So A & S was a really great experience. For my first major competition, I came out alright. I was a little concerned that the “new kid” wouldn’t show as well as some of these people who have been doing this forever. But as I set everything up that little part of my brain that has faith in my work and my food, switched on. If I could equate this to a fencing bout, I would say that I was on… 😀 My work showed well, I answered questions, I defended my research, and had a really great time. I received great comments in writing and in person.
I got some interesting feed back on my garb entries. Several people were intriged by the armor. It looked right, but the linen threw them off at first. I was told that the garb was very good, and it achieved the goals of being period clothing AND list legal armor. However… as an A & S entry, it didn’t show as well as it could have if it had been made completely period, with the correct materials and without all the safety features. So I was docked some authenticity points. No big deal They got a lot of great feed back from the judges and populous alike. The Kampfrau sleeves got people talking, especially when they examimed them upclose. I love being able to share with people tricks that I discover while sewing. I was told that I should write a research paper about how to do this type of armor/costume design. When I mentioned I was teaching a class at Pennsic, they said good, and I should still write a research paper. 😉
On the food front, the baklava and small cakes were a big hit. Apparently the baklava became “legendary” as people came by saying, I was told by so-n-so that I had to come over and try the baklava (including some of the heavy fighters from the list). That made me giggle and happy that people really enjoyed it. There weren’t any left overs. The Queen even came by and said “Baklava, and its drippy….”, and then there was a squee and a contented sigh. HRHs really loved it to. That alone made the day. The biggest comment was it doesn’t taste like american baklava. That’s the cardamon. It adds a hint of peppery goodness that cuts through the sugar and creates a savory pastry. Just like it did in the Ottoman empire. 😉 My sourdough bread and saffron herb goat cheese won an baronial award for the bread (and spread) competition.
I took a couple of hits on documentation… not for bad documentation, but for loooooooooooooong documentation. Several people said it should have been entered as research papers. But… people actually read it. Even the long stuff. I gave out several of my spare copies and mailed out others today. That was also cool.
Through out the day, little treasures showed up on my table. Favors that people had left showing me that they really liked what I did. They were very cool. I wish I had known about that part of the culture as there were some fabulous entries I would have given a tokens to.
By the end of the day, my brain was fried, the food was devoured, and all was right in my world. Though I almost started laughing in the middle of court when some Tads started making faces and moose impersonations as I was standing my guard shift. Doh! That could have been bad. And someone else from the OSC started talking to me about my socks, during an OSC awarding. Again also could have been bad.
Side note: I only wanted to throttle a few people. “I’m a [blah] laurel… I’ve made this recipe hundreds of time and I wouldn’t have done it this way. It looks wrong. Its not how they would have done it in period.” So on and so forth. Its those people that I want to shake and say, I am not a cooking laurel, but I am a certified chef/baker and have been cooking for 30+ years… I might have a clue in my head. Instead I said, I have a different take on the recipe and here’s why, here’s what I discover and it worked better than the “accepted” redactions that are floating around. And they still though I was wrong… Im not the laurel. Ah well, cant please anyone.
What did I learn from the experience?
1. I can hold my own in the world of A & S.
2. I have a pretty thick skin when it comes to critism, as it will only make me a better artisan.
3. It is a different kind of geeking, but geeking none the less.
4. I love teaching, and will probably be doing more of it.
5. There is A LOT of networking that goes on at these things.
6. Somehow I think I got volunteered or volunteered to do something for someone later in the next reign, but I dont remember what….
7. Never look at Tadcaster if I am standing up at the front of court facing the audience.
I would not have gotten through the event without A LOT of help from people, everyone who proof read, volunteered to have clothing made for them, eaten recipe validations, made sure I stayed fed yesterday, and generally just gave me support when I needed. it. THANKS!!!