Æthelmearc Arts and Sciences Awards
By Baroness Mistress Alison of the Many Isles, AE KMoAS
Æthelmearc has two levels of A&S awards. The Order of the Sycamore and the Order of the Fleur.
The Order of the Sycamore
This order recognizes accomplishments in the peaceful arts and sciences, including entertaining and research. I have been asked “How do you know when to recommend someone for a Sycamore?” When I recommend a gentle for the Sycamore, I consider:
- This gentle has begun learning and practising an art. Sometimes they are doing more than one. Are they doing it well?
- Are they researching and asking questions? How was this done in the Middle Ages? Besides researching on your own, asking those who know about this topic for guidance. Listening to others who may have researched this topic and then going on from there is important. You needn't reinvent the wheel.
- Are they teaching others? Whether it is one on one at home, doing a group workshop, or at a schola.
I don't look for years and years worth of art and teaching. This is the beginning. This award says you are doing a good thing, Keep it up!
There are many out there who may fit this criteria but have yet to receive an award. That is because people have not noticed, maybe because someone is quietly working behind the scenes or doesn't get out of their home group. Or because no one knew what to say to the royalty or how to write a recommendation. And sometimes it's because people think “Oh surely they already have that award”.
The Royalty need us all to be Their eyes and ears, and let them know who is doing what!
This is where A&S reports are very helpful! When I read that Lord X or Lady S is doing this, this and this, has helped out at events and done workshops, etc., and I see their name over and over again, I take note of it! And I write recommendations! You can too!
The Order of the Fleur of Æthelmearc
The Order of the Fleur of Æthelmearc (the Order of High Merit for Arts and Sciences) — which recognizes the skill in the gentler arts. Members of the Order of the Laurel are not eligible for this award. The Fleur carries a Grant of Arms and the title of Honorable Lord or Lady.
I do not have a Fleur, but I still recommend gentles for this award.
Here I think about all the previous criteria of the Sycamore and continue with:
- Are they doing well at their art or arts? This includes the process used to create an item, the tools and materials they use. Are they trying hard to duplicate the methods and techniques used in period? Whether it's brewing, needlework, armoring, cooking, music and song writing, tanning hides, apothecary, engineering, research, or any other art or science, I look for this person to be trying to learn period methods wherever possible. Have they continued to grow as an artisan?
- I look at the depth of their knowledge. Do they know what they are talking about? If it's an art I do not know a lot about I show it to someone whose opinion and knowledge I respect. Or I ask that person to take a look at this gentles' work.
- Are they out there teaching at scholas and Aecademy or just teaching one on one in their own home? Here's where I'd like to see them stretch and be teaching classes more often and on a wider basis. Are they writing any articles about their art or research? Does what they do have more of a “period” feel to it?
- Is this person displaying their work in A&S Displays, Forums or Competitions? Are they able to talk about their work, and do they welcome constructive criticism?
- This candidate should understand Chivalry, Courtesy, and Service besides their Art.
- Does this gentle show kindness and courtesy to everyone, not just peers and the Royals.... Politeness goes a long way.
- Is this gentle doing any service? Helping at events, working in their home group, taking an office or any number of other ways to serve.
- Do they show respect to the Crown and Peers?
As you can see, there are many aspects to striving for and attaining an arts award.
At the Society level there is one more Arts award described as follows:
The Order of the Laurel: Members of the Order of the Laurel may choose to swear fealty, but are not required to do so. The candidate must have attained the standard of excellence in skill and/or knowledge equal to that of his or her prospective peers in some area of the Arts or Sciences. The candidate must have applied this skill and/or knowledge for the instruction of members and service to the kingdom to an extent above and beyond that normally expected of members of the Society.
The duties of the members of the order are as follows:
- To set an example of courtesy and chivalrous conduct.
- To respect the Crown of the kingdom; to support and uphold the laws of the kingdom and Corpora.
- If in fealty, to support and uphold the Crown of his or her kingdom.
- To enrich the kingdom by sharing his or her knowledge and skills.
- To advise the Crown on the advancement of candidates for the Laurel.
The Laurel carries a patent of arms and the Title of Master or Mistress (or it's equivalent).
For me this award is the one you look forward to “down the road”. It is striving for the ideals of the Middle Ages. A gentle who has Mastered the learning and practising of an Art form that was practised in the Middle Ages. One who goes out and teaches that art to others.
One who displays the ideals of Courtesy, Chivalry, and Honor in their actions and conversations with everyone they come in contact with in this game we play. One who gives of their time and talents to make this game we play more Medieval, more real.
It means researching a topic, learning how to re-create it, doing it to the extent that we produce a piece of work that when viewed by others they say “Wow, this really looks, sounds, feels, like it was done in the Middle Ages.” Whether it's a craft, story, song, or part of a culture.
We eat a Feast that tastes right, looks right, could be right there in the Kings Great hall. It's the storyteller,or singers, musicians who make us feel like we are transported back in time while listening to them. It's looking at a suit of armor and feeling like you must be looking at the “Real thing”. And finally it's that you keep on doing it. You don't do all this and think now I have done all I can. We all have so much we can learn and contribute. These people keep on teaching and help others along on their path.
There is no specific set of criteria, no checklist.
As members of this Society and as artisans you look around you and see that some good gentle is practising an art, being helpful, doing a workshop or two, teaching others sometimes by example, sometimes in a small class, sometimes one on one. If you don't know whether their art is period and good or not, ask someone whose opinion you respect to look at their work. Ask people you know who have these awards, Fleur or Laurel, to look at the gentles' work. Ask them also to teach you what to look for.
If you are the artisan who would like to attain these awards think about your art, your courtesy, chivalry, honor and service. Think about researching and teaching, listening to others comments, and about the whole process as well as the end product. Then keep at it. Don't do it just to get an award. Do it because you enjoy it, all of it!