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What Is Expected of a Laurel?

By Mistress Alicia Langland

For many in our Society, attaining a Laurel is a goal to strive for.  What some do not realize is that the striving does not stop once the Laurel wreath is placed on an artist’s head.  Indeed, most Laurels would confess an even stronger urge to live up to the title once it has been reached than they had felt before their elevation.  They realize:  With greater rank comes greater responsibility.* 

What are these responsibilities?  And where do they come from?  There are three very different sources, each with varying sets of expectations:
  o The Royalty
  o The Populace
  o The Order of the Laurel in Æthelmearc

Corpora states that advising the Crown on the advancement of candidates for the Laurel is one of the duties of the Order.  Royalty are required to consult with the Order when considering candidates to elevate.  In order to fulfill this obligation, members of the Order owe it to The Crown to:

  o Be familiar with Corpora, particularly those sections pertaining to potential candidates for the Order.
  o Attend Order meetings (when possible).
  o Respond to pollings and Royal queries in a timely fashion.
  o Participate in on-line discussions.
  o Observe and comment on aspiring artisans in the Kingdom.

Not surprisingly, one of the duties of a Laurel mentioned in Corpora is to enrich the kingdom by sharing knowledge and skills.  Obviously, to enrich the kingdom, we need to extend our knowledge and skills beyond the Laurel circle to the Populace.   To do this, members of the Order owe it to the Populace to:


o Teach. (Depending on the individual, this could be accomplished through a variety of means, ranging from public ones, including teaching traditional classes and publishing, to more individual ones such as mentoring.)


o Display your handiwork so as to inspire and guide others.


o Encourage aspiring artists (such as by answering questions, sharing resources, providing materials, etc.).


o Promote and participate in “arts encounters” in Æthelmearc:  Artisans’ Forum and other displays, A&S competitions, Academies and scholas, Ask-a-Laurel tables, etc.


o Serve as arts officers in the Kingdom and in the Society.

But the people of Æthelmearc look to us for more than just teaching specific skills;  they look to us, as stated in Corpora, to “set an example of courtesy and chivalrous conduct.”  To do this, members of the Order also owe it to the Populace to:


o Make time for others, to be available both artistically and emotionally.


o Be sensitive to the needs and feelings of aspiring artists. (Praise in public;  provide guidance in private.)


o Model the qualities we as a Society value most by being level-headed, gracious, understanding, and generous.


o Make amends when needed.

When an artist is elevated to the Order of the Laurel, he or she may receive symbols of this new rank:  a wreath, a medallion, a cloak.  These symbols do more than proclaim, “The bearer is a masterful artist.”  It also says, “This artist is a member of a community.”  With his or her knowledge, skills, interests, and enthusiasm, each member contributes to the overall health of that community.  In addition to the responsibilities already mentioned, Companions of the Laurel owe it to the Order to:


o Maintain and extend their knowledge and skills in the area(s) for which they were elevated.


o Explore additional arts fields in order to be better able to make informed judgments about candidates’ work.


o Remember that some will judge the Order by your words and actions.  Speak and act gently.


o Wear your Laurel regalia with pride.  “Stealth Laurels” send mixed messages.


o Maintain Order confidentiality.


o Inform the Keeper of the Polling Orders of any changes in their contact information.


o Inform the List Moderator of changes in e-mail addresses.


o Periodically review their page on the Laurel website and update it as needed.

Obviously, members of the Order cannot be everything to everybody all of the time;  sometimes real-life obligations can get in the way of a Laurel ’s ability to fulfill these responsibilities.  However, each member of the Order should strive to be the best Laurel he or she can be, each and every day. 

By meeting these expectations, we help to ensure the health and vitality of our Kingdom.

* quoting Mistress Kris Gilbari, whose skill with words is almost as beautiful as her skill with a brush.


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