Monday, February 24, 2014

Entering K&Q Arts & Sciences

First the negative. I'm generally not a fan of A&S competitions as I feel that they're far to subjective to the whims of those judging. I also dislike that most entries are focused on dramatic finished pieces, I feel that the craft gets overlooked because they're so mundane. That said, I was talked into entering this K&Q on the premise that a number of us band together to concentrate on the craft components of our individual disciplines rather than the end product. That appealed to me.

The intention had been to display more, but mundane reality took over so that my entry was reduced down to just two pigments, sap green and verdigris. Both were considered important greens to the medieval artist.

My Experience.
I went into this with eyes wide open. It was about display with the aim of discussion rather than competing to win anything. I feel like this was an important distinction for me and helped relieve some of the feeling of obligation that I often get around this type of thing. My entry was based around what I wanted to show and how I wanted to show it, it wasn't complete and I willingly displayed my mistakes and failures, even pointing a few of them out. Documentation was written in a style that suited me and my thought process rather than trying to fit it into a set of arbitrary rules about how long it should be or how it should be formatted. Basically, I did this MY way.

Judge #1: This was a positive but interesting experience. The judge read my single-page synopsis and then semi-speed read my full documentation. I appreciated this as I feel like just as much work goes into writing documentation as the research. We then discussed my entry at some length, talking about what I had on display and how I could (and intend to) push it further. The thing that struck me the most about this experience was the open negotiation over scores, I've never seen this before. It's an interesting approach that I think I might adopt for myself if I find myself being a judge again in the future. I am my own worst critic and I already knew this, but it was interesting to hear someone else's take on my own thoughts in live-time. The only thing I think that I would change about this style of judging would be to later add a comment or two on the score-sheet.

Judge #2: Again, a positive experience and I appreciated my documentation being read in full, with some injected discussion. The comment on the score sheet from this judge was very uplifting and recognized one of my ultimate goals, so it was a little of an ego-boost for me and suggests that I'm heading down the right path for my personal journey.

Judge #3: This judge challenged me but it wasn't in any way negative, questions were asked that made me think. I did feel quite flustered and tongue-tied while talking with this judge as I just couldn't seem to find my words. I should have been able to answer at least one of the questions asked because I know for a fact that I've read the answer during my research. It's a really basic question too. The other question that stuck out was something I know to be true but I don't know WHY I know it's true. Yet. This one will send me down a research path and there will probably be an associated blog-post at some point. I thought this judge would end up being the harshest of my scoring, surprisingly they weren't (not that any of my scores were bad). This judge don't read my documentation, but they did take a copy away with them.