[Ansteorra] how art can help groups

willowdewisp at juno.com willowdewisp at juno.com
Thu Jul 19 16:11:42 PDT 2012

How Art and Beauty can increase the pleasure of people in the SCA and help strengthen their groups, and solved some of the Problems of “Lack of Volunteering”<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
Ramblings of Duchess Willow de wisp
My group just put on Crown Tourney and it was wonderful. Everyone was Happy and talking about what they wanted to do at our next event. There has even talk about taking on a really big event. This is what a good event is supposed to do-Increase our enjoyment of the SCA.
I, myself, was unable to help much, but in the years past I was “Coordinating Artist” for several painting projects and have the fruits of our labor. I have the pleasant duty of maintaining the wall hangings that have been made over the years starting with the Coronation of King Sutan. You cannot guess my amazement and joy when the people who had put up the wall hanging came and told me how beautiful they were. You could feel their pride in creating the hall.  At that moment those people and all the others that have worked on those hangings linked and it was a special moment for me. 
Right now I would like to say I believe that one of reasons I still enjoy the SCA is the creation of beautiful things that are used in the SCA.  I am not very good at décor. I make things and then hand them over to people who make beautiful events. I get a lot of satisfaction from this interaction. 
 The crew at this Crown Tourney did especially good job. At other events, my husband, Duke Jonathan, has created wonderful halls and often worked with my Protégé HL Roger Redhand. HL Roger Redhand is a very talented artist and made  many of the Wall hangings. If you had seen the wall hangings put up over the years you would know it takes a special artistic talent to do it and the people at Crown Tourney had that talent.   
I started working with Mistress Branywn out of the Steppes. Lord Roger and I were part of her painting crew. Then as it is the nature of things, Lord Roger and I started doing our own. Then of course Lord Roger started doing his own. 
 Mistress Branywn was a Great Artist and was classically trained and could make almost anything. She worked in many mediums. She loved the pomp and would arrange autocrating teams to do events so she and her people could create the beauty of our study times.  The two things that stick out in my mind are the “Cloth of Gold” Tourney during the reign of King Finn and the chapel that was done at the Chivalry Camp at Elfsea Defender.
When you create Beauty at an event it makes the event more real. It also instills pride in everyone who worked on the event because they had a part in creating the event. The flapping banners and the wall hangings and the décor on the table and all the little things that make up ambiance really add to events. But what many people don’t realize that these jobs allow people to be creative and allow for a greater number of people to take part in the event.
I believe that many people think that many things happening at an event puts a strain on a system that doesn’t have enough volunteers in the first place. What they are missing is lack of volunteering is related to a feeling of helplessness and having no investment in an event. Giving someone a creative task that they would like to do usually gets them and their friends to an event and increases the chances of recruiting them to do something. 
The fact is,  if you get someone to make a salt for the head table or do something for the list field or paint a banner or wall-hanging they will want to go to the event and they might excited about it and bring others to show off their creations. Excitement and investment means a decrease of Apathy and Apathy is at the core of lack of volunteering.  Excitement is also usually linked with more communication and increase Communication makes for a larger network of People. Many people will help if they know there is a problem. In today’s world people often cut themselves off from electronic communications with a group because they know if they hear about the tasks needed to be filled they feel obliged to volunteer. If they are already coming to the event because of a loved one or friend is doing something creative at the event then these people will often volunteer to fill a job because “Why not, I am going to be there anyway and it will give me something to do” 
It is important for an Autocrat to find someone to spearhead static and non-static ambiance. This is great job to delegate. There is no way for an Autocrat to be able to handle this and handle this aspect of the event at the same time.  In Period, Master of Revels, was the title of the person who coordinated the efforts of all artistic activities.  The person you delegate to do the job of getting, and creating ambiance should be willing to talk to people and find what people dream about doing and seeing if they can match this person and that person.   
An Event is not successful unless it provides a % of your people a chance to be creative on an individual level and allows for % of you people to interaction in a creative social situation.  For many SCA members working on a project that allows them to be creative makes "the Dream." 

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