June 08, 2007

Multiple Points of Access

I'm a high school teacher mundanely, and one of the things I've learned is the importance of giving my students a way into the information; meeting them where they are, and giving them guideposts on how to get to where I need them to be. This is called having multiple points of access - many doors into the information.

Most of the SCA oldtimers I know (and a Duchess recently called me one of them - yikes!) like to make their garb 'more period.' Some newer folks are interested in the archaeologal evidence for this or that, but others just want to meet the requirement to wear something other than mundanes and get on with the game. Those folks start with loaner garb, and eventually make a few t-tunics. Good for them; sewing *at all* isn't a skill that many people have these days. T-tunics, period or not, are often a newcomer's first foray into SCA A&S.

Much of my purpose with this challenge is to build bridges between where people are, and where they might want to go. Fighter types know that practice pays off. Service types can, as Master Liam St. Liam so succinctly puts it 'carry stuff.' A&S types have a steeper curve, and few handholds along the way - we don't often see the Laurelate just hanging out in their kit, welcoming all to impromptu training sessions, and, even then, it is a big jump from a t-tunic to, well, anything else.

Part of the problem, in my opinion, is that folks can make a t-tunic, but they have trouble making what they feel are *nice looking* t-tunics, and their biggest issue seems to be with their necklines.

It might sound a little odd, but I consider giving someone the skillset to create a decent looking neckline to be opening the doors of A&S to them (like a gateway drug, but in a good way!) If someone can make a nice looking t-tunic, they often feel the confidence to try something that they feel is more complex, whether it actually is or not.

So, since lots of early period garb calls for a keyhole neckline, I'm working up a class on sewing keyhole necklines. They seem to intimidate and confuse lots of people (including a baroness I know), but really aren't all that difficult, as long as one pays attention. I'm presenting it this weekend at Midsommers in Stonemarche, and I'll let you know how it goes.

No comments: