I had a great time at Vikings Come Home XX (20) in Traverse City, MI this weekend. For the first time, I brought along a finished project (the blackwork favor I made for Gregor) to include in the A&S display at this event. I had a reasonable idea of what to expect, having read a lot of things online, though firsthand experience is always most helpful.
I arrived later than nearly everyone (a 4-hour drive on the morning of the event will do that) and was both the last pre-registered person to show up and the last person to set out their project in the A&S display. When I arrived at the display, I discovered that they were having a Jewel Competition for any project that had documentation — the idea is that folks could pick up a jewel from a pile and place them in little cups in front of a project if they liked it. I think this is called a populace bean count vote. I wasn’t aware they were doing this — I was just intending to put my project on display. So after I set up my favor on the table, I did not put out a cup. Besides, nearly all the jewels from the main pile were gone at this point — I saw only a few left to give out. No one was really around at this point, so I left to find my friends from Cynnabar.
When I came back by the A&S display about 30 minutes later, I discovered someone had put out a cup in front of my project and there were now two jewels in it. That made me feel really great! Someone liked my work! I wandered off, but later was nearby again for a demonstration of glass beadmaking (really excellent and fun!) and saw another person taking several photos of my work. Cool! I wish I could have spoken to people to see what they thought, but I’d never approach anyone. I was hoping to have the chance to talk about the project, and discuss the projects of other people, but I just arrived too late. I think at Pennsic you had the opportunity to sit down with your work and talk to folks who came by … I’ll definitely have to do that next year. I love talking to others — I learn so much from them.
By this point, it was almost time for court, so I came back to the display to collect it. As I approached the building, Lady Helena mentioned that Donnershafen’s Minister of Arts and Sciences, Lady Diamante da Berra, was looking for me. ‘Oops, I must be late picking up my project,’ I thought. But when I got to the display, I found her standing in front of my project, reading my documentation. She said she was really impressed with both my work and my documentation, and asked if she could keep the documentation, or if I could e-mail it to her. I gave it to her, of course. She also said that my project had collected five jewels, and that she wished she had more time to look closer at it. That was very kind of her! She indicated a red ribbon with a bead on it that she’d placed there as a token — how cool was that? That ribbon is going with my other SCA treasures.
All in all, it was a very positive experience, and I am eager to enter an A&S display again. The only thing I regret is not putting it out earlier, as I don’t think any of my friends of Cynnabar had a chance to see it (they’d visited the display earlier in the day), and I value their feedback highly. I would enjoy the opportunity to talk A&S more! That just means I need to go to more events, now doesn’t it?