A&S judging

Gunnora Hallakarva gunnora at bga.com
Wed Oct 30 23:22:57 PST 1996

Stafan li Rous brought up this message from the Rialto:
>When HL Sigtrygg Foamcarver won Calontir's Arts and Sciences 
>Championship in early August, one of his entries was caligraphy he'd 
>done on a piece of vellum he made himself (starting with the dead 
>calf), with ink he made, written on a scriptorum he made, with quills 
>he made, the piece being a saga or piece of saga he wrote, in 
>  Talking with him about the judging recently, he expressed regret 
>that the judges didn't comment on his saga.  I think their oversight 
>understandable, but I would like to find someone who could read and 
>critique the saga.  How else do we get better?
>Agnes deLanvallei

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

The problem with this gentleman's entry was the fact that there wasn't
anyone there who could read Old Norse, hence no one could comment on it.  If
I were to be asked to judge such an item, I would want a typed version of
the O.N., with translation in English, documentation etc. *at least* 2 weeks
before the event... as I would have to sit down and translate his work
myself before I could even begin to comment on the accuracy of his Old
Norse, how well his word usage matched period examples, and how well he
captured the "flavor" of a period saga.

You really cannot blame the judges or even the event coordinators for there
not being a judge present who can competently evaluate your work.  If you
want your sterling-silver reproduction of a 14th century left-handed Serbian
nosepicker judged, you might ought to contact the person organizing the A&S
as much as a month ahead of time so they can find someone who (1) is
knowledgeable enough to judge your work and (2) who will be able to attend
the event.  It might be helpful for you to suggest some ideas as to who else
in the kingdom you know is working in (or near) your field.

And, if you still can't get a good evaluation at the event, take time to
seek out the Laurels and start asking for referrals to someone who can give
you a good critique.  It's easy to find some skills here in Ansteorra (for
instance, we have many weavers who work in a wide range of styles and
techniques), other skills are more difficult to find because only one or two
people have researched certain fields... icon writing seems to be one of the
fields where we have a limited base of practicioners right now, just to name
an example that was mentioned in the last few days in this forum. You may
have to ask several people to get a good referral.

Take me for instance... I am a Viking Age expert.  However, if you start
asking me about (to name one question I was asked recently) say, whether or
not the Vikings used lucets, and if so, where you could get information, I
would have to refer you to Mistress Meadhbh's apprentice Fionna... and when
she asked me, I referred her to a Laurel from out-of-kingdom, Mistress Thora
Sharptooth.  I still would be willing to judge a hand-made lucet, and the
cord made with it... so long as the artist has provided enough information
in their documentation to educate me as to the basics of the art  as it was
practiced in period.  Most Laurels can tell when an item is well-made,
well-finished, well-documented.  Alas, if you want a more in-depth critique,
you sometimes have to go trolling for an expert in your field!

I think the underlying issue here is, "Does the artisan want a good
critique, or a prize?"  If it's a critique, go looking for it before or
after an event.  If it's a prize, you take the luck of the draw as to who
will be judging at the event.

Another problem I have seen is that there are some people who want to
display just so they can get nice warm fuzzies and feel good about
themselves... they do not want a critique, all they want to hear is how
wonderful their widget is.  And if a judge tries to do their job and provide
a critique, there are some folks who absolutely cannot accept any criticism,
no matter how positive and constructive it may be.  I would prefer, as a
judge, that if this is what you want, do not display your entry in an A&S.
Bring it to me in my camp and say, "Look Gunnora, at this wonderful widget I
made! Isn't it wonderful!"  which is, of course, my cue to pipe up with, "Oh
yes!  What a wonderful widget you have there!"  This way I have a clue as to
the response you want and expect.

There are no perfect answers.  I have to say that Master Thomas is doing a
wonderful job as Kingdom Minister of A&S by taking the time to so carefully
match judges with entries, and making sure that there are judges available
who can judge the entries expected.  It's a tough job.



Gunnora Hallakarva
Ek eigi visa (th)ik hversu o(dh)lask Lofstirrlauf-Kruna
heldr hversu na Hersis-A(dh)al

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