This past weekend I entered my first SCA Arts & Sciences competition. This competition was what they call a Blind A&S. The project could be finished or not and documentation was strongly encouraged. Each project was judged to be beginner, intermediate, or advanced. A winner from each category was then chosen.
I entered a small chip carved box, unfinished as I only found out I could enter the competition a week ago. This was not my first chip carving but it was my first ever box, made from scratch. I did complete my documentation. I felt it important to have complete documentation since the box was not going to be complete.
My project was ranked as advanced - an accomplishment in my opinion, but I did not win with my entry. I did get a special token from the Baroness who was extremely impressed with my entry.
The feedback on my project was quite good. All the judges were impressed with my documentation, especially the photos I was able to include of the extant objects and tools of the trade. The feedback on the box was very good from two of the judges and ok from the third judge, who was the technical expert in wood working.
It turns out the very things that made my project advanced were also the very things that kept me from winning. Hand cut joinery that wasn't perfect. Sides that were a tiny fraction unequal in height. Complicated chip carving that unfortunately chipped out on the narrow ends. Stuff like that. So all in all a learning experience.
I enjoyed the creation process and learned from the judging process. This will not be my only A&S competition. In fact I intend on entering a project in every upcoming competition at every event I attend, assuming of course that there is a competition held.