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Order of the Pearl and Teaching

Poster: Susan and Ken Reed <nachtanz@mail.patriot.net>

Morgnne@aol.com wrote:

>As a Companion of the Order of the Pearl, I can only speak from my own
>perspective (which, I realize, is purely my own   .... is this where I need
>to put the disclaimer that all opinions expressed herein are mine, and not
>necessary those of the management? <G>)  Anyway, here goes (my first attempt
>at a response in the Merry Rose..... bartender, pour me an ale!).....
>It has long been the tradition that a Pearl is a Kingdom-level award given
>for excellence in the arts and sciences.  It is usually given for a specific
>art or science (needlework, brewing, whatever), although multiple talents in
>the arts and sciences are even more cool.  A key component is also teaching
>--- does the person in question share his/her knowledge with others?
> However, it is not the only component.  A person can teach all he/she wants,
>but if the quality of the work is not of a certain level, that person is not
>ready to be Pearl material.

Your Excellency,

I beg to differ here. I consider both teaching and research to be arts in
themselves (not everyone who does a "craft" well can teach well) , and when
sufficiently good, should be recognized with a Pearl. Think of it this way,
what a good teacher/researcher who presents his/her research produces are
educated people. Since the SCA is an historical and educational society, I
think these are two of the most appropriate "arts" we can recognize.

I also invite you  to read something I sent to Robin of Mannefeld years ago
when he was principal of the Order and that is now included in  the Order
of the Pearl Manual (yes, there is a Pearl Manual!):

"Lady Teleri Talgellawg has made an excellent analysis of the evaluation of
candidates which it is reproduced here verbatim:

'I have been evaluating candidates by looking at three areas of their work:
execution of their craft, research, and teaching.  I also look at the
breadth or narrowness of the "category" they are nominated in.  The
narrower the "category", the more depth I expect the candidate to show in
that category - the candidate should be strong in this case in all the
three areas mentioned above.  The broader the "category" or the more
"categories" a candidate is nominated for, the less depth I expect that
candidate to have in any one craft.  Take for example, a person who is
skilled in a variety of aspects of jewelry-making - copper enameling, and
gold- and silversmithing, and gemstone polishing and setting - I would
expect him/her to have done enough research to create period-looking
articles of jewelry, but not necessarily much more than that.  A person who
does only gemstone polishing and setting, I would expect to have researched
the stones used, period methods of cutting and polishing, what the stones
meant in the Middle Ages/Renaissance, if and how they were used
medicinally, etc., and to do some instruction in this area to be equivalent
to the greater variety of skills demonstrated by the first example.

'People who are particularly strong in research and/or teaching of a craft
rather than the execution of a craft should not be ignored when candidates
are nominated to the Order.  A person who cannot make one stroke of a
calligraphy pen on paper without flooding the paper with ink, may still be
the most knowledgeable person on the history of calligraphy and
illumination around.  Lack of skill does not exclude knowledge of a craft
or the ability to teach others that craft.' "

Since I wrote that over a decade ago, I have expanded this to considering
that teaching and research are worthy arts in themselves. Treating them as
such allows us to recognize those people who devotedly explore topics at
great lengths that do not necessaarily produce "artifacts" that can be seen
(e.g., drama), touched (e.g., a bench), heard (e.g., music), tasted (e.g.,
cooking), or smelled (e.g., perfumery) such as period economics,
demographics, family and kinship, intellectual history, cultural history,
Viking studies, the Catholic Church, etc., etc., etc., that are important
to understanding the societies and cultures we endeavor to recreate. People
who put in a great deal of time and energy into enriching the Society in
these ways should also be recognized. I suppose this could be considered
"service," but I feel A&S is a better fit.

Yours in Service,
(now) Dame Teleri Talgellawg

Susan and Ken Reed                 AFPOPA               nachtanz@patriot.net
    What's life without a little irony?  Wrinkly, very wrinkly.
  R K Architects, 900 S. Washington St., Falls Church, VA 22046

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