06 September 2012

The School of the Renaissance Artisan

Welcome! It's high time I clued you folks in on where I've been and what I have been up to during my recent silence.  

You might have noticed a new tab appear at the top of the blog that says 'Schole of the Renaissance Artisan'. This is a new project that I've undertaken to 

You can read the full story here.

The gist is this: I want to look in-depth at what it really mean to be an actual 'renaissance man'. Not a Davinci or a Michelangelo, but a 'Bill, the man who fixes the roof when it rains' or a 'Jack, the guy that bakes the bread at the market'. Because I think we forget that the renaissance wasn't just artists and soldiers and kings and popes, but a groundswell of normal, ordinary people advancing their lot generation by generation, building themselves up through the sweat of their own brows and the callouses of their own hands and, for better or worse, creating the modern world.

For one year (January - December 2013), I'm going to delve into each of the 54 livery companies that had royal charters in 16th century England.  

This will be a multi-media enterprise, including a YouTube channel called The Rest of the Renaissance and possibly tapping into other venues for sharing information as well with the hope of eventually turning it all into a book. Possibly even a hypertext eBook with embedded links to the videos and other interactive materials.

I'm planning to bring you along as I learn some new skills and hopefully we're all going to learn something. As I go I will share with you the resources I'm using, building a sort of virtual library of 16th century source material and related sundry for anyone else who wants to acquire these skills. 

If nothing else, I invite you to watch me fail in a spectacular and possibly amusing manner.
A few of these projects will overlap or build one upon the other. Some I already know how to do. Some might be a bit hard to manage. There’s a grocer’s guild; not sure how that’s going to work. And a goldsmith’s company, a voice that sounds suspiciously like my wife’s whispers in my head.  Have you seen the price of gold lately?

I’ll figure it out. I know people. And those people know people. People with skills that deserve to be appreciated and trumpeted.  People keeping alive crafts and skills that would die out completely were it not for them. And if by failing miserably at my attempts to learn these crafts brings attention to their superior craftsmanship, so much the better.

So I invite you to please join me here as I take you with me back to school in a possibly impossible attempt to become a renaissance man. 

Between now and the new year, Garb for Guys, along with the new blog I set up for the project
http://renaissanceartisan.blogspot.com/ will track my preparations, including the costuming. Then, on January 2nd (give me a day to sleep in from New Year's Eve, won't you?) the bell will ring and school will be in session.

Join me, won't you?

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