abendgules: (self-portrait)
Going on a scroll's journey...

Scroll is in Latin, and uses a 12th c Romanesque letter with just a little bit of gold.

Sorry they're not as sharp as I'd like. Looked perfectly sharp when I took them!
cut for longish photo post )
abendgules: (15thc_worker)
Knackered.
Worried about housing.
Don't know what will happen after end of March. See 'housing'.
Our favourite neighbours are moving - catsitting services lost. This neighbourhood is going to the dogs. Gotta move. See 'housing'.

Otherwise, some nice stuff happened in the past couple of weeks:

- 2 weekends ago: Dance workshop w/ Mary Collins: 16th c Italian. Hard work, totally awesome. Loved spending the weekend with HE Paul and Lady Anne.
- Last Friday: Afternoon lectures at MoL with curators about Cheapside Hoard. Very useful, very informative. Changed the way I saw the exhibit, literally. Have loads of notes and will try to post.
- Last Saturday: Taught calligraphy 'from scratch' for the first time, didn't fail completely, noone ran away. Still need to refine the teaching, but everyone successfully made letters. Very satisfying.

Sorely bummed I'm not attending Crown to see Margaret de May on vigil, at start of April. See 'housing'...
abendgules: (Romanesque_Initial)
Working against the clock, I didn't have time to take pictures - but [livejournal.com profile] aryanhwy did a lovely job. It looks even better in her pictures than I remembered it when I made it.

This writ was to mark HE [livejournal.com profile] aryanhwy's winning the kingdom arts and sciences competition. She is thus the kingdom artisan for the coming year. It's not really an award from the Crown because they didn't choose her - the judges did. So it's more a acknowledgement of her accomplishment.

To find a medieval example text, I used two texts from Henry V's chancery, one where he is similarly giving his royal assent to a decision made by others (the church making someone a bishop) 1417C81/1364/41Signet of Henry V , and another where he delegates an appointee's commission to his recipient 1417C81/1364/36Signet of Henry V, leaving the fine details for a trusted clerk to figure out.

12th night is also called Epiphany, so I used that description as a date, rather than the exact calendar date - there's only one 12th night per anno societatus.

The calligraphy is a bit wobbly, but the overall effect is what I was after - something fine and businesslike, little fuss and muss. I fell back on a fine metal nib, not a quill, for this piece - I'd spent a lot of time trimming my existing nibs to get them finer, but could not get any finer than just under 1 mm - it's ok, but not as fine as I wanted.

I hold one of the copies of the kingdom seal, and have used it regularly over several years; the other seal is my own, made by my lord Robert for me last year. It's made of silver, and has my arms and a motto from the opening of the gospel of John ('In the beginning was the word'), and Ary's pictures show them both beautifully.

Robert spent well over an hour fiddling with hot and cold beeswax to get a really good impression of these two seals - he deserves the credit for the way they turned out.

One of the things I make for regalia is small purses, modelled on (surprise!) surviving seal bags and reliquary bags. They use up scraps of velvet and silk, and are finished with embroidery floss fingerbraid and beads.

So for the first time, I had a seal bag handy...to really go over a seal. Unfortunately I couldn't fit a second bag over my own seal and fit it all in the package for mailing! so I wrapped it in card and crossed my fingers for transit.

The seal cord is silk fingerbraid, by HG Alessandre Melusine, a narrow wares mavin, who keeps me stocked on request.

Text reads:

By þe kyng and quene Worshipful fader in god.   Fforasmuche as we haue vnderstande that our Welbeloued roial sister Aryanhwy merch Catmaael is chosen kingdom artisan,   Wherof we hald vs wel agreed and therto we yeue our assent Roial and we wol wel þat ye do make vnder our greet seel a Commission to þe same Aryanhwy suche as ye þenke resonable and necessarie for þe goode and care of owre gildes and craftsmen to be not longre than one hoole yeare.
Yeuen in oure chastel Attemarke at holie Epiphanie AS XLVIIJ vnder our signet

Ary writ

Lovely closeup of the kingdom seal - you can even see the custom addition of cat fur in the velvet behind the seal...

kingdom seal

View of my own seal, threaded on a scrap of scribbled-on vellum.
Genevieve seal

Nice view of the text. Proofreading it afterwards, I had to squeeze in the year - whoops.
text and signature
abendgules: (Romanesque_Initial)
This week I discovered the extent of a collection in the British Library that I'd dipped into before, but hadn't examined carefully.

They're a group of books from Arnstein, created in the late 12th century, and they have some of the richest and most cheerful and engaging dragons I've seen.

This group includes the Arnstein Bible, MS Harley 2798 and MS Harley 2799 and its friends the Arnstein Passional MS Harley 2800, Harley 2801 and Harley 2802,  plus assorted hangers on from the same source: Harley 3045, called Hrabanus Maurus, and several volumes of Gregory the Great - clearly so great he went on at great length, or at least was popular to copy: Harley 3052, Harley 3053, and about four other Gregories that have only a couple of interesting figures online.

I'd used one figure from this group before, and while I'd printed off several images from the first bible, for some reason now these figures and shapes have really caught my eye, and I'm thinking more about how to do them effectively.

The calligraphy hand in the first book is my favourite - it's all 'protogothic' but while the artist is identified as the same, I don't think the same scribe worked on all of these. The hand in the Passional, book one, has a different letter height, and looks blockier and stiffer to me - it's still the same letterforms, but I think a different person was behind the pen.

Here's the initial I used this winter: a cheerful dragon for a U/V letter, perfect for Sir Vitus as recipient. I like him so much I may use him again. Teh clicky takes you to the big version...

Zoomorphic initial

This is what has prompted my question to the Dragon scribes list about how to draw spirals: I'm certain there's a knack to it, I just don't know it yet.

So I've started an A-Z index of letters for this group of manuscripts, copying the URLs for the large images, sometimes with notes. There's a glut of Ps, probably fault of St. Paul. But enough Ds, Ms and Fs to keep me busy for years.

There's even some initials that are a bit of a mystery - there's not enough context to guess what they should be, no matter how funky they look.

Any guesses? M? O?

Zoomorphic initial

Here's another; Q on its side? D tipped over backwards? scribal error turned into decorative filigree?

Decorated initial

This could be an H, an I or J, or K: could work for any of them...
Decorated initial

Here's a T (pretty obvious) - what's less obvious is that the critters appear to be hanging the man. The comments say the animals are sheep, but they could just as easily be goats, I think.

Inhabited initial

For the Hbranus Maurus, the artwork is in the same style, but perhaps the patron spent more, or the artist got a grant from the Arts Council or something - the colours are bold, crisp, deep where before they were mid-tone, and sometimes uncoloured. It also includes several acrostics (poems where the lines downward form text as well as across).

Text page with initial

See? deeper hues, and three shades of each colour to create depth. And gold, some of them. And silver, which is unusual. And external penwork (dots, outlines). And whitework. Each line-item of art style costs more.  The later ones also appear to have fewer dragons, and more foliage instead.

And yet, I like the light-touch versions of the same shapes and foliates better somehow. Or at least, I don't automatically love the full-fat painted-in ones most.

Anyway: I'm enchanted. It's hard to feel angry when looking at great art.
abendgules: (Confesse)
Crown tourney looks like it's coming together - weekend after next.

Cross your fingers that it doesn't turn tooooo wet, and we'll have an excellent event in Caerphilly castle. Crown tourney Saturday, and then fighting, fencing and archery for all takers on Sunday.

After a masterclass in quill cutting at 20-year with Mistress Caitlin, I've been plugging away with cutting quills and using them. I'd used quills before, but Caitlin identified a few key errors in my technique, that I've been following up since June.

The biggest mistake, easiest remedied, is using the wrong part of the quill. A feather crossection is oval, and I'd been sharpening a nib out of the narrow 'end' part of the oval, rather than the wide flat bit. I just hadn't thought it through, but when you do think of it, of course you want as flat a surface as possible, to create a non-curved edge for ink.

Using a quill is fiddly-er than nibs. It's not physically harder - if anything you need a lighter touch, a lighter hand than with a metal nib and plastic pen holder - and the crispness of the thin lines are to die for.

The fiddly bit is the preparation and getting your nib to the size you want, without managing to take the whole thing off in one clumsy slice of the knife. Ask me how I know.

Most recently, after a lengthy round of trim > fiddle > test > trim > fiddle > test > argh, I settled on a hour of nib-whittling to prepare 4 nibs, getting them as close to each other in width as I could, so I could get on with scribing uninterrupted, and just change pens if I needed to. They're still wider than my smallest metal nibs, but they're as small as I can make them consistently, and they 'fit' reasonably well in a 5mm line height.

Having them ready meant I didn't end up needing them all, of course, though I do notice that I wear down the right corner of my quill faster than the left. It would be great to get to the point of being able to trim and re-use as I go, but I don't know if I can get to that point.

I lashed out on a true pen knife, courtesy of Tod's Stuff after 20 year. Man, a sturdy sharp knife makes a world of difference. Talk about a tool for the job.

I hadn't realised how dull my paper-cutting knife had grown til Caitlin pointed it out. Hopefully I won't have to sharpen the pen knife for awhile.

While in Germany in June I also bought a small pocket knife - haven't had a lot of opportunity to try it, as the pen knife is working beautifully.

So my plan is to do my forthcoming scrolls with quills barring emergency ones done in a hurry. Three quill-done scrolls so far.... all waiting on Crown for sharing online.

I thoroughly enjoyed the most recent Rivers of London book, Broken Homes by Ben Aarnonovitch. I'm noticing tighter, more piquant writing, things I hadn't seen before, that are funnier if you live in London.

Not certain if it's because it's improved (think so) or because I'm noticing more about the craft. So I'm investing in copies of the series to review and confirm.

I'm knitting again - testing a lace pattern that I've ripped out 4 times already. My past efforts should tell me that IANALK (I Am Not A Lace Knitter), but I fell in love with the idea of this pattern as a perfect present.

But: C2R? C2L? Purl into the back loop?? Stitches done differently if you're on the right or wrong side? Hunh? WTF?

I'd pack it in, except I've already bought the yarn for the project...

This weekend is likely to be made up of
- knitting
- glass painting
- lists for Crown

Livin' in London: doesn't get better than this.
abendgules: (scribing)
Posted one item from Investiture to Dragon's Scribes. A second one is TBA.

Generally pleased with it, and the photos don't show up the flaws of the gilding. :-)

I think I'll do more in this hand, because it was a real delight to practice.

Work is full-on this week while my mgr is away. Knackered.
abendgules: (penwork E)
I'm documenting a project for delivery at Coronation. In the process, I took pics of scraped fixes of my mistakes. 

Each piece of parchment is different - I had brilliant results with a previous piece, while this one is slightly fuzzier, and it is proving a bit resistant to a perfect cleanup.

What I know of scraping and fixing I learned from Lady Trinite (who gave me a brilliant sharp sculpting tool) and Mistress Bridget.

[livejournal.com profile] merlyn_gabriel's advice is very cunning: when you've made a mistake, write in the correct letters on top, and then scrape only the bits you need to - rather than scraping the whole word bare, and then writing in the correct word. You'll find you 'reuse' a lot of strokes, that don't need to be scraped, and can fudge more fix with less scrape than you think.

Mixed-up phrase (should be 'is bestowed' with a weird W) but started as 'the [something or other]'

P1010007_edited-1


P1010012_edited-1


P1010015_edited-1

The final result was a bit tidier particularly the second long S, but the pic didn't work.

I have burnished the parchment further, to try to soothe and smooth the fibres that are still fuzzed from scraping, but could not get the flawless you'd-never-know-there-was-a-mistake outcome this time.
abendgules: (penwork E)
I'd done practice pieces, this is the first piece done in anger, so to speak. The letter shapes are taken from the Maccelsfield Alphabet Book, my new favourite source for designs.

On this piece, I outlined with vermilion gouache using a crow quill, which proved a bit too heavy for what I wanted. I think the gouache was too thick for penwork.

On the next scroll, after checking with Nerissa, I outlined the gold with brown-black gouache using a W&N no 7 brush (ie soooper-fine).

I'm reasonably pleased, but think I may limit my involvement with gilding to using transfer gold (UK name - the stuff that transfers like Letraset, rather than the loose gold you lay). Life is too short to wrestle with micro-thin layers of gold, when there's important calligraphy to be done. :-)

Crop of OLind with gilding


I'd have posted this to the Dragonscribes blog, but google is telling me to turn on my cookies, and doesn't seem to acknowledge when I've done so! So I can't log in, humpf.
abendgules: (downhill)
Good news[livejournal.com profile] jpgsawyer  and [livejournal.com profile] edith_hedingham  liked the finished box top. I think a year from now I could do a way better job, but perhaps I can offer to repaint when the current version is sufficiently worn. 
Robert did a splendid job working in an armet helm, and of carefully scraping the already-painted-in torse so it fit the helm. I 'powdered' the metal side of the mantling with estoiles azure to incorporate a charge from Edith's arms. Outlining the whole work sharpened up the shapes beautifully. Photo to follow.

Bad news: my much-anticipated watercolour course at John Soane's museum is cancelled. Sorely bummed. This was to be a day long session where the folks from Winsor & Newton would come to talk about the history of pigments and watercolours, and how their own brand was developed, and then attendees play with around with their lovely products. The founding of W&N is close to the time that Sir John Soane was active, and when watercolours developed as a sort of amateur art form.

Unfortunately, W&S are moving house and cannot spare anyone! Sheesh, you'd think they'd check their calendars before deciding on a moving day. Didn't they know I was signed up?

Good news: I have a week off at the end of the month. I've been very frugal with my annual leave, and I have a glut that I have to use or lose. So I'm taking a week to putter in museums and galleries and draw stuff, and I'm hoping Robert will take a day or a couple of afternoons to putter with me. I'm going to be one of those geeks you see huddled on the folding stools in front of a work sketching like mad.

Yesterday Mistress Nerissa came over to talk scribing and sketching. We walked through how to draw medieval faces, and how to paint in very very fine lines and borders, and she brought over her current project., a Laurel scroll for a friend in Lochac. It's on a huge piece of parchment - it feels so luxurious to have such an expanse of parchment dedicated to a single work.

We also talked through gilding, and I pulled down the Gilded Page by Whitely to compare recipes. Apparently in Lochac the general advice is to use a white-glue gesso, because it's the most resilient given the different climates possible in that kingdom - least likely to dry out and crack! This is one of the types I wanted to try myself. It's one that my friend Sarra Graham also had good results with.

There's a nice illustration in Whitely, that I wish was in colour (all pics are b&w), that shows how different the results are depending on the sizes/glues - first what the glues look like by themselves, then with gilding, then burnishing, and then with tooling. But even colour pics are terrible at conveying gold - it never comes out the way it really looks and cannot show sparkle very well at all.

We looked through the materials I have already - I have a sample gold pack from a friend, obtained years ago, plus some ingredients I haven't tried yet. ethnowoman , any favourite tips?

Bad news: I nearly broke Nerissa.

We got to talking about calligraphy, and I asked her how she did calligraphy lefthanded (answer: mostly from above, the same way she writes normally). Which led to '...yeah, but [learning a particular way with a turned page] -  that's real work. You might as well teach yourself right-handed.' 

I said, 'Uh, that's what I did.' Cue shocked look! 

She hadn't realised I did my callig Rhanded, while being Lhanded.  Apparently that's way hard-core.

She suggested I try my callig lefthanded. Can't say I'm terribly keen, having gone to the trouble of learning it the 'right' way - why would I learn to do it 'wrong'?

For lefties: I mentioned at the MG revel that there's advice in the Midrealm scribes handbook about leftie calligraphy, so check out the PDF.

This weekend my sweetie and I are at a Wallace Collection study day. Looking forward to it, including lunch and beer with Master Paul - never dull!
abendgules: (15thc_worker)
 Dance moot in Harplestane was once more a lovely occasion. For me, it was a hugely relaxing event: pusscat was in good hands, and I had three days to enjoy good company and do nothing more strenuous than invite people to join in the next dance in the hall. Read more... )
If you ever get a chance to attend this little gem of an event, do so - it's worth the trip to Edinburgh, to see how a small group can make the most of an elegant site and the remarkable depth of musical talent in their shire.

Pics are courtesy of Harplestane's flickr site, mostly taken by the Torkillsons
Action shot, full length of yours truly 

Panormamic view of the hall - Medieval priory church, refurbished and available for both sacred and secular use

Another full length view, concentrating like mad on a new dance called 'if men don't sleep, women listen' - wonderful dance but not intuitive, and would take a lot more practicing! That's why I'm looking down

Honorata instructing dancers - lovely Polish reenactor who instructs dance very well - loud and clear
abendgules: (catching snowflakes)
This was the plan, and this is how far I got:

Scrolls x 4 - ended up doing scrolls x 3, thanks to a change in requests, but successfully finished.

 Largesse list
- Veil pins - old favourite - nope, not in the mood for beads this season
- Finishing pouches 
- sewing
- eyelets
- braiding or plying cords
- assembly
Cards with Romanesque initials:  lots - am now set to gift the next three reigns as well as this one, and not burned out. Very pleased.
- Handkerchiefs - hemmed: got one done
- leather pouches: several 
- cutting
- braiding


Also: A couple of small belts for demoisels in the shire - a last-minute addition, that resulted in Robert doing most of the hard work

'Me' list
- Finishing current fencing hood - hemming: done
- finishing new fencing hood - pressing, cutting out, sewing, hemming: ho ho ho...Merry Ambitions!
- new fencing gowns - pressing, cutting out, sewing, hemming (still debating weights of linen to use - still don't have a punch tester nearby): more ho ho ho ho...

- refreshing plum gown: in progress
- new neckline - drawn
- reworking eyelets, possibly without heavy facing - not doing all of them, just the ones that need it
- lining sleeves, possibly with fur - now adding a fur hem - lining sleeves may or may not happen before end of month

The fur is courtesy of two fur coats, that Robert sweet-talked out of a charity shop some years ago. 
I think they're both rabbit, but honestly don't know: I don't have a lot of experience with furs. One is 3/4 length ladies coat of mostly brown, arranged in horizontal bands (pale at the top, getting darker towards the bottom of the band).

I've taken apart two of the bands,and found that together they will more than do the hem of the gown (measures 130" at bottom, but probably less 5" up from the bottom). The plan is to run a piece of cloth tape along the top edge, and attach that to the gown, but it'll depend on how long it takes to attach the cloth tape.

Also: more piecing on the undergown, so the hem actually sits evenly: in progress
Also: a pair of fake sleeves, to tack to the undergown, to save myself the work of actually adding full sleeves to the undergown: in progress

If the fur edging works, it'll be the most luxurious gown I own (after the Cranach).
None of the following - just idle holiday dreams!

- finishing 16thc shirt
- finishing 16th c doublet
- lightweight partlet
- finishing wool cap with brim stiffener

I did do more knitting - but ripped out at least as much as I knit. DROPS have tricksy ways of explaining their patterns; they make sense, but it means a lot of thinking for yourself.
Following the instruction 'make a second side front, mirror image to the first' isn't as clear as you might think.

SO: all in all, some progress, but more slacking than anticipated. 
abendgules: (Oooops)
Got a good start on the pouches this weekend, getting eyelets into two of four, and braiding cords for three, so I may actually be able to knock the current batch off the list.
Pouches are a perpetually-renewing project though - I've now made them in leather, fabric, and knitting. I suppose I could weave one from scratch for a change (NOT).

Also got the calligraphy done on the cards, but didn't get any illumination done.

Did have a happy evening surfing the BL site, finding nearly an entire alphabet of very do-able Romanesque intials.

There's a particular style, c. 1150-1225 ish, England and N. France on sacred books, that uses bold plain colours, some very beautiful arabesque flourishes, but very little 'finishing' (no outlining, no knotwork, no gold). The accompanying hand is late Carolingian, early Gothic-ish, well within my repetoire.  The sweet AoA I did last month is typical. This could become another 'workhorse' hand for scrolls for me.

I even found a scholarly text about this art style, focusing on MSS from 11th and 12th c Northumbria - a snip at £70 from Boydell and Brewer.
abendgules: (Oooops)
Christmas is Robert's and my favourite time to Make Stuff(tm) - uninterrupted blocks of time to work on projects.

This year's list for me is a mix of old favourites, repairs, and making new stuff.

Scrolls x 4 for 12th night

Largesse list
- Veil pins - old favourite
- Finishing pouches
    - sewing
    - eyelets
    - braiding or plying cords
    - assembly
- Cards with Romanesque initials
- Handkerchiefs - hemmed
- leather pouches
     - cutting
     - braiding

'Me' list
- Finishing current fencing hood - hemming
- finishing new fencing hood - pressing, cutting out, sewing, hemming
- new fencing gowns - pressing, cutting out, sewing, hemming (still debating weights of linen to use - still don't have a punch tester nearby)
- refreshing plum gown
    - new neckline
    - reworking eyelets, possibly without heavy facing
    - lining sleeves, possibly with fur
- finishing 16thc shirt
- finishing 16th c doublet
- lightweight partlet
- finishing wool cap with brim stiffener

Non-SCA
- knitting bolero cardigan

Robert has a whol' heap of casting to do - Sir Vitus is hoping plenty of PCS holders will join him on the field at Estrella, for which he needs tokens; my sweetie now also has commissions.
abendgules: (penwork E)

...in a post to Dragonscribes about items prepared for Yule Ball.
More firsts:
- using quills successfully (stripping, heating, trimming, and writing with)
- doing a parchment scroll, something I'd hoped to do for awhile, but hadn't thought I was good enough to try yet

Several folks said nice things about the scrolls, which was wonderful, and were happy to take them home.  Hurrah.

abendgules: (penwork E)
 I was really pleased with this small but perfectly formed scroll prepared in a hurry for Aarnimetsa Academy (posted to Dragon's Scribes blog).

Firsts:
- attempt at 16th c exemplar
- new efforts in illumination - trying to convey the 3D shape of the column
- using my smallest nibs yet

AND: it arrived in time, hallelujah.

Even better: my very clever sweetie cut me some reservoirs from a beer tin last night, and they work like a dream. Hurrah. I might get a handle on this quill business yet.
abendgules: (catching snowflakes)
After a break of a couple of months since the first P&P left these shores, I'm returning to my scribing. (It's taken me several tries to find a way to put that politely.)

This return is driven in part by delivery deadlines, but also in part by new artistic challenges. 

The drawing class has reminded me that there's room for doing art, just because it's cool to do art, and it's fun to learn new stuff - learning to look and see what's really there, not just what you think ought to be there. 

The most recent class was about lines; the exercise was to draw an object or setting in a room, with only one, continuous line. Look for the edges of the object, following the sequence of edges that you really see - so while you might be drawing the outline of the shelf, you also include the line of the edges of all the objects on the shelf. It's a bit awkward to describe, but easy to show. 

The instructor James called it 'taking your line for a walk' and just seeing where it takes you. 

I found this exercise harder than the one about shading; I kept choosing safe geometric shapes to outline rather than fluid non-line-based shapes. I found it hard to keep the proportions right - I'd take up far too much room detailing one object and be left with no room to fill in the remainder of items on the shelf. 

minor rant )

So this week I've used a deadline to push me to do really tiny calligraphy on a scroll (well, that, and screwing up the first two lines so I cut them off and started again on a now-smaller page helped! had to give up and use a metal nib, but it's the smallest round nib I own), and to push me to try some decoration I hadn't considered before.

I found a 16th c book of hours page with small elements that I thought I could emulate, and it would be brilliant to have at least one attractive 16th c. 'model' in my repetoire, to use for future commissions. 

It's very modest illumination, but it's different from my previous efforts, and I'm hoping to get some feedback (after the event).

With this addition, I now have at least one 'model' for the 12th through the 16th centuries. They're not all equally polished or ambitious, but I can tailor my scrolls to the recipient at least that much.

I've also done another scroll text this week with a quill, this time with a walnut based ink - very definitely brown, rather than the gray-brown-black of the ox gall or iron gall ink. The exemplar is clearly in brown, so I thought I'd try it. This one is also quite small. I've always loved small jewel-like scrolls; my own AoA is small and perfectly formed.

For some reason, I'm having better luck working with quills held upside down. It pushes the tines of the nib together, rather than allowing them to splay, and I get a stiffer nib this way. Go figure!

More scribing for Friday, Saturday and possibly Sunday too.
abendgules: (penwork E)

Last weekend I made a somewhat unpleasant scribal discovery; my batarde scribal hand is a two-year-old who has hit the 'NO!' stage.

I thought I'd knock out a couple of AoAs in an earlier gothic hand (a longtime favourite and previously my best) rather than the batarde I've used most often of late. I love the batarde, but my calligraphy heart still belongs to the 12th century.

But I found my hand fighting me: insisting on the curly swoops it has needed most often lately ('MINE!'), whining about penning plain straight uprights and rounded Os and Ps ('WANNA BIKKITT!'), utterly failing to follow instructions regarding a modest curve on the Hs ('NOT TIRED!').

'Want elephant ears! Want swooshes and swivels! Wanna sweep! Waaaaah!'
wailed my hand.

So I did what any experienced artist (or tired parent in the supermarket) would do: caved like a coward, after two badly written lines, and gave my hand a bag of sweets to shut it up I did the scrolls in batarde.

Now that I've given in, I'm going to have hell's own time reasserting my authority over my hand. That said, my next deadline isn't immediate and I have some time to make doing earlier hands fun again.

Anyone know how to distract a toddler calligraphy hand, so it doesn't notice it's now doing plain-and-elegant Carolingian or classic early Gothic instead of the rich and swoopy Batarde it's grown used to?
abendgules: (kittysnail)
 [livejournal.com profile] aryanhwy  mentioned that she wants to reproduce the borders of the Visconti book of hours, one scroll at a time, and I said, well, that's exactly what Cennini says you should do.

Here's the quote, from The Craftsman's Handbook, following advice on how to draw on several different media, and how to make the media surfaces.

It's a bit of a 'backhanded compliment' observation, but very much in the author's rather pompous style.

How you should endeavour to copy and draw after as few masters as possible - chapter XXVII 
Now you must forge ahead again, so that you may pursue the course of this theory. You have made your tinted papers; the next thing is to draw. You should adopt this method. Having first practiced drawing for a while as I have taught you above, that is, on a little panel, take pains and pleasure in constantly copying the best things which you can find done by the hand of great masters. And if you are in a place where many good masters have been, so much the better for you. But I give you this advice: take care to select the best one every time, and the one who has the greatest reputation. And as you go on from day to day, it will be against nature if you do not get some grasp of his style and his spirit. For if you undertake to copy after one master today and after another tomorrow, you wil not acquire the style of either one or the other, and you will inevitably, through enthusiasm, become capricious, because each style is distracting your mind. You will try to work in this man's way today, and in the other's tomorrow, and so you will not get either of them right. If you follow the course of one man through constant practice, your intelligence would have to be crude indeed for you not to get some nourishment from it. Then you will find, if nature has granted you any imagination at all, that you will eventually acquire a style individual to yourself, and it cannot help being good; because your hand and your mind, being always accustomed to gather flowers, would ill know how to pluck thorns.


ETA - link to Ary's resolution
abendgules: (catching snowflakes)

Yes, colour printers.
Bane of SCA submitting heralds' lives, but awfully handy for running off enlargements of glorious penwork examples from the British Library. [livejournal.com profile] aryanhwy  reminded the Drachenwald scribes this week about the search facility for finding 'puzzle initials' (the ones with the crazy doodling around them - here's a random example).

I've wanted to get to grips with these for some years, and have poked at them sporadically with only limited results; for some reason I felt blocked, and my doodles just didn't look right.
 
[livejournal.com profile] merlyn_gabriel  sent me a CD full of exemplars, and handouts, but I shied away from really pushing my abilities, and grew discouraged.
However, with a new scribal role in ID, I now really really want to be capable of finishing scrolls on demand; puzzle caps and penwork look like the way to go. Finding the right ink and nibs, and giving up mucking about with drawing inks, has also helped!

I'm starting to doodle them in my meetings (there's always meetings, and there's always doodling) - might as well take advantage of it.

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