Interview with Master Cadwallon ý Rhudd , from the Armour Archive
What influenced you into getting into armouring?
I wanted to look good dying on the list field. When I joined the SCA in 1975, everyone did their own armor, and I wanted to do it right. I'm still trying to get it there, by the way.
"That lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne, Th' assay so hard, so sharp the conquerynge. " Geoffrey Chaucer
When did you begin armouring, and how did you start?
I made my first helm in March or April of 1975, in the Kingdom of the West, and I was hooked. I was in the Navy and attending the Nuclear Power School in Vallejo California. Several of my friend got me into the SCA and I wanted to fight. In those days, you made your own armor. We got access to the base metal shop and started making helm, leather body armor, and rattan swords. All, very crude by todays standard.
How many years have you been armouring?
Since early 1975, so 23+ years
What type of research do you do for your pieces?
Usually, I work from the best pictures of the piece I entend to create. If possible, I go to a mueseam and see the real thing to get a sense of the volumn and details.
How far are you willing to extrapolate from authentic pieces?
If it is a piece for the SCA, I try to follow the authentic piece as closly as possible within the bounds of SCA armor requirements. If it is a reproduction, I try to recreate the origional. I have followed the teachings of Master Valerius, Master Will of Wiltshire, and Master Roberto d' Milano (pardon the spelling) They all try to understand how the piece was made in period, used in period, and they take into consideration modern materials and methods. I find this than most.
What is your favorite period?
I truly love the 14th Century. The look of multi-layered defense is very pleasing to me. I also love Italian 15th century. The smooth, round volumn of the armor is a great draw.
What is the favorite piece/ suit you have made?
That would be a toss-up between my first set of hourglass gauntles, or the first pig faced bascinet visor that I made. It was so cool to watch the visor form from a simple cone. I started with a welded cone, and raising back from the point the occularium and breath seemed to from on their own.
Do you have an apprenticeship program?
Well, yes and no. It is difficult to train someone not in your shop. I do have apprentices, but they are mostly local. I do take students who live further away, and I try to help anyone who asks. Presently, I have 5 apprentices (of which, only 2 are active and my first one has moved into black power gunsmithing) 2 students and 1 "Armourers Friend". The last one is my old friend Bear, who I have been trying to teach armouring for the last 15 years! He can make a spaulder really well.
What is the one piece of advice you would give all starting armourers if you could grab them by the neck and scream something into their face, that would be forever burned onto their soul?
What resources would you recommend for the student of armour?
Books, many many books, and visits to museums, this email board
What are some of your other interests/hobbies?
Computers, photography, drawing, peace, friends, family, and cats.