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AS-compet-msg - 12/1/08


A&S Competitions. Example rules and comments on judging them.


NOTE: See also the files: AS-classes-lst, AS-food-msg, AS-ideas-msg, AS-cont-docu-msg, AS-events-msg, AS-classes-msg, 5x8-Doc-art, local-hist-art.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org



Subject: Ice Dragon Pentathlon Rules: Where Can I Get Them?

Date: 18 Feb 92

From: dylan at drycas.club.cc.cmu.edu

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Organization: Carnegie Mellon Computer Club


Unto the Rialto does Dylan ap Maelgwn send greetings.


I am trying to locate the rules for the arts pentathlon

held at Ice Dragon here in the Eastrealm.  If someone

could send me a copy or tell me who I can contact for

it, I would be eternally obliged.


Dylan ap Maelgwn

Bhakail, East

Philadelphia, PA


Ice Dragon Pentathlon Rules


1. No kits

2. Entry by proxy is allowed (not as such on entry form)

3. Items must never have been entered in any other competition

    before, excepting only that previously used patterns or recipes

    may be entered - as long as the entry itself is new.

4. No more than two items per entrant per sub-category

5. Category set-up is at the discretion of the Pent autocrat.  All

    decisions are final.

6. There will be a 50-cent fee per category entered with a maximum

    of $3 per entrant.  This fee is payable at the time of


7. Historical documentation should b as thorough as possible, and

    in the case of written word entries, clearly identified as to

    where the documentation ends and the entry begins.

8. Entrants will not be allowed to speak to the judges during the

    judging.  If there is something important that you want them

    to know, include it in you documentation.  Music composition

    and song-writing entries may include a tape of the entry.  This

    is optional but recommended.

9. Masters and Mistresses of the Laurel may compete in the

    Master's Competition, as well as any sub-category not in their

    area of expertise - ie what they were Laureled for. Masters

    and Mistresses of the Laurel, as well as any previous winners

    of the Grand Pentathlon may compete in individual sub-

    categories but may not be entered into the over-all


10. Overall Grand Pentathlon Competition

    a. Entrants must enter at last five of the 12 categories.

    b. Highest scores from your five best scoring categories will

       be used to tabulate your Pentathlon score.

11. Pent registration begins at 9:30 a.m. and closes at 11 a.m.


12. Judging times will be posted.  They will be strictly adhered

    to.  Your item/performance must be available for judging at the

    correct time or it will not be judged.  NO EXCEPTIONS!

13. All accessories must be placed on tables to be judged. NO


14. Performing Arts must be performed.  There will be a tim limit -

     five minutes for individuals and 10 minutes for groups.

    Please contact the Pent Autocrat at least one week in advance

    if there are any problems.  Three copies of documentation are

    required for all Performing Arts categories.

15. Cross-entries (one entry, multiple sub-categories) are

    permitted.  A separate copy of documentation is required for

    each sub-category plus one copy to stay with item (ie - a pair

    of wooden and leather shoes is entered in wood-working,

    leather-working and accessories.  This mean the entrant needs

    FOUR (4) copies of documentation.  All cross entered items will

    be placed on a central table so that they will be easier for

    the judges to find.

16. Please do not bring actual books for documentation. Copy the

    pertinent pages as well as the title page.  Books will not be

    allowed on tables with items.

17. In order to allow for thorough judging, written word and music

    entries must be postmarked no later than February 10, 1992.

    Yes this means that you have to have it ready before the event.

    All the entries should be mailed to C. Jackson, 14 Wild Wood

    Place, Buffalo, NY 14210.

18. Group entries should be noted on the registration form.  Anyone

    who is using a group entry as one of the Pentathlon categories

    must fill out a separate registrations form.

19. Judging criteria and point system:  Documentation: 0-5 pts;

    Creativity: 0-5 pts; Complexity: 0-5 pts; Authenticity: 0-5

    pts; Workmanship: 0-5 pts; Aesthetics: 0-5 pts


16th Annual Ice Dragon Pentathlon Categories:


1. Needlework and Textile Arts

    a. Embroidery on Even Weave Fabric (cnt. cross-stitch,

       hardanger, blackwork, certain cutwork, etc.)

    b. Other needlework and beadwork

    c. Lace, knitting and crochet

    d. Spinning, weaving, dyeing


2. Sewing

    a. Pre-1400 garb

    b. Post-1400 garb

    c. Accessories

    d. Banners


3. Graphics

    a. Calligraphy

    b. Illumination

    c. Drawing, painting and printmaking


4.  Performing Arts

    a. Dance, juggling, stage magic and tumbling

    b. Drama, puppetry and storytelling

    c. Instrumental music

    d. Vocal music


5.  Music and the written word

    a. Poetry

    b. Prose

    c. Arrangement, music composition and songwriting

    d. Essays and research papers


6.  Armor


7.  Metalworking


8.  Leatherwork


9.  Woodwork


10. Cookery

    a. Main and side dishes

    b. Breads

    c. Sweets and subtleties

    d. Herbology


11. Brewing

    a. Alcoholic

    b. Non-Alcoholic


12. Miscellaneous

    a. This category will be used strictly at the discretion of the

       Pentathlon Autocrat.  Any items that can fit appropriately

       into other categories will be placed there.


hope this is of help to you





From: David Friedman <DDF2 at cornell.edu>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Limitations of Arts Contests

Date: 22 Sep 1993 02:12:22 GMT

Organization: Cornell University


A recent exchange with Bettina Helms suggests to me a tangent

that I think worth discussing. Bettina describes an incident in

which, if I understand her correctly, she believes that she got

a lower score than she should have in an arts contest because

the judges overweighted a relatively unimportant but easy to

judge dimension of authenticity (modern pigments vs hazardous

period pigments) relative to a more important but harder to

judge dimension (style imitating that of a period painter). For

the purposes of this posting I will assume both that I have

correctly interpreted her account and that she correctly

interpreted what happened.


On those assumptions what happened was, I think, what one ought

to expect to happen. Given the contraints facing an arts

contest, we should expect judging to be substantially better at

the lower levels and very poor at the highest level. In a local

arts contest, where most of the submissions were by people who

had looked at one or two secondary sources and decided to try

their hands at something vaguely period, I could probably do a

competent job of judging in most fields. I would be entirely

incompetent to judge, in most fields, work by one of the three

or four best people in that field in the kingdom. Even in the

fields where I am, by SCA standards, an expert, I could not do

a very good job. The person I would be judging would also be an

expert, and the piece would probably be in a particular part of

the field where he was more expert than I. I might be able to

spot places where the entrant had chosen to be imperfectly

authentic but I would be unlikely to spot elements where the

entrant had tried to be authentic and failed.


Consider Bettina's example. If she is lucky, and if the contest

is a large one, she may have judges who know quite a lot about

period painting. But she is unlikely to have even one judge who

knows enough about the particular painter whose style she is

imitating to tell whether or not she is doing a good job of

imitating it. On the other hand, she probably does have judges

who know enough to notice, from her documentation, how period

the materials are--especially since she mentioned using modern

pigments. The judges have to do their judging on the elements

of authenticity (and other desiderata) that they are competent

to judge.


This suggests that arts contests may be useful for giving

beginners some idea of how well they are doing. They may also

be useful for getting together people who are not beginners to

talk about their art. But they are probably not very useful for

deciding which of several good pieces is best.


David/Cariadoc (who swore off arts contests long ago)

DDF2 at Cornell.Edu



From: sclark at epas.utoronto.ca (Susan Clark)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Limitations of Arts Contests

Date: 22 Sep 1993 13:23:47 -0400

Organization: EPAS Computing Facility, University of Toronto


        In general, there has been a real push in these parts (Ealdormere)

towards what we're calling "Ellisif's method". One thing I really

push in doing documentation talks is putting as much info about YOU into

the write-up, including why certain fabrics were used (can't afafford silk

and this was best substitute I could find, period materials are poisonous

and this is best substitute, etc.).  I also advise people to write

up a general description of how the article would have been made in period,

just to show the judges you KNOW, and then to detail the changes to

that proceedure and why you did what you did. (For instance, I have yet

to meet a costuming judge who took off points for machine sewing, as long

as it didn't show.  However, the same judges awarded extra points for

going to the effort of hand-sewing).

        Adding stuff about the person who would have used the item

is also helpful--peasant clothes are not expected to be exquisitly

embroidered, for instance.

        I do wish A & S competitions would take Robbyan's hint and at least

spend a couple of minutes talking with each entrant. Usually in costuming,

you can't avoid it as you usually judge the garment ON the entrant, or at

least someone who knows the entrant well.  Gives that category a real

advantage.  Same goes for the bardic, music, and dramatic categories.

I realize that would take more time, but......why do we do these

competitions, anyway?????




sclark at epas.utoronto.ca



Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: moore at mari.acc.stolaf.edu (Michael Moore)

Subject: Re: A&S competitions

Organization: St. Olaf College; Northfield, MN  USA

Date: Mon, 19 Sep 1994 13:49:09 GMT


In article <199409152314.RAA24296 at beagle.Colorado.EDU> conklinc at beagle.colorado.EDU (CONKLIN) writes:

>Greetings from Chendra-


>A question - how should (are) reproductions handled in A&S

>competitions? ...


>... Where, then, does this leave someone who does

>a really wonderful reproduction (read EXACT reproduction, no

>originality) in competition??


>-the redhead-


In the Middle Kingdom Arts and Sciences Criteria, equal points are given

to "creativity" and "authenticity" (as well as "documentation", "scope",

"workmanship", and "judge's opinion").


An exact reproduction, done well, will score high on authenticity and

low on creativity.


A creatively done piece with no connection to period, done well,

will score high (maybe) on creativity, but will score low on authenticity

(and documentation).


A creatively done piece in period style (as shown through documentation),

done well, will score high on creativity and authenticity.


It's a balancing act.


Each kingdom does things differently.



moore at stolaf.edu


"Remember--the best documentation you can give a judge is the stuff you

worked from in making what you made!  If you worked from a picture of

a pot to make your pottery, _show_the_judge_that_picture_! Thank you."



From: C11Hartel at aol.com

To: ansteorra at eden.com (4/28/95)

RE>judging ethics


My lord put his two cents in on the judging ethics, now I'll add mine for

what it's worth.  I have judged several smaller arts competitions and have

have seen the work of friends that I did not score highly. I feel I am

probably harder on those I know for the sheer fact that I know what they are

capable of actually doing.  I once had a friend become upset when she did not

receive a high score and I told her it was due to the fact that I had seen

her put out much better work in the same area.  My lord also enters A&S

competitions from time to time and I would have no qualms in judging his

entries IF I felt I was knowledgable in the area.  


This brings up the point of who is actually qualified to judge.  I have a

knowledge of inkle weaving, some calligraphy, and a bit more illumination but

I am in no way qualified to judge the merit of metalworking, armour

construction, or say brewing\vinting.  I can say that is is

     a) nice to look at

     b) nicely crafted to my inexperienced eyes

     c) has a functional use

     d) it tastes/smells good

BUT...other than that I am at a loss.  


The shire I play in (Tempio) breaks its A&S into two catagorties, OPEN and

FIRST ATTEMPT.  The "judging" is done by populace vote.  Each person receives

a bead for each catagory and as they look at all the items they are to place

a bead in a cup next to the item of their choice.  Some people base their

decisions soley on "If I could take anything home this would be it," others

take the time to read the documentation (which we do not make mandatory but

do encourage) and judge from their own existing knowledg of medieval arts and

sciences.  In this manner the winners are chosen by their "peers".  Also , we

have a form for the entrants to have the populace place constructive criticism

on if they so choose.  These comments can range from the "It was really

pretty" to "Here's another good source for you to look into if you so



Speaking of ethics and dilemnas, I once listmistressed a team-style tourney

with a girlfiend and had the following happen.  Our lords actually won the

tourney by  having the most amount of points but she and I were afraid

everyone would holler that the list was rigged since it was our lords who had

won.  A final bout was fought (by the Crown's decision) with our lords and

the next three teams which were tied for second place.  In the course of the

fight-off our lords lost a bout which caused them to come in second and one

of the second place teams actually won due to the points system.  If we had

to go back and do it again the teams would not have had the fight-off.  The

standings would have stood as they were and any who wished to see the scoring

system  and points  could have done so.  It was very hard to sit in court

that night listening to a second place team who had won in an "overtime" go

on about the honour and chivalry and good fighting that day and not once

mention the fact that the only reason they were up there at all was beause

two listmistresses felt awkwarkd about having their lords declared the

winners.  Either way our lords lost that day...


I have rambled far too long and my loom is calling to me...

I hope this has helped a bit.





Date: Thu, 24 Oct 1996 13:22:30 -0500 (CDT)

From: "I. Marc Carlson" <LIB_IMC at centum.utulsa.edu>

To: ansteorra at eden.com

Subject: Re: A & S standards


<Jovian Skleros<Scot Eddy <seddy at vvm.com>>>

>...Here is a question I have had and I still get from some of my

>shire (Tempio) friends. What is documentation? Why is it needed?/What

>purpose does it serve? What should be included in it? How long should

>it be? Should it be changed? If so, how? When?


As someone who has judged A&S entries in the past, to me, *basic*

documentation is like a basic Newspaper article, it establishes

Who, What, Where, How and Why.

        Who made it, and, if reproducing from an original, who made the

            original as well?

        What is it? Does it have a function?

        Where would it have been made (space and time)?

        How would it have been made, versus how *was* it made?

        Why should I believe you? What sources did you use?  (Any place

            you make a statement, expecting me to accept it as fact,

            you'd better be able to support it somehow.  N.b., there is

            some dissagreement among people I have spoken to about judging

            regarding the use of an honest "I don't know" statement in

            documentation.  I am willing to accept it if you can demonstrate

            that you have a reasonably good understanding of the topic and

            of basic research techniques. Some other judges don't seem as

            tolerant of this as I am, which is really saying something

            considering how hard-nosed I can be about sources..


>There always seems to be so much that I _need_ to put into my

>documentation, but I have heard that too much is too much.


If you can adequately answer all of these points on a 3x5 card that's

great.  I've seen people *fail* to answer all of them in many page



(BTW, you *do* know the difference between "Primary" and "Principle"

Sources, as well as between "Primary", "Secondary", and Tertiary" sources

don't you?)


A final note, for me, at least.  Don't lie to me, or try to hide sloppy

work under a pile of BS.  If you say it's a reproduction of a "period"

item, don't use modern materials or techniques, unless you tell me right

up front that it was done that way.  If you tell me that "I made such a

thing THIS way, because I (like the effect/think it looks more medieval

than some other way to do it/think it will last longer/was too lazy to do

it the hard way)" you may get some criticism for it, but not nearly as

much as you will when I look at it and see that you obviously don't think

that the people judging the competition are going to have the brains

God gave a grapefruit.


I. Marc Carlson, Reference Librarian    |LIB_IMC at CENTUM.UTULSA.EDU

Tulsa Community College, West Campus LRC|Sometimes known as:

Reference Tech. McFarlin Library        | Diarmuit Ui Dhuinn

University of Tulsa, 2933 E. 6th St.    | University of Northkeep

Tulsa, OK  74104-3123 (918) 631-3794    | Northkeepshire, Ansteorra



From: Terry_A._Harper at hud.gov

Date: Mon, 09 Jun 97 11:05:46 EST

To: ansteorra at eden.com

Subject: Re[2]: A&S STandards and The Lack Thereof in Ansteorra


>Quite honestly what I would like most when I enter an A&S contest is

>feedback.  I would like a little note from the judges that says "Your

>documentation was fine as far as it went but we would like

>to see more about discussion on how often almonds were

>really used in period recipes" or "You need more

>documentation" or "You need to improve your presentation"

>or whatever.  That would help me the most.




          I completely agree.  I don't enter A&S to necessarily "win"

          a competition.  However, I have gotten great feedback and

          information on how to improve my art form, which ever one is

          currently displayed, from other experts.  Also, by entering

          or displaying, I've had a chance to get an idea of "who does

          what" in our game.  Alot of times the people we can really

          learn from in particular areas, some are Laurels, some are

          not, have gone on to do other arts, without displaying, I

          would have never known that, for example, Mistress Branwyn

          used to do embroidery!  or that Gunnora is something of an

          herbalist.  These discussions are worth much more to me than

          any prize in a competition.





Date: Tue, 09 Sep 1997 11:49:25 -0500

From: Gunnora Hallakarva <gunnora at bga.com>

Subject: ANST - Overlooked A&S Displays - What Do You Do?

To: ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG


Llereth asked:

>> And though in an

>> ideal world one shouldn't have to, you could also go speak to the judges

>> directly, letting them know that you feel that they have overlooked your

>> work.


>An interesting idea.  May I ask what your response to such might be?




Depends.  If I did in fact go over your work carefully while you were in

the privy or otherwise unavailable, I'd say so.  This happens more than you

would think.  


I am one of those people who always writes a critique.  Sometimes, like

Mistress Siobhan, all I can say is, "You should go talk to _________ who is

the Laurel best known for this particular art in Ansteorra," or "I can't

judge this properly knowing nothing about _______.  However, _____,

_______, and _______ are all experts in the field.  You should try and

speak with one or more of these people if you get the chance." Therefore,

normally you would know that I had been there while you were away.


But sometimes accidents happen, distractions abound at these events. And

if I had inadvertently overlooked it, I'd go over and take a look then.  We

make mistakes too.  


Master Iolo once said a very wise thing, which directly applies to the art

of judging: "The more awards you have, the longer it takes to get to the

privy."  This is true, certainly, if you have a Laurel!  What it means in

connection with judging is that while judging you usually have multiple

interruptions and distractions: people who want to talk to you, someone who

has a question that they believe only you can answer, a disaster in the

kitchen that only you can remedy, one of your friends has gone into

hypoglycmia and needs help... these are all things that can tear your

attention away from what you are doing!  


One thing that SCA arts competitions do not usually do, but might should

consider, is to use an approach often found in art competitions at craft

shows:  there the items are looked at by the judges while isolated... the

art and the judges are all in one area, the public and artisans are not

allowed in, which means that the judges can hopefully get the items judges

in the least amount of time with the most concentration.  


Of course, in a "normal" art judging like this, no one gets critiques.  The

judges there are free to breeze by your work if they are uninterested in it

at first glance: all they have to do is pick 1st place, 2nd place, 3rd

place, and maybe a number of runners-up and honorable mentions.  Since in

SCA A&S, most people don't seem to want a clear winner or loser (unlike the

Champion style tournament that Mistress Aquillane mentioned) we don't

usually award ranked placements like 1st place etc. but we are expected to

give critiques in keeping with the focus and ideal of education and

furtherance of the arts.


While I do agree that every entrant at an A&S competition should get a full

critique from every judge in their category, you still do have to realize

that it takes a lot of time and effort.  Your judges are pure volunteers...

normally we show up as Laurels and Irises, pad and pencil in hand,

expecting to be needed as judges without ever being asked. We get no pay

for this effort.  Normally we must pay full site fee just as the entrants

do.  We don't get free feast.  And certainly no hard cold cash.  Yet we are

expected to work our butts off all day long (owch!  my feet!) much harder

than we work at our mundane jobs and our normal reward is complaining from

people who didn't like the critiques we did offer.  At maybe a third of A&S

events, the autocrat will remember to thank the judges -- we're Laurels,

it's our job, right?  But it's also our recreation time.


Don't get me wrong... judging these things *is* our job, and most of us

like doing it or we wouldn't volunteer to judge in the first place! And

giving everyone a good, thorough, critique is likewise the ideal.  We try,

and maybe we need to work out better methods of doing these things. So cut

the judges from slack, don't assume malice or a deliberate snub where

overwork and distraction may be the culprits.  I for one certainly don't

mind being asked if I skipped your table.  So ask me if you think I have,

I'll try to make it right.


Here are some problems with A&S judging that I have seen that maybe we all

should be working on together, with some suggested ideas for improvement:


(1) non-uniform judging caused by no standardized judge training

        Solution:  find out what a good judge is and start teaching people.


(2) not enough judges

        Autocrats and A&S coordinators, call and get a head-count on

        judges who will be attending.  Call more Laurels and tell them

        you are short of judges and ask if they can attend.  Try to have

        one judge for every six entries so the judges aren't overworked.


(3) constant distractions

        Close the A&S display area for a while while formal judging is

        going on (won't work for body of work displays, but even there

        you can run out everyone except the artisans and judges.)


(4) unappreciated judges

        At the last Kingdom A&S, Saint Seraphina the Bounteous set

        up a Laurels-only buffet and a Laurels only lounge area that

        made it easy for the judges to take short breaks and to be sure

        that they had food and beverages so they were happy and not

        about to faint on their feet: this was a fantastic idea and really

        made the judges feel appreciated.  Remember to thank the



I'm sure that other people will be able to think of more.


Communication gets down to the root of it.  Tell us if you've been missed!

There may be a very good reason, which may be a mistake, but do ask!


Gunnora Hallakarva




Subject: Re: ANST - Documentation

Date: Mon, 15 Feb 99 09:59:20 MST

From: "Russell Husted" <husted at hotmail.com>

To: ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG



Your raise an issue that has been the subject of (occasionally heated)

debate: documentation for A&S entries. There seems to be a trend towards

putting more emphasis on documentation than on the work itself. (I'm not

picking on you or this particular competition, you just reminded me of

this ongoing debate, and some of the "fallout" it has brought.)


An artisan recently put it to me something like this: "I'm an artisan. I

make things. I make them in a period style, using period methods as much

as possible, and with as much craftsmanship as I can. But, lately, I

can't even get a positive comment from the judges, let alone win a

competition. All they want to talk about is my documentation (or lack



Just my two cents. What do *you* think?


Michael Silverhands

<end snip>


I would like to see two kinds of A&S. I would like to see an artisans

competition as well as the A&S as it currently is. I do many periodish

crafts that I have no way to document, much less wish to waste massive

amounts of time on doing documentation for my less important endevours.

I do not believe that a winner or an artisans competition should receive

a title posistion or anything like that, but that it should be

availible. Fighters do not document their move moves, although the

classic ones work best. Bards do not document their work, because much

of it is new-I wrote my story in this style because....




Arts and Sciences is just that "AND" When I produce a scroll design, I

must be able to document it. I must understand some of the whys and

wherefor of my product. My first time at refair, I almost died from

"Accent Poisoning" I was speaking with a woman who's accent was part

souther london, part northern england with an irish tinge, but not quite

scottish, and she clamed to be french. I realize most people do not

recognize accent, but I do to some exstent and I found conversation with

her almost painful. I do not hold anything against her and said nothing

to her about it, but, If I were to turn in a scroll done the same way,

this part is 4th century Irish and this part of the same page is 14th

century french, I know a few laurels who would get almost sick on the

spot-and rightly so.


I was recently in an A$S and of the 50 points possible, I lost 20% of my

score do to lack of documentation. The problem was, I did not clearly

state what I was entering. I enterred a scroll design, so I documetned

the design. The judges thought I was entering a painted scroll, because

I provided one as a sample on how that scroll might be painted. So I

lost points and received comments like, more documentation needed. It

was my fault. I did not state clearly what I was asking them to judge. I

do not feel I could have given any more documentation than what I did,

but, I could have explained clearly what I was submitting. I did get an

interview after the entire competition was over with the judge. That was

excellent. She gave me many good comments and ideas to work with. During

the interview, I explained many of the things I did and why as well as

pointed out the footnote that had been missed, and feel my score might

have changed if the interview had happened as part of the competition.

It was not for a couple of days till I figured out that they had judged

the wrong thing, and that I did not state it clearly.


I am not discuraged from A$S and will enter them again, but there are

many arts I enjoy doing that I will never enter into an A&S as long as

documentation is needed. My chainmail is chainmail, my cardweaving is

cardweaving, but I am just doing a craft. I do not want to documetn it,

unless I am doing something real speacial. There are many masters of

these and many other crafts, and I claim no level of mastery in them. I

just love to do them, but will not enter them in anything, because there

is no forum forum for just an artisan.


with respect


a rapier fighter, a weaver, a calligrapher, an illuminator, a wood

worker, a dancer, and working on being a brewer and storyteller, as well

as a few that I can't think of right now.



Subject: ANST - Bare Table A & S

Date: Mon, 10 May 99 14:12:37 MST

From: Scot Eddy <seddy at vvm.com>

To: ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG


I have often wondered which of my items would get a better score. An

acrylic painted icon with brass leaf on an acrylic gesso board WITH a

snazzy faux brick wall, incense, palm leaves, candles, and fru-fru and

documentation vs. an egg tempera icon with gold leaf on a period gesso

board and a plain frame on which to display it with documentation. All

things being equal I think that the gussied up A & S entry would be much

more likely to win.


My arguement is "If you're judging the piece, judge the piece." No need

for all of the additional material. I would like to see a rule something

to the effect of "Nothing is to be on the table but a plain, black piece

of cloth, the item, and it's documentation. Level the playing field and

return the emphasis to the item itself.





Subject: Re: ANST - laurels competing

Date: Sat, 22 May 1999 21:20:58 MST

From: HLOriana at aol.com

To: ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG


lealdricson at hotmail.com writes:

<< Some people will not enter an A&S competition where a laurel is competing

because they think that their work is not good enough.  They will withdraw

or dont compete simply out of embarrassment (been there, done that). What

can be done to change this perception?  The solution in the past has been to

not allow the Laurels to compete.  This may not be the correct solution, but

it was one way to get contestants of lower skill levels to enter their work

so that it could be seen and critiqued. >>


        In some Kingdoms it is common to compete against a standard, not

against the other artisans.  An individual item can win a first, second, or

third place against that standard and there can be more than one item placed

at each level within a category.  A broad category with a lot of entries

might have 3 firsts, a second and 2 thirds.  A category might not have ANY

firsts, if no entry was up to that level.





Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2008 13:37:56 -0700

From: Lilinah <lilinah at earthlink.net>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Period Ingredients, was Historical Apples

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org


Daniel wrote:

<<< if the documentation does not at least

mention that they are using non-period apples (a caveat similar to what has

been previously mentioned) then I too would mark the individual down. >>>


De responded:

<<< Even for a novice? >>>


I am flabbergasted that some people think that apples in our dishes

must be guaranteed period or we get points off. Well, Bunky, if this

applies to apples, it applies to EVERY SINGLE ONE of our ingredients.

And the idea that we have to explain just how period or non-period

each and every one of our ingredients is riling me up!


Now, i love doing research. And i do make an effort to replace

obviously modern ingredients with something a bit less modern. But i

just don't believe that it is possible for every ingredient.


Take my Rock Cornish Game Hens. I know they're not period. But i also

know that the chickens sold in the supermarket today in the US are

not period either.


Now, it was mentioned by someone on this list (Daniel?) that if i

didn't mention that my diminutive fowl were not period, i should have

had points taken away. But what i want to know is, if i had used a

standard chicken from the supermarket, should i have also have had

points taken away if i neglected to mention that it, too, is far from



Because, lemme tell ya, when i was a kid the chickens really did NOT

have such big bazoingers as they do now. I would eat a chicken breast

and it was a reasonably sized piece of meat. But nowadays, i cut each

breast in half again because they are just farkin' HYOOOG!


I've judged a lot of cooking competitions and rarely, if ever, does

the entrant track down the history, pedigree, heritage, and

provenance of every ingredient used. And it has NOT been expected of



I think if someone "goes the extra mile" to get some "perfectly

period" ingredients, they deserve props (and we have a place on our

form where judges can add up to 5 additional points). But i don't

think this should be required, and i think that people should not get

ding'ed for using chicken, turnips, or salt that they buy in the





Do we know the breeds of the chicken, beef, lamb, goat, pork, or any

other domesticated animal we buy in the market? There have been

intensive and extensive breeding programs throughout the world,

including even bringing modern animal breeds into developing

countries, to replace their traditional breeds, which are rapidly



Do we know the heritage of every herb and spice we use? Can most of

us say with certainty that such things comes from stock that has not

been somehow improved or changed over the course of the intervening

500 years or more? Many spices are grown today far from where they

were grown "in period". Does this disqualify them? Should we get

points knocked off for not knowing the provenance of the seasonings

we use?


How about fruits and vegetables? Do we trace the heritage of the

seedless raisins we put into a dish? Were seedless raisins even

common in period? In the 15th c. Ottoman cookbook, for example, there

are frequently instructions for taking the seeds out of raisins. Same

goes for turnips, celery (which we all know is totally unlike period

celery), spinach, chard, cabbages, mushrooms, cherries, strawberries.


Heck, most commercially grown strawberries today (in the US and

probably most everywhere) are a hybrid of 2 New World strawberries.

So should people enter dishes only if they grow their own fraise du

bois (Fragaria vesca) or fraise hautbois (Fragaria moschata)? Should

their points be decreased for using modern strawberries?


What about rice? wheat? barley? Do we know to what degree what we buy

has been hybridized over the past 500 years? Do we know just how

close or far it is from what was used in our recipes?


How about milk? Most commercial milk in the US is from Holsteins that

have been intensively bred to produce mass quantities of milk (can't

speak for other countries, but i'm sure you have your own issues).

Yet most of us know that milk has different characteristics depending

on what breed of cow it comes from and what the animals have been



Same is true of butter, cheeses, yogurt, and every other dairy

product. How does it differ from what would have been produced in the

time period and place of the recipe we used? How much of this do most

of us know? Do we use "Philadelphia Brand" cream cheese (a detestable

execrable product) as a fresh cheese? Do we mention all the additives

in it in our docs? (i'm fortunate, i can get *good* cream cheese,

Gina Marie brand)


And before we enter a competition with a recipe using a dairy

product, are we required to determine if the animal whose milk was

used was eating a period diet?




In the USA, at least, there's hardly a commercially available food

plant or animal that hasn't been altered in some way by selective

breeding or hybridizing. Do we need to state this about each and

every one of  our ingredients in all our cooking entries?


I think it is ridiculous to expect entrants in SCA cooking

competitions to know just exactly how "period" every ingredient is

that they've used, and to document it!


Again, the only exceptions i can think of are when entrants have gone

out of their way to very actively track down "period" breeds or

plants, and mention this in their documentation. Then they get extra



So i absolutely do not expect someone to mention whether or not their

apples are period. But so far only one person on this list has

mentioned a very very expensive way to get some apples that might

sort-of be kinda period - or at least one or two hundred years out of

period, other than growing one's own, which is just not an option for

many of us.


I was recently reading about how different modern SALT is from

historical salt of the recent past, of the 19th century - not just in

the way the salt is dried, but in the various methods now used to

produce very white salt, not to mention added anti-caking agents, the

removal of all trace minerals and the addition of iodine.


Those who have said that the entrant should have mentioned if they

weren't period, do you note in your docs that your salt is not

period, or go out of your way to get the same type of salt that would

have been used in the time and region of your recipe? Do you mention

whether your salt was from evaporation pools or from mines? What was

the size of the salt crystals? Was the salt of the time and place of

the recipe pink, rust, tan, yellow, green, grey, black? Did you buy

impure salt and purify it yourself at home? Or, if not, did you add

those directions to your documentation for your dish?


Heck, i've been marked down more than once for having 3 pages of

documentation, because certain judges are convinced that cooking

competitions docs should be only 2 pages long. I enjoy doing research

and often do so to learn about period plants and animals, and i make

an effort to at least not use blatantly modern ingredients. Now how

long will my docs be if i have to give the breeding, heritage, diet

or fertilizer and water type used for every single ingredient in my



Yes, i understand that it is good to know what sorts of items are

obviously modern (Fuji or gala apples, for example). But there's just

no getting away from the fact that, for those of us who live in

cities or are otherwise without plots of land or the appropriate

weather to grow all our own fruits, vegetables, grains, herbs, and do

not have endless time to track down the provenance of every single

ingredient and a bottomless budget to special order and have express

shipped ingredients from far way - well, most of us ARE using modern

ingredients and we can't always get the most historically accurate



Should we all be marked down for not mentioned in that we using

modern, and not period, salt, wheat, beef or chicken or pork, etc.?


Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)

the persona formerly known as Anahita



Date: Sat, 1 Nov 2008 12:06:09 EDT

From: Stanza693 at wmconnect.com

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Cooking Competitions (was:  Historical


To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org


<<< What is the acknowledged purpose of cooking competitions in other

places? Are they open to anyone, or are they aimed at a particular



Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM) >>>


Here in the Barony of Dragonsspine (Colorado Springs, CO) we don't have any

strictly cooking competitions.  Cooking gets lumped in with A&S as part of the

"Domestic" category so my comments address how we did our last A&S comp.


Back in September, we held our Champions competition.  It is really kind of

misnamed because there was so much other A&S happening.  There were three

levels to choose from:


Display only - You could just put your project out for others to sample.  No

documentation was required.  It's a chance to show off what you are learning,

without the stress of being judged.


Novice competition - Open to anyone who has been doing an art or science for

less than 2 years. Minimal documentation was required.  


Champions competition - Graded on kingdom standard judging forms.  Full

documentation was required.  Expect stiff judging and strong critique.


Several other baronies use the same or similar format.  The Outlands as a

whole has Queen's Prize Competition and Kingdom A&S Competition.  I've lived in

kingdoms where you have to enter your project at some lower level before

advancing to a kingdom level, but I don't believe that is the case in the Outlands.


When I first began to enter competitions, I was told to consider the Kingdom

competition as "The Crown Tourney of A&S".  A certain level of artisanship is

expected.  I got the same kind of questions that you've been discussing.  "How

do your ingredients compare to what they would have had?  Why did you use a

food processor instead of a mortar & pestle?  How does your menu choice compare

to what would have been served at a feast in your part of Spain?" etc.   (By

the way, I use a food processor because I have very bad wrists and using a

mortar - even my uber-heavy cast iron one - causes me pain.)


On the other hand Queen's Prize, is for anyone to enter.  You must be

sponsored by a Laurel, a Lady of the Rose, or a Flower of the Outlands (IIRC) to be

allowed to enter. There is no "judging" per se, but someone else's sponsor is

assigned to give you feedback.  It is meant to be a more relaxed environment

in which to get pointers on your project.


I've gotten the impression that the goal of A&S competition, primarily, is to

get as close to creating a period product as is possible, which includes

cooking categories.   Any substitutions are expected to be fully documented.  The

secondary goal is to educate the judge (if needed) and certainly the populace

that comes by as to what would have been done in period.  Given those two

goals, stated or implied, I understand why the judges seem to expect more of the



Constanza Marina de Huelva



Date: Sat, 8 Nov 2008 20:54:25 -0800

From: David Walddon <david at vastrepast.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Cooking Competitions (was:  Historical Apples)

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


Stanza wrote:

<<< I've gotten the impression that the goal of A&S competition, primarily, is to get as close to creating a period product as is possible, which includes

cooking categories. >>>


I think this is the real crux of the whole discussion. Competitions  

should first figure out what they "primarily" trying to do and then  

criteria should be aligned to that vision. If you are looking to  

encourage participation the judging criteria should be different than  

if you are looking for a Kingdom A&S Champion. And if you are looking  

for the Kingdom A&S Champion what do you want in this Champion?  

Someone that can present their starting point, process, findings and  

the object? Or just the object? Start with the end in mind before you  

develop  criteria.





Date: Mon, 10 Nov 2008 23:21:21 -0600

From: "Daniel & Elizabeth Phelps" <dephelps at embarqmail.com>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Display was A&S ENTRIES

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


Stefan wrote:


Okay, but I often heard suggestions about putting A&S food entries

onto fancy plates, perhaps in an intricate place setting with other

food items and wine and so forth, even if the one item is all that is

being judged, and not the entire place setting.


So if all we are judging, why not just place it on a plain plate?

And I've seen other A&S entries in other areas with all this extra as

well, so it isn't only something suggested for food items. So whether

Daniel was being snarky or not, I think he brings up a good question.

Should all this extra stuff even be in an A&S display, and if it

should be, how much is too much?  And is it truly the entry item

being judged or is it the entire display?


My response:


It my contention whether we admit it or not tis all display.   We judge the

picture with frame that surrounds it.  It is how we think and how we are.

We gild the lily without realizing we do.  It is only noticed when it is

exaggerated.   I asked the judges to judge the hole and not the plank that

surrounded it.  They laughted and thought it a fine jest.





Date: Tue, 11 Nov 2008 16:08:27 -0600

From: Jennifer Carlson <talana1 at hotmail.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Display was A&S Entries

To: Cooks list <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


<<< Okay, but I often heard suggestions about putting A&S food entries

onto fancy plates, perhaps in an intricate place setting with other

food items and wine and so forth, even if the one item is all that is

being judged, and not the entire place setting.


So if all we are judging, why not just place it on a plain plate?

And I've seen other A&S entries in other areas with all this extra as

well, so it isn't only something suggested for food items. So whether

Daniel was being snarky or not, I think he brings up a good question.

Should all this extra stuff even be in an A&S display, and if it

should be, how much is too much? And is it truly the entry item

being judged or is it the entire display?


My response:


It my contention whether we admit it or not tis all display.   We judge the

picture with frame that surrounds it.  It is how we think and how we are.

We gild the lily without realizing we do.  It is only noticed when it is

exaggerated.   I asked the judges to judge the hole and not the plank that

surrounded it.  They laughted and thought it a fine jest.


Daniel >>>


The over-dressing of a display is a personal pet peeve.  The Macy's Christmas Window approach makes me think that either the entrant is hoping to hide flaws with flash, or that I'll give extra points for packaging.  I find too much decoration distracting.  I've seen displays that were as much as 80% froo-froo, and only 20% entry, and forced me to search through all the floral arrangements and statuary on a kind of treasure hunt for the actual entries.


On the other hand, too little can also hurt a display.  Case in point: a friend once made white puddings for a competition, and displayed them on a plain white plate.  Some people thought they looked unappetizing, though they tasted great.  A different choice of serving dish would have enhanced the entry's presentation.  In her defense, she had forgotten the serving dish she wanted to use while hurrying to pack.  


His Majesty Gunthar's last Kingdom A&S entry was a meal for a 16th century officer dining in camp.  They layout was simple and appropriate to the meal, comprising a tablecloth, a nice piece of crockery to hold each dish, and the necessary utensils and napkins for tasting.  The display put the food in context which, if it affected my scoring on a subconscious level, probably affected how I judged his research of the time period in question.  It was an enhancement without being a distraction, which is what a display should be.  




<the end>

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