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Photo by Magistra Nicolaa de Bracton
Voters were overwhelmed by the quality of entries at the A&S War Point Exhibition.

By Magistra Nicolaa de Bracton
Features Reporter, Pennsic Independent

Faced with 28 of the finest examples of the Arts and Sciences I had ever seen in the SCA, I had only three votes. How do I possibly decide where to place my beads? That was the dilemma facing each person who viewed the entries in the Pennsic A&S War Point exhibition. I had originally planned to call it the ‘first’ Pennsic War Point for A&S, but according to Mistress Euriol of Lothian of the Kingdom of Aethelmearc, one of the coordinators of yesterday’s event, it’s not. “Twenty years ago, when Timothy and Gabrielle were King and Queen of the East, they hosted the first A&S War Point. Now that they sit the thrones of Aethelmearc, they wanted to bring it back.” And bring it back they did. With the enthusiastic agreement of Their Majesties of the East and Middle, 28 artisans and two alternates were chosen. None of the entrants could be Laurels.
“Their Majesties of the Middle considered it to be the ‘unbelts of the Arts and Sciences’
,” explained Masteritsa Anastasiia Kirolovna Ivanova, one of two Middle Kingdom coordinators. “It was even announced at the same event as the armoured combat unbelted team.” The Middle Kingdom sent their Pentathlon champion and six others chosen by Their Majesties. The East also sought out champions from various A&S competitions. For their fourteen slots, AEthelmearc gave a few to artisans from the allied kingdoms, along with other artisans recommended by their Order of the Laurel. Some entries were finished as recently as the last day or two. None of the entries could contain any element that might identify the entrant’s kingdom or name.
Voting was open to anyone holding a Laurel or a Kingdom-level A&S award of any kind, with each judge receiving just three votes to distribute. The organizers were overwhelmed by the quality of the entries. “I walked in expecting we’re going to kick everyone’s ***, and then I said ‘Ooh, this isn’t going to be as easy as I expected,” said Mistress Amy Webbe, the East Kingdom MoAS and another of the event’s coordinators. “We (the coordinators) decided not to vote. It would have been impossible, anyway,” added Mistress Euriol After voting closed at 3 pm, a meet and greet took place with all of the entrants, so those interested could finally learn who was behind the beautiful pieces.
What did I do with my three beads? The first went to a huge fountain made entirely of sugarpaste and running with rosewater, based on a 16th century Ottoman example of sukker nakasari, containing the arms of all 20 kingdoms and the Peerage Orders, along with a pear tree also in sugarpaste, created by Ian Keneven of AEthelmearc. The second went to a stunning collection of oil paintings, including a study of Aertson’s Market Woman with Vegetables (dated to 1587), painted by Sorch brecc ingen Donnchada of the Middle. The third went to a collection of woodblock printing, including woodblocks, inks, and distilled linseed oil (where the entrant included documentation of an early catastrophic failure that ended in flames); the artisan was Naomi bin Avraham of the East Kingdom.
At the end of the day, the totals for the two sides were East-Middle, 721 points; and AEthelmearc and allies, 521 votes, meaning the War Point goes to the East-Middle Alliance. According to Masteritsa Anastasiia, 427 people voted in the competition.
The War Point was publicized well in advance through Facebook, Peerage meetings, and the Kingdom Gazettes. “The current Royalty will be encouraging next year’s monarchs to make this a tradition,” said Mistress Euriol.