of the Order of The Laurel
In The Kingdom of Caid
(1) I don't sew; can I still
be a Laurel?
Not all Laurels sew. Laurels are artisans, scientists and
scholars and all subjects in the SCA time period are possible avenues
of study. Sewing is just one avenue.
(2) How do I ask a Laurel if
I can be his/her apprentice?
Try approaching them politely, and ask to discuss the opportunity for
such a relationship. Face to face is always a good idea for such
a discussion, but emails and other ways of reaching out to them is fine
as well. Be aware that not all Laurels will enter into a formal
relationship. Some accept part time students, or will mentor, but do
not have the ability or desire to make a long term commitment.
(3) Laurel X already has
an/some/many apprentice(s) - do you
think they'd want to take on another?
Each Laurel is different. There is no harm in asking that Laurel
if they would like to take on another apprentice. There are also
the options of the Laurel being your mentor or advisor. Many
Laurels will have occasional or part time students in addition to the
more focused relationship with their apprentice(s).
(4) Does it matter whether I
apprentice to a Laurel in my
No. The most important thing is that you find someone that
can guide and help you in the way you need. They should be able to
instruct you in basic research and help you find teachers in your area
of interest. They should also be helping you with your Peer-like
qualities (social integration, appropriate behavior, service,
(5) How do I (politely)
decline the offer to become
Gently. Telling someone “no” is always hard. Be
polite, treat them like you’d want to be treated.
(6) What do I do if it turns
out that I don't like being
Laurel X's apprentice?
Communication is key component of any relationship. If you feel
things aren’t going well, politely speak to your Laurel. Try to
share what you are experiencing clearly and what you need. Try to
work it all out. Not all relationships work, and not everyone is
a good fit. If, after you give that a try, and it’s still not
working, it would be time to discuss breaking your Laurel/Apprentice
relationship. It is not uncommon to realize that each other’s
teaching/learning styles are not compatible. If this is the case,
you can respectfully ask if they would refer you to another Laurel with
whom you would be better suited.
(7) I'm already in a fealty
relationship with another Peer
(Pelican, Knight, Master of Defense), so can I also be an apprentice to
It really depends on your current relationship with your Peer. If
your Peer doesn’t have a problem with sharing you, then it should be
fine. Your Peers should be willing to work together, and have
similar goals for you to achieve. If they have mutually exclusive
needs or directions for your talents, you will have a hard time
deciding which advice to follow.
(8) I've found some research
that shows that Laurel X isn't doing
(something) right - how do I tell him/her?
There is rarely only one right way to do something. If you have recent
research that can support your claims, share them with the Laurel. Most
Laurels are willing to learn new information, and update what they know.
That being said, are you interested in being “right” or are
interested in learning? Laurel X may have different research sources
than you do. A good question is “I’ve not seen that [name of the
item or technique] done in that fashion, can you tell me about your
sources? I’ve only seen it done this way [name your
sources]”. This is an opportunity for dialogue and information
sharing, and is a gentle technique used in conversing with beginners as
well as established artisans. Walking in and saying “you’re
wrong” is a quick way to shut down communication and be branded as a
know-it-all, no matter if you are a Laurel, professional or new artisan.
(9) Where should I/how do I
submit articles for publication? Do I
absolutely HAVE to publish?
It is strongly encouraged. There are lots of places that
will publish your work. The main thing is to share your research
and articles. Potential publication opportunities
1. SCA Publications: Tournaments Illuminated, the Complete Anachronist,
the Kingdom Newsletter (Crown Prints for CAID), Baronial Newsletters,
2. Personal blogs and journals
3. Social Media: Facebook, Google+, Instagram
4. email lists
5. SCA research sites
(10) I can't attend events
outside my local area due to
health/finances/other obligations. Does this mean I'll never be a
Not necessarily. As long as you participate in 6 various
meetings and events per reign, you meet the activity requirements for
polling. These events can be A&S classes, Fighter Practices,
Baronial Council meetings, or events listed on the Kingdom Event
That being said, Peerage is a job, not just an award. In the
Laurel Charter, one of the criteria is that you are a ‘go to person’
for your specialty. You will be asked to judge competitions and
offer advice, both artistically and socially. A Peer should be
knowledgeable about others in their form (arts, service and/or
fighting), as they will be expected to hold intelligent discussions in
Peerage Council and vote on membership. It is hard to do this if
you do not travel. Rightly (or wrongly) a Peer is viewed as being
knowledgeable about politics and will be asked to work for the good of
the group. They can be asked to weigh in on social situations and
act as mediators. It is difficult to advise others, or be the ‘go to
person” of a specialty if you do not participate in the wider community.
(11) Where should I/can I
teach about my art/science interests?
There are numerous places to teach: Collegiums and war always
need more teachers. Most Baronies have A&S workshops or guild
meetings. You are not restricted to teaching in your home Barony,
but are welcome to teach is as many places as you are comfortable doing
so. Teaching is not only formal classes, it is teaching one on
one, perhaps sharing a favorite technique with someone in the pavilion
next to you at a tournament. Ultimately it is sharing the joy of
your art with someone by showing them how to do it.
(12) How do I handle it when
someone (Laurel or otherwise)
challenges/criticizes my information in a class?
Thank them for their information and say you would like to get together
after class and chat. One technique is to turn them into an
ally. After you have presented information, you can ask them if
they have additional sources, or if they will be teaching an advanced
class in the near future. Most artisans are willing to be
supportive and will get the hint. If not, and someone becomes
truly disruptive, you can ask them to leave.
I have noticed that unless you are blatantly providing
unsafe information (think lack of proper safety precautions), most
Laurels will not disrupt your class. In general, Laurels are in
classes to learn, hoping that you have new information or techniques
that they can add to their store of knowledge.
(13) Someone who isn't a
Laurel but who is close to a Laurel
(household, best friends, significant other, and spouse) is giving out
wrong/bad information. What should I do? If I try to correct them
(publicly or privately) will that screw my chances of ever being a
Please contact the Laurel Secretary (Laurel@sca-caid.org) about the
issue as soon as possible. Your discretion and courtesy will not
be held against you.
(14) I do X in the real world
(artist, judge, teacher, author)
already. Does that mean the Laurels will expect a higher level of work
from me? Does it mean that because I get paid, I'll never be a Laurel?
No. We analyze people for their Period work within the SCA, and
determine if that work is Laurel level. If you have reached that
level, have a broad body of work for your discipline, are actively
participating within the SCA, AND have the appropriate Peer like
qualities, you will most likely become a Laurel.
(15) What are the "sciences"?
How come I never seen anything
Many arts are sciences (and vice versa), the distinction is
modern. The study of the art involved could be considered a
science, using the tools of sampling, experimentation and recording
results. The practice is where the “art” happens. It is the
choice of the distinct elements to elicit an emotional response that
make it art.
Dyeing would be chemistry, but the use of the dyed goods would
artistic in choices for furnishings or clothing to evoke a visual
effect. Brewing is also chemistry, but it is the choices made for taste
and finishing that make it an art. In painting: perspective, the
materials that make up the paint and how they are mixed are the science
– the choice of the subject matter and the technique that make the
picture that the audience responds to are the art.
(16) I like to do culinary
research and redaction but I don't
like to cook or run banquets. Does this mean I'll never be a Laurel?
Although research, redaction and cooking for groups are usually done as
supporting arts, they can be considered as separate forms. If you
are doing pure research, you do need to share/publish your
research. More broadly, there are Research Laurels with
their own specialties (culinary would qualify), but they go beyond the
normal levels of research in terms of breadth and depth that is
expected of all Laurels.
(17) What is redaction and
how do I do it?
Redaction within the SCA is taking a period document and revising it
for modern understanding. This term is used a lot in cooking, as
most period recipes have very different ways of defining quantities and
techniques of cooking that are unfamiliar to most modern cooks. A
redaction would be taking the period description and creating a modern
recipe from it.
(18) What exactly are the
"Bardic Arts"? If I like to sing
filk/folk songs instead of court music does this mean I’ll never be a
The Bardic Arts would best be described as period forms of singing,
storytelling, poetry, music and other performance related
activities. If the composition is new, it should be in a period
form or manner. The bardic arts are held to the same standards of
period as all other disciplines considered for a Laurel. Filk can
be period, as writing new words to old melodies was common
practice. However, to do period filk, you must use period music
and period forms for rewriting the lyrics. And yes, satire and bawdy
humor are period.
(19) Does Photography count
as an Art?
Within the SCA context, photography is a service. Although many
of the skills (composition, contrast, lighting, perspective) are period
concepts, photography is a modern art using modern equipment.
There is a Laurel in Photography, and it was given early in
history. The Order of the Laurel predates the Order of the
Pelican, and was originally the Peerage given for both arts and
service. When the Orders split, that member decided to remain a
Laurel instead of becoming a Pelican.
(20) My local A&S officer
isn't a Laurel. Does that mean I
shouldn't ask him/her for help?
Ask for help from whomever you can. It doesn’t matter if they are
a Laurel, or not, if they know their subject. Your local A&S Office
is usually a wonderful resource for putting you in touch with other
artists who share your interests or teach the subjects you are
(21) My persona/research
interests involve Asia rather than Europe or
the Middle East. Is there someone who can mentor me? Does this interest
(especially if it's China) mean that I won't get a Laurel?
There are numerous Laurels within the Society that can help you.
And yes, you can be a Laurel in an Asian research field, or any other
field that is not mainstream, as long as it falls within the SCA time
frame. Be aware that you will have a larger burden to educate
everyone around you, since the basics will probably not be as well
known. Most local Laurels should be able to help you start basic
research and may have contacts in your field of interest.
(22) Can I be a Laurel
without being an apprentice?
Yes. A formal Laurel/apprentice relationship is not
necessary. Many of the current members of the Council were not
apprentices. It can be useful to have someone on the
Council that you are comfortable with, act as a mentor and conduit for
constructive criticism. It doesn’t mean being their apprentice,
but it does mean having someone that you can ask questions and be
willing to hear potentially hard truth from. You will need to be known
and recognized by members of the Order, so that once you have reached a
sufficient level of artistry, the council is familiar with both you and
your work should you come up for discussion.
(23) What do you have to do
to get a Laurel around here?
Be perceived as someone who could have made a living at their art in
the middle ages. One who is perceived as having "mastered" that
art in as period a manner as possible while excluding the use of
harmful materials within your arts (such as lead, mercury,
cyanide). And, had there been a guild for that art in their time
period, been admitted to that guild.
You should be considered one of the ‘go to’ people within the period
art field and willingly share this information with others. You will
need to do research, teach, publish, and create items that are master
level in as period of a manner as possible to create a body of
work. You will need to be reasonably active in the SCA as a
whole, and meet the criteria listed for Peerage in Corpora, as well as
the additional criterial in the Laurels’ Charter.
(24) How do I recommend
someone to the Order? Can anyone of any
rank do this?
Anyone can recommend any SCA member to any of the Orders. Write a
letter to the Order. You should email the
(25) What should I include
when I write a letter of
recommendation to the Order?
Please give the Order as much information as possible. You are
writing not only an award recommendation, but a job recommendation (see
question 10) Your letter should include the person’s full SCA
name, their modern name and a picture. What Art(s) and/or
Science(s) are you recommending them for? Be specific about what they
do, in as much detail as possible. Please provide photos and URLs
showing their work. Copies of published articles are also
welcome. In addition, we will be discussing their Peer like qualities,
so addressing the qualifications for Peerage found in Corpora is
helpful. Inclusion of their entry from the Order of Precedence
can be beneficial, as it demonstrates the level of art and service at
which they have previously been recognized.
Compiled and edited by the
Baroness Asakura Machime,
Baroness Brianna Je Nell Aislynn of Blue Shadows,
Mistress Melisande de Frayne,
Dame Joan Silvertoppe