A&S judging

I. Marc Carlson LIB_IMC at centum.utulsa.edu
Wed Oct 30 17:07:35 PST 1996

<Stefan li Rous<"Mark Harris" <mark_harris at quickmail.sps.mot.com>>>
>I guess I view this message with mixed feelings. On one hand, I see
>it as a spectacular effort in the arts and perhaps one to be emulated.
>Although I doubt few medieval craftsman were competant in as many areas.
>On the other hand, as very much a beginner in the arts, I dispair of
>ever approaching such a level.

I don't know that they weren't competant in many areas.  As a craftsman,
I consider myself a leatherworker, which means that I need to know 
something about not ONLY working in leather, but how to get, make, and/or
repair my tools and materials.  That means that I *ought* to know more
about skinning and tanning, but also know a few things about metal working,
wood working, bone carving, horning, thread spinning, wax clarification,
rendering tallows, and so on.  Certainly, in 1300, as a leatherworker, I
could have purchased pre-tanned leather, as well as order my tools specially
made from people who do that for a living, but unless I know how to judge
their work, I have no idea what I'm buying.  However, beyond being a 
leatherworker, I also need to have some knowldege of those areas that 
impinge upon my maintaining and running a household in 1300.   Fortunately, 
I've managed to learn most of that in the few years I've been doing this.  
I'm not what I would define as a "Master" at them (and am not likely to be 
for many, many years), but I daresay I'm skilled enough to consider myself 
able to judge other people's work in those areas (at least up to a point).

In the example you cited (which I missed seeing on the Rialto), it may have
been that none of the judges present felt qualified to give constructive 
criticism or advise.  I certainly am not going to tell people that they need
to do such and such a thing, when it is clear that they are already doing
an excellent job.

Actually, I've seen cases where a judge will feel obligated to make some 
"suggestion" or other, when it is clear from the suggestion they made that
the artisan was more qualified than the judge is in that field.  (Actually,
the only area I am qualified in giving a "Masters" opinion on is research :) ).

>I think it also brings up the discussion of competantancy in the
>judging of arts projects which was discussed here.

It would be nice if we could have nothing but perfectly qualified judges,
all producing absolutely guild master level work, but we don't.  To be honest,
I have rarely seen ANYONE in the SCA who (in those fields I competant to make 
such judgements in) does absolutely "guild-master" level work.  Don't get me
wrong, there are a number of *very* good artisans who are reasonably 
knowledgeable in their fields, and there are even more people who are really 
working hard to learn more about those fields.  Most of even that latter
category are able to make some basic judgements, and share some knowledge.

Even so, you are not going to always have someone judging your work who will
be able to *teach* you anything.  If you want to get a Master's opinion of 
your work, you MAY have to look beyond the confines of the SCA.


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