The Arts & Sciences are an integral part of the SCA. It is through the various arts and sciences that has taken our fighters from freon helms and carpet armor, to armor and helmets that you could expect to see in a museum. With the arts and sciences, our folk have gone from fantasy/science fantasy garments made of synthetic materials, to wearing clothing that could be mistaken for actual period garments. In fact, there are many members in the SCA who now present their work (research, experimental archaeology, products) at some of the more prestigious Medieval Conferences – both here in the US and in England.
So what is or are the “Arts & Sciences”? Simply put, they are the creations – whether reproducing a period artifact (think museum items), inspired by period archaeological finds, interpretations based on fragments found as grave goods, or simply inspired by an item from a painting made during the time period being studied by the creator of the piece. The Arts & Sciences, together, help to create the ambiance at events. They help ‘set the mood’ for people to feel transported from the modern world, to a medieval time. They add to the medieval atmosphere. Most of us will be more than happy to “bend your ear” about our current favorite passion(s).
(Above image: Award of the Grove – given to groups for excellence in and promotion of the Arts & Sciences.)
A&S Displays and Competitions
For people who want a chance to show their talents in the various Arts & Sciences, there are a number of options. These are 1) Local Events, 2) Regional Events, 3) Kingdom Events, 4) Craftsperson’s Faire, and 5) Pennsic Display (where artisans are chosen by various criteria that is published prior to Pennsic).
Please Note: There is nothing that says you must enter your work into any A&S competition or display.
At local events, there are often A&S displays where artisans can display their work for comment (often there will be a notebook or sheets of paper to write down comments). In some cases, there is also a competition, usually by “bean count” where attendees are given little tokens that they can place at the display of an artisan’s work. The displayed artwork with the most “beans” wins that competition.
At the Regional level, there are the different Regional A&S competitions. Artisans who get a first or second place here, are invited to submit their work to the Kingdom A&S competition. Here to, an artisan has the option of entering their work under the auspice of “For Comment Only” – usually because they feel that their work has enough room for improvement, but they want other people’s feedback, or they just have no wish to enter a competition.
The biggest thing to remember about the Regional Competitions, is that your work is not competing against other people’s work, but against the Criteria that your work falls under.
There are currently five (5) Regions, and five (5) Regional Competitions. They are:
- North Oaken – where Dernehealde is located
- South Oaken
The big Kingdom event for the Arts & Sciences, is the annual Kingdom A&S Competition. Participants for this annual event are chosen from those participants in the Regional Events who placed a First or Second for their work. The Kingdom A&S Competition is held during the same weekend as the Spring Crown Tourney.
The rules for participation, as well as the Criteria are updated on a fairly regular basis, and are published on the Kingdom’s Minister of Arts & Sciences webpage.
Craftsperson’s Faires are sponsored displays. For these, there is no requirement of documentation, nor does it necessarily have to fall into the criteria for an A&S entry. This is where artisans can display their work that adds to the flavor of the SCA, but not necessarily something that would have been produced during the time periods covered. Examples include chair covers (used to disguise modern camp chairs), and cooler covers (for the same purpose). Essentially, anything to make a camp or day-camp look more period – using the 10-foot rule*. These can also be used for projects that may eventually be entered into the Regional A&S competitions, that people want to get some feedback on, while the project is in progress.
*Ten-foot Rule – This basically means, does the piece look medievalish, or “perioid” (essentially period) from 10 feet away.
Pennsic A&S Warpoint
This is an inter-Kingdom (all Kingdoms in the Known World) level A&S competition. The Kingdom that takes the most points in this, wins this War point – which is added to the overall tally of warpoints to determine who wins Pennsic War.
The participants for this are chosen by Their Royal Majesties from those entrants in the Kingdom A&S competition who took a first place on their entry.
Other inter-Kingdom events/Wars are starting to incorporate this idea to their events (I believe) – Gulf War, Estrella War, Great Western War, etc.
Some pictures of some of the works members have created: