Renaissance Guilds and Bubble Gum!

We’re gearing up for our Renaissance Festival this year which means we will be forming our own guilds to share.  This means that we need to understand what a guild was/is and their reason for being.  I decided to do this using bubble gum.  We created our own bubble gum blowing guild.

First we drew straws to find out who would be a “Master,” a “Journeyman,” and an “Apprentice.” Our Masters were able to make the rules, show what a master bubble gum blower looks like, and decide when the apprentices could be trusted with their own bubble gum. They also determined when an apprentice could move to journeyman and a journeyman could move to Master!  I understand this is a serious amount of responsibility –  they managed it with flair as usual!

We talked about how Renaissance guilds were a way to organize into groups of like-minded people such as bakers, artists, blacksmiths etc.  Guilds controlled the quality of their products and brainstormed together.  They determined pricing, working conditions and laws within their organizations.

In our bubble gum blowing guild, we were able to see how hard it can be for an apprentice to move up the ranks.  It doesn’t happen overnight.  Much of the work for an apprentice is in helping the Master. It requires patience and practice and throwing away gum wrappers!

Once we had a better understanding of guilds, the students began to organize their own guilds or found one they were interested in joining.  So far we have an archery guild, a bakers guild, a gem guild, a glass guild and a music guild.  It has been inspiring to watch them come together to throw out their ideas and make the critical decisions for their guilds.


As a side note, do you how bubble gum was first invented?  Here’s the story…
Walter Diemer, the inventor himself, said about it just a year or two before he died: “It was an accident.” “I was doing something else,” Mr. Diemer explained, “and ended up with something with bubbles.” And history took one giant pop forward. What Mr. Diemer was supposed to be doing, back in 1928, was working as an accountant for the Fleer Chewing Gum Company in Philadelphia; what he wound up doing in his spare time was playing around with new gum recipes. But this latest brew of Walter Diemer’s was — unexpectedly, crucially — different. It was less sticky than regular chewing gum. It also stretched more easily. Walter Diemer, 23 years old, saw the bubbles. He saw the possibilities. One day he carried a five-pound glop of the stuff to a grocery store; it sold out in a single afternoon.  (from

Pretty Amazing!

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