I’ve been asked to write up my experience competing in the Three Mountains A&S Championship. I figured I might as well cover three events that were important to me.
1) Kingdom A&S: I went to this as a wide-eyed gawker. I took a billion pictures. I was impressed and inspired and (over and over again) blown away by the complexity of people’s entries. Learning moment: On my first pass through the rooms, I dismissed some entries as not to my interest. When I had some time to kill on the second day and went back to look again, I found something fascinating in each one. Sometimes it was the way they wrote their documentation, or some history I was unaware of, or a delving into a technique that I’d just never thought about before. I sat in on Eulalia Piebakere‘s entry, which gave me an opportunity to see how the presentation and judging worked. And to top the weekend off, my Roman role model, Julia Sempronia, asked me to be her student. I remember it like a romantic proposal!
2) Three Mountains A&S Championship: This time I was competing. I worked my butt off for months doing research on Gap-Sleeve Fasteners. For my second entry, my friends advised me to do myself a favor and just write up something I’d already made: My clothing. Ironically, the process of re-documenting my entire outfit of garb led me to a better understanding of all the things I’d done wrong, and I wound up remaking both the stola and tunica at the last minute, and even changing my hair. This was definitely a case of competition forcing me to up my game – even though I was only competing with myself at this point (You can read the papers here, if you like).
I was so terrified that day that my opening court appearance was a disaster. I had no idea what to say (completely forgetting that I could *read* the Roman-style Letter of Intent in my hand!) and babbled like an idiot.
The first presentation – the fasteners – went really well. I felt in command of the material and enjoyed being able to answer the questions coming from the judges. For the second one, my nervous butterflies came back and I jumped around too much topically, but managed to mostly stay on track and again could answer questions. The judges left me very helpful feedback about my presentation.
I made a fool of myself in court again, blubbering with happiness when they named me Champion. It was an awesome day.
3) Tri-Barony Yule: I was sad that there wasn’t a bigger turnout for the Championship, so I’ve been doing what I can to pump up A&S and this was my first big challenge – a competition to encourage everyone to participate. I had people level themselves into Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. As much as I love documentation, I knew from the survey that a lot of people were intimidated by it, so I decided to make the minimum requirements very low. My goal was to get toes in the water.
There were some minor logistical waves: Two of the three tables didn’t arrive on schedule and I had to scramble to replace them. Little adrenalin rush there!
We had 14 competitors! I was surprised by both the quantity and quality of our entrants. Even the two Beginners were well-done pieces I would be proud to own, personally. We had so many Experts I had to find yet *another* table (thank you to James Sayer, autocrat extraordinaire!). This really thrilled me because usually advanced artisans won’t compete at Baronial events because they want to let the new kids have a shot. The levelling did its job.
Judging was a challenge, but I loved the back-and-forth with my fellow A&S champions, Renart (Stromgard) and Geoffrey (Dragonsmist). In the end we were all pleased with our choice of winners. I was also thrilled that we each contributed to the prizes. Renart gave a glass bead to each participant. Geoffrey donated an embroidered wool pouch, and I made a Roman charm bracelet. Three Mountains largesse donated by Appolonia (a sewing kit) filled out our third category.
Being sick with a sore throat, etc, I was not able to thank everyone properly, but fortunately Felix the herald acted as my voice, and the topspin he added made for a much more amused audience. I really need to improve my court performance. 🙂
Handing out the prizes I was exhausted and happy… it had gone so well! More than one person told me I had personally inspired them, and one even made a gorgeous largesse contribution! Warm fuzzies like crazy, right? The icing on the cake was being surprised with the Golden Torc award for service to the Barony.
So there you have it… competition from three perspectives. I’m so proud to be surrounded by incredible artisans and sweet, helpful people. There’s a lot more coming up, and I encourage everyone to take part in the Directory and local events. If you need help with anything, *please* drop me a line!