Saturday, 2 April 2016

Thoughts about Future Kingdom A&S Entries (Part 2)

Here's part two of my post about Kingdom A&S. This one's just about what I've learned about why I enter Kingdom A&S and what I'm looking for in the process. I'm posting it because I figure I can't be the only one with these feelings and so hopefully it will help other people work their way through it. Happy to discuss here or on Facebook or even in person.

If you read part one of this post, you might ask if it was such a good day, the caliber of entries was high and my project went over well, why wasn't I jazzed following the event. That's an excellent questions.

Here's what I've figured out, and where I'm going from here.

As an A&S Minister I was super excited to see people geeking out about their work and being able to show people what they can do. And I can safely say that my feeling off had nothing to do with any expectations personally about prizes or awards because the feeling started pretty much as soon as I was done my judging. Hopefully it didn't overflow into the discussions I was having with other people, I tried really hard to be encouraging and to provide good comments.

I don't enter these things to win prizes (good thing too since I'm just not at that level compared to some of the really awesome artisans in the Kingdom. In the past, I've entered experimental projects like the leather dyes and the stick-purse, which have generated really good discussions and those have been the ones that I've been really excited about.

So after thinking about it for a while, here's what I came up with: I need to be more selective about what I enter into QPT and Kingdom A&S type events.

1) This year I felt like I SHOULD enter since the event was in our barony and I'm the Baronial A&S Minister, so I put together a project because of that, rather than because I was super excited by the research. I thought I came up with an interesting concept by recreating my original project from five years ago, but it still wasn't the same caliber as my previous two projects from a research perspective. The bottom line is it felt more like I was just showing what I had already learned, rather than actually learning anything new.

2) I think the other thing I've noticed is that people at A&S tend to gravitate towards stuff they know. I do it too. I may look at the fibre arts or illumination projects and say "oooo, that's impressive", but I'm unlikely to stop and have an in-depth discussion with the artisan because it's not something I know. I know enough to tell between an advanced effort and a beginner effort, but that's about it. Same thing goes for leather projects. There just aren't as many people interested in leatherwork in Ealdormere as most other arts, and so I don't find many people stop by to chat (unless its something so obviously awesome like Lucrece's book that everyone wants to see it). They see shoes or a purse and can appreciate the aesthetic from the perspective that we all need accessories to go with our garb, but the geeking out doesn't seem to happen as much and I think that's where I get my fun out of the event.


Given the above, here's what I think I've decided:

1) At least for A&S (QPT may be different), I think I'm going to try to avoid both entering and judging at the same event. I think judging entries on the day tied up so much time I wasn't able to be around to chat about my project with people, and since that's where I seem to get my energy from I think that its important to dedicate some time to that on the day. Given the following points that probably means I'll be entering fewer projects and judging more often at this point. I think that's OK.

2) When I'm deciding to enter a project, it needs to be something I'm going to learn something new out of. So that means either I start entering beginner projects in other areas, or enter different kinds of leather projects. That also means I need to work in advance much more than I did this year, since its going to involve more hard core research and skills development.

3) If I'm entering leather items, they need to be projects that add to the collective knowledge base like the stick-purse and the dyes, rather than just showing off what I can do. I also think these types of projects cross the boundaries better so more people will find them interesting, rather than just people who do leatherworking.

4) Tied to point #2, I need to take advantage of QPT like I did with the stick-purse and leather dyes. Use the full A&S cycle by entering mock-ups at QPT and final projects at A&S, incorporating the input I received.
So, thoughts? Agree? Disagree? Do you have a different perspective? Readers here have been seeing my various projects for years. You see what I get super excited about. Does this sound right, or am I thinking about it wrong?


  1. On points 1 and 2, last year I tried entering something I was brand new at (pewter casting) in QPT, and volunteering to judge the weaving/spinning/dyeing entries. This works at QPT because of the schedule for the judging. I found it worked really well; I got to talk about the fibre arts entries with experienced judges, and got feedback on my pewter casting.

    On point 3, I don't think there's anything wrong with showing off what you can do (and I think showing an early attempt and a more recent project could be really inspiring to people), but if you found you didn't get useful discussions out of it then you definitely should look for alternatives.

  2. I tend to view QPT as opportunity to branch out and get feedback, rather than the place to bring a project in a field I'm familiar and comfortable with. So far both my QPT entries have been overviews, back end research that isn't exciting to look at for anyone but others in the field. It's a mentoring show, and I love to actually use it that way, but it also means that few want to sit and chat with me, so I dont feel the lack of standing next to my stuff when I'm off judging. Then I get to mentor (in my own small way) others.

    I also dont' see anything wrong with showing off what you can do, but if that doesn't make you happy with A&S to go that route, then adjust to fit. :)