West Kingdom Arts & Sciences
Admitted January 3, AS XXXII (1998) by HRM Fabian & HRM Bryne Elina of Beckenham
What was the most difficult thing you encountered in your run? --
Making sure there were enough entries to have a contest. The rules at the time were unclear and it was possible not to have a poppy only because there were not enough entries to have a contest in order to fulful the requirements. This has since been changed, for the better I believe.
What was the most surprising thing about your run? --
I was surprised at some of the judging. In some cases the judges were knowledgeable and fair, in others they were vindictive and rude. Had I not been a veteran of the arts and sciences judging system I would have left the SCA and never returned after reading some of the comments. I read some aloud in the Laurels meeting without identifying the judge, and the Crown and Laurels were shocked and this became some of the fuel for changing the judging as Kingdom Artisan the following year.
How did you handle doing the research? Did you use libraries? The Internet? Where did you find your primary resources? --
Any and all sources. Internet, Books, Primary, Interviews with recognized experts. The beauty of this is that the projects are so diverse as to require nearly every available resource you can lay your hands on.
What was the average length of your documentation? --
This varied by project. In some it was citing a few well known sources, in others it required detailed photocopies and text.
About how long did it take for you to do an entry, including the research and documentation? --
Again, this varied. I think my shortest was a few days, a research paper, written in the form of a narration of a man at the time.
If you remember, what were the competitions and what were your entries? (If you have webbed any of your entries, please provide the URL.) --
Let's see'..I recall the research paper on surgery. I wrote it from two perspectives that of the intended patient and the other of the surgeon. While presented in a humorous manner, it got the research across, both from common belief of the average person and the more "knowledgeable" belief of the surgeon. There was also a storytelling. It was about Saladin and Sir Huge. I started the first few sentences in French, as if it was from Sir Huge's point of view, told most of the story in English, and returned to French in the last sentence. To my surprise, one of the judges spoke fluent French and was the only one truly jarred by the change in language, everyone else thought it flowed well. On the other hand, I learned my French pronunciation was not all that bad. We had one on Cooking tools, I'm a weaver, so I made cheese cloth. Oddly, it was harder to weave than it looked, since most weaving is done far tighter.
Did you start out planning to do the run or did it just happen? If it was planned, how did you handle the psychological side? -- Very much planned. There were some contests I simply could not do, such as musical instruments or Middle Eastern dance, so it was important to make sure that I could meet all of the criteria needed in subjects that I could make a reasonable entry in.
What advice would you give someone who wants to make the run? --
Plan it out. Have an idea of what you want to make and how you want to go about it. Start early on the projects, some will take far more time than you expected.
Would you do it again? --
Yes, it was fun. Grueling at times to make sure you could do a good job on the entries and get them in on time, but fun and rewarding nonetheless.
Anything else you would like to add about the experience? --
The benefits are in the diversity and required quality of entries. This requires an expansion of talent and abilities, for just about anyone. Enjoy that!
Thinking back to the following year, did you do anything special as Kingdom Artisan? --
I unfortunately did not know that winning also meant you became the Kingdom Artisan, oops. What I ended up doing was concentrating on making the judging more fair and among other things had the entrants names removed from the entry sheets and had the judge's names added, and had them sign their comments. I think I also ended up as the tie breaking judge on occasion. I believe I was asked to write a couple of articles, which I did on silk banner making, and taught a few classes on the same.