Flame Artisan Competition

In a couple of months I’m going to be attending Starkhafn’s “Never-Trust-A-Barony-Over-30th Anniversary” and I’m very excited about the Flame Artisan A&S Competition. As it was (briefly) explained to me at the tournament last month, the Flame Artisan will be chosen as the artisan with not only the best, but also the largest, body of work. Participants are encouraged to bring entries from a range of areas of the arts and sciences, and judging will take the body of work as a whole.

Now that I know that I will for sure be attending the event, I’m starting to organize my entry. Size is a big concern as I will be carpooling with at least one other person and I will be expected to make room in my sedan for not only A&S entries, but also camping gear, photography gear, and, if I’m very very economical, armor. And another human. And a cooler. And myself. Already, it’s not looking good. I can save some space by leaving my armor in Starkhafn until the event and arranging to borrow a table there. I might also be able to arrange for my photography equipment to be there already, which would be extremely helpful and would reduce car demand to people, camping gear, and A&S entries.

The entries themselves are spread across a few major food groups:

Costumery
Of course, the largest area of interest is costuming. I love costuming and I have lots of pretty things and photos of pretty things and that’s no problem. If I’m terribly clever, I can even plan to have my dressform onsite and display some court garb in such a way that I won’t have to wear it in the heat.

The biggest challenge here is that (a) costumes are large, and take up a lot of space, and (b) I don’t still have a lot of the cool stuff I used to wear, and I apparently didn’t believe in having my picture taken after the age of 14. I have ONE photo of me in my oldest garb, and that’s pretty much it for garb photos until this year.

This photo, by the way, will be part of my entry. This is me at about 15, modeling the first set of garb I made myself. Cotton underdress with a leather thong tie, overdress made from a rectangle of fabric, braided belt, pleather belt pouch.

For garb not represented by photos or extant garments, I’m going to be making 1/10 scale cloth dolls and dressing them up. I’ve started working on the first one, which will be a reproduction of my 12th Night gown from A.S. 40. The theme that year was astrology due to an auspicious event date, and I created an Elizabethan gown to fit the theme: the overskirt was black velvet, embroidered and beaded with the constellations of the astrology, and the rest of the gown was black and gold silk. I wore a half-mask shaped like the sun to go with my gold stomacher, and was accompanied by two friends dressed as the moon and an astronomer. Thank god they made their own garb, or I’d have to make them dolls too. Anyway, I want to have hard-worky-theme outfits like that represented, but I don’t want to remake them full size. So, dolls. They’re compact, making garb for them is quick, they score extra points for adorableness (that’s how that works, right?) and they seriously creep Connor out. He HATES when I make dolls.

I also have my armor itself, which I helped make, and my fighting tunic, which seems to really impress people. It has a border of running horses embroidered on the front hem, and people seem to dig it. I’m not sure how I would want to incorporate my armor, but I think it’s worth including just because so few people seem to actually use boiled leather anymore. Since I’m planning to alter my armor, I can also include sketches of the new design. Which I’ll of course have to design, and then sketch.

In addition, I have a few photos of garb made for others which I can sneak in.

Music
I’ve been writing music (or more accurately, lyrics) since very very early on in my SCA background, although I didn’t start performing my music until the last few years, and I didn’t start entering bardic competitions until the last few months. Still, I have a big pile of period music which I’ve researched, and a smaller but still pretty decent pile of songs that I’ve filked. I’m undecided about the best way to present this stuff, but I’m thinking it would be cool to have some kind of songbook that people can flip through and see different period songs and some historical background on them.

Food and Drink
I’ve been getting into period food more recently, but it’s a big hit at parties, so it seems like it would be a shame to leave it out. I’ll definitely print out some of the period recipes I’ve served so far, and hopefully I can have at least one or two period drinks and snacks ready to be sampled. No thoughts yet as to what I’ll have.

Games
I’ve been working on games for several months, so it seems obvious to have a bit on period games and gambling. I wish I still had one of the booklets from my class, but I can’t seem to find any of them. I can, however, recreate it and have them as handouts.

Research?
I don’t know if I can talk people into accepting this as an A&S project, but I’m currently working on a timeline of same-sex coregencies and diarchies in Europe within the SCA timeline. Because I’m a data addict, I realized it would be much more compelling not just to show that there WERE same-sex diarchies, but to compare the prevalence of same-sex diarchies to opposite-sex diarchies such as that currently recreated (created?) in the SCA, as well as compared with true monarchies. Which, if you’re paying attention, means analyzing every reign in Europe before the 17th century. In addition to being an interesting comparison, a complete timeline will also offer anyone in the SCA the ability to check out world politics at a glance. Most people know who was THEIR persona’s monarch, but most probably don’t know what that person was like as a ruler, who else was in power elsewhere in the region, and what diplomatic situations might have existed. For example, many vassal states’ leaders retained the use of the title of king, but having your king vassal to a foreign power could have a substantial impact on the political climate.

Neither of these projects will be finished by April, but I can at least share what I have so far or do a pretty write-up or something.

I may also bring in a printout of my “What Did Pirates Really Wear?” blog since it’s historical and has lots of pictures. People love pictures.

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