An apprentice is a Laurel's special student, who normally receives extra attention from his/her Master or Mistress. Everyone should be aware that "apprentice" is a role, not a rank--apprentices have no higher status than any other students.
There are no set rules for Laurel-apprentice relationships. Some apprentices go on to become Laurels, but this is by no means a foregone conclusion. Some Laurels like to take quite inexperienced members as apprentices to help them get started in the Society, and release them as Journeymen when they have found their feet. Others see an apprenticeship as the final stage in grooming an experienced member towards the Peerage. Still other relationships fall somewhere in between.
An apprentice is not a Laurel's personal servant, although it is usual for apprentices to help with some of the Laurel's projects in return for help with their own, and to provide things like general campsite help at Festival, for example. Neither are apprentices entitled to their Laurel's exclusive attention--a Laurel's knowledge and help is available to all. It is reasonable, however, for apprentices to expect more attention from their Laurel than is given to ordinary students; this is normally part of what the relationship is about.
How Do You Become An Apprentice?
Some Laurels like to ask their apprentices; others like to be asked. If you are shy about asking a particular Laurel to take you as an apprentice, you can always ask one of their friends to sound them out for you. If a Laurel asks you to be an apprentice, you are perfectly free to say "no." If you ask and are refused, don't be downcast. It doesn't mean you have no potential; rather, that particular Laurel probably feels the relationship with him/her is not right for you at this stage.
This rest of this page contains Mistress Rowan's Prentice Questions -- the document she gives to students who wish to be her apprentice. Bear in mind this is one laurel's personal guide; the information in it does not apply to everyone!
Rowan's Prentice Questions
Before taking on an apprentice, it is important to consider exactly what the relationship will entail -- for both parties! If you don't know what your expectations are and discuss these in advance, you may end up feeling frustrated and disappointed.
These are some discussion questions I have developed from my experience with my apprentices past and present -- Master Maelgwyn, Mistress Bess, Lord Tomas, Mistress Cristia, Lady Linnet, and Lord Jan. Thanks especially to Maelgwyn and Bess who bore the brunt of trial and error!
- What does a Laurel expect from his/her apprentice? Is this reasonable? Appropriate? Suitable for us?
- What does an apprentice expect from his/her Laurel? Is this reasonable? Appropriate? Suitable for us?
- What is the purpose of the apprenticeship for the Laurel? To teach a specific art/craft? A more general arrangement? To take the apprentice to Laurel standard?
- What is the purpose of the apprenticeship for the apprentice? To learn a specific art/craft? A more general arrangement? To become a Laurel?
- Why do you want this specific person as a Laurel/apprentice?
- What happens if the apprentice is never good enough? Do they stay an apprentice? Become part of the household? Become a journeyman? End the relationship?
- How does this apprenticeship relate to your household, if any?
- What behaviour is expected at events and away from them?
- Do we expect to travel together to and from events? Sit together at events? Camp at Festival?
- How much time do we expect from each other? Regular times or ad hoc?
- How long a Trial period before formalising the relationship?
- How long is the apprenticeship for? A set period? Until some goal is reached? Until we're tired of it?
- How will we review the apprenticeship? How often? Maybe a few times in the first year?
- What happens if we don't meet each other's expectations?
- What happens if one of us doesn't want to do it any more?
- What about a Journeyman phase?
What are the agreed benefits of apprenticeship?
- Item of clothing each year, or fabric to make same, or accessories
- Transport to events
- Access to resources
- Access to my time, knowledge and skills
- Protection and defence of my name and household
- Encouragement and feedback
- Realistic expectations
- Loyalty (& telling you when you are out of line rather than telling someone else)
What are the agreed responsibilities of apprenticeship?
Again, some possibilities:
- Help with household projects
- Awareness that that your actions also reflect on me
- Letting me know what you need from me
- Listening to me
- Trying to do what I ask
- Being honest with me
- Putting effort into what you are working on
- Loyalty (& telling me when I am out of line rather than telling someone else)
- Support for what I am trying to do
Rowan's Prentice Studyguide
I believe that there is more to apprenticeship than one specific art or craft -- I want my apprentice to be well rounded in his/her understanding and experience of the Society.
- Register name and device
- Study book heraldry and take the PE test
- Recognise devices of Kingdoms, major Lochac groups and peers
- Know basic field and court heraldry spiels
- Study basic dances - recognise names and tunes
- Learn several common dances
- Ideally, achieve Silver Rondel
- Study development of calligraphy over period
- Choose appropriate hand and learn to write name
- Practice hand until basically competent (write without reference to guide)
- Study development of illumination over period
- Basic illumination in one style
- Study development of literary forms over period
- Reading list...
- Learn chess moves and play basic game
- Learn 2 other board games to competent level (can play and teach others)
- Learn and play 2 field games
- Make game board &/or pieces for game
- Select and develop any form of entertainment
- Entertain at a feast (in a group is fine)
- Study parts and types of armour and weapons in use in SCA
- Authorise and participate in any form of combat; OR
- Learn basic rules of lists and conventions of combat, and participate in combat as Lists, Herald or Marshal at tourney or war
- Read the Known World Handbook
- Learn the history and development of Lochac
- Learn the location of major groups around Lochac, plus basic Kingdom geography
- Decide on persona (if you want) or time/place
- Acquire suitable garb for court and field
- Acquire suitable feasting and 'living' gear for court and field
- Acquire period tools and packaging for art/science/s of choice
- Hold an office for a term within Barony or Principality
- Work on project for your local group or Principality
- Autocrat an event
- Lots of talking about and help with anything you want
- Studies in patience, tolerance, kindness and disaster control
- Appreciation of own self worth and that of others
In chosen art form/s...
- According to means, acquire library in relevant area/s
- Study and develop research techniques and tools
- Apply research to all projects - before they are started!
- Document projects
- Study elements of design in chosen art/science
- Copy period designs
- Develop new designs for projects based on period forms with appropriate research
- Learn and practice techniques as appropriate
- Review previous work to pinpoint further skills required
- Enter Principality competitions in selected field (and any others)
- Provide detailed documentation for entry
- If possible, view and comment on other entries
- Critique and discuss own entry - what have you learned?
- Develop a teaching plan for a session in selected field
- Prepare notes and examples for use in class, as appropriate
- Teach class at office event or meeting
- Teach informal classes as need arises