Photo by Magistra Nicolla de Braction
Kaleeb the Green-eyed's intarsia wall hanging.
By Magistra Nicolaa de Bracton
Five war points were up for grabs on Thursday in the Arts and Sciences competition held in the Great Hall, with the East taking four of the five available points. “This was an extremely close competition in all categories,” said Masteritsa Anastasiia Kirilovna Ivanova, deputy to Mistress Maistrecht Una Wynifreed Berry, Middle Kingdom Minister of Arts and Sciences. “We had to break a tie in one of the categories.”
The competition format this year was new. “The format was determined as part of negotiations. We asked our A&S community to put together a list of what they would like to see, and gave it to the Crown,” said Eastern A&S War General Mistress Raziya bint Rusa. Maistreacht Una indicated that a committee was formed in the Middle to discuss the format, “with very clear direction from the Crown.” New this year was the use of a rubric for the scoring and face-to-face judging. According to Mistress Raziya, the rubric was based on one used in the East, which was then reviewed and refined by the Middle Kingdom. “There was a great cross pollination of ideas involved. I think we all got a lot out of it.”
This year’s competition was limited to just 20 entrants. Both East and Middle Kingdoms chose their competitors through an application/audition process. Allied Kingdoms were allotted spaces as well, with the selection of entrants up to each of those Kingdoms. There were three categories, with the winner for each determining one War Point: Arts and Studio Crafts (for example, metalworking, woodworking, and ceramics), Fiber and Clothing (such as knitting, costuming, dyeing, weaving), and Domestic Archaeology and Lived Objects (such as calligraphy, leatherwork, and herbcraft). Entries could be a single item or a body of work, and had to have been completed since Pennsic 46. Each entry was judged by a panel of four judges, two from each side, all of whom had to have a minimum of a grant level A&S award. The panel spent half an hour with each entrant, with 20 minutes allotted to agreeing upon the score. “We didn’t hear a lot of bias in the judging,” said Maistreacht Una. “There has been a real focus on the artisans and their work. It’s been a drama-free War Point.”
Given the competitiveness of the process to be chosen to represent one’s kingdom, it was not surprising that the entries were of a very high level. Just a few examples: THL Audette la Tricoteuse of the Middle entered handknit cotton socks based on an extant 12th-13th Century Egyptian example. THL Cristina inghean Ghriogair of Æthelmearc displayed a spectacular beaded Russian collar and gown. Kaleeb the Green-Eyed of Atlantia entered a huge intarsia wall hanging, and Ulfgeirr Ragnarrson entered a 6th Century ring sword based on the Sutton Hoo find.
When the scores were tallied, the East had scored 393 points overall to the Middle’s 388, giving them two points for the overall competition. War points were also given to the kingdom with the top scoring entry in each category. The point for the Fiber category went to the Middle (after going to a tie-breaker when the top two entries in that category had the same score.) The East took the Studio and Domestic/Lived Objects categories.