16 May 2007

Slight Frustration

I just realised I haven't posted for a while, life can slide by!! Well, I didn't win the comp at Crown. But Mordenvale did have 3 of the 4 entries, so world domination plans are well on schedule.

I am however, somewhat frustrated about my projects. I got the judging feedback sheets back and I am really surprised. The very ordinary wool pouch got a better mark than the Baronial badge! I was really shocked. And the reason was frustrating. Basically the pouch got better marks because it was more a straight copy from an existing piece than the badge. I know my documentation on both was not as good as it could've been, but I think the badge was better, as it was an original design, using multiple period examples as evidence, using period techniques (although marked down for using single gold thread rather than two - another item which I'm willing to argue the point) and for a period purpose.

I've always been led to believe that an original piece is marked higher, rather than a straight copy. But obviously this isn't the case. At least it bodes well for Midwinter.


"Basically the pouch got better marks because it was more a straight copy from an existing piece than the badge."

It is "teh suck" as the kids say. It's a pervasive attitude in A&S competitions, and I hate it. I see that a lot. If it's not an exact copy then it's not A Real Thing. shakes head. I know I"m not very coherent, but I just don't understand that attitude!


Why on earth would they reward someone for copying? "shake my head too" A copiest does just one thing and original work requires a damn site more thought and creativity and then workmanship. Congratulations on your entry you have every reason to be proud of your work!

Hi Laren,

don't worry about the badge, it's beautiful and your goldwork is just amazing!-

I'm not familiar with SCA competitions, but I don't understand why they should limit themselves to reproducing only existing pieces... Some people just love "nitpicking"...

Anyway, do you know passing thread K4 (eg www.berlinembroidery.com)? It's "real" gold thread that is thin enough to couch two strands at once, (and I love it).

I think trying to do something new is much more difficult than only to copy something...
*shakes head*

PS: I don't like competitions - I don't think they are really fair for some reasons (no matter if inside or outside the SCA)

Yes, the SCA encourages your own creativity, but not in competitions. I've never heard anything that says your own design would get higher marks than a "museum copy" would, and that is what competitions usually aim for. A straight copy of an extant item, with the proper materials and proper technique is always going to get better marks than something "derivative" because there is direct and positive proof of the first.

That's the way of things - and one reason I'm not terribly fond of A&S competitions in the SCA. I'd rather do an exhibition of stuff, like we did at Double Wars this year - artisans brought their stuff and we geeked out over them together.

Greetings! We've not met, but I've been familiar with your site for some time (and am, in fact, lifting your plan for the baronial badge for an heraldic embroidery I am working on myself), and A&S competitions are a button for me. Hope you don't mind this brief introduction and comment!

I think your observation is really valid for your kingdom (Lochac, right?), but it's not true for every place. In the Midrealm, a reproduction piece is usually scored lower than a piece that is an original, when both pieces are well-researched and the original is made of elements that are recognized as period (That codicil needs to be in there; an original pillow cover made of denim and acrylic fabric paint is not going to do better than a near-exact copy of one of the 16th c. pillow covers in the V&A, for example).

Anyway, I wanted to encourage you to keep trying your A&S system, even if it does sometimes make you want to bang your head. I also encourage you to consider what you can do to change that system to make it more open to greater diversity. And, lemme tell you, I will be happy to talk with you about changing the system if you need a sounding board, because I so delight in doing just that. :-)