My name within the Society is Machteld Cleine. Having grown up in Flanders, I considered this to be an eminently pronounceable name. I found out since this isn't exactly the case, for which my abject apologies! The easiest way to guide you to pronounce it would be Mach (think of Bach, but with an M) teld (like the end of Battled) and for my last name: Clei (think of clay but without the y) ne (Nuh). As you may have guessed already, I am not originally 'from around here.'.
I first 'heard' about the SCA when I was still living in Belgium through some friends with whom I did medieval roleplay online. However there wasn't any SCA group in Belgium so nothing ever happened. After I moved here and had kids, one of my roleplaying friends and I reconnected on Facebook. He too had since joined the SCA and told me I REALLY should join, that it was JUST what I needed. In fact he even looked up my kingdom, my canton, and then we found out practice was every week, less than 6 minutes driving from my door. My Midrealm friend pushed me into the SCA's arms. I went to one practice and.. I was home. The Canton of Cyddlan Downs within the Barony of Nottinghill Coill welcomed me, made starting easy and supported me from 'awkward newbie' to full fledged Scadian. Several years later, a new group was formed in Drachenwald: The Incipient Shire of Trivium. While I my home and heart is in Atlantia, I won't deny that a small sliver of my heart also belongs to this Shire.
I started my journey in the canton of Cyddlan Downs by attending a Collegium. I was made to feel right at home, and still happily reside within the same canton and Barony. What I 'do' within the SCA however has changed quite a bit. When I started I mainly thought I could fit an existing love for embroidery perfectly within the society. I did, and I have, but part of a journey is discovering new loves, and I doubt at this point anyone knows me for my embroidery -which is mediocre at best- but one doesn't necessarily have to be good at something to still love it. I credit the canton and the barony for allowing me to try my hand at everything to find which things I love most. Embroidery made way for water bearing, my first SCA love, and something I will still always pick up a shift if I can. Morwenna Trevethan was my first guiding light there. There is something innately satisfying in offering help in a very direct way, and there is little more direct than offering a panting fighter water. I dabbled a very little bit in autocratting, being a deputy for a Collegium and actually being an autocrat the next year, but while I loved leading a team of amazing volunteers, this was not 'my path' as one would say. "Troll" or "Gate" was an easy service and I love, love, LOVED being the first smile that greeted people at an event. Somehow, a few years ago at War of the Wings, there was a troll volunteer shortage and I ended up picking up quite a few shifts. That somehow lead to me being deputy the next year and "head gate" the year after!
Between Water Bearing and Gate however, a new constant within my SCA experience rose up. As am amateur photographer, I brought my camera to one event for a specific project. One thing led to another and photography became my main service within the SCA. What I love most is that I have the chance to capture memories for people: both when they receive an award, or just in an unguarded moment of joy and emotion. Equal to that, I love to give people a chance to see how truly beautiful they are by making portraits. I will always try to work with natural light, though I am working on having the right equipment to be able to photograph portraits with a specific lighting set up as well. I think my proudest moment must be when Master Ursus approached me and said that he saw something in me, and offered to be my mentor. Being his protegee and becoming his friend is an amazing honor, though he'll scoff at that notion.
Last but not least over the last few years another constant within my SCA have been the performing arts. I've spent most of my life outside the SCA in the theater in one form or another, from a kid in the local amateur group, to practicing and performing with a semi professional company as a teen and young adult, with Masters in Theater, Film and TV Science in between. It took me a few years to find my spot in the SCA. A Shakespeare contest was the beginning, and since then I've been frequenting bardics, performing and very slowly starting to develop a repertoire of 'appropriate songs', period pieces, and my own work.