I had the pleasure of being a judge again at this year's Kingdom Arts &
Sciences (A&S) Competition this past weekend. I have been a judge and judges
instructor for over 8 years.
The one thing that frustrated several of the judges was the lack of
information in some of the documentation I was given. To alleviate that
frustration (on both the judging 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 judges have this same criteria. I find
as a general rule, this format and information will get you really far with
*Documentation is the entrants voice and representative to the judges.* It
is the only thing that tells us about your knowledge of that piece and the
background and history of that art. Some judges frustration came when they
had to judge several items that had less than 1/2 a page of typed
documentation, including title page, pictures, and bibliographies. There
honestly wasn't enough information there to inform the judges about the
entrant's knowledge of historic pieces or of that specific piece, and thus
made it difficult to judge those pieces.
HE Mistress Ianuk Raventhourne, our brand new Kingdom A&S Champion, gives a
wonderful class on documentation. If you can't get to her class, please
consider this email as a resource for how to write documentation.
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 sentences), the "5 Ws"
(answer all of my questions about that art and that piece - in paragraph
form, not list form), and a conclusion (briefly tell me what you told me - 3
sentences). I also lok for if the item is within SCA Period (600-1600 AD)
and if it is European, or could have potentially been in Europe at the time
*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 in SCA Period?
What is it used for in today's SCA?
When is the historic example(s) from? (be very specific about dates, and
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 (600-1600 AD).
Who made this item in SCA Period?
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 SCA Period?
Who would use this item in today's SCA?
If it can be used in the "Modern World", who would use it?
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 hand made 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, as I live in a city and didn't want to smell up
the neighborhood and make my neighbors mad.)
Why was this made in SCA Period?
Why was this item made? (ex: I made this for my friend so they could hang it
on their wall.)
Does this piece do exactly what it's meant to?
Does it look, sound, feel, taste, smell like it's supposed to?
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 _________?
*Note: What, When, Where, Why, and Who can all be quickly and easily put
into one paragraph. How can be one to two paragraphs (Historic How and
Modern How). Does & What did I Learn can be one to two paragraphs. *With an
introduction and a conclusion, there's your 5 paragraphs, and your
documentation. If you include all of this, it will be at least 2 pages long,
with no problem. (Per the Competition Rules, it should be no longer than 7
pages. See below for the specifics.)
Please type, do not hand write, the documentation. Use a familiar font, such
as Times New Roman. Yes, it's a bit boring, but is can easily be read. The
judges read all day, and eyes do get tired.
Use English as your language for documentation. Do not speak "forsooth" in
your documentation. Do not enter your documentation in a foreign language,
not everyone reads/speaks a foreign language. It's sometimes difficult
enough to read and comprehend someone else's English. Use very plain
English, and state things clearly.
*Use ONE reference style throughout your documentation.*
(APA & MLA are suggested in the Kingdom A&S Competition Rules, see below for
rules on documentation. Both of these styles can easily be found on-line.)
APA Style Link: http://www.apastyle.org/learn/index.aspx
MLA Style Link: 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.*
*When you are finished writing your documentation, then you should add the
1) A Cover Page - Title of the Piece, Country of Origin, From (insert
specific date here)
2) Pictures/Scans of the original piece(s) you took your inspiration from
3) Pictures/Scans of the piece you made in process and completed (you can
put these in a Appendix, or put them into the body of the documentation)
4) An Appendix and End Notes (if necessary, depending on the style you
choose to write with)
5) Bibliography. As for the Bibliography, know your sources. Label which
sources are primary and secondary. 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 source!)
The judging sheets are available on-line. *When I do my documentation, I
look at 3 things.* 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 judging sheet(s) for my category(s)
3) The Kingdom A&S Competition Rules (every judge knows what this section
says, and yes, we do ding a point for not having enough copies of the
documentation, it's just that specific)
*This is the documentation section directly from the KMOAS web page:*
*9. Each entry must be accompanied by documentation*.
a. Lack of documentation will result in disqualification of an entry.
b. Documentation must be provided in a written format. If handwritten,
be legible. [NOTE: We recommend that documentation should be typed in
size (no less than 10-pt) in an easily readable font.]
c. Entrants must author their own documentation.
d. Entrants must provide four (4) copies of documentation with each entry
(i.e., one for each
judge to read and mark upon for reference and one for populace access).
e. Documentation may not exceed Seven (7) written pages in length, not
bibliography or illustrations. Exceptions can be made at the discretion of
Entrants will submit the written request 30-days before the competition with
f. While other materials and references may be displayed for interest, they
may not be used
as a substitute for documentation. Documentation must not require the judges
Atenveldt Kingdom A&S Competition Rules 2010 Page 3
a book or any other associated materials (e.g., an entrant may not state,
"Please see pages
54-75 in book A.").
g. Documentation must include:
i. Information relating to the entry’s pre-17th century authenticity and its
that time frame
ii. A general description of the entry, methods of construction and/or
materials/tools/techniques used to produce the entry [SUGGESTION: Artisans
should preview the judging sheets for each Category or Subcategory they plan
enter and approach the documentation accordingly.]
iii. A reference list and/or footnotes/endnotes indicating source(s)
needed. [RECOMMENDATION: Use either American Psychology (APA) or
Modern Language Association (MLA) as a format for documentation to make it
easier to read and reference]
h. All documentation must have the entrant number and the associated entry
on the first page at time of registration at the Competition. [NOTE: This is
handled by the
KMOAS competition staff during on-site registration.]
*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 (with
out using those specific words). If a judge puts their contact info at the
bottom of a judges 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, as I already do for next year!
I hope this helps in your quest to enter any A&S Competition.
I encourage everyone to enter at least one item at least once to have that
Rooting for you,
Dame Hrefna karsefni, OP
(Kingdom of Atenveldt)
P.S.: Please feel free to forward this email.