Greetings!

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

Type:
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: http://www.apastyle.org/learn/index.aspx
MLA Style: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/

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,
Hrefna