Greetings to the Shire,
This was my first time running Novice Day’s Arts & Sciences display. The rain came down in varying degrees from mist to drizzle to downpour all day. At first I thought we would have only one entrant, but as the day progressed we ended with a total of eight, three out of those eight also trying out as Novices on the tournament field, in fencing and heavy weapons.
In the spirit of showcasing and encouraging novices in all endeavors, I took a page from my predecessor and dispensed with using judges, relying solely on the voting of passers-by. Voters took one bead token from the populace cup or the laurel cup and dropped it in the empty cup next to the display of their choosing. There were three categories of prizes: the Populace Choice, the Laurels’ Choice, and the Overall prize, the winners being the ones who had the most beads from the respective pool of voters, and the one with the most beads in their cup overall. I would have asked for the aid of judging from the three Laurels I knew of on site if I had been faced with a tie in any of those categories. Thankfully, I had no ties, and the person who won the overall prize did so by only one vote.
The Populace Prize went to Michel Biornson of the Isles, for his entry of a Legend of St. George chest that he built and painted by hand. He did not have a forge, so the hinges and clasp were pre-made, but his documentation was a clear and concise depiction of his process, of the primary item it was based on. The populace prize was a pair of 5″ wooden goblets in a little drawstring bag. May he use those in good health.
The Laurel Prize went to Fearghus Mac Cailin for his extensive entry depicting The Game of Twenty Squares, variations on a board game originating from Mesopotamia or the Indus Valley that travelled to Egypt, Sri Lanka, and Crete. His documentation was extensive, his list of sources from his own library, as he is a gaming enthusiast. His prize was a handmade leather journal that I hope he has good use of for notes in future endeavors. The difference between just playing around and artistry is writing it down.
The overall prize went to one Ezra dei Bazzi, who pieced together a cioppa for melee, a decorative tunic for melee fighting that was ultimately drawn from a set of late 15th century tarot cards. There was not much in the way of citation in the documentation, but there was plenty of description of the process of piecing the garment together, and the reasoning behind fabric choices and design, and the image chosen to work from.
Ezra became the principal recipient of the Magistra Isabeau d’Orleans Novice Artisan’s Prize, and the prize is two-fold. One is a scroll that was made as a labor of love by professional calligrapher Karen Gorst, who knew Jennifer Bober/Isabeau d’Orleans personally and volunteered to do the calligraphy and illumination. It was not completely finished in time for the tournament, but it will be completed with Ezra’s name and naming of the winning entry added on and sent to the winner. There will be copies of the initial scroll made to be awarded in subsequent years.
The other item is the memorial acacia cutting board, taking a page from the memorial gladius in the name of Gunnar Alfson. Lord Culann Mac Cianain has burned in the name of the award in Latin, and will be burning in Ezra’s name. Ezra will keep the scroll, but return the board a year from now for the next person.
I deeply thank all of the entrants for their lovely endeavors, Lady Aurelia du Vrai Coeur for introducing me to Ms. Gorst, Ms. Gorst and Lord Culann for helping to make this Arts and Sciences Novice Day a labor of love in the memory of Magistra Isabeau.
When the scroll is completed, I will get an image to post here.
In love and remembrance,
M. Ana de Guzmán
Minister of Arts and Sciences, Shire of Rusted Woodlands