At Coronation tomorrow, at about 2 pm, you may see a few artisans disappear somewhere, only to emerge with big smiles on their faces clutching an item as if they've just found the One Ring. What you've just seen is the last part of the Trillium Exchange, and they've just received their gifts As one of the founders of the Exchange, I thought I would give you a little history and how you might get involved next time.
A few years ago, purely by chance, I ran across Noblese Largesse, a Known-World-wide artisan swap, and eagerly signed up. It's very much like a Secret Santa swap for artisans. I provided some information about myself, and a few days later, I received an email with information about an artisan somewhere else in the Known World (in my case, my first swapee was in the Outlands). I knew that someone else, somewhere, had received my information. I then had about six months to come up with some sort of handmade item to send to my partner. I could use materials in my stash, but there was a soft limit on purchasing new materials of $25. I opted to paint a silk banner with my recipient's heraldry and Kingdom affiliation. I then packed everything up and mailed it to her. And I received back from an artisan in the East Kingdom an amazing goldwork on red silk embroidery. A Facebook group allowed all the participants to see the amazing things the group had created. I went on to participate in two more of these swaps, and let other Ealdormerians know about it. And I dreamed of setting up our own Kingdom-wide swap, as a number of people were starting to do.
In autumn, 2013, that became a reality. Several veterans of the Noblese Largesse swaps set up the first Trillium Exchange. The four of us who became admins of the first swap committed to sit out the first round, since we would be the only people who would know who was matched with whom. We opened the swap to thirty participants, which we attained in a few hours. Same basic parameters as Noblese Largesse--each participant provided information about themselves, and then the matchmakers (that was my job for the first swap) worked to match each participant with an artisan. We tried to match artisans with recipients who were from a different part of the kingdom, or whose skills matched up well with the kinds of things the recipient was interested in. The first swap--and the subsequent one--were both huge successes. The one wrapping up at Coronation is our third, and so far it seems to have also been a great success. We now have people participating who live in other kingdoms (which is permitted), including some Ealdormere expats who see this as a great way to keep connected with their home kingdom.
One of the best things about Trillium Exchange is that the job of administration rotates. For each swap, there is a matchmaker plus a deputy, and a scribe plus a deputy. The matchmaker runs the signup process and then meets with the deputy to match the artisans. The scribe and their deputy are then responsible for checking in regularly with artisans to make sure no attacks of real life have happened. We also normally line up "angels" who can step in to help out if an artisan has to drop out. We have kept the number of participants at 30 as this has proven to be a decent number for the admins to keep track of. It usually takes a few hours for all the spots to be filled.
The Exchange has its own Facebook group, and if you'd like to see the amazing gifts participants are receiving, this would be a great time to join. There is no obligation to participate in a swap to join the group. We have people who have not missed a single one of the swaps, and others who are just watching for now until they have sufficient time to participate--or just to be inspired by the fabulous work of Ealdormere's artisans.
Since this swap cycle is ending, another one will be starting up soon! If you are interested, visit the Facebook page. Information about how to sign up for the next round will be posted there (and we usually try to get it out to the elist as well).
I am eagerly anticipating getting to try my gift from this round, a box full of scribal goodies (handmade inks and quills) from THL Marguerite, and I just learned this morning that Lady Orlaith Fraser has received my gift of seven period arrows and a small silk alms purse and is thrilled. I would recommend the Trillium Exchange as a great way to get to know more of our artisans in Ealdromere, to be inspired, and to keep a little mystery and fun in your life.
The Trillium Exchange Facebook Page is at https://www.facebook.com/groups/142642069270903/