What breaks the heart





One of the things one has to learn to accept when doing artwork for the SCA especially as a scribe is that people almost never say thank you if the scribe is not actually present at the event where the scroll is being given out. It's a hard fact that has driven a lot of scribes away after a certain length of time or turned them to the "I only do work for my friends or people I know" route. When I first started doing serious scribing for this kingdom I never understood this line and it was worse when I became the signet clerk for the 1st time because how the hell did I know who other people were friends with? I would get really cross when people said this to me but as time went on and I did more and more work I came to understand some of the reasons behind this.

This scroll was the first scroll I tried fancy gold work out on. I had just started using the sugar-gum arabic recipe for gesso and it worked well so when this assignment came across my desk and I was asked to do it I decided to try something I had never done before.

It took a long time to lay the gesso down and then the gold down and I wanted to do something beautiful because a peerage scroll should be beautiful. There are hours of work in this piece so I was on pins and needles about it being given out hoping the person would like it. I never found out because they never said anything to me. No little email to say thank you or anything and it hurt, oddly enough, more than any other scroll I had done and also heard nothing about.

I do not expect presents or lots of attention but I do expect a simple thank you, I do. It's courteous and good manners. If someone does something or makes something for you you say thanks but a lot of scroll recipients don't and eventually these silences add up.It's hard when you don't hear anything because you start to think, did the scroll suck? Did they not like it? Are they unhappy with it? I've been told by other scribes that they don't have this issue, they get thanked for every scroll they do and I'm happy for them but boy that adds to the doubt about my work and what people think of a scroll they get from me.

This was the first one that started a slow slide into a pit of I can't do this anymore. It took a few years and I fought it because it went against everything I felt and remarked about when I first got started. Eventually I stopped doing scrolls after 4 years of being Signet Clerk and took a break of around 2 years. There were a lot of factors not the least of which were an international move and surgery after a lengthy and debilitating illness but mainly, as far as the scrolls were concerned I had had enough.

What got me started again was the love of the craft. Simply put I like the work and I really missed it, which surprised me. I like to make scrolls. I just had to look at it from a different angle. Now I don't think so much about the person as I do the work itself, perfecting the craft and getting it right, learning new things...moving forward. It helps if I know the recipient but it's not a requirement for me doing a scroll. I don't expect anything from recipients anymore that path leads to disappointment and the negative. I count my time doing scrolls as my contribution to the whole volunteer aspect of the SCA. Some people work in the kitchens others do other stuff this is what I do.

But this was the first scroll that broke my heart and it was the first to snip away at some of the joy as a whole and teach me to stop expecting acknowledgement for the work. I am glad I changed this way of thinking so that I am less disappointed when a recipient says nothing and of course facebook etc helps to change some of that, but it was a hard, long lesson to learn and I'm still learning to deal with it.

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