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Mystry-AS-Cmp-art - 4/5/09

 

"Unraveling the Mysteries of Arts & Sciences Competitions" by Mistress Euriol of Lothian, O.P.

 

NOTE: See also the files: 5x8-Doc-art, AS-compet-msg, AS-cont-docu-msg, AS-food-msg, Documentation-art, Doc-n-Obitury-art, Judging-AS-art, Narfing-Iron-art, Ovr-Doc-Pobia-art, Whimsy-art.

 

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NOTICE -

 

This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.

 

These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org

 

Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author or translator.

 

While the author will likely give permission for this work to be reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.

 

Thank you,

Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous

stefan at florilegium.org

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More class handouts from this author can be found at:

            http://medievalcuisine.madpage.com/classes/">http://medievalcuisine.madpage.com/classes/

            http://casbal.100webspace.net/classes/index.html">http://casbal.100webspace.net/classes/index.html

 

Unraveling the Mysteries of Arts & Sciences Competitions  

by Mistress Euriol of Lothian, O.P.

 

Competition is a word that many people find intimidating. We live in a society that thrives upon  competition, most notably the tournaments in which our next Sovereign is chosen. Those that find  competitions intimidating often deny themselves an opportunity for an experience only a competition can  give.

 

Reasons for entering a Competition  

 

Fortunately, there are many reasons for entering an Arts & Sciences competition.  

 

Compete to win an award  

 

o There is a gratification in getting recognized for work well done.  

 

o There is nothing wrong with wanting to win an award.  

 

Explore an area of an Art or Science that you have not explored before  

 

o Arts & Sciences competitions usually have a category for the purpose of the competition.  

 

This gives you an opportunity to try something you may not have tried before.  

 

Learn from the judges  

 

o The judging sheets are designed to allow for the judges to give a great amount of feedback  

 

to the participants.  

 

o The judges place their names on the judging sheet. If you have a question or would like  

 

further insight from the judge, you can talk to them. Judges like to share their knowledge.  

 

o Judges learn from the participants.  

 

Preparation for a Competition

 

Now that you've decided to enter a competition, the next thing is to come up with an entry for the  competition. The following steps should aid you in coming up with an appropriate entry.  

 

1. Create some sort of journal for your entry.

 

This journal should be used for making notes as you research your entry, including making pictures.  

 

2. Confirm the category for the competition.  

 

This will aid you in selecting what you will prepare for your entry. You want to make sure that you  choose something that is appropriate to the category. To do this, you must make a decision on what does the category mean. Sometimes the categories are rather vague, and open to broad interpreation.  

 

Make sure you justify why you made the decision for the entry in this category.  

 

For example, the category for a competition might be "A Viking Era dish". One person might take it  to mean to create a food entry that would be probable in the time of the Vikings. Another person  might mean to make a bowl or plate that would be probable in the time of the Vikings. Either of these  interpretations is a valid interpretation. Once you decide what is appropriate, make sure you make a  note of it in your journal.  

 

3. Research your item.  

 

Now that you have a good understanding of the category, you now have a general idea of what type of  item you may like to enter into the competition. You may have several ideas based on the competition category. Many resources in publication cover the time span focused upon by our society. Some  competition categories may restrict the item to a certain time or a certain area. It may be more difficult  to find information when the category imposes such restrictions, but it is not impossible. Many of the existing published resources are available on the internet. The SCA Arts & Sciences website has links  to many of these collections (http://www.sca.org)  

 

Many people also like to try to use a familiar item to enter in a competition, or may be given a category that precludes finding any resources. You can try to "reverse-engineer" these items by using resources from nearby areas or times. To reverse engineer an item is far more difficult to do than finding an item from an available resource.  

 

Please note that while you are conducting your research, the objective is not to duplicate a historical piece exactly, but to understand the processes and materials used in the creation of an item that could be mistaken for having existed prior to the 17th century.  

 

4. Write first draft of your documentation  

 

It is best to start your documentation as early as possible. With a chosen item, and the research you have done for the competition, you have a basis for your documentation. Documentation is one of the judged categories. Work out a preliminary interpretation of your item. Most of the information that should go into your documentation should be in your journal. Your documentation is essentially taking your journal, organizing it and condensing it.  

 

Your documentation should have the following elements:  

 

o Name of entry  

 

o Background on why the entry was chosen for the category  

 

o Any original text from primary resources on how the item was created and a translation of the  

 

original text from primary sources into modern English; or quotes from a critical analysis done by an expert in the field on the item. (Archaeological, Anthropological or Historical papers)  

 

o Your interpretation of the creation of the item  

 

o Notes of any changes you made from the original  

 

o Source of information  

 

o Bibliography  

 

5. Create your item  

 

Prepare your item according to the initial interpretation you have already written in your rough draft of your documentation. This is critical when creating this type of item for the first time. This gives you the opportunity to evaluate your interpretation and adjust it as you find necessary. The workmanship of your item is a category that the judges evaluate on your entry. You want to make sure that the aesthetics of your entry follows the aesthetics of the items your source indicates and that it should be of good workmanship. If something is going horribly wrong with your item, it gives you the opportunity to rework it. Make sure you journal all your successes and challenges during this process.  

 

6. Finalize your documentation  

 

Make sure that your documentation reflects the changes that you made in the creation of your item  based upon the discoveries you have made. You may want to note any special insights you had through the creation process. Review your documentation to make sure that you have not forgotten anything. Please note, keep the bulk of your documentation to no more than two pages. Add any supporting as an appendix. Remember, the judges are likely judging several entries and they can only absorb so much in a single reading of your documentation. Your documentation should be clear and concise and stick to only the relevant parts in the creation of your item. Have someone proof read your documentation, there may be questions that your documentation poses that you do not answer.  

 

7. Prepare your entry for the competition  

 

Make five copies of your documentation for the judges. For proper judging, enough of your entry  needs to be completed. Yes, works in progress can be entered into a competition as long as there is  enough completed to show the quality of workmanship and what the finished piece will look like.  Keep the documentation and the entry together so they both make it to the competition together.  

 

8. Enter the competition  

 

This might seem like an obvious step, but be certain of the time and place that the entries are due for the competition. You can contact the individual who is running the competition or the autocrat for  confirmation.  

 

The Judge's Perspective  

 

Documentation  

 

Documentation is the foundation of a good entry. It provides the judges with the necessary details of how, why and what you have created. It shows your understanding of the historical techniques and the  adaptations you had to make.  

 

Many times the competitor is more knowledgeable in the specific entry than the judge is, the  documentation should reflect that knowledge. It should answer any questions that the judge may have  in regards to that entry.  

 

Authenticity  

 

Authenticity is the degree to which the item would have been found in a particular time and place  within the focus of our society. It focuses on the materials and processes used in the creation of the  entry were appropriate to the time period referenced. If there were substitutions in material or processes, to what degree did these substitutions affect the overall authenticity of the entry.  

 

Complexity  

 

Complexity is the degree of difficulty in creating the item. Judges consider how much physical time;  the use of elaborate processes or sensitive processes; and the availability of materials used in the creation of the entry.

 

Creativity  

 

Creativity is the degree in which you take your understanding of the historical processes and materials to create an original entry. Creativity shows how well you can adapt and interpret what you have learned.  

 

Workmanship  

 

Workmanship is the degree of quality of the entry you have created. Workmanship shows your skill in the use of the historical processes and materials.  

 

Aesthetics  

 

Aesthetics is the degree in which the entry is pleasing to the eye in a historical manner.  

 

The Judge's Critique  

 

The most difficult task for a judge is offering a meaningful critique on your entry. This critique should tell you how well you did in regards to the judging criteria. It should also tell you areas in which you need improvement. The critique should offer comments about the entry. The critique is also the appropriate place for the judge to ask questions about your entry.  

 

You can judge your own entry at any time in the creation process. Consider the judging criteria when you  judge your own entry. I would also recommend doing a critique on your work prior to it being judged and  compare your critique with the judges' critiques. You may find yourself your own harshest critic.  

 

Attached are examples of documentation and of judging rubrics. The two examples of documentation included are one for a cooking competition (A.S. 32) the other for an arts competition (A.S. 39). These are by no means the best examples of documentation, but they have many of the elements that judges look for. The rubrics you find included are ones that were used at Ice Dragon in March A.S. 39 and their counterparts from the Midrealm. Finally attached is a judging form I created when I ran cooking competitions. The form I created was as a direct result from competitors telling me what they were looking for in a way of feedback from judges.  

 


 

Appendix  

Notes to Judges of A&S Competitions  

 

These notes are to assist individuals in how to judge an Arts & Sciences competition. The categories and explanation of said  categories are as follows:  

 

Documentation  

 

Documentation is the foundation of a good entry. It provides the judges with the necessary details of how, why and what of the item created. It shows the entrant's understanding of the historical techniques and the adaptations that had to be  made.  

 

Many times the competitor is more knowledgeable in the specific entry than the judge is, the documentation should reflect  that knowledge. It should answer any questions that the judge may have in regards to that entry.  

 

Authenticity  

 

Authenticity is the degree to which the item would have been found in a particular time and place within the focus of our  society. It focuses on the materials and processes used in the creation of the item were appropriate to the time period  referenced. If there were substitutions in material or processes, the degree these substitutions affected the overall  authenticity of the item.  

 

Complexity

 

Complexity is the degree of difficulty in creating the item. Consider how much physical time; the use of elaborate processes or sensitive processes; and the availability of materials used in the creation of the item.  

 

Creativity

 

Creativity is the degree in which the entrant shows their understanding of the historical processes and materials to create  an original item. Creativity shows how well the entrant can adapt and interpret what they have learned.  

 

Workmanship  

 

Workmanship is the degree of quality of the item created. Workmanship shows the entrant's skill in the use of the historical processes and materials.  

 

Aesthetics

 

Aesthetics is the degree in which the entry is pleasing to the eye in a historical manner.  

 

The Critique  

 

The most difficult task for a judge is offering a meaningful critique on the entry. The critique should tell the entrant how well  they did in regards to the judging criteria. It should also tell the entrant areas in which need improvement. The critique should  offer comments about the entry. The critique is also the appropriate place for the judge to ask questions about the entry.  

 

 

The Points Awarded  

 

One of the most difficult decisions for a judge is to rate the item upon the criteria by assigning it a point value. A judge should  develop a set of standards for each criteria that they compare the item to for assessment. The following is a suggestion on  establishing a standard:  

 

 

9-10 Points: The item meets the criteria perfectly or near perfectly. There is little to no room for improvement for the item in  regards to the specific criteria, and exceptionally done.  

 

 

7-8 Points: The item exceeds expectations for the criteria. There may be room for improvement, but well done.  

 

 

5-6 Points: The item meets all expectations determined. Room for improvement, but properly done.  

 

 

3-4 Points: The item is lacking in meeting the expectations you have determined for the criteria. A definite effort has been  shown and adequately done.  

 

 

1-2 Points: The item shows a rudimentary effort in meeting the expectations  A basic effort has been shown and marginally  done.  

 

 

0 Points: No effort at all made to meet the criteria.  


 

A & S Competition Entry Sheet  

 

 

 

Competition Category:                                                                                                                                                    

 

Event:                                                                                                                                                                          

Entrant:

Entry:  

Judge:

Text Box: Text Box: Note to Judges: If You have no comments on a category, Please write "No Comments"   Text Box: Documentation (1-10): Does it have the details of how, why and what of the item created. Does it answer questions  about the item?   Text Box: Comments:   Text Box: Workmanship (1-10) To what degree is the item well made?   Text Box: Comments:   Text Box: Aesthetics (1-10): To what degree in the item pleasing to the eye in a historical manner.?   Text Box: Comments:   Text Box: Complexity (1-10): To what degree is the difficulty in creating the item?   Text Box: Comments:   Text Box: Authenticity (1-10): To what degree would the item have been found in a particular time and place within the focus of  our society?  Comments:   Text Box: Creativity (1-10) To what degree did the entrant show their understanding of the historical processes and materials to  create an original entry?   Text Box: Comments:   Text Box: Competition Category:  
Event:  
Entrant:  
Entry:  
Judge:  
A & S Competition Entry Sheet 
 
Competition Category:  
Event:  
Entrant:  
Entry:  
Judge:  
Entry: 	  
 


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Copyright 2008 by Cassandra Baldassano. <euriol at yahoo.com>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited.  Addresses change, but a reasonable attempt should be made to ensure that the author is notified of the publication and if possible receives a copy.

 

If this article is reprinted in a publication, I would appreciate a notice in the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.

 

<the end>

 



Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org