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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Stuff

Lately I've been playing Dungeons and Dragons with some friends; the moderator runs a very character-based game, less plot and campaign focused than some I've been part of.  So the character I created is really grabbing my attention, and now I'm writing up our game sessions from her point of view.

Sorry - I almost never share this kind of thing outside of gaming groups.  My fiction is one of the few things I feel truly uncomfortable about showing around. But it's creative and I'm enjoying it, so I wanted to at least mention it here.

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Our local group hosted a major medieval event on the 16th; I entered my embroidery project (see elsewhere in this blog) into the Regional A&S Competition.  If you're not in the SCA, try to imagine a statewide 4-H fair only old-fashioned; you make stuff, display it, and judges score it based on specific criteria for whatever type of thing it is.  Your "place" is determined by your score, not by actually competing with others.  It's completely possible for everyone at one of these to walk away with a first-place score, or for no one to do so.  To my surprise, I got a first place.

I've had a few people look at me funny when I tell them I wasn't expecting a first.  For the record, my surprise doesn't come from thinking I did a poor job on the embroidery, okay?  I might have self-esteem issues, but I do know what I do well.  Relax.  No, I was surprised because I know what the criteria are and what kind of work A&S competition generally favors.  By and large, my focus when I make stuff is on using it for a specific purpose - a belt favor my husband can wear, a kite that I can actually fly - whereas the focus on authenticity in A&S (we are an educational non-profit, after all) means that things made for competition tend to be best suited for display.  Imagine a kite made of parchment and silk instead of Tyvek and nylon - the one I made would have cost close to $200 just to build and then I'd be petrified of damaging it, right? So I make different choices when I make stuff, and those choices generally would hurt me in A&S competition.

The highest possible score you can get is a 30.  The lowest score you can get and still be in first place is 24.5 if I remember correctly.  Each of three judges will score you independently and then those scores are averaged. Of the three judges' scores, my lowest was a 24.2.  I find this really, truly unbelievable.  My fabric is all wrong!  My thread is modern!  My research was (for me) scanty!  I built something we use in the SCA but that didn't exist in period!  How in the world did I score so well?!

Answer: what I did right, I did very, very right.  Heh.

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Speaking of very very right... you know that calligraphy thing I was talking about in previous posts?  Presented Saturday morning.  Audiences often will say "oooooh" at an especially nice scroll.  I'm trying to remember when an audience last applauded for one, though.

Award of the Sapphire for Sir Raedwulf Caveron O'Dell

Sorry it's sideways.

Made on Bristol board with India ink, gouache (pronounced "go-wash", it's just opaque watercolor), 23K gold leaf, 12K "white" gold leaf, 100% copper leaf, glass gems, three rough sapphires, one sapphire pendant, and a partridge in a pear tree.  This is the most ambitious thing I've ever made without assistance, and ranks up there in the top two or three most ambitious things I've ever made even with assistance.

Fear not, I'll get all educational here at some point and post a full start-to-finish explanation.  I get a kick out of photo-documenting my big projects - going back over the process is just fun for me, and sharing with people is too, so why not?

I'm sure this makes me some kind of egotistical maniac in some people's minds.  My five-year-old likes to show off the stuff she did really well at, and no one accuses her of being self-centered.  It is, however, nearly 11pm and I don't feel like stepping onto that soapbox so close to the time I should go to bed.

G'night, folks.  Buenas nachos and all that.  Somebody hire me for a job.

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