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What Are the Different Arts Awards in Æthelmearc?

By Mistress Alicia Langland, OL, OP

 In our Society, there are many ways in which individuals can be recognized for their contributions to the greater good.  One of these areas is artistic achievement. 

 Here in Æthelmearc, there are several awards specifically given for artistic merit: 
 

o Order of the Sycamore  (Order of Merit) 

 

o Order of the Fleur d’Æthelmearc (Order of High Merit)

 

o Order of the Laurel  (Patent of Arms). 

These awards do form a hierarchy, and that hierarchy is echoed in other awards in the Kingdom (e.g., Golden Alce/Gage/ Chivalry or Keystone/Millrind/Pelican).  It certainly is not a requirement that someone must receive a “lower” award before receiving a “more advanced” one. 

However, as an artist becomes more and more proficient in his skills and more knowledgeable in his field, it is only natural for that person’s influence to grow as well.  So, an artist who at first created things solely for his or her own pleasure now begins to teach others locally.  As a result, The Crown might choose to induct this person into the Order of the Sycamore; a Sycamore may use the title “Lord”or “Lady” if he or she does not already have an Award of Arms.

As the Sycamore grows to higher levels of achievement, digging more deeply into his field and reaching out to teach others farther afield, the Order of the Fleur might request that the Crown make the Sycamore a Companion of their Order. This award represents a higher level of skill than a Sycamore;  not surprisingly, Companions are charged with continuing and increasing their skill, encouraging and teaching others, and seeking to expand their range of activities.  Recipients receive a Grant of Arms (GoA) and may use the title “Honorable Lady” or “Honorable Lord.”  (Members of the Peerage are not eligible for awards in the same field for which they received their Peerage; for example, after receiving a Laurel, that person may not receive a Fleur.)

The Sycamore and Fleur are given only in Æthelmearc; no other Kingdoms may bestow these awards.  The Laurel, on the other hand, is a Society-wide award.  Because of this, there are requirements in Corpora (the governing document for the SCA, Inc.) about the criteria a person must meet in order to be considered for this award.  (To read this for yourself, go to http://www.sca.org/docs/govdocs.pdf, Section VIII A; Part 1 lists General Requirements for any Patents of Arms, and Part 4.b lists requirements specifically for the Order of the Laurel.) 

As the name “Peerage” implies, the Laurel is the pinnacle of arts awards in our Society.  Unlike the Sycamore and the Fleur, the Laurel is more than an “arts award.”  It recognizes those who are not only the best in their fields but who also exhibit the qualities we admire most.  In addition to outstanding artistic contributions, a Companion of the Laurel must also have demonstrated significant service and consistently courteous behavior.   New Laurels are recognized by the King and Queen after consulting with the Order of the Laurel. Recipients may use the title “Master” or “Mistress” (or its equivalent) in front of their name.

Anyone can write to the Crown and ask that someone be considered for any of these awards.  After all, the King and Queen cannot possibly be aware of everyone in the Kingdom who deserves to be recognized with an arts award.  There is even an Award Recommendation

A recommendation form is available on-line; it can be found here

 


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