A question to the Kingdom A&S Minister, Master Philip White:
“I don’t want to have to do competitions. What else is there?”
A reply from the Minister:
I love this question. You know why? Because there is SO MUCH else out there.
But I don’t want to start there. I think there is a part of this question that’s left unsaid. Let’s start with that answer.
You don’t “have to” do anything. I’d like you to have fun and enjoy the SCA. Then I’d like you to learn things, and make things, and teach things.
And after that?
When I hear that “have to” part it sounds like the rest of the question, the unsaid portion, is “in order to get the recognition I want.”
It sounds like there is an implication that entering competitions equals receiving recognition. That to meet some personal goals you’ve set for yourself that you “have to” enter a competition.
Let me be clear.
That’s not how it works.
Some people enter lots of competitions and never receive recognition. Some people never enter competitions and receive lots of recognition.
One does not equal another.
Are you looking for recognition? I’m totally okay with you having goals.
Want to be well-known? Want to receive an award? Want to be worthy of inclusion in the Order of the Silver Broach? The Maunche? The Laurel? Awesome. I’d personally say those are all fine goals.
You are free to work towards any of those goals. Or completely different ones. Or none of them. That’s all up to you!
Do what makes you happy.
Please do not think that you need some sort of recognition to have found success or happiness in the SCA. I really mean it when I say I just want you to have fun. That’s the only way you can “win” in the SCA.
That’s just like competitions. You never have to do one.
Want to make your goals? There are other ways than competitions to get there.
You don’t enjoy a competitive atmosphere? But maybe you still want feedback? Or maybe just a chance to learn and to teach? No trouble.
There are lots of other activities and venues! Participate in those!
Try something local:
*Hold a class on a weeknight. Invite everyone that’s local to you.
*Set up a display at your local event.
Try something around the region or the Kingdom:
* Travel to a different group than you normally would. You meet new people. The more remote areas will welcome you in particular.
* Look for an Artisans Row if you do not have one locally. Set up for a whole day of just doing your thing and talking to people about how you do it.
Try something outside of the East:
*Teach a class at Pennsic. Enter the A&S Display. Host an event in your camp.
*Travel to a Known World Event. Teach there!
*Go to Symposiums and Colleges in other Kingdoms. Expos yourself to different ideas and experiences.
*Talk to your local Chronicler. They may love having content for the newsletter. Likewise for the branch website.
*Try setting up a blog. Or your own webpage. Post pictures and post of your work.
*Submit to the East Kingdom Gazette. The staff is wonderful. They will help you get your work ready for publication.
Try art as a service:
*Donate your work as prizes for other activities. Is there a competition going on? Maybe you can make something for the new Archery Champion? Or the person with the best feast table decorations?
*Give largess as an individual. You can grant people gifts for doing great works or impressive acts.
*Make largess for local nobility or the Royalty to gift. Label it so that people know that it was your work.
*Serve as a scribe or make award medallions.
*Make things for other people. They don’t need to be a Royal or a Nobel. They can just be your friend.
At the very least?
*Set up at an event and do your thing. Do it at the list field. Do it during Court. Do it during feast. Maybe people will stop and say hello! And maybe they will not… but at least you’ll have gotten more work done!
All of these activities are things you can do. Do them!
Recognition can come from these activities as well. Along with chances to learn. Along with chances to teach. Along with chances for fun.
Are none of these happening in your area? Then organize them! Help someone else organize them! Travel to them!
(And don’t get me wrong. I like competitions. They can be great opportunities to challenge yourself, to learn from judges, and to teach people.)
Remember… Have fun! Learn! Teach!
Your Servant to Command,
photo by Matt Wickenheiser