Monday, December 31, 2012

The Rules

This is a journey of personal enlightenment that I hope you will join in for or at least follow from time to time. I fully intend to push my skills and talents into realms I have never explored, and fully expect to fail from time to time. It is a lot about discovery, a little about scholarship, and a good deal about making neat things.
  • I intended the word "school" to mean a group of like-minded individuals working toward a common goal. If you cannot see past the modern connotation of teacher and pupil, then at least bear in mind that I am not the teacher here, I am the student, an apprentice to every master I encounter in their crafts.
  • I won't always be in costume as I'm working unless it affects the outcome in some way.
  • I will be prejudiced toward period or near-period methods and tools, which means that if I can't get the exact right thing, I'll opt for the closest approximate item.
  • However, I had to promise my wife I would not die or make myself seriously ill doing this. If the actual item is dangerous, poisonous (Elizabethans sometimes seem a bit overfond of toxic materials), or for that matter if it is unattainable within the confines of the project time and the budget, I will opt for the next closest safe alternative that affords the correct results.
  • The goal is for this to be fun or I wouldn't be doing it.
  • I intend for this project to draw attention to the masters of these crafts still up and at it in the modern era. Whenever possible, I will tap into their wisdom (many wonderful craftspeople have reached out to me already) and will link to and call attention to their efforts as they will be inevitably superior to my own amateur mucking about.
  • I will be wrong from time-to-time. The research materials are seemingly inexhaustible, but the time to prepare is not so I am bound to miss something. Being wrong is part of the process of learning. Please feel free to point it out. I ask only that you observe a certain base level of politeness. This is a learning experience and no one learns from being insulted or having a finger wagged at them.
I'm sure more things will occur to me as we go along, but this is a foundation good enough for going on with.

See you in the first week of the new year!

- Scott
31 December 2012

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The City of London: The ancient and very odd institution...

I'm rapidly becoming an avid follower of the Youtube channel of  CGP Grey, who basically explains things. I'm a huge fan of people explaining things in a clear and concise manner. If they can use cartoons, so much the better.

Anyway, Grey recently turned his animated flashlight on the ancient and honorable and rather strange entity that forms a backdrop for what I'm doing here: the Livery Companies and how they still govern the City of London.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

News: Plus Stuff and Tools and OMG all the STUFF!!!

Beard = Serious Scholar
I've been silent for awhile as I do important things like acquire hard-to-find tools, rare books, and grow a new beard (very important, I am told for these historical research projects). Seriously, I've been travelling all over the country, visiting family, haunting antique stores, and generally ramp up the behind-the-scenes portions of this effort and tie off a bunch of projects both personally and professionally that will be on-hold while I'm doing this.

I seriously think that at some point in the recent past all of the antique tools in America were loaded in trucks and hauled to rural Missouri.

My studio is starting to look like Brueghel's Satire of a Merchant's Greed.  Which might be the nerdiest reference I've made in recent memory... Also, Amazon has started sending me emails that say things like "Special sale for our customers who like hammers..."


Oh, and while doing this, I've been applying and interviewing for a full-time job at the college where I am currently working part-time. Which will seriously change the dynamic of this project if I get it.

And I really hope I do get it. Not because a potential background checker might see this post but because it sounds like an awesome job that I'd really enjoy that would allow me to actually use the skills I paid tuition dollars to learn.


I bring this up because I haven't before, and we need to start this with everyone knowing that I will be fitting this project in the spaces around my "Real Life". Yes, I will be "getting 500 years behind" in my free time, which is an unfortunately limited commodity. This project is about pursuing my deep and abiding desire to LEARN ALL THE THINGS (as we say on the interwebs) not about putting food on the table, so anything that pays will inevitably take first chair.

Image Inserted to Meet the guidelines set forth in the International Treaty 
for Internet Meme Propagation, 921.4, section C, subsection L9
The upshot being that I might actually be ready for this.

(Panics and runs to re-check that everything is in order for the umpteen millionth time.)