Cove Library director demonstrates metal workshop
By J.S. SEALE
Last Wednesday evening, Copperas Cove Public Library Director Kevin Marsh used metals and mythology to bring history to life during the monthly medieval arts and sciences workshop.
The workshops are free to attend and watch, or try one’s hand at whatever skill is being demonstrated that month.
For the month of March, it was repousse’—molded metal.
While most professors of a discipline teach by podium, Marsh teaches his pupils over an anvil.
Children and adults alike gathered around the table to watch Marsh, who associated metal to the malleability of butter, conjure dragons, scales and armor with artistic rendering.
With the obvious talent he’s honed over the 35 years of teaching and being in the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism), when asked why he did not present his work at a Renaissance Festival, Marsh stated, “We have very different goals than, for example, tourism. We’re more participation based so that everyone involved is a participant; we’re not so much creating spectacles as allowing members to take part in the spectacles they create.”
Marsh jokingly called the nature of the SCA like a dating club for martial artists.
“While most re-enactment activities are predominantly male, because it has broad, all-encompassing themes like science fiction and narrative, men and women of all ages have been playing and teaching since the 1970s,” Marsh said.
While Marsh described some of the multitude of classes and showings of the SCA, the library director went on to explain how its organic charm is conducive to successive generational interests.
In other words, re-enactments of historical events are not retold because they’re stories are married up with historical fiction and theory.
“In this way, we can recreate time periods and envision a story. It’s great for casual hobbyists, and sometimes people get very serious. There’s people who start with fantasy based groups, take up something more seriously like martial arts and jousting, and hone their ability for years.”
Marsh recalled being separated from customer service in a state library. But he desired to work on the front lines of the information service industry, where even if you’re an administrator, you still get the rewarding experience of seeing the faces of the lives you help and encourage.
“When a little girl draws a multi-colored lion and adamantly tells the receptionist to give that to the library guy, it feels better than a paycheck.”
Enjoying working a diminutive town like Copperas Cove, when asked about why work in the venue of a library, Marsh called the library “a great vehicle to help people. From the homeless person who is looking for AC, to the well-off person who has tickets for a cruise, but needs to find somewhere to print them, the library provides.”
Marsh’s understanding of human compassion and his involvement in the SCA shows that there is nobody who knows everything they want to know, and also that you don’t have to be an expert at alchemy or sorcery to turn metallic objects into impressive works of art.