For those not in the SCA: Being recognized as a Pelican is basically a lifetime achievement award for service. It’s based on the myth of pelicans piercing their breasts to feed their young with their own blood. The symbol is a white pelican with a teardrop of blood on the chest, sometimes with chicks in a nest.
Being recognized as a Laurel is an equivalent honor, but it’s for lifetime achievement in the arts and sciences, so that particular symbol was forbidden (at least until he is elevated for his bardic talents).
As a fellow Roman, I couldn’t let my beloved friend Decimus Varius Felix go without a laurel wreath for his richly-deserved elevation… so I Pelicanized a circlet by using gold wings instead of leaves.
I bought gold-plated wing charms, and a carved bone bird with a hole in its chest. I found some appropriate beads to join the wings for a more cohesive look, and hide the rings a bit. Fjorlief InHaga was invaluable – she gave me some refining design help, and had a drill press that really sped things up. We needed holes in each of the wings, and 6 holes per pair in the leather strap (dyed to match his hair). She also helped with the labor of sewing everything together with wire – it was a big job!
I wired up the bird with a red glass teardrop and put it onto a leather backing, which then helped to support the join of the strap in the back. Once everything was assembled, I glued on a soft strip of leather to line the inside.
I intended the pelican to sit at the back, with the wings sweeping forward, as Emperor Augustus is modelling below. However, the Crown chose to place it on his head in the more usual SCAdian manner: With the focal piece in front. Other people seems to like it that way better, too. Felix can wear it whichever way he likes – I’m just happy to see him honored. 🙂
(photo credit for last two portraits: Shea O’Donnell Root)
Bravo, Felix! ❤