ANST-Announce - Ansteorran Scribes: please read. : )

Lee Lemons lalemons at
Sun Jul 9 23:09:40 PDT 2000

Greetings unto Ansteorra's most wonderful scribes!

To the Sable Scroll, Regional Scribes, heads of scribal guilds, and
scribes who hold other Kingdom scribal positions, I'd like to first
thank you for all the traveling and work you've been doing in your
position.  A sometimes hard, time-involved position, you hold the
usually unrecognized or behind the scenes job of promoting the scribal
arts, dealing with different personalities, conditions, ability levels,
and so on.  But without you, the Kingdom would not have the award
charters for every court we have, and several people wouldn't have the
wonderful knowledge of this art and the feeling of service.

There are a couple of areas I'd like to briefly address.  The first
concerns the different types of scribes we have.

After a lot of thought over the past year and several conversations with
different scribes, I have come to the conclusion that we have basically
three types of scribes.  For the most part, all three start off in our
Kingdom with charter painting.  As their interest and expertise grows,
scribes then basically travel three different routes.  Of course there
are always exceptions, but these three different routes seem to
generally cover all scribes who stay active in the scribal community.

A good number of the scribes who start with charter painting will stay
with just charter painting for a short while.  Probably a good estimate
of how many of the other scribes who stay as just charter painters after
this short time would be about 30%.  These scribes are interested in the
service and somewhat interested in the learning of the art, but not as
much as interested in going forward into AS competitions,
apprenticeship, and finally reaching the stage of Laurel as other
scribes.  The bulk of award charters comes from these scribes because
their focus stays with just charter painting.

The usual route for a good 60% of the scribes is to begin doing AS
competitions, developing their scribal arts personally, and rising
through the scribal community, from apprentice to Laurel.  This scribe
usually is concentrating on original work, research, etc.  For the most
part, they don't go back into charter painting.  So the Kingdom at that
point has gained a scribe for original work, but has lost the service
aspect of a scribe doing award charters.

The last 10% of scribes are those who continue with painting award
charters and original work.  These scribes are high level scribes,
usually Laurels, who keep their fingers in all aspects of our scribal
system.  However, these are few and far between because they usually
branch out into different arts, non scribal, and pursue those arts as
well as try to keep up with the previous scribal ones.  At this point
the Kingdom has not only a versatile scribe, but a busy one learning
other pursuits.

There will always be the opinion, especially by other Kingdoms,  that
all our awards should be original works and that our present day system
should be thrown out.  For that to work, though, we would need all
scribes, 100% of them, to keep their hand in the award system, even if
it is original work. What that means is that while yes they can move
forward with their research, A&S competitions, and growth as a well
rounded artist, not just knowing only our scribal arts but other arts as
well, all scribes would still need to contribute work for our award
system on a constant basis or we would begin to have a backlog of awards
that some Kingdoms are currently faced with.

I think this can be done, to some extent, but it means that the scribes
who continue with charter painting need to be  just as valued as those
who branch off to do original work.  Basically, right now, we have one
third to one half of our scribes pretty much handling the bulk of award
charters being given out in court. Because they willingly and happily do
this, it allows others to explore other routes they might prefer more,
as in original scroll design.

To that end Mistress Aslyn's position has been created.  Her office
promotes the education and teaching of original scroll design.  I would
like to encourage all scribal guilds, Regional Scribal officers, and
anyone else interested in learning more about scroll creation, or who
are interested in helping, to contact her.

Mistress Aslyn's e-mail address is: aslyn2 at

Now for my last concern.

This last concern of mine is about running charter painting areas at
events.  I've tried very hard to make it my personal goal that if I'm at
an event to run a charter painting area, that I stay there to supervise
it as best as I can.  If for some reason I need to leave, I try to leave
only for a short time and with other adults left there, almost always
letting at least one of them know I'll be right back.  When possible, I
also have "tag teamed" with scribal friends or other scribal officers so
that one of us could relieve the other for short respites.

There are several reasons for my concern for charter painting areas to
always be supervised.

First, we're dealing with materials that are to some extent toxic.  Very
few gentles are aware of how toxic some of our paints can be.  Whether
it concerns not reshaping a paint brush tip in their mouth to not using
a drinking vessel as a container to clean brushes in, there are several
little things that a scribe can inform them about.  Also, we have young
gentles who see "paints" and want to start painting.  If an adult is not
there, who is to keep this from happening?  Thankfully the Kingdom MoC,
Countess Anora, is helping out with this area and is currently
developing safe painting activities for our wonderful youngsters.  We
want adults and children alike to be involved, but safely!!!

Secondly, we're dealing with expensive materials.  As any scribe can
verify, there's nothing cheap about paints, pallets, brushes, etc.  Add
in color copies of example work, Kingdom charters, etc., and you will
see there is quite a bit of time, energy, and money put into a charter
painting area.  Spilled drinks,  gentles who hover over something left
to dry whose mug's condensation drips onto the charter, people eating by
work left out for the moment and unsuspectingly leaving greasy patches
where food  slipped onto a table....--- there are so many scenarios of
accidental occurrences that can arise and leave both parties feeling
aghast, that someone being there and watching out for just these  things
could  prevent such an occurrence.  Having had just these types of
unintentional accidents actually happen to me makes me very aware of how
easily they can happen!  One time I worked three hours on a Court Barony
just to have it ruined by a nice gentle who leaned forward, drink in
hand, to look at the diapering and have a big splat of condensation from
his mug land right in the middle of the work.  We were both in shock for
a while, I tell you!  So for the very security of our materials we
should have someone always at the charter painting area.

Finally, think of how many people walk by and see materials out, but
don't realize that they could sit down and try their hand at charter
painting.  If I was new to the SCA and charter painting and saw all the
materials laid out but no one there, I would stop to see what it was
about, but wouldn't dare think to sit and use any of the materials
because I wouldn't know 1) if I was allowed to do so, 2) if it was
someone's project I was going to mess up, and 3) how to do any of it.  I
would see brushes, paints, charters, but if no one explains procedures,
etc., I'd just be at a loss of where to start.  We need people at
charter painting areas to encourage, teach, and so on.

In conclusion, I think our Kingdom scribes are terrific, doing a great
job, and heartily thank you all for your individual efforts!  Over the
past several years I've seen our scribal community grow, come closer,
and it's looking better and better all the time.  The Sable Scroll,
Regional Scribes, special officers like Mistress Aslyn,  scribal guilds,
etc., are beginning to really promote the scribal arts and make a much
stronger scribal community than I've seen in a good number of years.
Charter painting and original scroll works are very much out in the open
and becoming great interests for several gentles, which can only lead to
a very strong scribal commitment to the excellence of the art, which
ever way it is approached.  And for that, I say thank you, one and all,
for helping this happen!

With this being, probably, my last major missive as Star Signet, I would
like to thank you one and all for your help and encouragement during my
tenure as Star Signet.  It has been my pleasure to meet all the
wonderful and special scribes at the different events and guild
meetings, and I truly mean it when I say you are the backbone of the
scribal community.  Without your work and dedication, the Kingdom
wouldn't have the beautiful award charters and scrolls that we have come
to expect at our courts.

With great respect and warmest regards to all Ansteorran scribes,

Baroness Curstaidh Magorlick
Star Signet

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