Laurel Prize is is an Arts and Sciences exhibition that runs every year at Rowany Festival. At Laurel Prize all may show completed and in-progress works, and receive feedback from members of the Order of the Laurel and the general populace. Some Laurels like to give small tokens of appreciation to those whose work we like most. This is not a competition, and is not judged in a formal manner -- no score sheets, no written critiques. We chat to the exhibitors, encourage them to talk about how their projects started and where they got their inspiration, suggest other people they could talk to, explain how to do difficult bits or pass on special tricks we've learned, and learn lots of things we didn't know.
What is Laurel Prize?
Laurel Prize is an Arts and Sciences display sponsored and organised by members of the order of the laurel. It is designed for non-laurel artists and artisans throughout the kingdom to display their works to members of the order and also to members of the populace.
Laurel Prize is not a competition and isn't part of the Kingdom Arts and Sciences competition, but a high standard of entries is usually obtained each year and all members of the order make their best effort to view what is on display, read any documentation presented, and carefully evaluate the standard of work shown. Members of the order may make comments and give feedback to the artisans presenting their work, and also award small prizes of their own choosing to works that particularly impress them.
It is one of the highest focus annual arts and sciences events in the Kingdom. We like to consider it the A&S equivalent of Rowany Festival's Fighter Auction Tourney.
Where is Laurel Prize held?
There is an annual Laurel Prize held at Rowany Festival each year. This is generally speaking the largest of the Laurel Prizes held throughout the Kingdom. Other groups have in the past organised either a Laurel Prize or an A&S display similar to a Laurel Prize, this is not discouraged, however generally speaking when people say "Laurel Prize" without specifying any particular event then you can assume they are talking about the Laurel Prize held at festival.
Who is allowed to enter the Laurel Prize? Is it only for Laurels?
Any member of the populace who is not a laurel may enter the Laurel Prize. It is not for laurels to enter, it is only for non-laurels.
Who judges the entries for Laurel Prize?
The Laurel Prize is not a competition and there is no formal judging nor are entries awarded a score.
How is the winner of the Laurel Prize determined? How are prizes awarded?
The Laurel Prize is not a competition and there are no winners. In the first hour after the Laurel Prize opens, the entrants display their entries along with any documentation, and members of the order of the laurel wander about the entries and award prizes to any entries that they choose to. These prizes are normally small tokens meant for encouragement either hand-made or purchased by the laurel who awards them. They are not meant to be of any specific value, they are just small tokens just like a tassel you might win for entering a chivalric tournament.
After the first hour, other members of the populace are invited to view the display of entries that have been made for the laurel prize. This is similar to entries that are made at an A&S competition at a crown event, with judging done by judges chosen prior to the event and entries made available for the populace to view during and after the judging.
Do I Get Laurelled?
No, not just for entering the display.
Does my entry for Laurel Prize count towards the Annual Kingdom A&S competition?
No, it does not.
Does my entry have to be finished to enter it in to Laurel Prize?
No, it does not. Laurels quite enjoy seeing your work in progress.
Do you have to attend Rowany Festival to enter Laurel Prize?
If you are entering the Laurel Prize it is best if you can attend festival to answer any questions that laurels may have about your work. However if you are unable to attend then please feel free to send your work with another person to display on your behalf, and perhaps include some extra explanatory notes for laurels to read if the person you are sending your work with is unable to answer questions in detail.
If you are entering the research and documentation competition, then be aware that prize announcement will be done during court at festival, however you do not need to attend festival to enter. You may submit your entry on line, and if you win the prize then we will find someone from your local group or nearby to return the prize to you.
Starting in 2012 there is a separate competition in addition to the Laurel Prize, for research and documentation. This is a competition and there is a winner.
How do I enter the research and documentation competition?
Use this entry form. All entries must be submitted electronically, using the form.
How does judging for the research and documentation competition work?
Entries for this competition will close one month before Rowany Festival.
In that month before festival, entries will be distributed to members of the order of the laurel for judging. Each entry will be judged on line by 3 members of the order, with each laurel awarding a score from 0 to 10 to the entry in each of 4 category areas, for a highest possible score of 40/40. The entry which has the highest aggregate score will be announced as the winner.
The intent of the order is to find 3 judges who have a level of knowledge and understanding the area of your work to judge your research and documentation. So, for example, if you submit a research piece relating to 15th Century French music, then 3 judges will be found who are either music laurels, or other laurels with a reasonably detailed understanding of music. So it is the case that not all of the works will be judged by the same small group of laurels, but we have a scoring system that should enable similar levels of work to receive equal scores across the competition. You can also be reasonably assured that your Italian costuming entry will be scored by costumers, not gardeners, dancers or armourers.
How should I set out my entry for the research and documentation competition?
That's a good question and fairly complex to answer. It really depends on the type of work, and the answers I will give here may be a bit general and vague.
Firstly, you need to make sure that the entry is legible and laid out so that someone can read it.
Secondly, you need to make sure that you have provided any necessary pictures, diagrams, charts, drawings, maps, photos, etc, as part of the documentation. It's often easier to visualise the information you are trying to convey, whether that's step movements, seam allowances, or hammer lines, from a picture than it is from a description.
You need to make sure that you are including any footnotes, references and perhaps a bibliography. Whether it's a pure research submission you are making or an item that's being reconstructed from a museum piece or a bog find, we will need to know whether you are working from reliable sources or original material, or just making this up. Drawing your own conclusions from primary documentation, whether that's backed up by other research or not, always scores higher than making assumptions based on someone else's second-hand material, and so we need to understand what information you've used to base your documentation on.
Are you producing a work intended for modern eyes as well as backing that up with your research? For example a recipe for a subtlety to be served at a feast, or a music or dance reconstruction, or a set of instructions for sewing a pavilion? In that case you may want to separate your work into two sections. In one section present your actual end result (that can perhaps be handed to or read by someone who's simply interested in making the pavilion or teaching the dance), and in the other section present your notes, research, explanations of the methods and any changes used (e.g. "the original instructions used whalebone but I didn't want to hurt any whales so instead I used mild steel"), along with your footnotes and bibliography.
Everything else is up to you.
Does my entry have to be for a finished item to enter it in to the research and documentation competition?
No, it does not.
You may enter documentation for something you've made, something you're about to make, something you never intend to make but wish you could, or just a theoretical research piece such as a philosophical discourse.
The competition only examines the research and documentation you have submitted, it does not take into account things such as workmanship, how straight your seams are, how accurate your hammering technique is, or whether your steps are too big. It is just about the research, not about the item.
Say you ask your laurel for ideas or feed back on your work. Does that mean he can't judge the work once it's submitted? Or should you make it clear to your laurel that the thing you are working on is for the competition, so he isn't to help you?
Firstly, feedback isn't "help", in fact some forms of feedback aren't helpful at all.
Entries are intended to be from individuals. If someone writes part of your entry for you, or assists you in writing your entry for you, then that isn't your entry and probably shouldn't be submitted. On the other hand, if someone offers you helpful advice (including pointing out references you weren't aware of, or checking your spelling or grammar) then that is just useful advice and although you should acknowledge it in your entry it doesn't stop it being submitted.
If you are asking a laurel for advice on your entry, then you should make it clear that you plan to enter it into the competition and so a modicum of restraint should be provided in terms of assistance with the entry.
In the marking, what are the four category areas? Or shouldn't entrants know these?
The scoring rubric used for the competition is here: PDF file
In 2002 we took some photos of the people and work on display at Laurel Prize.
Helene du Puy.
Helene's beautiful pleated German aprons.
Some of this armour was made by Lord Kitan of St Florians (apprenticed to Leofric), and some by Sir Innigo Missaglia, from Ildhafn. The arms and legs were definitely made by Sir Innigo; I had a good conversation about the articulation with him. (It's smooth as, by the way.)
Elaborate German dress - photos and creator.
Lady Valeria de Borgia, who made the ruff and shirt.
Elizabethan ruff and beautifully-made hand-stitched child's shirt, made by Lady Valeria de Borgia.
"Illuminated" initial embroidered in split-stitch
This unfinished piece is Catalina's first attempt at stump-work.
Lady who embroiders the strawberries.
Rohese de Fairhurst with her wonderfully silly hat.
Close-up of Rohese's hat.
Katherine Alicia of Sarum from Riverhaven.
Some earlier work from this talented lady.
White-vine work by Katherine Alicia of Sarum.
Strewn-flower border - individual flowers well-executed, likewise overall design.
Applique and embroidery.
Later illumination, includes very nice ivy work and charming cat figures. Also some chain-stitch embroidery.
Oognagh's mirror-work. She also does period jewellery, especially twisted-wire rings.
Crispin Sexi (and Baby Sexi), in front of his music. Rhiannon (vocal performance) is on his left.
Marienna Jensdatter, from Ildhafn, who is Rowan's apprentice.
Or nué work by Rowan's apprentice, Marienna Jensdatter from Ildhafn, very beautiful.
Sand-cast Bronze Plaque Belt.
Llewellyn ap Dafydd (Yseult's nephew) with some of his documentation.
Llewellyn's hand-made shoes.
Llewellyn's hand-made clothes, showing detail of silk-ribbon neck facing, running-stitched along both edges and whip-stitched at the bottom, plus hand-made button holes and buttons.
In 2012 we took some more photos of the people and work on display at Laurel Prize run in the Great Hall at Rowany Festival. Here you can see the first hour of Laurel Prize where Laurels get to view and discuss the work of non-Laurels. In the second hour the general populace are invited to attend and see what is on show.
In addition to the Laurel Prize at Festival 2012, there was a research and documentation competition. The winners of that competition (it was a 2-way tie) were: Antonia di Lorenzo and Ásfríðr Úlfvíðardóttir
Elena gave tastes of her 15thC and 1669 brews.
Wulfwine shows off his tent and chair. He also had various other Dark-ages items of display.
Bran showing his dark-ages celtic design-work on wood and leather.
Jon has been working on 15thC fishing flies from "A Treatyse of Fyssynge Wth an Angle".
Alfgeir has made a 15thC Milanese mitten gauntlet.
Antonia is working on making a helmet crest and parade shield.
Eleanor showed her experiments with rush pith and wax.
Padraig Lowther has been casting pewter for a couple of years and brewing for 10 years.
Leoba showing her experiments in preserving meat and vegetables.
Laurel Prize at Rowany Festival in 2013 was rather busy, with excellent work on display. Again we managed to get some photos for posterity.
Adeline de Montfort's Bestiary in Latin, English C.1290, based on Aberdeen and Bodley 764.
Angus Macdougall from Mordenvale shows his 1st centrury Roman neclace - his first go at a new craft.
Antoinette Travallie with 12thC Syrian underglaze plates.
Bess of Buckland with her underwear model.
Bran from St Florians with celtic designs.
Catalina de Gata from Aneala with a 16thC swete bag she is making.
Christine Bess Puvaint with her 1595 doublet, jerkin and hose, based off a portrait of George Silver.
Elena le Breuster from Innilgard gave tastings of bachet, quina wine, metheglin with various fruits, and honey rosat liqueur.
Elizabet Hunter with her research and planning for making a period silk banner, part of her work as a Queen's Artisan.
Helouys le Poer with her caligraphy on the topic of lemons.
Iseabail with white meathe, stawberry wine (brewed in a linnen bag) , bouchet (using caramelised honey), lemmon mead (with herbs) and a small currants wine.
Jon Dai of the Lane with Asian bonsai.
Karl von Ander's engraving, chasing and repousse.
Katherine Alicia of Sarum with her book of 1100 to 1400 French illumination work.
Kit Hackforth with the blades he has made.
Kitan von Falkenburg with repousse and chaced armour .
Leoba of Lecelad with Anglosaxon clothing based on Grave 77 of Butler's Field in Gloucestershire.
Lilya with a 14-15th century Persian pirahan.
Miriam bat Shimean with Mumluk embroidered sleeve and handkerchief and unfinished head scarf based on Egyptian museum pieces.
Paul de la Ville with musical instruments he has made, including a shawm.
Rose Pennynton of Abertridwr had this couched panel of Italian dress on display.
Ruric with his mash brewing over a fire.
Seamus O'Seamuis from Aneala with a jacket.
Here are photos from Laurel Prize at Rowany Festival in 2016.
Adeline de Montfort with calligraphy and illumination.
Ailis inghean Mheadhbha with Norse dress.
Alesia au Cheval Blanc with clothes
Anastasia del Valente with clothing and decorations.
Anna von der Ron with clothes.
Annabelle Perrot with medieval academic dress.
Anne with mustard and a feasting primer.
Ant Blowme of Saint Cloud with painted ceramics.
Ariston Hegelochou with leather armour.
Claricia filia Wilelmi dapiferi with knitted shorts.
Elizabeth de Foxle with embroidery.
Gabriel van Dorne with sheilds.
Giles Leabrook with food.
Gregory Tortouse de Sloleye with music.
Honoré Corbaut with hats.
Hugh de Calais with spoons.
James Longstride with blacksmithing.
Jessica of Fearn Abbey with cheese.
Jon Dai with saddle.
Kit Hackforth with blacksmithing.
Maelmuire ingen Alpin with necklaces.
Mairi of Kilravok with embroidery and a doll.
Mary Eskine's drop spinning.
Patric Lowther with various preserves.
Rosalind Beaufort with brewing.
Sophia van Dorne with embroidery and hat.
Tatianitska Iaroslavna with blood bread.
Apologies - Crispin lost his notes. Please let us know if you know this person's name.