[Ravensfort] Fwd: RE: [Ansteorra] The Journey: A&S

L T ldeerslayer at yahoo.com
Thu Apr 18 07:47:56 PDT 2002

Saw this on the ansteorra list and thought it might help some of our folks...


--- Christie Ward <val_org at hotmail.com> wrote:
> From: "Christie Ward" <val_org at hotmail.com>
> To: ansteorra at ansteorra.org
> Subject: RE: [Ansteorra] The Journey: A&S
> Reply-to: ansteorra at ansteorra.org
> Date: Wed, 17 Apr 2002 15:35:19 -0500
> I tried to figure out who said what to whom, but I couldn't see clearly who
> said what.  So I'm just going to address some points as they occur in this
> thread in general.
> >In a static A&S you may or may not get to talk with the judge who may or
> >may not know as much as you do about what you are doing.
> In much the same way, an über-Duke can walk out and get one-shotted by an
> absolute newby fighter. Sometimes it's luck and who's there and what kind of
> day everyone is having.
> It is always a possibility that at a judged competition there may not be a
> judge available who does know more about your topic than you do.  This is
> why we need your documentation.  Any Laurel should be able to pick our
> quality craftsmanship in a piece, even if it is not their field of
> expertise.  Given solid, basic documentation, and an awareness of
> craftsmanship, the judge can usually figure out more or less how to evaluate
> an entry.
> On the other hand, if I had a farthing for every A&S entry that I've judged
> that had no documentation, or where the documentation didn't cover even
> minimal basics, I'd own a *much* larger farm by now.  Documentation isn't
> (despite artisan rumors to the contrary) some obscure torture the Laurels
> put you through for our own twisted amusement... it's very frequently
> completely critical to us being able to judge your work at all.
> >Also you are competing, like in bardic, against everyone at the same time.
> >It is a different type of competition.
> Not exactly.  What we've been trying for is a "dog show" type of judging.
> We're not basing your A&S score on that of anyone around you, or how
> well/poorly others did.  We are *attempting*, within the limitation of each
> judge's very human and subjective understanding, to consider your item
> against a "Breed Standard" for whatever type of thing it is.
> So, for example, if you enter a reproduction of a carved 9th century
> Icelandic whalebone earspoon and I end up judging it, I'm going to consider
> your reproduction against your documentation and what I know about horn/bone
> carving and about personal toilet items in the early Middle Ages.  Then,
> following the predefined areas on the judging sheet, I have to rank how well
> you did in various categories.
> This is harder than you'd think. If you have never judged using our forms,
> come ask me or another Laurel at the next A&S competition to help us judge.
> I think *every* artisan competing should do this at least a time or two,
> just so you can understand where we are getting these numbers (and no, we're
> not usually pulling them out of our colons!)
> When considering on, say, a 1 to 5 scale, with 5 being high, a 5 would mean
> that you were absolutely perfect and needed no improvement whatsoever, and
> there was no way I could think of to offer suggestions for possible
> improvements.  On that scale, a 3 would mean that you were doing pretty
> good, you got a lot of things right and there are some areas that you might
> want to investigate further for future projects.  A score less than that
> probably in real life means that your documentation was so bad that we
> couldn't score you any higher, because you didn't give us enough info to be
> able to do so.
> >When A&S is judged, we are judged against a masters skill. It would be much
> >like if I knew that every time I stepped onto the tourney field I would
> >draw you at your peak performance...why bother stepping on the
> >field other than for the sheer pleasure of getting my toosh wooped.
> To which someone (possibly Pendaran) replied:
> >>This is incorrect. People are asked for their level of expertise on the
> >>judging form. If you rate yourself as an expert, you'll be judged as one.
> >>If you rate yourself as a novice you'll be judged as one.
> The first point in this pair is just not right at all, and the second kind
> of misses the point altogether (though it's true insofar as it goes).
> When we are juding an A&S competition, we are not judging you again a
> Laurel's skill level.  We are not deducting points for poor performance.
> Our job is to look at the object, and where possible make useful suggestions
> on how you can make improvements, either in the object itself or in future
> projects of a similar nature.  Simultaneously, we have to fill out that
> little judging form.
> Think of the scoring not as "points deducted" from the score, but rather
> that we start with a zero and *add points onto the score* based on the
> entry's merits when compared against your documentation and the judge's
> knowledge of the art.
> In theory, every judge should be writing commentary on your forms.  We
> should be including comments about what was good about the piece, as well as
> offering suggestions on ways to improve either the piece or future work in
> the same field.
> In reality, sometimes this doesn't happen.  Heck, I write more than most
> people and sometimes we get so swamped dur to lots of entris and few judges
> that I even don't do as good a job as a should.
> What the Expert/Intermediate/Novice info on the form is supposed to do is to
> help the judges in structuring the commentary they give back to the artisan.
>   I'm going to spend more time and warm fuzzies on a new artisan than I am
> to some crusty old reprobate who has been working in that field for years.
> I'd be wasting the expert's time with trivial feedback -- or I could
> overwhelm the new person with too much detail and too many recommendations.
> A novice needs one or two basic, concrete suggestions for improvement, plus
> encouragement.  An expert needs good, solid, factual feedback at as high a
> level as it can be offered, often in very nitpicking areas of the field.
> >On the field, your weapons vary, in A&S although I can do stainglass or
> >calligraphy or weaving and so on, the battle is still faught with the
> >printed word. Very infrequently do the judges interview the
> >partisipants.
> Actually, whenever possible judges usually try to talk to the artisans if we
> can.  Sometimes time constraints or lack of enough personnel makes this less
> possible.
> But I disagree that it comes down always to the documentation -- excellent
> work and craftsmanship is the weapon with which you do battle in this venue.
>   The documentation is not even always read by the judges -- and yes, we
> should always read documentation, but people are human and sometimes they
> don't.
> But, nonetheless, just as a chivalric fighter may prefer melees over
> individual tourament fighting, or spear over sword-and-shield, if the
> documentation makes your skin crawl you always have the option of entering
> only A&S venues such as Laurels' Prize Tourney, where it's a body of work
> display; or you can enter competitions which have the winners selected by
> votes from the populace, etc.
> >Also, unlike combat, no one says you can not swing that way because it can
> >not be proven that people swong that way in period. I have been told more
> >than once that tatting is not period. It was started by the
> >egyptions 2000bc, but did not enter the household of the european rich
> >until after 1600ad, so "it is obviously not period." and there is no
> >research done to say what it was being used for in the 3600 years
> >between those dates.
> If you can document the art to any place and time prior to 1600, then that
> info needs to be in the documentation for the judges.  If it is in the
> documentation and the judges overlooked that, you need to track them down
> and talk to the individual judge about that in detail.
> No one will tell you that you can't tat things for use in the Society, nor
> even that you cannot enter them in A&S competitions, so your fighting
> analogy on this one is wrong.  If you don't explain why it's period in your
> documentation, though, you can't really complain if the judges base their
> scores on what *they personally know about the art*.
> (One of those Southern Ansteorran Laurels)
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