Recently I added some marvelous new wand makers to the Fellowship of Wandmakers page at Bardwood.com my Wandry web site and web home of the Bardic Institute. Bardwood Wandry online has a lot of lore about wandmaking and galleries of my own work. It also has a “community” section which isn’t really a “social networking” thingy — you know a message board and whatnot. If I had a web master, I suppose I would include some place for tesimonials, questions, and stuff. Anyway, the main component of the Community section is the Fellowship of Wandmakers page. I started it with the idea that it would be neat to have a place where all the wandmakers on the web could be listed together. I’ve recently added photos so that it provides a place for wand customers to actually (well, virtually) “window shop” for wands. The styles are marvelously diverse.
Some of the wandmakers I have found (or who have contacted me) do better work than I do, in my humble opinion. If I had the money to be a collector of wands, I would love to buy from them. It is heartening to me to see that wandmaking is becoming once again such a fine art and that there are enough wizards and witches about to purchase wands that have been professionally crafted. Don’t get me wrong — I am a strong advocate for magi making their own wands. The act of making is such a profound work of magic in itself that it will create a very strong bond between wand and wizard, if it is taken seriously.
Wandmakers are all different. Some of the larger makers, like Alivan’s, cater to the Harry Potter fans mainly, but they make lovely wands in the classic lathe-turned style. I like that sort of wand and would make more of them myself if I had ready access to a lathe in my own shop (I’m too busy to go to a shared shop and use their lathe, though I have done in the past). I do not know how serious these wand makers are as wizards. They may just be toy-makers; yet, the art that goes into one of those turned wands is still magical and with proper enchantment and dedication such wands can be perfectly serviceable.
The wands that are really impressive, though, are the ones that are carved and adorned with stones and are each a unique creation. There is something about a wand that is produced from a pattern or a mold that doesn’t seem quite right to me. Such wands can be made your own, but knowing that perhaps scores of people have identical wands does detract somewhat from the magic. Nor do I know how many wandmakers in the Fellowship enchant their wands and give the client the details of the wand’s nativity as I do. Do they treat wands as living entities? That is the key question.
Here is the Link to the Fellowship Page. Visit it even if you are not in the market for a wand, just to see some of the beautiful work.
I have been toying with the idea of a wizard’s professional association of some kind. I played with the name and came up with two ideas. One is OWLS — Omnithaumic Wizards and Laboratory Sorcerers. Joining would make one a Fellow, and so you could put after your name the initials F.O.W.L.S. Or, one could become a Companion and put the initials C.O.W.L.S. after one’s name. It’s modelled on vetrinarians in the UK who put F.R.C.V.S. after their name (for Fellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons). Another idea is Companion of the Imaginary Royal College of Enchanters. I like this one because the initials spell C.I.R.C.E. The Imaginary Royal College is nice because publishers and other sticklers about reality cannot complain that it isn’t a “real” organization. Once it gains membership and owns its own country house in Yorkshire, it can still be Imaginary in honor of the central place of imagination in the Ars Magica (not to be confused with the Arse Magica, which is an entirely different thing).
However good an idea it might be, I don’t have the time to administer it. Or the organizational ability, shall we say? I imagine the association (college) serving not as an educational institution so much as serving professional magi like the Modern Language Association serves professors of languages. An annual conference, papers delivered at sessions, panel discussions, and perhaps even job interviews. Would-be apprentices could interview with professors of magic and professional enchanters for positions. In time, the college could become a teaching body or an accrediting body.
I get these fits of ambition after my second cup of coffee in the morning. Usually if I lie down, they go away.