Kathryn Hatton Rames

Order of the Laurel

Modern Name: Kathryn Less
Elevated by: Edmund & Kateryn
Elevation Date: 2016-11-19

Mistress Kathryn was elevated to the Order of the Laurel shortly before she passed away. She was unable to write her own information here. Please know that she was a wonderful artist, a skilled teacher, and a caring member of the SCA. To honor her memory we collected comments from her friends, family and loved ones so that you may have a picture of the person she was in the Society. Knights often say that the easy part of getting knighted is learning to fight. I believe that this is true. Fighting is easy, it's all the other virtues that make a peer that are hard to learn. Had it not been for Mistress Kathryn, I would not be a knight. Mistress Kathryn, my mother, taught me through her example all the hardest parts of knighthood. In lean times, she gave generously of what she had- her time, her knowledge, her possessions. She stood up to bullies and fought the good fight, knowing that no matter the cost her path was the correct one. I learned early on that results were important, but regardless of the outcome, doing my best was key. Honesty wasn’t the best policy, it was the only policy. She was a Shield of the Weak, both in the SCA and in the modern world. Kathryn was, and still is, an exemplar and I can only hope to someday be the person that she was.

- Sir Gregoire de Lyon

I was so impressed with Mistress Kathryn’s historic chicken coop. At 1/3 its intended size, and fantastic documentation, its gives us a window into the more mundane aspects of Medieval life. She made basketry look easy, and spent a great deal of time in camp at Pennsic (at other events) with an impressive gathering of students, their sleeves rolled up and their hands elbow-deep into water buckets, create baskets of their own under her tutelage. This was her element - helping others to create new things, to help them gather new understanding, and be able to go forward equipped with knowledge to continue working with their hands.

- Mistress Giovanna Adimari

As her Laurel, Kathryn made my job easy. She loved the arts. She loved crafting. She loved teaching people. She was most successful learning ways to combine these efforts. Competitions were not for her but mastery and excellence mattered. Publications and documentation were not her game but historical accuracy and research brought her joy. You were most likely to find her teaching. In her camp, in a class, or through a display. And her students loved her for it. That’s what she’d encourage you to do. Skip any and all competitions. Teach a class instead. Show up at the Pennsic A and S Display. Make a gift for a friend. Invite someone into your camp. Those things mattered to her. It is what made her a Peer and a Laurel.

- Master Philip White

One of the greatest gifts my sister Kathryn possessed was the ability to draw out people's sense of community and their shared humanity. To that end, she hosted a basket weaving class in Cynnabar's encampment at Pennsic War each year. Her philosophy was very Bob Ross--this is your basket, you're the creator--and everyone had something slightly different to work on as a result. It felt organic. Open. Something about the experience Kathryn created felt decisively medieval, too--all of us standing around, sometimes in bare feet on the wet grass, communally weaving reeds that smelled like earth as the campfire smoked behind us. Our children splashed in the reed soaking tubs, and Kathryn kept them entertained, too, while we worked. It's what I imagine a historical village might have been like on a basket-weaving day--people gathering together to make art and to socialize with the rest of humanity. We talked a lot about rediscovering what people before us already knew--that there was something distinctly human about the art of weaving, much like the way people are woven together by common experiences. Looking back, I don't know how she did it all. She must have been exhausted, and I know now that she was. At one point, I heard later, she looked around at the dozen or so people weaving baskets into the late afternoon, and she said something to the effect of this - "if I can teach them to do this, without me, then my work here will be done." Kathryn enriched the world with her knowledge of basket weaving, but I like to think that what she taught us--to help each other create a community of learners who respect differences and diversity--was her one of her life's greatest works.

- Mistress Felice Debbage

Kathryn Hatton Rames had a goodness of spirit. She was passionate about her art, taking it further than its humble sounding name would suggest was possible. Basket making. It sounds so simple, but like Kathryn it was not. She made a wide variety of woven objects - chicken coops, bee skeps, hats, masks, collanders, and baskets. Kathryn also accepted and expected that her pieces would be used and would break. When a basket she had made for a large A and S competition was damaged she took it in stride. She did not get upset with the person who damaged it, she accepted it and moved on. When she taught she made sure that all of her students understood the process, even if that meant she had to spend more time with that person after the class had officially ended. Kathryn was a rare gem of a person and she will long be missed.

- Count Cellach mac Cormaic

I had been friends with Kathryn for a while before I found out she was going to be a fellow student of Phillip. She expressed to me she was worried about it, partly because she wasn't quite sure about how she would fit in with the existing Sister students, but also because she wasn't always confident in her skills in her chosen art. I laughed when she told me this, and I explained to her why- her humor would fit perfectly, I would introduce her to the Sisters when they were at events, and she already had marvelous skills with bending reed to her will. We commiserated over teaching in the warm summers at Pennsic, wondering aloud why we had been stupid enough to pick late afternoon classes, and how a nice ice water footbath awaited us at our respective camps. She enjoyed attending an A and S challenge event in our Barony, in which participants have 5 hours make an item from scratch. After she completed her cheese basket, made in less than 5 hours, she approached my mother and I and coyly smiled, saying "This is for you"- the important part being, she didn't specify which 'you'. She giggled as my mother and I argued over who would have the basket. Her humor and her kindness stand out to me still, and I am glad I had the opportunity to be a Sister with her, but moreover, that I got to call her Friend.

- Collette de Valois

Kathryn made baskets, beautifully crafted and researched baskets. But she was more than a maker, she was a teacher. She approached each student with the attitude that they too would be a maker of baskets. With patience, humor, and love for her craft, she would guide each student to a completed project of which to be proud. - Mistress Anthoinette Martel Mistress Kathryn was a blessing to Cynnabar and the Society. A talented, cranky blessing who taught her heart out, who wanted everything perfect, and who was never sure if she was "good enough." I'm eternally grateful that I was present for her richly-deserved elevation. It meant so much to her (and to all of us), and I would like to extend my personal and heartfelt thanks to everyone who came to celebrate this fabulous, cantankerous artist. She was driven and incredibly generous and spirited. I will miss all of the textures of her personality, and our barony and our Society are poorer for the loss of her as a teacher, an artist, and a person.

- Mistress Melisant Saint-Clair