The Arts and Sciences (A&S) are a central focus of the SCA, being everywhere and anywhere. They provide the framework in which things happen. They range from the clothing we wear to the food that is served at Feast, or the scrolls given away during court, dancing, woodwork, armor making, performance, etc… Any aspect of medieval or renaissance life you can is studied by somebody in the SCA.
It is not required or expected that anybody will be interested in A&S but, the governing documents state “Anyone may attend Society events provided he or she wears an attempt at pre-17th century clothing…” which kind of requires you to find a way to determine what these are.
Arts & Sciences are not reserved to the experts and nobody will ever expect you to know all forms of A&S. However, it would be a shame to miss the various opportunities to learn that you will encounter in the SCA.
How to get started.
- Look around, ask for help, and never hesitate to ask questions
- Look for local practices and workshops: they should be posted on your group webpage and/or mailing lists. If you don’t know how to do something you want to do, reach out. Many people will be happy to help if they know that you need them. If you see somebody doing something that intrigues you, ask them about it. Artisans are generally very happy to explain to you all they know about their specialty and can either work with you, or point you in the right direction.
- Keep in mind that everybody started out as a newcomer or beginner. Don’t feel intimidated by people who seem in the know. Everybody started clueless and even the best non-SCA craft/art experience is not necessarily applicable to the specifics of SCA A&S. Don’t feel discouraged by that.
How to find the people interested in the same things you are.
- Some information should be on this site but look for lists (yahoo groups, forums) or via word of mouth.
- Events are an obvious place. If you don’t know any of these people bring your craft, bring something for an A&S display, bring a sign…
- Classes (local or during events) are also a way to find the people you can learn from and with. Classes are free, expect in some cases for handout and/or material fees (to cover the cost)
The different paths of learning.
There are different ways to learn about Arts & Sciences. If you are not a good at independent learning then local A&S gatherings and classes are the first place to look. The East Kingdom also has various guilds that foster the sharing of knowledge. Eventually, you may decide if you would like to enter a teacher/student relationship. There is not one unique way to learn. Whatever works for you is good.