ANST - RE- A&S Judging

Baronman at Baronman at
Fri Aug 15 07:36:21 PDT 1997

In a message dated 97-08-15 05:45:17 EDT, you write:

>And thereby touched on what I see as the prime fault in this list, and
>yes, in most A&S contests. That accuracy need not be there if pretty
>and complexity are.
>Under this system it appears that a complex, pretty candlestick holder
>made out of aluminum turned on a machine lathe could well beat a
>lopsided, drinking bowl hand carved of rough wood. The latter may well
>be quite accurate for a woodsman of the 12th century in the frontiers
>of eastern Germany. But the former would win because it is complex and
>aesthetic even if produced with modern materials with modern tools in
>a non-period form. Again, complexity and aesthetic value often get
>more credit than authenticity.

Well said- this is the main reason why I no longer enter into A&S
I received a Thistle for metal casting and for leather work many years ago,
some of the "best" people in the kingdom (and outside of the kingdom too)
 have pieces of my stained glass work and my kilt brooches,  my knight is
teaching me the art of wood carving, but I do it all for my own satisfaction
and not for compition any more. 
I have been to the museums in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.  Most of
what I saw  would not even get a comment on a judging sheet at an A&S
compition.  And if it did get commented on, I'm certain it wouldn't be
complimentary.  Very few of the artisans have the talent and ability to turn
out a Tara Brooch but it seems that is exactly what the judges in our A&S
compitions want.  I could turn out a pretty good rendition of the Tara
Brooch, with the help of modern technology, (computer graphics,templates,
acid wash and modern firing kilns) but these resources were not available at
the time when the originals were made. I have heard individuals say " but the
ancients would have used these resources if they had them" but THEY DIDN'T
HAVE THEM.  Most of my garb is hand sewn, not all of it, just the stuff I
make.  I refuse to use a sewing machine on my garb.  I takes me alot longer
to make it but I appreciate it much more, thus my stinky old fighting tunic,
hand sewn and falling apart, is much more "period" than a machine sewn
Elizabethian gown.  But would my tunic win an A&S compitions against the
gown? I think not, but as far as accurratly re-creating , it should. 
I entered, against my better judgement, my carved feast box at Squires (had
to enter something for the overall compition).  I thought it best represented
what I preceived as a typical 13th-14th century box such as I saw in the
European museums.  Comments ran from rough work, needs finishing, ect.  to
needs a more period clasp (which it does).  The point is that my hand made
and hand carved beautiful ( in my eyes) box was panned.  What won the
compition, I cannot remember, but I bet it was very "pretty" in the eyes of
the judges.

>To cite a less exagerated example: The simple six sided wood box with
>period oil finish vs. the fancy, 16th century box with grooved
>construction, covered with jewels and finished in poly-finish.
>The later might be similar to a one of a kind item in a museum
>collection. The former resemble boxes made by the thousands throughout
>Europe. Which is likely to win a competition? In most SCA contests,
>the later.

  This is so very true and again the main reason why I no longer enter A&S
compitions.  One has to ask the question- Are we re-creating the past or
modifing it to own own expectations.  Would my rough wooden feast box even be
noticed if it was sitting in a 14th century great hall? Probably not.  Would
some one wearing a sewing machine produced Elizabethian gown be burnt as a
witch, for wearing something that could only be sewn by "the devil"?  Which
item would successfully and acurately re-create the past? 

I'm done crying and getting off my soap box to put on my asbestos underwear-
I know what's coming-  

   Baron Bors of Lothian
  Par Deu, bel sire, cist est de ae vostre lin,
  Et si mangue un grant braun porcin
  Et a dous traitz beit un cester de vin.
  Ben dure guete deit il rendre a sun veisin.

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