HERB - my first official sca class taught

Gaylin Walli gwalli at infoengine.com
Fri Dec 18 06:51:40 PST 1998

Last night, I taught my first official SCA-related class.
It was nearly impromptu because of some scheduling
confusion, but at least I had a day to prepare. I taught
a class on balms.

Specifically, I concentrated on the base ingredients. I
thought it might be more useful for people to know what
the substances were that made up a balm or ointment,
rather than reiterating what so many herb-class attendees
already know or can very well read on their own in any
standard herb plant book (ie. plant history, usage, safety
and look). Obviously I covered how I thought balms were
made in period based on the accounts and recipes I've read.

Although there were only 4 attendees, the class was very
well received. It lasted about 45 minutes (certainly in
part due to the fact that I talk too fast) and people
had a chance to touch balms and balm bases that were already
made up to get an idea of different ingredients and how
they felt, smelled, and looked.

Everyone commented on how useful it was to see the plain base,
without additives in a side-by-side comparison. I provided
this in combination with a table detailing suggested oil and
beeswax amounts to obtain one particular hardness, using the
pre-made bases at the strength in the table, 2x the amount of
wax (to demonstrate a SUPER hard balm) and 1/2 the amount to
show what an ointment or salve looked like. I also showed how
different additives would affect the consistency.

The part of the class that got the biggest laugh was the
very brief discussion of the Yuck Factor. That is, people
really got a kick out of some of the ingredients used for
balms that most mundane people would say "EEEEWWWW!" to.
I would like to expand this a little more in the future
with more concrete references.

Actually, I'd like to expand everything a little more with
more concrete references. We'll never really think we know
enough, will we? :)

I'm gloating. I know it. But I wanted to share with all
of you. Everyone from the class has contacted me this
morning and said how much fun they had and how much they
liked it. I'm so very happy!

Good morning!

jasmine at infoengine.com

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