Did you know there is more to the Ice Dragon Arts & Sciences Pentathlon than the competitions? The Pent area hosts the competition entries and judges, of course, but it also makes room every year for general A&S displays. Not everyone is interested in judging feedback, and to accommodate those artisans the Pent organizers will reserve several tables, to display with pleasure, without pressure!
One display which had everyone a-buzz – and not only because one of the shoes had a honeycomb pattern – was set up by Master Robert of Ferness (then THLord Robert) at the 2019 Ice Dragon Pent. Master Robert brought a plethora of medieval shoes of all different styles; needing to use three tables to set them all out! His display drew the attention of all those visiting the Pent area, as well as some gentles who came especially to take a look at this famous Flight of Shoes.
The Flight of Shoes A&S display by Master Robert of Ferness at the 2019 Ice Dragon Pentathlon
Not everyone realizes the Pent has two types of Display. One is meant for our dearest works in progress and treasured works of art. The other is meant for A&S disasters we’d honestly rather quietly bury in the backyard…
Quite a few years ago, Master John Michael Thorpe started the Failure Display at the Ice Dragon Pent. As the then-Kingdom A&S Champion he had been asked by a Crown Tournament autocrat to enter something in their A&S tournament. He felt it would not be appropriate to enter his Champs project, but that he could bring his current project that had just been placed into the kiln for display: thinking if the experiment worked it would be a fun display, and if it failed he would display the failure. Master Thorpe, the then-Kingdom A&S Champion, ended up displaying a failure – which contrary to expectation was very well received! Many gentles talked about how important it was to make it acceptable to sometimes fail, and this sparked the idea to add a Failure Display section to Ice Dragon, and to encourage Fleurs and Laurels to display their failures as a source of inspiration – and fun! – to the Kingdom at large.
Failure: a necessary part of the research and learning process. by Master John Michael Thorpe
One concept most often left out of the A&S display and competitions is the process of learning, especially re-creating lost techniques and arts, and the failures that are a necessary part of true physical research. Over the years as I have taught people crafts and arts, the one thing that seems to come up over and over is the implication that my ability to do things comes from a talent that mysteriously sprang fully formed out of the void. That couldn’t be farther from the truth! I find that people who are new to arts and sciences (especially those outside of the normal A&S genres) look at the work on display at Ice Dragon, and similar venues, and then try their hand at what they saw and become discouraged. The point of this display is to highlight the work that nobody ever sees, the learning and discovery process.
My goal in what became this failure was to try to recreate period casting techniques for high temperature metals (silver and bronze) using clay molds as described in Theophilus (lost wax, Theophilus chapter 30: Casting the Handles for the Chalice: Theophilus, On Divers Arts,Translated with introduction and notes by John G. Hawthorne and Cyryl Stanley Smith. New York: Dover Publications,1963) and Dress Accessories (ceramic mold for mass production of buckles pp122, illustration 80 – Egan, Geoff, and Frances Pritchard . Dress Accessories. London: The Boydell Press. 1991). My process for the lost wax mold was to follow the directions in Theophilus, carving a chalice handle in beeswax (darned impossible stuff to carve, I need to see if sun-bleaching it makes it less sticky). I figured that a clay with a low vitrification temperature would be susceptible to thermal shock when the metal was poured from the burnout process vitrifying it, so I chose a high firing clay to avoid vitrification. I followed the instructions in Theophilus, coated my wax and the vent and sprue, then as they dried built up more layers.
I kept getting shrinkage cracks, so I figured that I should support and encapsulate the mold in powdered clay so that any leaking would be contained. I made the mold for multiple castings shown in Dress Accessories from 2 slabs of the same high fire clay; carved sprues, vent risers, mold cavities etc. in the clay, and let it dry. As it dried I got shrinkage, and cracking, ultimately one side of the mold split in half right at the main feeder sprue. The next morning I put both molds in a bread pan of powdered clay and put them in a kiln for preheat (and burnout of the lost wax) When I went to check on them at lunch time the big mold had shattered spectacularly all over the inside of the kiln, and although the lost wax was not yet fully burned out, it was missing it’s top.
The exploded lost wax clay molds in the kiln.
My friend ABS Mastersmith Kevin Cashen once said that you can tell more about a knife maker by the pile of blades under his workbench than you can by his display pieces. The experiments that didn’t work are often more valuable to the craftsman than the easy successes.
The next step is going to be trying to figure out what I can do to the clay to minimize the shrinking and cracking as well as figuring out a way to keep the whole thing from blowing up when I heat it. I have bounced one idea off of a couple of potters and they think it might have possibilities: elsewhere in Theophilus (Bell casting I believe) he mentions including dung in the clay mix, and in a documentary I watched on church bell casting they mixed horse manure in their casting sand as a binder, and have been doing it that way since the early 1800s, so the next experiment will be mixing some strained horse manure into the clay. I am hoping it has the same effect as the chopped straw I mix into the clay I build my smelters out of. So far I have learned that my off-the-shelf high fire clay does not work. That failure means that I will have to explore other materials and techniques. Sooner or later I will hopefully find a mix that holds it’s shape and doesn’t crack in the drying process, then I will work on modifying that until I have a mold that survives the casting process. Typically, a process oriented project like this will take me 2-5 years to develop.
Would you like to display a work in progress, an unassuming, or even spectacular failure, or two? There is no sign up or pre-registration required for the Displays – although if your display will take up a table, or three, it might behoove you to let the Pent coordinators know beforehand!
For more information on the Pent, take a look here
Have questions? Need three tables?! Contact Cori or Elska by FB or email.
Meesteres Odriana vander Brugghe is proud to announce that at this year’s Ice Dragon Pentathlon, she will be awarding Het Bruggetje prize for Research. The prize will be $100 in cash, which the winner will receive when the results are announced in Ice Dragon court.
To win the prize, you must have the best documentation in any category of the Pent.
The choice will be based on the documentation portion of the judging criteria that is included in each category.
You will be entered automatically when you submit your entry to the Ice Dragon Pentathlon unless you would prefer to opt out.
Pentathlon judges will be asked to bring any excellent documentation to the attention of the judges’ panel.
The award will be decided by a panel of five judges drawn from the pool of Ice Dragon judges.
This prize is meant to encourage entrants to submit high-quality documentation along with their entries. If you need more information about the prize, or about how to increase the quality of your documentation, please contact Meesteres Odriana vander Brugghe via email at and she will connect you with resources. While she can not help you directly with your documentation, she would be happy to provide you with direction.
Meesteres Odriana very much looks forward to reading your research, and would be elated to award one of you The Prize! Not sure if you know Meesteres Odriana? Read more in her Populace in Focus article.
Anyone entering the Ice Dragon Pentathlon is automatically entered, you can decide to opt out but no further action is needed by the entrant. For more information on the general Arts & Sciences Pentathlon competition, please visit the Ice Dragon Pent website here.
Here begins the Report of the Court of Their Majesties Arnthor and Ceirech, King and Queen of Æthelmearc at the Æthelmearc Arts and Sciences Championship event in the Barony of the Rhydderich Hael, joined by Their Excellencies of the Rhydderich Hael, jorundr hinn rotinn, Silver Buccle Herald, reporting.
Their Majesties gave leave to Their Excellencies of the Rhydderich Hael to conduct Their Court.
Their Majesties thanked everyone for inspiring them to learn about and try new things with the displays and entries this day.
Their Majesties invited Master Hrolfr a Fjarfelli and Mistress Elska a Fjarfelli, the Kingdom Arts and Sciences Ministers to discuss the competition results. The overall winner, and new King’s Arts and Sciences Champion, was THLady Fede di Fiore, for her maternity dress project. There were two youth who participated this day, John Robert, the overall youth champion, and Charlotte, both were presented with tokens to commemorate their participation. The populace choice was Baron Snorri skyti Bjarnarson.
Lady Marguerite de Neufchasteau was called before Their Majesties to discuss her actions on the fields of fencing, archery, and thrown weapons. Her growing skill has been brought to Their Majesties’ attention, thus They inducted her in the Order of the Golden Alce. Scroll illuminated by Arianna of Wynthrope, calligraphy by Jonathan Blaecstan, and words by Sadira bint Wassouf.
Their Majesties called for Lord Meuric ap Gwillam to present himself before Them. They had heard much of his artistic endeavors. Most especially his research into period hide glue. Thus they inducted him into the Order of the Sycamore. Scroll by Gesa von Wellenstein.
Mistress Cori Ghora was summoned before Their Majesties. Mistress Cori never stops. She is constantly serving the Kingdom of Æthelmearc, supporting the scribes, and serving as seneschal. This pleases Their Majesties, and with utmost gratitude They bestowed on Cori an Augmentation of Arms. Scroll by Sophie Davenport with words by Pádraig Ó Branduibh and Juliana Rosalia Dolce da Siena.
Her Majesty called Charlotte to attend Her. Her Majesty commended Charlotte’s skill and courage in playing the harp all day long as well as entering the competition today. For this Her Majesty named Charlotte Queen’s Inspiration for the day and gave her a token.
Their Majesties thanked the cooks for providing a tasty lunch and persevering through equipment issues. They further thanked those who helped dress Them for the event.
Their Royal Majesties King Arnthor Inn Sterki and Queen Ceirech Na Hinnsi have a special request of the populace: they would love to fill the positions of A&S Youth Champion and Royal Brewer at the upcoming Kingdom of Æthelmearc Arts & Sciences Championship.
Youth Entry by Simon á Fjárfelli from the Arts & Sciences Championship AS 53 (photo by Master Robert of Ferness)
Our Sylvan Majesties not only enjoy to spotlight their King’s and Queen’s Choice Champions with this event, they also love to to see what the Kingdom’s youth is up to! Especially in these not quite normal times where our youth seems to have grown from six to sixteen just about overnight (due to lack of events to see them on a more regular basis). King Arnthor and Queen Ceirech would love to see what the kingdom’s kids are working on: anything started during the Plague, whether or not it has been finished yet, is welcome. We’d love to have our youth feel welcome and included at A&S events; have them feel special by sharing allll about their favorite thing – instead of their parents!
Brewing entry by Ulf Barelegs at the Arts & Sciences Championship A.S. 53 (photo by Master Robert of Ferness).
Their Majesties are also hoping to find a new Royal Brewer. In the 2021 Kingdom’s Championship at Tavern Brawl, The Honorable Lord Cassiano entered his famous Krupnik in the competition that so greatly impressed Their Majesties, They named The Honorable Lord Cassiano Their Royal Brewer. They were dismayed to find after inquiring that, even though the event site is discreetly wet, zero brewers had pre-registered for their Arts & Sciences Championship! Whom of our Brewing community will take this challenge, and present our Majesties with fermented libations, to vie for the honor of being the Royal Brewer?
But what do I hear there? You are not a youth, and neither are you a brewer? And you are not quite ready to enter a Kingdom Arts & Sciences Championship yet? Not to worry! There will be a large Display area for our industrious populace to showcase their projects, in progress and finished. Documentation is appreciated but not required, although we do appreciate your information. And if you are planning to enter Champs, but have not signed up yet – please help out our event autocrat by pre-registering, it really makes the job a lot less hectic on the day off. That way, he might actually have some time to loiter and enjoy the entries!
The Society is a place for children of all ages to take on a myriad of project in the arts and sciences, and certainly there is a number of places online and in books, magazines, and handouts where I’ve found projects galore.
But where does a caregiver go to find projects that are worthy of entering in an A&S competition, without creating too much stress for all participants, while successfully obtaining materials readily and cheaply?
The good news is there are plenty of places from which to get ideas without breaking the bank; the better news is that there is such variety within those categories that no one has to repeat anything that’s been done before. With an open mind and ready sources of inspiration, all kids can enter an A&S competition and bring new information to the table for everyone to enjoy.
One of the easiest methods of creating patterns, block printing uses a shape created from some carveable/cuttable material and transfers ink or paint onto fabric, paper, or other material like a stamp. The block, made of wood, linoleum, rubber, foam or even a potato, creates the stamp from which the ink will transfer the design. Block printing is traditionally Asian with the concept predating paper. In India, block printing is used to transfer patterns onto fabric which is then made into clothing. By the 1300s, it would appear that block printing reached Europe and, according to one paper, block print designs were used for children’s clothes, thereby making clothing, linens for household, wall hangings, and paper products all appropriate entries for any child to put into an A&S competition.
Designs for repeated patterns can be simple: Circles, plus signs or Xs, flowers, spirals or geometric designs, stars, and so on. For singular stamps, more intricate designs can help create book pages, fabric art for tablecloths or napkins, or designs for art squares to display on walls. Another useful project is to place single printed pieces on cardstock for holidays or birthdays, or as largess for thank-yous from the Crown.
Quite possible one of the easiest mediums for most hands large and small, there are also a lot of different ideas that clay can accommodate. Pottery is a popular way to go, and certainly the number of pieces from all regions of the world can allow a budding young artist to pick and choose their subject matter. All cups, bowls, and saucers are useful and can be put together for a child’s first feast gear, or as gifts to give to others.
When it comes to period styles, a little Google can go a long way. For example: one can start here for English Medieval pottery examples, and then they can move on to more specific shapes, sizes, and mixes. In the Middle East and Eastern traditions, there are a number of varieties of bowls, tea cups, and jars to peruse and copy. Or one can research tiles.
With a couple of squares of clay hardening, a kid can let their imagination run wild with this resource that connects to several books all about different styles of tiles of the Middle Ages. Tiles are also not only pretty and decorative, but lovely gifts and great ways of showing techniques and styles in a competition.
But clay can be used for so much more. One key use is as game pieces for a variety of medieval games. Roman Dux and even chess pieces can be created with clay. Also, rather than allowing a child to play with real bones, clay can be manipulated to create a set of knucklebones, the first dice. Dice themselves came in a wide variety of materials.
In addition, runestones are popular, as well as Chinese dominos. Clay tablets were used for writing as well as for creating prayers that were left at temples as offerings. The abacus can be created using small clay donuts as the counters. For other projects, clay can be broken down into pieces to make safe mosaic tiles, and clay can also be used as the material base into which the child presses mosaic tiles. Finally, clay makes for great counterweights for scales, construction projects, and STEM experiments that are medieval or ancient in nature, like the groma or a scale.
Clay can help make masks used in theater performances such as what’s seen in
Roman times or in Asian cultures. If not making the mask itself, clay is a great mold for applying papier-mâché (also period) in order to make funerary molds, coffins, death masks, helmets, doll heads, and so on.
This is more for the older kids, especially when it comes to knives and other sharp implements of destruction, but can be very rewarding—leather was used for all sorts of containers, accessories, with a number of household applications.
Wood was used for everything at one point in Europe, so much so that entire forests were denuded. Pieces of balsa can also be used to make fans, in miniatures and model making (see later), and for containers of all sorts. Sticks and reeds from out in the wild are useful for everything from measurements, to weapons, to hats and baskets. Larger pieces of wood can be used to carve dolls.
Cooking is one of the great ways to get a kid involved with history. When I was
homeschooling my first child, we got a great book from the library that was all about cuisine from other countries, called “Cooking Up World History.” None of the recipes are particularly complicated or involve hard-to-find ingredients. I’ve seen other historical/cultural recipes in other books about history and highly recommend you look around.
In addition, there are a number of “medicinal” recipes for external remedies that kids can redact and show others, such as soapmaking. Another example would be “cold cream” for which Galen was said to invent one of the first recipes. Even henna requires a recipe.
Other examples include honeyed or syrupy dates, butter, hummus varieties, red bean soup, Roman sweet cakes, or handmade soap. Seriously, anything can be turned into a recipe redaction, and Google is your friend for reading ancient recipes by Nostradamus, Pliny the Elder, or Henricus Institor. Through information from Wikipedia and Google, you can find digitized copies of the very first printed cookbook, De honesta voluptate, from 1480.
Loom weaving can be achieved using sticks (set up as an open frame) or cardboard for a frame while the warp and weft is created with yarn, thread, or fabric strips. Reeds and sticks can help create basketry of all sorts. Cardboard can also be used for Kumihimo, a Japanese form of weaving that creates fantastic woven ropes for all sorts of projects. Fingerloop weaving is still a valid project. Although tablet weaving requires a more intricate set-up, it isn’t difficult, according to Coblaith Muimnech, who talks about it and many other kid-related activities in detail with complete instructions here.
Sewing and Embroidery
Young children of old were taught to embroider at a young age and it seems that those ideas still work well today. Whether sewing up a stuffie of some sort to decorating a napkin or piece of linen as a favor, there are many patterns that look great and are relatively easy for most kids. In addition, thrift stores can supply an endless cheap supply of cotton squares and other pieces of fabric and sewing notions. Other easy projects include a pillow, a chemise or T-tunic, or maybe a Jorvik cap, with or without embroidery.
Although making Galen’s cold cream or an herbal tisane used for coughs is in some kids’ wheelhouses, most won’t be as interested in medicines. Thankfully, my research in plants and apothecaries has opened a whole other rabbit hole: aromatherapy. Medieval society was totally into the idea that certain scents created medicinal or magical responses, as well as an entire trade for herbs and spices from all over to excite the senses. I first started making little herbal pillows based on Cunningham’s magical herbs texts, but then applied the same ideas to in-period concepts, helping kids make their own scented sachets using whatever made them feel good. Herbal sachets can be readily made by taking a square or circle of cloth and adding in whatever herbs and spices you have lying around the house. Add a bit of pillow stuffing, tie it up, and you have a wearable or carry-able herbal sachet just like days of old.
In addition, there is a load of traditions in medieval culture involving household (i.e. stuff you can obtain in any grocery or discount store) herbs and spices such as gift-giving, containers, scented pomanders and linen ideas, and other projects that are readily researched and reproduced, some of which I discuss further in my Herbal and Apothecary Newsletters, found here.
The one aspect of A&S that I feel kids would love is making models—these could be either miniature buildings or small models of devices that once existed. I got this idea from a book I picked up called “The Encyclopedia of Ancient History”, which has a number of projects throughout on different cultures. One of them is a cardboard replica of a Chinese wheelbarrow invented about 100 AD. It is fascinating, easily replicated in miniature, and such projects open up a whole world of ideas for A&S competition.
I’ve seen reproductions in miniature of the Parthenon, Pyramids, Japanese structures and gardens, and so on. In addition, recreating such interesting devices as boats and ships, Archimedes screws and bronze cannons, water or candle clocks, or siege towers and merchant wagons is about as awesome as any miniature catapult or trebuchet. There has been some great miniature work on creating single rooms, such as the parlor or dining room of a Victorian house, and it makes sense that a kid can attempt to recreate a scene from any number of illuminated sources. For example, I took the idea of the apothecary from a source:
And reproduced it here:
Art and Illumination
Paintings are everywhere and there are numerous in-period styles that can be
examined and replicated, and all caretakers need is a visit to a local craft store or big-box store for a pack of gouache paints, some brushes, and a couple of stretched canvases or pieces of nice paper. Should the child become more involved, then more involved supplies can be obtained through the internet.
When it comes to a project, the sky’s the limit: a young person can do calligraphy & illumination for scrolls, a modern song or an illuminated letter, or perhaps their name in calligraphy. I picked up a number of in-period pieces to copy by googling “medieval illumination” and the subject in which I was interested, so “winter”, “queen”, “the letter P”, for example.
Kids can start fighting in heavy weapons and rapier combat when they turn six. They can certainly start working on their own kits, decorating them any way they want, and it is absolutely an arts and science worthy of competition. Examples include painting their own shields, designing their own armor, or creating a period fencing buckler.
In addition, archery and thrown weapons can be started as soon as they show safety on the range—my five-year-old was allowed to try her hand throwing an axe, although she wasn’t really safe enough to continue. She’ll learn. At any rate, hand-fletching arrows, making a quiver or even an axe sheath would be a great project.
I highly encourage folks to let kids be noisy, either playing music on instruments or singing at the tops of their lungs. Same goes for the SCA. We should be encouraging music and dance every chance we get for kids because they’re the ones that most freely enjoy it. Back in medieval times, people danced and sang because it was an expression of freedom; today’s peeps (yes, not all, but a large portion) have so many venues of entertainment that we’ve put our own dancing and singing on pause. Through the kids we can get a little of that excitement back.
Reading music is a little more difficult for little ones, but Youtube is your friend for listening and copying singers until they have all the words down to any number of in-period songs. Sure, that seems vague, but I’ve watched my five-year-old pick up an entire folk song, in a completely different language, that she liked simply by watching it on repeat. Kids are ridiculous.
This goes for cheap instruments. I’ve gotten my daughter two doumbeks, two recorders, one tin whistle, a ukulele, and we borrowed/stole an electronic keyboard from my brother. Most pieces I found for cheap/free. There’s a guitar waiting for her when she gets a little bigger.
Competitions should overlook modern instruments, especially for children, as long as they are a modern version of an old one. Given the use for “filk” as an SCA experience, it’s easy enough to create music for kids to play and sing based off of modern songs in tablature. Nursery rhymes that are considered in-period include “To Market, To Market” and “Ding Dong Bell.”
Æthelmearc has a pretty good Rubric for judging all participants on an equal scale, but some conversations with Midrealm’s Vigilant SæhildR barngóðR (aka Baroness Silly), Kingdom A&S Minister and creator of the It Takes My Child to Raze a Village event, show that there are many ways of creating competitions for children.
“The current Age Divisions for competition are: Duckling (6 years and Under), I (7-9 years), II (10-12 years), III (13-17 years), and Adult (18+). Participants of all ages fill out a form to share about their entry and learn some basics of SCA A&S documentation.
The first time we held the A&S Competition, a five-year-old stole the show with his “Tun-ip Soup” and the populace only got three beans for voting. Now we have a chart that rewards people who have been recognized in the Arts and Sciences with more beans (trusting their expertise!).”
Certainly, children should be encouraged to enter A&S more often, which leads to:
The Order of the Silver Sycamore
I have seen ONE of these awards given out. We should be giving these out like candy. Children should be given awards, because once they hit a certain age, they’re done. So, there’s no reason to hold these in reserve. Give ‘em to all the kids!
This Saturday, June 4th, The Debatable Lands welcomes Their Majesties and Highnesses to our Japanese Iris Festival as Their Majesties hold The Kingdom Equestrian Championship! This event has something for everyone – martial activities of all types, and A&S. And yes, even jousting! Check out the event announcement.
Cost for the event is super affordable and family-friendly: Adult registration (non-member) is $12. Adult member registration is $7. People age 17 and under are FREE.
This event also features the IRON COMET CHALLEGE (see below) and of course, Royal and Baronial Courts. Here’s the schedule for the day (tentative):
Site opens – 9 am
Part 1 Equestrian Champs – 10:30 am
Fencing tournament – 11 am
Thrown Weapons tournament – 12 noon
Arts and Sciences Competition – 1 pm
Part 2 Equestrian Champs – 1:30 pm
Heavy tournament – 2 pm
Archery tournament – 3 pm
Jousting (weather permitting) – 4 pm
Court – 5:30 pm
Tear-down after court
Have questions? Check out these FAQs:
Q. What’s the Iron Comet Challenge?
All are welcome to participate in the separate fighting, fencing, archery, and thrown weapons tournaments, as well as an A&S competition (no theme).
But for those elite few who want to test their skills as well-rounded medievalists, you can enter the Iron Comet Challenge – enter at least 3 out of the 4 martial competitions, and the A&S competition (required, all levels welcome), and be an Iron Comet Challenger competing for the highest composite score. Who will prove to be the best of the best?
You welcome to come and enjoy the competitions separately without competing in the Iron Comet Challenge, of course.
Q. Tell me more about the Arts and Sciences activities.
The competition has no theme, and all are welcome to enter it.
We are lucky enough to also have an A&S display – if you choose, there is a theme of Asian Arts and Sciences to celebrate the Japanese Iris Festival! Displays not adhering to the theme are also welcome.
There will also be a poetry competition for Japanese forms of poetry, including haiku, tanka, and if we feel brave, collaborative forms such as renga and renku.
Q. Will there be event-provided food?
Not this time, no, due to the pandemic. The event will not provide food. But please do bring your own and enjoy a picnic! (No glass bottles)
Q. What else should I know to prepare for the day?
The event is outside, but the weather forecast looks beautiful! There are a couple of shelters but you may want to bring chairs and maybe a pop-up for a place to relax.
There are three public changing tents – lords, ladies, and all gender. The all gender changing tent is next to accessible parking and accessible restrooms.
All COVID protocols will be enforced, so please remember your vaccination card (or picture of it) and ID (membership card is fine) or else your proof of negative COVID test.
Other than horses, only service animals allowed.
Q. Tell me a little about the Equestrian stuff.
The event is only open on Saturday, but those with horses are welcome to arrive Friday night. Contact THL Gesa for details.
For the Equestrian Champs, there are games and riding before prince activities hosted by Aethelmearc current Kingdom Equestrian Champion Gozen. There is also an A&S element. Contact Mistress Gozen for details, or check out the Aethelmearc Equestrian Facebook page. Activities are part of the kingdom equestrian championship, but it is open to all riders. There is also a jousting tournament!!
Join the Industrious Barony of Thescorre as we partake in our annual wintertime schola, this time with a new twist!
Rediscovering the Dream: It’s the Journey, Not the Destination.
For more information, see the event page.
Class Registration is live and we are now accepting classes for this fabulous event. We cannot run our beloved schola without the work of the amazing teachers throughout the SCA and we’re delighted to offer themed tracks this year that fit our theme of Its the Journey, not the Destination. We’re honoring that spirit of the newcomer (to the SCA) and the novice to our crafts!
Track 1: SCA Newcomers. These are classes geared toward people who have just joined the SCA. These can be about SCA-specific terminology, or clothing that signifies a station/order. What even are the awards? What are the officers and what do they do? Think back to when you joined and teach about something you would have loved to know back then.
Track 2: Novice. For people new to an art/science/activity. These are fondly referred to as “Beginner Classes”. What can you teach the very beginning of? Basic footwork? Simple stitching? Maybe making rice? Whatever you can think of to get someone started on their own journey.
Track 3: Tips and Tricks. These will be classes taught by veterans of an art/science/activity, that offer hacks and helpful hints on how to accomplish that task easier/quicker/better. Maybe it’s a class on how not to burn out, or how to organize a kitchen so that you serve on time. Maybe you have tricks for how to herald a court or how to make a specific award medallion for easy largess. Anything you have done that makes life in the SCA easier and more fun, pass it on!
Track 4: Peer Challenge. We issue a challenge (all in fun, of course) to the Peers of the Kingdom! We want you to try something NEW! Have you been doing service since you joined, but never had time to try out calligraphy? Now is your chance! Have you spent every event in the kitchen, but never had the opportunity to try out fencing? This pause in our SCA lives has allowed us a beautiful moment. We have the chance to think about what we really WANT. We have the grace of this moment to consider WHY we spend our precious little time on THIS hobby. Use this time to explore something new and then share that experience with us. You can do this as a question and answer, a show and tell, even amusing anecdotes about your times trying out your “new thing”. Step off your personal path for just a moment and try a different journey, even just for a short time. We hope it brings you joy and that you find renewed interest in our Dream.
Track 5: Other. Of course, there will be an “Other” category for those who have classes that they would like to share that don’t fit the above categories. We would just ask that you give us a short blurb about how it might fit the theme of “Reimagining the Dream – A New Journey”. You can get creative. It’s kinda what we do.
We, the autocrats of College of Three Ravens (Virtual!) wish to issue forth these Arts and Sciences challenges unto you all!
We know our Kingdom, as well as all other kingdoms who might hear of our missive, is full of skilled artisans! Masters of their crafts! We know this and celebrate you all for it!
And now we ask you to challenge yourself and try your hand at a NEW arts and sciences track, and show us your results! For this year’s College of Three Ravens, we have three A&S tracks that we seek entries to, all within our theme of Reimagining the Dream!
Our categories of competition are:
1st Attempts – anything you have never done before, but always wanted to try out. Share your new found excitement with us!
The Journey – Show us your project, from the earliest learning of the art to as complete as you want to consider it. You don’t need to have a “complete” project for this one, just show your work!
Beauty in Failure – Share your attempts that didn’t succeed. We learn from our mistakes, so this is your chance to help us all learn!
**For all of the categories, be prepared to share your favorite part of the experience, even if it was laughing at yourself when it didn’t work. Help us experience your art through your joy.**
Are you thinking about entering in the Ice Dragon Arts & Sciences Pentathlon this year? Great! It is fantastic to see our Sylvan Æthelmearc artisans get back in the swing of things – although some did not seem at all slowed down with the transition to virtual competitions in the past few years! We have faith next year’s Arts & Sciences Pentathlon will happen in some shape or form – preferably in-person, of course – which means we need to get our act together soon. The entry deadlines are starting to creep up… with the first one being:
The category Literary Arts includes, but is not limited to: Poetry & prose, Research paper, Musical arrangement & composition. Entries are not to exceed 10,000 words (approximately 40 pages double spaced exclusive of images) and should be sent electronically or via hard copy in the mail.
But what exactly makes a written work a research paper? Ideally, a research paper should do more than simply summarize known information. It should ask a question, make an argument, prove a point or present a conclusion about a topic of interest to those in the SCA. The subject might draw from history, or it might relate to the way in which we attempt to accurately recreate the past in the SCA. The end of the introductory paragraph of the paper usually includes a statement or theory that is put forward as a premise to be maintained or proved (called a thesis) and would offer a neat summary of the main point or claim of the paper. And like the literary arts, research papers come in different types, too.
Research papers can come in different flavors – which one is yours?
A research paper can be Argumentative: this would be a good one for writers presenting a debated topic. First clearly explain and present two opposite opinions on the issue at hand. Then take a position in the paper with your view for one side of the topic. Present facts, data and authoritative opinions in support of your position to persuade and convince the audience and argue against any contradictions. Argumentative papers can be quite fun to read!
A research paper can Compare & Contrast: this type of paper is used to compare two different subjects, or concepts, and how they relate to one another in both similarities and differences. The paper’s statement provides clarity on the contrasts and comparisons throughout the paper. The goal is not to persuade the reader, but to neutrally inform the reader about distinctions between varying viewpoints of related topics or genres.
An example of this would be my comparison of medieval gruit beer with modern gruit ale, using oft contrasting viewpoints to figure out why and how gruit ale changed so much from its historic origins. It was entered in the 2018 Ice Dragon Pentathlon.
A research paper can be Analytical: here, you would focus on facts instead of opinions. It is informational in nature and uses a large variety of viewpoints and sources on a subject without a specific opinion. It provides the reader with as much information as possible, but allow the audience to draw their own conclusions. However, instead of merely presenting the information, you should be able to present a factual analysis of the data you are working from.
A concise example of an analytical paper (research does not need to be many paged to be effective) would be A Brief Survey of SCA Bardic Music by Gwendolyn the Graceful. Another, yummy, example would be Krupnik and the Plausability of Landrace Honey Cordials by Lord Cassiano da Castello, entered into the Kingdom Arts & Sciences Championship, 2021, and smartly accompanied by a practical, sip-able, example.
A research paper can be a Report: Report papers are merely an organized and detailed list of facts about a topic. In many cases the report works to outline details related to a case study or process. The statement of the paper would describe the subject being explored and define the scope of the report, and can include your personal experience related to the topic under consideration. Authors of reports choose a subject, research it, and convey the evidence to the reader using quotes, graphs, tables, interviews, experiments, a summary and appendix
A research paper can show Cause & Effect: These papers guide the reader through a series of “chain of event” scenarios. Such papers work to study results; considered, expected, probable or, perhaps, unexpected. Cause-and-effect papers are not written based on opinion, but on quantifiable evidence with supporting documentation. With supporting evidence, this format can be both informational and quite intriguing for the reader (especially when accompanied by YouTube videos!).
I hope you enjoyed my TED talk on research papers; for sure a topic close to my heart. Of course, don’t expect all papers to neatly fit into these five broad categories. SCAdian artisans are known for their out-of-the-box thinking and category mash-ups happen just as much in writing as elsewhere, of course. I do admit it took me more days to track down (mostly) appropriate research paper examples, than I did writing this post – so if you know of a better example, let me know. I can’t wait to see – and read – what will be entered in this year’s Pent – you’ve got winter break to start thinking if you have not already… nudge, nudge, wink, wink!
Yours in service,
Want to know more about the Passing the Ice Dragon Arts & Sciences Pentathlon? Look no further, the website is updated with the latest information, including updated deadlines.
Their Sylvan Majesties, King Gareth Kincaid and Queen Juliana Delamere, are pleased to let it be known to all that they are looking forward to choose their Arts & Sciences Champions at the Kingdom Arts & Sciences Championship to be held at Tavern Brawl, hosted by the Shire of King’s Crossing this October 30th.
We encourage entrants to join us in-person at a wonderful site for a day of sharing and celebrating of all the wonderful things that our Arts & Sciences community has to offer. There will also be room for Arts & Sciences display and we are even working on some cool demos! However, we do understand that going to events is still a difficult choice for many of us and we have therefore decided on a hybrid in-person/virtual format for this year’s competition.
Entry by Lady Ilaria in the virtual Arts and Sciences Championship in 2020
The in-person competition will be held along the same lines as in the past. Candidates with their entries will be judged face-to-face and the scoring will be based on the Kingdom A&S rubric. In order to reduce the indoor face-to-face time for candidates and judges, we will limit this year’s competition to one 45-minute judging session with a panel of 2 or 3 judges. Although not a requirement, we ask that candidates register their in-person entry online ahead of time, to make planning for us a little easier!
Candidates who are not able to join us at the event can submit their entry online. We created a basic web form where you can securely upload some photos, your documentation and some basic info. The virtual part of the competition will be held much along the lines of last year’s competition. Each candidate will meet face-to-face with a panel of judges over Zoom for one 45-minute judging session during the week leading up to the event and their presentation and entry will be judged with the same rubric as used at the event. The site is discretely damp and we are excited and happy to accept alcoholic beverage entries at the event!
We want to emphasize that we totally love to see partial projects! It doesn’t have to be a completely finished entry to be eligible. As usual, you may also enter up to three related objects as a single entry. Prior entry in another competition or display does not disqualify you from entering, we love to see continued progress on existing projects. The scores will be tallied once all judging is completed (the combined online and in-person entries) and relayed to Their Majesties who will choose their champions and announce them at the event during court.
Their Sylvan Majesties and the Kingdom Office of Arts & Sciences are very much looking forward to seeing what our Kingdom has to offer!