Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

9938documentation (lengthy)

Expand Messages
  • katherine kerr
    Nov 5, 2013
      >   Elizabeth.
      >  I know that the website says that documentation is up to the
      > participant, but I am super new at this and would love a little
      > advice!

      It really comes down to what *you* want to do -- one of the beauties of the Challenge. So it could be as simple as a couple of notes on an index card, or as complex as a thesis-sized tome (most likely somewhere in between).

      Have a think about what you would want from documentation, but bear in mind that that may well change over time.

      For example, you may start off with simply noting that you made cider and jotting down the recipe someone gave you cos if it turns out OK you want to make it again. Then you may add info on any variations that you did in the next batch, or maybe a series of staged tasting notes to see if it improves over time and when's the best time to drink it.

      Then you start to wonder about the effect of the apples used, so start to record what the source variety was, whether commercial juice or from heirloom plantings in the back yard. And what about additions like mixing other juices or spices. And then you might start to wonder about what they had in period and how those varieties differed from modern-day ones (say in sugar content or growing period etc); or start experimenting with how a shift to period production equipment from modern -- wild yeast or stuff bought at the brewing shop? -- changes things.

      Someone may ask you about how you make cider and you get a chance to see where the holes are by that point -- eg you know batch 3 was really good but you can't remember what was different about it, until you check your notes.....Your blog starts getting hits from people who want to know more, so you write it all up (muttering why didn't I think to do this earlier!), and then you're asked to do a class on it...(argh, what book had that interesting snippet on cider-making rituals from Brittany??).

      In my case, most of my projects start off with a page in my A4 notebook with a title and some jotted notes about something I want to look into, sometimes accompanied by a related printout. Those notes will include sketches, book references with page numbers, sometimes website urls, questions to myself and (later) added comments on things I wanted to remember; sometimes a date of when started or for what intended event; some of them even have a tick for completion :-)

      It can takes years between reserving the page and actually getting stuck into the research I feel is needed to complete it; but I keep adding notes to references and other comments along the way. When I really get into it, I start my docoSUBJECT research file on my computer, and transfer the notes from the journal, as well as hunting down other material such as websites, quotes, text, image links or copies of images etc. Everything goes in there; nothing gets deleted, so it forms the raw archive of my research sources and information.

      When it comes to writing documentation, I use the doco file as a basis for the write-up. This can differ whether I'm writing for, say, formal presentation such as an A&S competition or
      my website -- the latter tends to be personalised, chattier and usually longer.

      So at the risk of making your eyes glaze over, here's an example of how that works in practice.

      I wanted to make some light-weight garb to wear at events in Continental Lochac. A lovely Titian painting caught my eye -- the lady was dressed in green (all my garb is green as a point of difference from mundane life); and it was Venetian from the early 1500s (my persona mother was Venetian and I had planned to build up a batch of stuff from then which would have come to me in her wedding cassone).

      So I printed off some reasonably hi-res images from a gallery website, stapled them to a journal page, took a hard look at the outfit and started jotting notes, including some very bad sketches of the basic outline; info on the Titian painting, notes on similar paintings and what similarities there were. A query to see if I could find out what kind of lining they had, and whether taffetta was used for this sort of thing; also similar notes for the underlying chemise (my ancient cotton ones weren't going to suit it; so now I had two projects!); a to buy/find list with estimates for the amount of material, braid, pearls etc needed based on looking at the painting.

      The associated doco file has four pages that info and other random notes like this sort of stuff in it:

      National gallery of Art, Titian's Portrait of a Lady: http://www.nga.gov/fcgi-bin/tinfo_f?object=435

      Oonagh O'Neill; Turkish Coat for Venetian Dress: http://webspace.webring.com/people/lo/oonaghsown/turkish_coat_for_venetian_dress_doco.htm

      Islamic Art and Culture: the Venetian Perspective

      Metropolitan Museum of Art

      Cesare Vecellio's Degli abiti antichi et moderni di diverse parti del mondo of 1590

      Baroness Katja davidova Orlova khazarina
      Ottoman Turkish garb

      Lining: red linen?
      20 pearls for buttons -- elastic loops in white?

      From Ottoman Costumes: From Textile to Identity. S. Faroqhi and C. Neumann, ed. Istanbul: Eren Publishing, 2005

      If I was being properly picky, I'd also note the date the URLs were accessed -- it can be frustrating to find you've lost the info. Instead I tend to save the relevant content, just in case the site disappears. My research tends to be primarily online -- it was hard enough getting to the main libraries here even before the earthquakes flattened them... I also prefer to have references which I can readily point other people at, where possible (at least that's my excuse! :-).

      I'd finally been pushed into making this because a Kingdom A&S comp came up for " Item of clothing or armour re-created from a portrait / illumination / woodcut", so that gave me a deadline to work to (as it happened, I got it completed for Canterbury Faire, a couple of months beforehand, or so my notes say :-).

      So I wrote up the formal documentation with that topic in mind; later, when I updated my website, I included that as well as the less formal chatty comments which expand on the research side of things. I usually try to keep competition documentation to reasonable bare bones as I know that judges have limited time, but that's always a compromise cos invariably there's something you leave out that comes right back at you in the judging notes.

      You can see the example of the A&S documentation (which has been modified slightly for the web and to avoid repetition from the intro material), as well as the informal intro and the final references box on my website here:


      My personal preference is to have a website rather than a blog as I think it gives you much greater control over information structure/provision and makes it a lot easier on your readers. That said, I have the luxury of managing a Website development company...

      I hope that this gives you some idea of how documentation can be undertaken without being too intimidating. Remember -- the AS50 allows you to have as must or as little documentation as *you* want! Also bear in mind I am, by professional preference, a writer/editor so I am likely to hit the lengthy end of the documentation spectrum.

      But I do find it very handy to flip through the journal to see what I've done (and haven't done) and be inspired by other ideas. Also very useful to have the full detailed info to return to for another go or to support a different project; or to be able to point people at -- it's so much easier to provide a URL for, say, how to make silk standards, rather than to try to remember and repeat every time I'm asked about something.

      All the best and, as always, don't forget this is supposed to be fun!

      katherine kerr of the Hermitage, in the Crescent Isles,
      Barony of Southron Gaard, Kingdom of Lochac
    • Show all 2 messages in this topic