ANST - Practical arts and sciences

Mark Harris mark_harris at
Sat Aug 16 21:26:41 PDT 1997

Aquilanne said:

Again--not only risking redundency, but being repetitive as well, allow me
to reiterate--Arts and Sciences competitions are competitions designed for
*arts* and *sciences*. Take your floating wicks for oil lamps for example,
Stefan. Are they strong aesthetically? I would venture to say "no" because
they are, basically, just wicks on a simple float with a little piece of
metal. Is the construction complex? Again, I'd venture to say "no."
However--considering the prodigious amount of work you did working out the
design, experimenting with different oils, wick materials and sizes, etc.--I
would say enter this project along with well-written paper as a *research
project* and I would guess that you
might just have a masterpiece on your hands. How might this knowlege work
into your perspective?

Arggh. Unfortunately, as much as I wish I could claim that example, I can't.
The work on float-wick lamps and the article was written by Gordon Reeder.
All I did was encourage him to send me the article in electronic form and
let me edit it and put it in my collection of files. And yes, I think it
is an excellant example of the kind of stuff I would like to see in our
arts and SCIENCES displays and contests. And anyone who has such articles,
please consider letting me add them to the files.

For anyone wondering what we are talking about, look at this file:
flt-wick-lmps-art (14K)  2/24/97    "Experiments with domestic lighting" by 
                                       Gordon Reeder. (float-wick lamps)

It can be found in the HOME, SWEET HOME section of my files at:

>Perhaps there should be a seperate contest for practical items vs.
>the one for artistic items?

You know, that's exactly what I suggested in an earlier post today answering
the good baron. If we can get a "goat-to-coat" going, I will expect you to
participate as well. ;->

Umm. I guess Stefan is just full of complaints, but I don't consider the
"goat-to-coat" or "wool-to-sweater" and such to be good representatives of
medieval work either. Because other than in a few rare cases, one person
did not do the work in all the stages involved. Particularly as local and
then more distant trade developed, medieval tradesman bought the raw
ingredient(s), refined it and then sold it to someone else who did more
work on it before it finally found a final customer. Although these are
of great use as teaching tools.

As far as joining in, yes, I always like to learn new skills. But with a
few exceptions such as pewter casting, I am not a craftsman or artist.

I still would like to see some practical items. Brewer's: You buy your
apples as juice. How about a medieval apple press. I still don't think
it has to be a piece of art. Just fuctional, using medieval materials
as you can. Breadmakers: how about an oven? Carpenters: a set of working
medieval handtools. I know of several who have partial sets. Pewter
casters: period casting setups using charcoal and bellows. Instead of
electric pots or propane tourches. I'm working on this. Carters: How
about some period carts for moving stuff around SCA sites?

Anyone else got any suggestions, even if you don't think you are capable
of building the item yourself?

Stefan li Rous
markh at


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