ANST - aesthetics and function

dennis grace amazing at
Tue Aug 19 09:50:18 PDT 1997

Hi all. Aquilanne here.

I'm more than a bit dismayed at the argumentation going on over what does
and what should "win" A&S competitions. Rather than moaning about how ugly
bowls don't stand a chance against pretty bowls, or how decorative
leatherwork beats out functional work every time, why not spend a bit of all
this complaint-generating energy and work on two things: educating ourselves
as to what systems have been used with whatever level of success, and
modifying/creating criteria that will take these things into consideration?
It will require having a base set of criteria that apply to all entries, and
variations on those criteria for separate categories. For example, I don't
think brewing will need criteria taking "functionality or
ceremonial/display" appropriateness into consideration. On the other hand,
"functionality or ceremonial/display" could possibly be an appropriate
criterion for a leatherworking category.

I would like to point out to anyone who may not realize it that *aesthetics*
have a function, especially in the game we play. In the SCA, we are all of
noble birth. We are (and would have been expected in period, as well) to
appreciate aesthetics. A rough-hewn bowl is not as aesthetically pleasing as
a well-carved bowl, with or without decoration; and a well-carved bowl
*with* decoration is superior to either. Hell, a rough-hewn bowl with an
attempt at decoration is superior to the rough-hewn bowl without.

Talented artists and artisans who work long hours perfecting their art and
researching enter A&S competitions, and their work deserves the respect it
gets. My suggestion to anyone not getting the results they want out of these
competitions is the same kind of suggestion a knight would give a fighter
not doing as well as they would like in crown tourney: educate yourself as
to exactly what your weaknesses are, work on your skills, try harder, do more.

If what you really want are warm fuzzies, don't enter an A&S competition.



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