Good Enough? (Was Using the Web for Documentation?)

Heidi J Torres hjt at
Tue Oct 29 22:26:21 PST 1996

Greetings to Sigrid and others from Mari!

On Tue, 29 Oct 1996 SusanKFord at wrote:

> What do I want? I want to learn. I am not afraid of criticism. I am always on
> the lookout for new sources and new way ot doing things. I want to know how
> period I have to get before entering an item. For example, I have several
> stones that I poilished, made cabuchons, and made into rings. I ground the
> stones on diamond wheels to make the cabochons. I did not know the period
> method. Is it still OK to enter the items? (BTW if you have info on period
> lapidary... I would love a suggestion).

How authentic your methods are, and how authentic you want them to be, is 
up to you.  If I were judging your rings, above, I would want to see a 
clean item, crafted and finished to the best of your current abilities.  
Documenting your methods is very important.  I would want you to be able 
to tell me what the period methods of creating and finishing this ring 
would be, how you deviated from those methods and why.  Cost, access to 
materials and equipment, skill level, etc. are all valid reasons and 
should be noted.  Now, I don't know the first thing about cabochon 
stones, but let's say the period way of grinding them was to cover them in 
bug paste, set them in oak trees and let native woodpeckers whittle them 
down naturally.  Well, we live in Ansteorra and not Outer Smedonia, or 
wherever this way of making gemstones originated.  We might not have the 
right oaks, the right woodpeckers, the right kind of bug paste.  
Including in your documentation, "since I did not have access to certain 
elements of this process (i.e. woodpeckers & bug paste), I chose to grind 
the cabachons on a diamond wheel, which I had in my garage."

Let the judges know what you did and why.  Just because a piece wasn't 
created with totally period materials and techniques doesn't mean it's 
unacceptable.  Personally, one of the best things about judging is 
encountering the works of certain artisans and seeing how their knowledge 
and skill increases over time.  Perhaps in a few years you'll be so 
obsessed with the thought of creating Smedonian cabochons in the 
authentic matter that you'll 1) go to Outer Smedonia and try it yourself, 
or 2) better yet, attempt the process with native bugs and woodpeckers.  
Education is a journey.  Documenting your process is like keeping a 
travel journal.

Just my wandering opinions....

Hope to see your stuff at Laurels' Prize Tourney, Sigrid.

Yours,  Mari

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