We went to Master Phaelen's vigil that night and I got an opportunity to speak with him and congratulate him on the elevation. While I suppose it's traditional to keep the conversations between visitors and the candidates private, we eventually started talking about beads and his passion for the art really came through. He gave me some great tips and I think his suggestions will really pick up my game.
I headed home around 12:30, arriving home just after 1 a.m. On my way in, I grabbed my basket that contained my projects, my wallet and phone, and went to bed. In the morning, I got up and opened my garage door to find my new (in-progress) flat cap sitting on the ground next to the car...dripping wet. I swung the cap around (spin cycle) and then rolled it in bar towels to get most of the water out. It was still wet for most of the day, but I was able to top-stitch the edges while sitting in court. I wore it for just a little while to get my hair off my neck because it was so hot, but it looked funny. I'll have to fiddle with it some, I think. I later abandoned it and found a hair tie. In court, I also sewed together a Viking cap and simple coif (finishing all the seam edges).
The morning was supposed to have started with a 2 hour meeting, but I overslept a little and arrived on site late. After weighing my options, I decided that my attendance at the meeting wasn't actually necessary, so I gave it a miss to have some breakfast instead. I wanted to attend the Laurel Speed-Dating, which started very late (about 45 minutes late due to the Laurel meeting starting and ending late), but was really fun for the 15 minutes I was able to be there. My "boss" of Ithra was there, too, so I knew that when she left, it was my cue to head out as well.
So, what was the Laurel Speed Dating? Well, it was an opportunity for artisans to have a 5 minute conversation with a Laurel to ask questions about anything, then on cue, each artisan would get up and move one seat to the left while the Laurels sat still. Questions might include: What is it like to be a Laurel? What does it mean to you? How many apprentices do you have? Do you feel that being an apprentice will aid you on your quest to the Laurellate? Do you have any advise for artisans on their journey to the Laurellate? There were cue cards on the table for both sides, if you didn't have any questions on the top of your head, or if you were suddenly struck dumb by the pressure. :) I really only got to ask one or two questions of each of the three Laurels I spoke with, but got an opportunity to talk with Countess Elizabeth on the way to the Ithra meeting and later in the day, spoke with Mistress Alisaundra at length. Since I asked similar questions of each of them, it was interesting to get different opinions and perspectives.
I went to go sit in court, but it was so hot in my Tudor dress, that by the mid-afternoon, I had to go change into my warm-weather garb. I went Turkish! I really should have brought my indoor shoes, though--the water proof mocs are great for walking around in the rain, but indoors, they just make my feet sweat. Bleh.
In the evening, Master Feran hosted a panel discussion with several Laurels (let's see if I can remember them all)--Master Gordon, Mistress Alisaundra, Mistress Alicia le Wilfulle, Master Feran, Duchess Dagmaer, and a former queen from Avacal...Inga? It was a great discussion and had interesting points brought up and new perspectives to consider. But it was something that Mistress Alisaundra said that really piqued my interest: about the need for some artisans to have simple direction--for someone to tell them, "The Laurels who are watching you want to see you do X. Go do that," rather than waiting for the person to have divine inspiration, like having it come to them in a dream. Why make someone wait years to do something spontaneously, when all they need is a nudge? That's exactly what I need; someone to nudge me in the right direction to move me along the path further. After working towards the Peerage for 23 years and seeing so many other newcomers achieve it in far less time (7-10 years), I have to ask, "What am I doing wrong? Or what am I NOT doing?"
So I hear you thinking, "Where are these goals you speak of? Where's the inspiration?" I've started creating a list of challenges for myself this year. These include:
- Completing a Scholar Rank Costumer's Guild challenge. While the costumer's guild may be in hiatus, I will go ahead and work on it anyway. My first and second attempts will be both Tudor woman and Viking man--I have plans to make costumes for both (for myself and my husband). Technically, a person participating in a scholar rank challenge doesn't need to present all 15 items at once, so I could do them in tandem. I wonder if anyone has ever done that before?
- I would like to make some arrangements for the Aquaterra Costumer's Guild to fill in to promote and administer challenges, and maybe even host costumer gatherings at Kingdom events. I have proposed such a thing to the A&S officer and the head of the Baronial Costumer's guild, and I would, of course, be assisting in this endeavor, which is not only meant to serve the populace, but could also serve as hours towards the Scholar rank. The question now remains--do I approach former leaders of the guild, or write a polite request directly to Their Majesties? I think I'll start with HL Isabel & Mistress Isolde, since they seem to have been the movers and shakers just before it went on hiatus.
- Build a loom based on a pattern I bought several years ago. It doesn't have to be perfect, just usable. I already have a rigid heddle meant to be used with this pattern...I just need the frame.
- Sheep to shawl project. This is something that has intrigued me for some time. I know how to spin. I know the basics of how to weave. I know how to sew. I want to put all those together and do a start-to-finish project. (thus the incentive to build the aforementioned loom). I may need to learn how to full the fabric manually and block it before I cut it into anything.
- Make cheese. There's a guy down south (I want to say Three Mountains area?) who makes cheese from ordinary ingredients from the store. I'd love to try that.
- Make rush lights. Based on the Tudor Monastic Farm episodes YouTube. Aenor (my co-conspirator) and I love these various series and would like to do some anthropological experiments. I've wanted to try to make a wattle fence for some time but lacked the yard for it. Maybe this is an experiment I could attempt with Yvette since I know her landlady. :)
- Teach more--already have one class coming up in February at the Midhaven session, but I hope to do more in the coming months as the opportunity arises. As a Chancellor, I know that the best bet is to reach out to the Chancellors and autocrats who are arranging classes.
- Prepare for a 12th Night display in the A&S room, and *maybe* a single entry in Kingdom A&S. Big step for me...but Aenor did it and I can lean on her to share her experiences.
I may not be able to finish all of these this year, especially with other projects and responsibilities that I have in my real life, but it's something to aim for.
Unfortunately, I didn't get any photos during the weekend. I usually take a couple dozen pictures of costumes and inspiration, but I didn't do that this time. I didn't even see the guy that always dresses in the fabulous Elizabethan garb (whose name I don't know). Ah, well. I'll have to be forward and ask people about their methods and techniques when I see them at upcoming events. It was impressed on us at the panel discussion that most Laurels are shy geeks who love to talk about their passions, but only if you ask them. I'm not particularly shy, so I will make it a mission to approach them and geek out on art stuff with them one-on-one.