Friday, May 26, 2017

Magical World of Tolkien, the Tirion Forest and the Sheriwood Foundation @ Medieval Faire

Sheriwood and The Sheriwood Foundation, Inc., were envisioned and created by three women (lovingly known to us as the Three Graces).  Over ten years ago, Sheridanne Kelley (who plays the character Valier Yavanna), Bon McLeod (the character Valier Vana) and Valla Bonneto (who is our First Elder) joined forces to plan and organise their thoughts for something special within Second Life.  Vala Foulsbane (who is King Finwe of the Noldor) and Maralee Greenwood (Nerdanel, beloved of Feanor) joined the team shortly thereafter.

Together, supported by the ideas and encouragement of many other excellent artists and writers, they discussed every detail of the two original sims (Tirion Upon Tuna, the White City and Tirion Forest) on paper for about a year before even one plant or tree was planted.  Sheridanne has provided  guidance for all and the financial support needed to realise the dream over the years.

Their vision was to bring together like-minded individuals who had a thirst for peace and inspiration; who loved JRR Tolkien and the worlds he wrote about.  They selected the first seven chapters of The Silmarillion as their role play focus  -- the only interlude of peace in Tolkien's epics.

Tirion Forest took about six months of meticulous building by the amazing Bon McLeod and it was opened in February of 2008 with a wonderful ceremony attended by about 60 people.  Tirion Upon Tuna, (built by Vala Foulsbane) is a magnificent creation of Tolkien's imagination and recreated from a fine painting by Ted Nasmith.  It took nearly two years of an average of eight hours per day to build.  It is the most mathematically precise build we have ever seen in Second Life and is reserved for their most loyal members.

And then people...the most brilliant part of Sheriwood is the sincere fellowship of some brilliant minds and leaders in both worlds.  This fellowship is filled by a group of people who have devoted their time and efforts to role playing "within" the First Age, to help people get excited about reading the works of Tolkien themselves.  Maralee Greenwood is creative director of activities and helps manage the many day-to-day issues of running this stage play.  This sim has many activities and a variety of classes in everything from using blade and bow to writing challenges to stretch your creativity.

The members of this Sim are part of the Tolkien Society and have managed to attract some experts in Tolkien, including a couple of university professors...even the amazing Tolkien artist, Ted Nasmith.

As the group formed, it was apparent there were many activists among the group, so they decided to form The Sheriwood Foundation, Inc.  They received a 501(c)3 status in October of 2008.  Their aim is to use the sims as attractors of others who love reading and to awaken their recognition of how critical literacy is today in the real world.

Since then they have added additional sims to round out their storytelling stage including: The Pass of Calicirya and Valarinde (built by Bon). Two of the teams most amazing members took on the building of Elven Quest (Torgo123 Exonar (our Prince Fingolfin) and Naiya Melody (who is Anaire, princess and wife of Fingolfin)).  Finally, the group saved Helms Deep (called Aglarond) sim from destruction, making it their "continent" six full sims.

As would be expected in a sharing and caring fellowship, some of our most precious friends here have battled with cancer or have loved ones who have.  During times of treatment and recovery from treatments, many have taken comfort and rest in our "healing sim" Valarinde of the Two Trees, where there is special music and quiet places to just relax and heal.

The lands owned by this creative collaborative are for those who wish to find a fellowship of sincerely caring people who desire to make a difference in the lives of many by participating and learning more about Tolkien and the crying need of many who have no way to read his works, let alone road signs or a menu.

They took the highest contribution category for the Relay For Life Medieval Faire and have created a special gift for any we meet.  They are also joining with Torgo123 Exonar to sponsor a concert with some of the most sought after live performers in SL to attract even more interest in RFL on the 27 May.  They encourage the SL community to make time to attend and/ or donate to this event.

Since they are a registered Foundation, they do not have rentals, as is mandated by Linden Labs, but have "donation stones" for those who wish to secure homes within their community.  The essence of the members of this sim is about sharing the love of reading and writing for the benefit of those who need support to learn.

Medieval Faire Landmark

Tirion Forest/Sheriwood and The Sheriwood Foundation, Inc. Landmark
Photos provided by the Sheriwood Foundation Inc.