Researching the Obscure

Yesterday was West Kingdom Collegium, and for some reason I decided to teach a class.

Actually, I know the reason, and that was that I like teaching! I asked William what he thought I should teach– my History of Lace class seemed like a bad idea, since there isn’t much interest in late 16th C in the West Kingdom. I could teach a hands-on class– embroidery, spinning, basic bobbin lace– but I prefer to teach things like that one-on-one as opposed to in a group, and they’d require a lot of supplies. William suggested something I had never thought of– a research class.

If you think about it, it does make sense. I have a fair amount of experience doing research (wheeeeeee thank you PhD program and grad level classes in undergrad). If you have been around since the very beginning you’ll recall that I decided I wanted to do 15th C Spanish and then realized that there was almost no information available. So I had to do my own digging, mostly from period sources, whereas a lot of people when they are getting started start by looking at what the people around them are doing and replicate that. If you are doing something that two or three other people are doing, at all, ever, you can’t really make that happen.

So I put together a powerpoint on how to get started doing garb research, with a case study of 15th and 16th C Spanish. Andddddd…. here it is!

collegium garb class (powerpoint)


I have gotten mixed responses about the class– several of my SCA friends told me I did a great job, but my mom had a lot of critiques. I felt OK at the beginning but definitely frazzled towards the end, which was frustrating. I do enjoy teaching and I pride myself at being good at it, but I lost the point a couple of times and forgot an important point (which thankfully a friend of mine brought up).

And then this happened:

Screenshot 2019-06-02 11.56.12

After Investiture I had basically given up on getting any kind of award/recognition before I left, and I was kind of upset. I’ve been putting a lot of time and energy into the SCA over the past year, and I have gotten a lot of support and recognition from individuals (which is amazing, I love this community) but nothing from the organization. I felt bad expressing this to people– after all, you are supposed to do things Out Of The Love You Have For Them– and while I do love the work that I do, I think it is normal and natural to want to feel recognized and supported. It is, after all, the definition of “burnout” to be putting a lot of effort into something and not get much reward. So I decided to take a step back– focus on my projects because I love them, not because of how they relate to the SCA– which is pretty simple given that I’m not going to many more events before I leave! But I was teaching at Collegium and figured I’d show up, teach my class to about 3 people, learn about 16th Century Tailoring and Tablet Weaving, and go home. Then other than one event in August I’d take a break from the society until I get settled in Drachenwald.

Well I showed up to Collegium, taught my class to 14 people including Her Majesty, and they did something I did not know was possible. The World’s Tiniest And Fastest Court opened in a Sunday School classroom, and I was admitted to the Order of the Rose Leaf.

I had pretty much accepted that I wasn’t getting an AoA, not to mention a separate award that comes with an AoA*.

*For non-SCA folks, the Award of Arms is usually the first award people get, basically “thanks for showing up!” In the West Kingdom the Order of the Rose Leaf is one of three “Leafs of Achievement,” which are AoA level awards for arts and sciences, service, or combat.

I still feel like this hasn’t quite sunk in? I just. What? How? I guess I just… keep at it? Feel bad that I was kind of…complaining… and feel like I just got the award to shut me up? Because Imposter Syndrome is a thing, apparently. But I will try and have faith in the people who support me and tell me I’m doing well.

One thought on “Researching the Obscure

  1. Ok, now imagine having been in the SCA for over a year and a half and being congratulated by half a dozen people on an AoA awarded to someone else with a slightly similar name. Because “Jehanne de Wodeford” and “Jenna Mc_____” are so similar people couldn’t get their grapevine gossip straight.

    Then around the two year mark it finally happens and somebody says to your face, “Well, you only got that because you’re friends with _____.” That’s when you say, “I guess that’s because my friend(s) see how much time and work I’ve been putting in.” It was more than made up for when I received my Rose Leaf, having only been in the West Kingdom for about five months .

    I don’t know anyone who doesn’t appreciate a pat on the back. That’s what awards are for, mostly. So look around wherever your SCA participation takes you. Who could use a pat on the back? Write an award recommendation.


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