Archive for the ‘A&S Competition Documentation’ Category

A&S Competition Documentation Hint 3 – The Finishing Touches

Monday, March 21st, 2011


Today we will be discussing some things you may already know, plus the finishing touches for your hopefully award winning Arts and Sciences Documentation.

Please type, do not hand write the documentation. Use a familiar font, such as Times New Roman. Yes, it is a bit boring, but is can easily be read. The judges read all day, and eyes do get tired.

Plain English, Please:
Use very plain English as your language for documentation and state things clearly. Do not speak “forsooth” in your documentation. Do not write your documentation in a foreign language, not everyone reads/speaks a foreign language. If you have a foreign language phrase in your documentation, give the definition or translation. It is sometimes difficult enough to read and comprehend someone else’s English.

Give it Some “Style”:
Use ONE reference style throughout your documentation.
APA & MLA are suggested in the Atenveldt Kingdom A&S Competition Rules. Both of these styles can easily be found on-line. (Check your Kingdom’s Competition Rules for guidelines.)
APA Style:
MLA Style:

The easier your documentation is to read and the more questions it answers, the better your score will be.

Finishing Touches:
When you are finished writing your documentation, then you should add the following:
1) A Cover Page – Title of the Piece, Country of Origin, Date (insert specific date here), by: your SCA name if you live in a Kingdom, Principality, or Barony that does not have blind judging.
2) Pictures or Scans of the original piece(s) from which you took your inspiration completed (These can either be placed in an Appendix, or put them into the body of the documentation near the correlating information.)
3) Pictures or Scans of the piece you made in process and completed (These can either be placed in an Appendix, or put them into the body of the documentation near the correlating information.)
4) An Appendix and End Notes (if necessary, depending on the style you choose to write).
5) Bibliography. As for the Bibliography, know your sources. Label each source as primary or secondary sources. Know which ones are primary and secondary sources. (ex: A Book of Hours that you look at and take the calligraphy hand directly out of is a primary source. A modern book about calligraphy that references that Book of Hours is a secondary source. People are not considered a source!)

3 Important Sources:
When I do my documentation, I check and double check 3 important sources.
If there’s anything on any of these 3 sources that I didn’t cover, I go back and put it in somewhere where it flows nicely.
1) My list of “5 Ws”
2) The Kingdom judging sheet(s) for my category(s)
3) The Kingdom A&S Competition Rules (Read your Kingdom’s competition rules fully! Really, I cannot stress that enough!)

Do Your Research First:
Historic research can often take longer than an entrant has planned, so do your research first. There are some people who adamantly say to write your documentation before you create your physical item. I am not one of them. I think you should write your documentation when you have the time, and when it makes sense to you to write it. I agree that you can save some time by writing the historic information about the piece(s) that have inspired the one you are creating at any time in advance. The parts referring to the piece you create should be done either as you make it or just after its completion, so it is fresh in your mind.

Last but not least, remember the judges are rooting for you!
We want you to knock our socks off! We want to know what you know. We want your documentation to tell us what we need to know about that specific art and your specific piece. We want you to tell why this piece is impressive, without using those specific words. If a judge puts their contact info at the bottom of a judge’s sheet, feel free to call or email that judge with questions of your own. Open a dialogue, we are artists or people who appreciate art, and we love to have an open, honest, friendly, helpful discussion about art.

I look forward to seeing what I can learn from the entries I judge every year!

I hope this helps in your quest to enter any A&S Competition, and I encourage everyone to enter at least one item in a local or Kingdom level Competition to have that experience.

Hopefully Helpful,

A&S Competition Documentation Hint 2 – The 5 W’s, Sort of

Monday, March 14th, 2011


I know what you’re thinking, “I already know the 5 W’s. Just get on with it!”

True, you do know them, but you do not know my 5 W’s! My version is a wee bit expanded. O.K. It’s a lot expanded, but most can be answered in one sentence, and still give the judges plenty of specific information. Here we go…

The “5 Ws” I look for are a little bit expanded:

What is the item? (be specific, show pictures of historic pieces)
What was it used for historically?
What does it do?
What is it used for in today’s SCA?
What could this item be used for in the “Modern World”?

When is the historic example(s) from? (be very specific about dates, and don’t guess)
When was this item made?

Where was the historic item made? (continent, country, county, city; the more specific you can be the better)
Where was this item made? (this is not a necessary thing in the documentation, but it can sometimes be interesting)
If this item is not European, please tell why and how it would have been found in Europe at the time (pre 17th century).

Who made this item historically?
Who would make this item in today’s SCA? (not the specific artist, but a group of people; ex: the scribes make scrolls)
Who used this item in historically?
Who would use this item in today’s SCA?
Who would use this item if it can be used in the “Modern World”?

Why was this item made historically?
Why was this specific item made? (ex: I made this for my friend so they could hang it on their wall.)

How was the historic item made? (Include the tools and materials used to make it; ex: craftsmen of the time would have used a purple widget to tighten the green do-hickey.)
How was this item made? (Include the tools and materials used to make it, ex: I used the blue thing-a-ma-bob to tighten the green do-hickey as the purple widget is no longer available.)
If you used modern materials and tools, please tell us why.
If you handmade your tools and materials, include that.
If you purchased any tools and materials, and that was historically done for such an item, tell us that, too. (ex: I purchased my vellum, as the craftsmen historically did, and I live in a city and didn’t want to smell up the neighborhood and make my neighbors mad.)

Does this piece do exactly what it’s meant to?
Does it look, sound, feel, taste, smell like it’s supposed to? (If it’s an item that you’re not supposed to hear, feel, taste or smell, don’t use these senses in your documentation.)
Does it function correctly?

What did I Learn
What did I learn about this piece?
What did I learn about this process?
What did I learn _________?

What Would I do Different Next Time
If you intend to make this piece over or not, this is an important section for the judges to know what you would do different if you were to make this piece again, or if you were to make another similar one.

Putting it all together:

Now you’re probably wondering, “How the heck do I get this into a 5 paragraph form?” Fear not, my friend! I have that figured out, too!

The 5 paragraph form:

Paragraph 1: Introduction, briefly say what you’re going to say – 3 to 5 sentences.
Paragraph 2: “What”, “When”, “Where”, “Why”, and “Who” (This can be made into two paragraphs if you do an historic information paragraph and a modern information paragraph).
Paragraph 3: “How” and “Does”
Paragraph 4: “What did I Learn” and “What Would I do Different Next Time”
Paragraph 5: Conclusion, briefly say what you said– 3 to 5 sentences.
There are your 5 paragraphs, and your documentation. If you include all of this, it will be at least 2 pages long, with no problem, and should make the judges very happy. (Check your Kingdom’s Competition Rules for length specifics. Atenveldt allows type written 7 pages, not including images and bibliography.)

Next week, we will discuss the finishing touches!

Hopefully Helpful,

A&S Competition Documentation Hint 1 – Raise Your Score!

Monday, March 7th, 2011


In the spirit of getting more people to enter Arts and Sciences Competitions, and to have great documentation, I have the following hints.

Yes, this information will help you raise your score!

I have had the pleasure of being a Kingdom Arts & Sciences (A&S) Competition judge and judging instructor for almost a decade.

The one thing that sometimes frustrates judges is the lack of information in some of the documentation. To alleviate that frustration (on both the judge and entrant sides), I have some information about why it is important to include more information, and what I, as a judge, am looking for. (Note: not all Kingdoms or judges have the same criteria. I find as a general rule, this format and information will get you really far with MOST judges.)

Documentation is the entrant’s voice and representative to the judges. Atenveldt has blind judging. It is the only thing that tells us about the entrant’s knowledge of that piece and the background and history of that art. Frustration for judges comes when they have to judge items that have less than 1/2 a page of typed documentation, including title page, pictures, and bibliographies. Yes, this has happened. There honestly isn’t enough information there to inform the judges about the entrant’s knowledge of historic pieces or of that specific piece, and this makes it difficult to judge those items.

No, not all of the judging is based on the documentation, but an awful lot of it is.

As a judge, I am looking for information, input, and knowledge about the art form in general, and on that specific piece. I look for an introduction (briefly tell me what you’re going to tell me – 3 to 5 sentences), the “5 Ws” (answer all of the judges questions about that art and that piece – in paragraph form, not list form), and a conclusion (briefly tell me what you told me – 3 to 5 sentences). I also look for if the item is historically within SCA dates (pre 17th century) and if it is European, or could have potentially been in Europe at the time through trade. (Note: I am not a total stickler for all Europe all the time in the SCA. If something is not European in origin, I want to know how it could have gotten to Europe IF and only IF that research does exist. I am not looking for some made up story about it, but if that information is out there, I want to know because I find that information really interesting.)

Next week, we will discuss my expanded “5 W’s” and where they fit into the 5 paragraph form.

Hopefully Helpful,