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Frequently Asked Questions
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 field?
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, hospitality, etc.)

(5) How do I (politely) decline the offer to become someone's apprentice?
 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 a Laurel?
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 you 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 Laurel?
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 Calendar.

That being said, Peerage is a job, not just an award. In the Caidan 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 incorrect or 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 Laurel?
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 about them?
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 be 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 Laurel?
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 SCA 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 interested in.

(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 directly.

(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 following committee:
Baroness Asakura Machime,
Baroness Brianna Je Nell Aislynn of Blue Shadows,
Mistress Melisande de Frayne,
Dame Joan Silvertoppe





 

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