I am wrestling with myself on something in the hobby part of my life. I am a weekend medievalist and have been for a couple of decades now. I have been active in the various shires that I have lived in, which have been three. I have held several offices for several years at a time over the course of these 20+ years. I am also pretty artsy fartsy. I try to make mine and my family’s garb as accurate as possible shy of sewing it entirely by hand (fuck that!). I am an avid embroiderer as well and am budding at knitting of late (I may have a fetish for knitting socks). I have made many gifts for many friends and royals and have made my fair share of Queen’s favors over the years. I wouldn’t say I’m a slacker.
A few years into being in this group, I started having a desire to become a laurel, someday. So, I began trying to make more accurate items of artwork, be it embroidered, book binding, clothing, accessories, illumination & scribal work, etc. I sought a teacher to guide me in my studies. Over the course of the years, I have been apprenticed to a couple of laurels, but the relationships ended for one reason or another. Currently, I am in an odd ball sort of dual peerage relationship with both a pelican and a laurel, for several years now. For those that do not know, a Pelican is for excellence service and a Laurel is for excellence in the arts and sciences. They teamed up wanting to work with me but not wanting to make me choose between the two of them. Since the two of them are long time friends, they make it work.
As I have been working towards it over the years, I wonder exactly why do I want it? I hear from friends, that are peers, of the headaches that come with the title. The discussion groups that can get very negative on people who are being nominated for that particular accolade. I hear how the bar is being raised higher and higher it’s getting harder and harder to be accepted or have your work evaluated as the level to be considered for the peerage. What is acceptable service and what is now. The artwork one may do and love is one that has already been researched greatly by someone else who has been elevated so it makes it harder for them. I have heard of some that have reached the point of massive discouragement and have given up their aspirations for that peerage they had worked towards. I use to enter competitions for my art and on a couple of occasions my work was given some very harsh unconstructive criticism. It has deterred me from entering any such further competitions or contests. I will display my work, but have no desire to enter competitions any longer for fear of the vitral words that some will give as “criticism”. Now, I can take CONSTRUCTIVE criticism, but as I’ve said in previous entries, I can wear my heart on my sleeve and if you are down right mean in your comments on my entry, it will hurt. Why would i want to be around you if you are like that? So I don’t put my work out there in competition. I post it on another blog where I solely showcase my work. Its public. Anyone can view it. I have made many a gift for friends, family, royalty, donation gift baskets, etc. 17 years worth of art has gone out. And that whole saying “Cobbler’s children have no shoes” is so me. I have nothing embroidered or embellished that I wear myself because I tend to put all my time into things for others. I keep saying I’ll make myself something but then I envision this grand present for someone else and off I go making them something.
So I ask myself again why I want to earn a peerage? It won’t help me in the mundane world. It wont give me a raise where I work. Won’t help me get a better home. I suppose I want it because it means my work has reached that level that is more than just intermediate. I suppose I want to be accepted and viewed as having artwork that is of an expert level or that I have achieved an excellent level of service for the kingdom and that they want to include me in their ranks. Seems silly, but yes, i do want it. To feel welcomed and wanted. Whether it will actually happen, I am unsure and have my doubts. There is the first point of being nominated by someone who thinks you are worthy. I have peers that feel that others should nominate their students and not them…but they will support and cheerlead for them 100% when someone does.
Someone once told me if you don’t expect anything you won’t be disappointed. It’s a shitty attitude to take, I know but maybe it will keep my heart a little bit safer from the hurt of disappointment.
I can dream. It’s cheap.