouraging to everyone, regardless of their rank and status. I often heard her say “I admire you because ……”. Catrin was attentive to details. She often spoke to people at events and complemented them on their garb, their art, or their performance. As a laurel she often told me that she felt a responsibility to encourage others in the expression of their art, and she did so in a very uncritical manner. She also taught, both in formal groups and individually. She encouraged other people to ask her questions, and she was genuinely curious about their art and asked them questions as well. Out of kindness and generosity she issued challenges and provided prizes, for example she gave a necklace of amber beads to the person dressed in the best garb at several Northkeep Populace meetings. She also always had small items of largesse with her at events and never failed to give largesse to the server at feast and to artisans who competed in A&S. One server told me that at one event she took a ring off her finger and gave it to him when he served her table at feast because she didn’t have any largesse with her. He said that it was his first event and it inspired him to continue to participate in the SCA. Catrin was a talented artisan. She was a true artist, with an eye for design and color in the fiber arts and jewelry making. Her garb and accessories were beautifully designed and skillfully constructed. She also had a talent for finding and using recycled items in garb and accessories and shared her stories and “tricks” with newcomers or anyone who was interested in saving money or turning trash into treasure. She saw beauty where many other people might only see dirt, her eye for form and function was remarkable. She loved music and had a beautiful voice. As she got older, she suffered from reflux and it was difficult for her to sing, but when she did you could not tell that it was painful and difficult because of her considerable talent. She loved to read, both fiction and non-fiction, and was exceptionally well-read and intelligent. I loved to talk to her on a variety of subjects. She was interesting and passionate about many subjects and a delight to be around. No one is perfect and Catrin was human. But one characteristic of hers that I really admired was that she was willing to admit when she’d been at fault and reconcile with people with whom she had expressed anger or disappointment. She was willing to set aside disagreements, forgive and forget, rather than hold on to anger and disappointment. I saw her do this on more than one occasion and it is a difficult thing to do in the best of circumstances. I will miss her. I’ll never forget her. I’ll treasure the memories I made with her and the small items I have that she made for me. Catrin had a storytale romance with Anton and she was shattered when he passed away. I know that they are happier together than she was alone.
Diego and I were raising money to make a trip to fulfill our mother's last wish. Mistress Catrin bought many things at the sale that evening to help make that trip possible. She particularly liked a dagger with a fat, green handle which came with a green leather sheath bearing Celtic knotwork, as it had been made by Andrew Selwyn, Tim Goins, along with Malcolm of Loch Greymist. I had commissioned a dish hilt and pommel for my rapier from Malcolm and Selwyn. It took them a LONG time and they made me the dagger and sheath as thanks for my patience. It was used at many a feast. That dagger and sheath were and still are wonderful pieces. Mistress Catrin was one of the most encouraging and generous people. At that sale, she bought SO much her portion was a full quarter of all we raised that night. Her warmth and kindness, along with that of all Northkeep, were the reason Diego and I started playing again.
" Zubeydah, you keep asking for memories. I’m struggling with this, because I can’t tell my major Catrin story because of the 'Thumper Rule.' (editor's note: If you can't say something nice about someone, don't say anything at all.) So I will give a jist of it. During our first month of the society, it was maybe the 3rd thing we went to. Someone sent a message on the list that they meant to be private; in all the glory that those can be. Catrin gave that person a sit down that was Glorious. I felt like she was the defender of my children and I and that we could belong, even if people tried saying we didn’t.
That was followed by her helping me to find one of my favorite styles of garb. At our first event she took Kit aside for a talk after Kit made it to the finals of the adult bardic, Kit was 12. She gave her a ring that Will Rogers later ate, so I was happy to get her a couple of rings from Catrin who so nurtured her beginning in the SCA. For anyone less comfortable in themselves, that first thing would probably turned them away from the SCA; I am so glad she was my fierce defender who gave us a chance to find our feet."
“I don't know how many of you even remember me, since I haven't played in a long time. I'm Andrew Selwyn. The first time that I ever got exposed to the SCA was at a Newcomers type event, held at Mark and Roselyn's house, held many, many years ago. So I walk into this event at their house, knowing nothing about the SCA, other than it sounds like a fun bunch of people and man, I'd like to do this! Everyone's so nice, everyone's so forthcoming, and sharing information. And there's this one woman over in the corner, and she's looking at everything that's going on. I can tell the persona she's developed is so far above the rest of us. It was obvious that even though she was sitting on the sofa, she was head and shoulders above everyone else. When I got a chance to talk with her later, I just - for some reason, I thought of her as Royalty. Knowing nothing about the SCA or how it works, I said, "You must be the local queen!"
Catrin did that snort of hers - hmf! - "NOT likely."
That was all she said. And all of a sudden, I realized, that was probably a good thing. But that was my first time to ever meet Catherine. “
Hokumori Yoshiie (Yoshi)
“Most of you don't know me - I haven't played in about 20 years - I'm one of the old timers. I got started in the SCA when I was about 12. I've been playing for almost 40 years, so to speak. One of the first thing that happened to me in the SCA, is I met Catherine. I was 12 years old. She told me, "You've got a lot of potential. Let me show you something." Catherine, over the next several years, taught me how to sew. How to embroider. To the point, later on in my life, I did custom bridals for three years. She really knew what she was doing and she was a great teacher. Probably the most memorable event for me, was at 14. She told me, "You need to get out of town!"
"What do you mean?"
"We're going to a Coronation in Dallas!"
That was when I got to meet the ever infamous Inman, and Willow. Catherine was an inspiration to me at an early age. She taught me a lot about the Arts & Sciences. She got me over kind of a anxiety for public speaking or being in crowds. She introduced me to a lot of people who then sent me on a personal adventure in a lot of realms in the SCA. Because of Catherine, I met the people who taught me how to blacksmith. Because of Catherine, I met the people who taught me how to brew. I've been brewing mead for 30 years - and loving every minute of it - and I would have never really have done that, if I hadn't met Catherine. That was the thing about her that was so great. She was willing to point you in the right direction, if she didn't know how to do it herself. So - for me - I will always remember her as a mentor and a great friend. “
Notable Contributions or Accomplishments:
- Former Premier Bard of Ansteorra
- Former Principal Bard of Ansteorra.