SCA Apprentice Scouting

My first published novel, ‘American Rust,’ took three and a half years of full-time work to write. But I wrote two apprentice novels before that.

Philipp Meyer
A potter teaching.
Photo by Shane Albuquerque on Unsplash

You probably know an apprentice is someone learning a trade. For Meyer it was writing novels. In the SCA it can be any pre-17th century craft. Or multiple crafts based on a theme you choose.

In the Middle Ages apprentices were legally bound to a master craftsman. In the SCA there’s a sorta similar relationship. For laurel’s their student is called an apprentice.

So, how do you become a laurel’s apprentice? Are there specific steps you follow?

It’s a process. It begins when you have an affinity with an SCA Laurel. That affinity doesn’t have to be based on a shared skill, persona, or even similar Kingdoms. If you’re not already their friend and sometimes if you are, you send out feelers. You say something that lets the peer know you’d like to be more than hangout-friends. You’re scouting.

Ok, but what’s the typical way you do that? Sorry folks I don’t have an answer for you. There’s no set person that must ask. Either the Laurel or the interested friend can do it. The tough part is some peers have a preference. If you think that’s case you might ask an intermediate friend to help. To act as your matchmaker.

Once you both agree the next step is also fuzzy. Together you explore what you expect. Determine what the relationship means to you and the other person. The length of time this takes isn’t set, it just depends. Some laurels even insist on this trial period and go so far as calling you their “student”.

By now you’re probably asking, “Why is this so ill-defined and murky?

Laurel-apprentice relationships are different one to another. They’re even distinct within the same household. Parents don’t treat all their children the same. But most try not to favor one over another. The important thing is what you both make of your relationship. 

My first Laurel, M. Agnes de Lanvallei was subtle and slow-walked the process. We worked well together and I learned much even though our crafts were different. To me this seemed to last years, but it was only months. And they were some of the best months we shared.

If you already know each other well the exploration phase may be just chatting over coffee about both your expectations. It may also include many emails and texts. Some laurels also assign you a specific project or two. When I do that I’m checking how you learn, what you know and whether you fulfill assignments in a timely manner. For me these are in the form of a quest.  

There’s much to consider during this time. How can the laurel aid the student? How the student receives coaching? Do you have a kindred connection? It’s a time you learn each other’s common behaviors, communication style and preferred learning method. And – importantly – how well you work together and have fun.

After this you both decide again you want to continue the learning relationship. If you want to take it farther you agree to reveal it to others. You commit publicly to it for at least a year and a day.   

Related Prior Post: Student To A Peer

Categories: Musings

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