So I’ve been thinking about what exactly it is I want to discover, and what skills I want to develop. and what things I DON’T want to spend any brain cells on. (Of course, in an SCA arts & sciences context. Isn’t that our default frame of reference???)
Part of this stems from our judging criteria, and how entrants are sometimes told “You could increase the complexity by doing XYZ.” Now that’s great if the artisan is a relative novice, and hasn’t considered that option before. But I know one talented scribe who is repeatedly told to improve her scores, she needs to increase her complexity by making her own pigments. She doesn’t want to. That is outside of her border. Researching and working with a manuscript style that is uncommon is overlooked, and it always comes back to that one suggestion.
So if I define where the borders of my interests currently lie, and have that essay/list available, would a judge be offended if I showed them I’d already considered that topic, and rejected it?
Personally, my borders are pretty far-flung. But I think it might help both me and others that I talk to, if I was able to define what was inside and outside those borders.
On the topic of glass:
For example, I don’t have any interest in making glass. Blowing glass also doesn’t interest me. Core formed glass is mostly pre-SCA period, and doesn’t really interest me either. I’m not aspiring to be a complete glass guru. I don’t expect that these things will ever interest me.
I do however want to know about the different theories on how glass bead furnaces were formed. I want to experiment with the different ideas, and try working glass in those conditions. I want to know if there’s any evidence that glass beads were deliberately annealed in period. (I know that blown glass objects were). I wonder if Theophilus’ glass oven for painting on glass would have the effect of an annealing oven. I wonder at the time/temperature curve the beads experience, if they are left to cool in ashes or sand by the side of the furnace.
I want to see how the actual “lamp” working would work, or if it would work with modern glass. But on this topic, I’d be happy just to study someone else’s research and experimentation, and take a class.
Some day, I may choose to work with different types of glass, rather than COE 104, which is one of the most common and available types. But right now, I need to increase my skill level using standard glass and techniques. Eventually, I may try different glasses, but not now.
I do want to experiment with creating milliflori. The method I learned with rods of glass simply isn’t practical on a production basis. And milliflori in period was a production basis, and a well traveled trade item.
I have zero interest in techniques and materials which give effects that are not seen in period objects. I don’t see that they have a place in an SCA context, and the classes being taught in these techniques rub me wrong. So I choose not to attend. Others will do as they wish. I do admit I will broaden my interest if cool period artifacts (specifically dress accessories) turn up. Check out these cool byzantine bead/pendants (4th/5th cent). So I need to learn more about shaping beads, if I want to recreate these. (Wouldn’t these be cool with a purple body and the yellow design like the original. They’d be a great waterbearer’s token.)
I mostly wish to learn how to replicate period bead styles, in size, shape and quantity.
I’m way less interested in beadwork, meaning the applying of beads to a surface. If a cool accessory appears, I may explore this later.
So, mostly, that’s where the borders of my quest for knowledge in glasswork lie. (I’ll consider where my borders are in other fields another time.)
How about the rest of you – What are your borders? How do you define your passion?