Queen’s Prize Tourney, for those who don’t obsessively follow A&S events in every kingdom. A novice tourney in that only those with an Orion or no A&S award may enter and they require a sponsor to do so. The sponsor must have a Crucible (Grant level A&S award) or a Laurel and provides a token prize, as well as mentorship on the project.. however that looks. The prize (almost always) goes to someone who is not their sponsoree, which basically means this is a glorious Oprah Winfrey style of prize giving. (You get a prize! And You get a prize! And YOU get a prize!) The prizes are not supposed to be epic, they are a ‘hey, thanks for coming out’ little something.
Failures are welcome. Unfinished pieces are welcome. Pieces that you have gotten stuck on and need advice on are welcome. Masterpieces that you are super stoked and proud of are welcome.
The ‘judging’ is face to face and is specifically less about critique and more about discussion and coaching and generally becomes a glorious geekfest between the artisan and the three or so people who are knowledgable in that field. (or at least interested.. anyone can judge and many entrants are also judges.. myself included.) There are no scores. There’s no judge form where you have to come up with something to say about the details of the piece. You get to spend half an hour or so discussing what they loved, what went wrong (in some cases, what went horribly horribly wrong), and next steps. Sometimes folks want and need a lot of direction on next steps, sometimes we all just get to be super stoked on where the project is going next.
And yet, so many of us stress about it. Is our work good enough? Are people going to politely smile and privately think ‘goodness, I really thought his skills were better than that’? Are the judges going to be mean? What am I going to say for a whole /half hour/!? Is it perfect? It’s awful and no one is going to tell us that it’s awful.
It is brutally hard to tell the brain weasels that whatever you’ve got, at whatever stage its at, is alright to peek out. It’s your creation, it’s part of you and letting others into the process, which is often more failure than success, is HARD. It’s making yourself vulnerable. It’s admitting that you’re not good at something (or for some people, it’s admitting that you ARE good at something).
My naalbinding samples and I will be at QPT tomorrow. Little bits of things, with wonky parts and tension that can’t figure out if its coming or going, and a whole section that is starting to look pretty good, dammit! Like most people there, it’ll have a hidden side order of vulnerability and humility tucked under the documentation, peeking out warily. It’ll get showered with advice and love and creative energy from all sides, and it will be glorious. And I’ll even get a prize.