This year at Great Northeastern War XXXIII, I was very pleased to take Caitrìona O’Siodhachain (modernly known as Kathryn Cranford) as my apprentice, for the purposes of teaching her the arts and helping to guide her growth and time in the SCA. I had asked her to be my apprentice in May, at Panteria. I’m very happy she said yes, and that I was able to take her on as my first apprentice.
Since we had a couple months between the two events, I was able to create a few items for the ceremony. The first was a green belt, the traditional symbol that a person is in an apprenticeship. I cut and dyed the belt myself using a blank from Tandy, and decorated it with a brass buckle and tip set that I found at Raymond’s Quiet Press, slicked the edges, and applied a beeswax-based top coat to protect the leather and dye. I was very happy with it, but somehow completely failed to take any closeup pictures of it. Bad artist!
The second gift I created was a small wooden chest decorated with painted cranes and gilding. You can see close-up photos of the chest and more about the process to create it in another blogpost about that item.
The day of the ceremony was cloudy in the morning, but the weather turned very pleasant and sunny with big fluffy clouds in the afternoon. A small group of friends and family gathered for the festivities. I started off by saying how inspired I had been with everyone I’d met since moving to the area, but that in particular Caitrìona and I had hit it off well, both in terms of our SCA interests, as well as modern, and that I was honored to take her on as my charge. She spoke in return.
We had a contract with gorgeous calligraphy and illumination by my Lady Cwenthryth wine. The scroll was created as a cyrograph, with two copies of the text and the word CYROGRAPHUM illuminated down the center. The illumination was based on the Book of Kells and the calligraphy was in insular miniscule, in keeping with Caitriona’s Irish persona.
Caitriona and I had crafted the scroll text in advance, to reflect both our wishes in this new partnership. The contract says:
Let this contract bear witness that on the XII day of July AS LIV at the Great Northeastern War XXXIII, Caitrìona O’Siodhachain agrees to commit herself apprentice to Master Ivan Matfeevich Rezansky for the purpose of learning embroidery and goldwork and other diverse arts and sciences; and Master Ivan does welcome her into his workshop for this purpose, and shall teach her and shall hide none of his art from her. Caitrìona does promise to comport herself as a good and worthy student, and shall keep her Master’s council, and they shall be an inspiration unto one another. This contract shall serve from this day hence, until both shall agree to loose its ties, or until she shall achieve mastery of her own merit.
Caitriona and I both signed each half of the cyrograph. The scroll was then artfully torn down the middle, and we each kept a copy.
We then exchanged gifts. I presented her with the box, which glittered in the sun.
She presented me with an embroidered bookmark with a bee themed motif in keeping with my heraldry, very nicely done!
And with a big hug, the apprenticing was official! We then got to spend some time hanging out in the shade with a few drinks until dinner time.
Luckily, my friend Mistress Camille Desjardins was on hand with her camera and captured some great photos of the event. I have shown some of her photos above (mostly the ones where I’m not squinting in the sun or making weird faces, as is pretty standard for me). The full album can be seen here. Thanks, Camille!