As a member of the Order of the Laurel (The worldwide level of recognition of mastery in the study and recreation of pre-1600 arts- in my case, for calligraphy and illumination.), it is my responsibility and privilege to take students as apprentices, and "train 'em up in the way they should go."
When I was placed on vigil to contemplate joining the Order of the Laurel in 2011, two newish scribes came bouncing into my tent to beam at me with "You're So Coool!" faces. Which totally freaked me out, because that was the moment that I realized what it really meant to be a Laurel. Lots of people Who Should Know had been telling me all day that I deserved it and that no, it wasn't a mistake. But it wasn't until those two newish scriblets told me how glad they were that I was being recognized, because they thought I was awesome and looked up to me / my work, that it sunk in. It wasn't about what *I* thought about myself and my work. Being a Laurel is about other people.
|Right after I was elevated as a Laurel. I had that terrified look alllllll day. Photo by Owen Townes|
|Her apprenticing contract, which I made|
her write - photo by Cheryn Rapp
|The apprenticing Ceremony - whereupon I gave her a green belt |
marking her as an apprentice.
Photo by Charlotte Hayes of Shutterbug Creations
|My Laurel is the one with the riding crop. Photo by Bardulf Rouen.|
|An example of Isemay's work. Seriously?! This is ridiculous. Ridiculously AWESOME.|
She needed me to be a sounding board, and a lot of times, the questions she'd ask weren't because she didn't know the answers, but because she didn't have confidence that her answers were right. My job was to build her confidence, reassure her, and stand in her corner while she fought her own battles. My job was to keep her from beating herself up over the small mistakes, to learn to let things go by so that she could keep going forward, and to help her celebrate the triumphs. It has been a lot of fun.
But unfortunately, everyone else could see how awesome she was too, and this last Saturday, she was also recognized as a member of the Order of the Laurel and a master of her art.
There has never been a moment that I regretted having an apprentice or felt burdened by my duty to her as her Laurel. It has been a great joy and a great honor to be known as her Laurel, and I can't wait to see what she does next.