Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Largish news

In my last post I mentioned that my plans and goals for this year are going to be affected by a big piece of news. First the context, then the news, then the goals.

I'm a fairly active member of the SCA. I attend events regularly, participate in assorted activities, and hold offices at several levels. Last August, while attending an event at Raglan Castle, I had the pleasure of meeting a visiting Laurel from the Kingdom of Lochac. (Lochac is the administrative region that covers Australia and New Zealand.) She and I hit it off, and ended up spending a lot of time together over the months that followed.

Membership in the Order of the Laurel is a pretty big deal in the SCA. It's an award given to artisans and craftspersons who have excelled in their chosen craft(s). Additionally, there is an expectation that they will conduct research and further their own knowledge and that of the Society, as well as teaching those who wish to learn. It's the kind of award that's only granted after years of work, and is one of the three awarded peerages of the SCA. A sort of international lifetime achievement award, if you will. Or possibly a hands-on PhD, but with projects instead of a thesis.

Mistress P. specializes in early clothing. REALLY early clothing. Pre-11th-century early clothing. I'm not particularly interested in the clothing, but I'm very interested in sheep and textile manufacturing. We had a lot to talk about.

One thing led to another, and in October she asked me to consider becoming her apprentice. Usually one is apprenticed to someone working in the same field, and who also lives in the same Kingdom. As it happens, there isn't anyone in this Kingdom who was Laureled for spinning or other sheep-related activities, and since we seem to get along so well, this works. Thanks to the internet we'll be able to be in touch, and since I'm not expecting practical instruction in my craft, it doesn't much matter that we're on opposite sides of the planet.

The reason this affects my goals for the year are that there are expectations that'll I'll be striving to live up to. Because Mistress P. can't attend events here and see what I'm up to, all of it needs to be documented in a way that she can see. And the act of documenting my work will (hopefully) improve it. Certainly it'll create a resource for me to look back over.

So, things I'm planning/commited to this year and beyond:
  • Research and make a belt. This one is a Big Deal. Many apprentices are given coloured belts to indicate their apprenticeship. Mistress P. gets her apprentices to make their own from scratch. 
  • Create a page with details of all the teaching I've done in the Society, with copies of the handouts if there were any.
  • Add a widget with links to the heraldry articles I've written/will write.
  • Research embroidered handkerchiefs with the eventual intention of replicating one that's held in the V&A. Possibly enter the result into an A&S competition.
  • Make and document more garb. Bonus points for using stuff in my stash.
  • Continue working on Large Primary Research Project.
  • Spin lots. Hopefully find a source of line flax and get good at spinning linen thread.
  • Make stuff for Kingdom and/or Principality largesse. And/or award tokens. Donate to appropriate Royals.

Rather a lot of stuff to do. Also, unrelated to the SCA, I need to knit more socks, and quickly. My drawer is looking sadly depleted.

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