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Re: Competitions/Displays

Poster: "Joyce A. Baldwin" <jocetta@ibm.net>

(Jocetta, tossing her tupp'ny on the table:)

Daffydd's post was pretty thorough and I pretty much agree with what he
said, but I can't resist expanding a bit on the theme (we do love to talk
in here!)

>Poster: David KUIJT <kuijt@umiacs.umd.edu>
>A&S competitions aren't bad things, and Anarra is correct to say that
>calling them "stupid" is an overstatement.  But in the SCA people often
>enter them with poorly-defined expectations, and end up disappointed. 

Expect anything and nothing!  Judges are people who will have different
knowledge levels, opinions, and people skills.  The best way to enter a
competition is to not care about the results and not take it too seriously.
 I use competitions, when I enter them, as a motivation to do something, to
give me a goal and focus since I am rather laz...er, an easily distracted
sort.   And that's all I really expect out of them.  It is nice to get good
feedback, and, being human, fun to win something occaisionally but if you
are even a bit insecure about a project,  people can really hurt you -- if
you let them.

Intrinsically, the idea of judging works of art and artists is
problematical.  Differences in skill, talent, resources, creativity, and
experience will always exist, but pitting one against another, unlike the
martial arts where it is a _part_ of the art form, does not, I find,
usually serve to improve the participant's art.

The only reason to hold competitions, really, is if someone has a prize to
award (whether money, cool stuff, or a title) and, not being able to give
it to everyone, has to have some vehicle to decide who gets it.  But even
the most knowlegeble and fair minded of judges are human (see comments
above as well as Daffydd's original post) and the results are always
somewhat arbitrary.

I also am speaking as someone who has competed as an artist  (classical
voice) in the modern world for some really serious stakes (thousands of
dollars and important career recognition).  It is far, far too easy for
competitions to destroy the participant's joy in their art.  I personally
have found that, the more pleasure I take in the process, the practicing
and and improvement and delight in increasing my skill and the less and
less importance I attach to the outcome, then the more real joy I find in
it - and the better I become at it.  Competitions in themselves are
meaningless.  One does the best work possible given one's resources and
ability and considers any "wins" to be like winning the lottery - a
pleasant surprise, but not necessarily the expected outcome.  Oh, and be
prepared for negative comments - consider the source and don't  _ever_  let
them stop you!

(climbes down off a large box marked "SOAP" and, upon consideration, tosses
a few more tupp'nies onto the table before retiring to order a glass of
honey mead - before Sven drinks it all.)
Joyce A. Baldwin
Diva Extraordinaire

In the Society for Creative Anachronism:
Lady Jocetta Thrushleigh of Rowansgarth
Exchequer, Canton of Buckston on Eno
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