Who is Rachel?
|Rachel at Academia 2013|
Edward, my father was a textile merchant from Low Countries of Flanders who moved to Norwich in England during the culture exchanges that happened during the reign of Henry the 8th. He wasn’t terribly successful in England until after he moved to the city of Arundel. I spent most of my childhood helping my parents run their shop as well as learning everything I could about fabrics and textiles from their creation through their eventual usage. Rather than allow me to marry a British sweetheart my father sent me back to what is now Belgium for an arranged marriage to a distant Picard relative who is a very busy innkeeper in Wallonie and thus rarely seen at Drachenwald events. Here in Wallonie I continue my studies whenever possible. I am learning to weave, knit, embellish and sew fabric into a variety of clothing and accessories. I am learning to create bobbin lace, tatted lace, woven tapes and homespun wool. I also enjoy woodworking, ceramics, baking, papercrafting, training my dog (a shepherd mutt… completely authentic!) and finding ways to get my two stepsons involved in various activities that will get them out of the house.
And in real life?
In the mundane world, I am Misty McAnally, an American ex-pat living in Wallonie with a wonderful trio of Belgians, my fiancé and his two little boys (13 and 9). I work as an English teacher for my village primary school where I use games and songs to get the children from kindergarten through fourth grade ready for the grammar based English lessons that they’ll learn from fifth grade on. I also teach two evening English classes through the local Cultural Center. I have been involved in the SCA off and on since 2006. I first learned about the organization when a group came to my high school in Minnesota to do a demonstration. I was tempted to create a group during college but got so wrapped up in campus life that I completely forgot about it until a few years later when I found myself in Fort Wayne, Indiana and discovered through the grapevine that there was a local group who practiced medieval dance every Wednesday evening. My group, the Shire of Shadowed Stars, was rather small and close knit. I discovered very quickly that I really enjoyed the activities available. I really enjoyed sewing and dancing with my new friends and soon got up the courage to create a full Elizabethan dress. I was assistant Châtelaine for a little while and eventually I became the Arts and Sciences officer for a term. In 2008 I had to give up my duties to the Shire due to economical issues. I moved back to my father’s house for a while until my Belgian and I were able to qualify for a cohabitation visa. I’ve been in Belgium since July of 2010. I just recently discovered the SCA group in Germany and the Academia della Danza 2013 was my first event since leaving my old Shire. While there, I got to know Katharina van Antwerpen and we began throwing around ideas for the creation of a Belgian shire so that we can recruit more people close to home and not have to travel quite as far each time we want to get together with other Scadians.