West Kingdom Arts & Sciences
Admitted January 8, AS XXXIX (2005) by HRM Alden & HRM Constantina Francesca von Hesse
What was the most difficult thing you encountered in your run? --
Balancing the time I needed to work on the projects spent away from my family. Some of the fields were completely new to me and required weekly classes for months. Even though it is a year long competition, the 8 competitions I entered were all in the first 5 months. Also, I challenged myself by imposing a "try to make all your entries fit 16thC England" . This made it much more difficult to stay within my selected time period but also helped narrow my scope. Also, in areas that I was already competent in I tried to add extra elements to.
What was the most surprising thing about your run? --
I had so much fun.
How did you handle doing the research? Did you use libraries? The Internet? Where did you find your primary resources? --
I have a degree in history so I am accustomed to research and utilizing resources. Two boons was that I had access to U.C. Berkeley's library and the Arts Officer, Sabrina de la Bere had a website for the competitions with links to great sites online.
What was the average length of your documentation? --
3 pages, including graphics, not including title page and bibliography. One judge complained about the length, but they complained on everyone's documentation length. The research paper was longer.
About how long did it take for you to do an entry, including the research and documentation? --
I started most of the entries in January, and the competitions ran from March through July. A few areas were completely new for me so I worked on them continuously (like illumination and maiolica). I sometimes spend way more time on the research and documentation than making the actual item. The thing is to know when to stop researching and start making!
If you remember, what were the competitions and what were your entries? (If you have webbed any of your entries, please provide the URL.) --
Unfortunately, my computer was stolen after I was done competing but before the announcement of the winner so I lost all my documentation and saved websites. I do have hard copies of my entries:
- Headgear - I made an Elizabethan tall hat. I also embroidered the badge and dressed the feathers.
- Make a Fine Spice - I made a pouder forte. I also used the pouder in two dishes, sausages and mustard.
- Instrumental Piece - I used recorder to play a Tudor ballad attributed to Henry VIII. I also made a period sheet of music.
- Gloves & Mittens - I made an silk and metal thread embroidered gauntlet.
- Illuminated Capital Letter - I made an L .
- Research Paper: Layouts and Plants of the Medieval Garden - I researched an Elizabethan knot garden. I also drew and schematic drawing of a knot garden and painted the plants in a reference guide.
- Hawking Gear - I made an Imperial (ornamental) style hood.
- Tablewear - I made two maiolica bowls. One of the bowls I molded and the other I threw.
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? --
I always wanted to participate in the Poppy, I have read the annual competitions and sometimes really wanted to do it but I did not have the time or money. The year I competed the competitions were either stuff I already did or stuff I had been wanting to learn, and I just carved out the time to do it.
What advice would you give someone who wants to make the run? --
Make sure you discuss this endeavor with your family before you commit. At times, it consumed all my available time and my family didn't see much of me. Think less about it being a competition and more about being a challenge.
Would you do it again? --
If I had the trifecta of time, money and interesting competitions, yes! I think there should be a "Tournament of Champions" competitions for members of the Poppy to run against each other.
Anything else you would like to add about the experience? --
I entered the Poppy to expose me to new arts and give me deadlines to work with. It was so much fun and two of the new arts (illumination and maiolica) I have continued with and still enjoy.
Thinking back to the following year, did you do anything special as Kingdom Artisan? --
Mostly I worked with the A&S officers and assisted in the competitions, either judging or finding judges. At one event, both the A&S officers were not there and only one deputy who had not run any competitions. Luckily my intimate experience with the competitions and how they are run came in handy and I was able to walk the deputy through the whole thing.