Quick little cup Silver Brooch scroll

So I had a quick turn around assignment (9 full days) for a viking who makes mead for his area and is a well respected artisan. I contemplated making him a paper scroll that looked like a rune stone, but decided in the time available I couldn’t do that justice. So I started contemplating a real runestone, perhaps made of a plaque of wood.

Then I went to Panteria. First thing Saturday morning I went wandering around the merchants just to see who was selling what. I came across a group selling all sorts of cups and feast gear named Plunder Sisters. There I found a simple turned cup that looked like it was newly made out of perhaps pine. The grain was nice and the workmanship good and it was about the right size for the scroll. I purchased the cup and put it in my bag. Now to design the scroll!

My fellow scribal buddies and I sat around in the dark discussing words and design ideas. Ring givers, mead maker.. gods, mead, mead of poetry… there may have been some mead drinking involved too. The next morning I went back to the merchant to get the details of the maker and it turns out the maker is a guy named Alistair and it was his first event, and first sale! Perfect.

Once home and in possession of an internet connection that could handle pictures I started looking up various runestones and other viking images in art concerning mead making. I quickly found an interesting image of a ritual concerning mead making that would work http://www.medievalists.net/2015/01/ceremonial-drinking-viking-age/

Wikipedia has a nice high resolution version of the picture – 

I took the central image from here and wrote out text that is based on the runestone inscriptions that have been found in similar locations. They are nearly always short and to the point. My wordsmith, Aesa feilinn Jossursdottir based the words on the Risbyle Runestones found near the western shore of Lake Vallentunasjön in Uppland, Sweden, dating from the Viking Age. I then asked Ávaldr Valbjarnarson to translate this into runes.

I had initially planned to paint the cup, but then I wasn’t sure if the paint and tung oil finish would play nice together, so since I didn’t have a lot of time to experiment (we’re at 2 full days now) I decided it was safest to inscribe using my hand chisels.

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I rubbed it with two coats of tung oil finish and rushed it off the courier who was going down to the event, with about an hour to spare!

If anyone knows how to get in touch with Alistair from Plunder Sisters, I’d love to send him a link to this so he can see how it turned out.

My scribal portfolio now has a home!

I finally figured out how to link my portfolio to the main page of the blog, so now it’s up in the title bar, hopefully that will be obvious enough for anyone looking for it.

Aside

A new plan on my scribal education –

I’ve been trying very hard to try something new each time I have a new assignment, which is great and keeps me excited, however it makes it difficult to get progressively better at one thing.

So my current plan is to work from a single time period/location for a awhile, see if I can make noticeable progress in a particular segment of the scribal field.
I chose to focus on two particular manuscripts – This Bible on Gallica from 1150-1200 for the script and this Untitled document from Gallica 1175-1200 mainly for the illumination. I chose to go with these two rather than one or the other because I really like the script in the first one, but it has very limited illumination. The script in the second document is similar to the first but is a bit more gothic than I wanted to work with for this project – however it has amazing illuminations in designs that would work rather well for SCA scrolls. As they appear to be pretty closely related to each other in time and place, I feel it’s ok to mix them together.

My daily scribal practice is entirely based on this Bible. I’ve copied out the first page and zoomed in and have very close images of the hand as it was written in context. From this I am developing a ductus for this exact hand. To help with my particular issues doing scrolls, I’m copying text from a Latin text and writing it in my practice journal. This has two major benefits – I get better at copying things I don’t know how to read and by using latin, it’s easier to see how the letters were supposed to look together. By doing this practice in Latin, using a book that has the English translation on the mirror page, I’m also picking up a bit of Latin as I go along, which makes redacting hands from primary sources easier as I am starting to recognize words and know what the letters are supposed to be from context.

So the first scroll from this intensive study :

img_20161104_193042923I hate my spacing, both the line spacing and the letter spacing. The changes in the size of the hand was somewhat intentional, however the execution was not as I had wanted it.  For once though, I’m not going to beat myself up too much as I did this scroll while burning up with fever and shaking through chills and coughing fits.The fact that there is nothing horribly wrong with this scroll is a miracle. I should have realized my limitations and sent it out to have the calligraphy done by someone else, but I felt better in the morning and thought I’d be ok to do the work, but no, I just got sicker. Turned out it was full blown pneumonia. But I got it done, and it looks better than some of my work, so that is somewhat a win.

I have a few funny pictures of the illumination – this is from when I was getting sick but not quite as sick as I was when I did the calligraphy – It was easier to do the painting lying down since the position kept my hand from shaking too much from the fever and it kept it easier to brace for when I’d go into coughing fits.

Luckily I had already done most of the illumination in the weeks before, so there wasn’t too much to finish in that vein once I got sick.

I did not go to the event to see it given out. I hope it was received well. I also hope that it doesn’t play Trojan horse, bringing this virus into other people’s houses.

A scroll based on a page of the gorleston psalter

So my latest assignment (and I promise to update the blog with the last six month’s worth of assignments soon.. I promise) was a Silver Brooch for a 14th century Welsh persona. Based on the write up, she’s an avid embroiderer who helps out with elevation garments and enjoys researching primary sources to use for embroidery designs.

As soon as I heard 14th century I immediately thought of the trap manuscript (Luttrell Psalter) and just as quickly said, NO WAY AM I DOING THAT TO MYSELF AGAIN, or at least so soon… And then remembered that there were a bunch of psalters from that time frame with equally awesome illuminations – particularly my favorite, the fox preaching to the geese.

So I looked up fox and geese and psalter and google came back with the Gorleston Psalter, which is not actually the manuscript I was thinking of, but is equally cool. And best of all, since it’s not the Luttrell, it doesn’t have those god awful flat feet in the calligraphy! It’s more of a proto-gothic, leaning heavily towards the gothic style. Which, while way more angular than I like doing, at least seems like something I could some day get good at, as opposed to the Luttrell hand of doom.

I emailed back and forth with Mistress Briony to get some more clues on what the recipient would enjoy and found out that she has a love of bunnies. Perfect! This time period is crawling with bunnies!

I browsed through the Gorleston Psalter, noting all the interesting and fun themes I found along the way as I totally plan to use this source again – it’s like a saner version of the Luttrell! And eventually I honed in on one particular page, 70v, which has a monk working at a scribal desk for its initial capital. I decided I could pretty easily make that into a woman working at an embroidery frame, which would be appropriate for the time period and recipient, and started looking for other elements to put together to better personalize the scroll.

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I found some great bunnies in the line extenders –

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and lots of fun bunnies all over the place!

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f86v-dog-with-violin-playing-for-a-rabbit

f100v-rabbit-entertaining-dog

I went with this one as it balanced well with the rest of the design I wanted to use:

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I put all the pieces into a graphics program to see how I can best put the pieces together, after many iterations, I decided I liked this one best-

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I had a slightly shorter lead time than I usually have, or at least it felt that way since it was in that post pennsic month where time has a hard time existing in linear form. And to make the situation more stressful, my main scribal support network were on a cruise. So I was on my own, and decided to do the part I hate most, the words, first.

Given the space concerns, I needed to make the text pretty small, but still personal. I ended up with 97 words, which fit pretty nicely. I actually ended up squeezing more space out of it, thus I kinda wish I had added another sentence, but my draft versions just fit, so that was the reason I didn’t make it longer. I’ve had too many occurrences of just barely getting all the words onto the scroll. This time I was going to play it safe.

The first thing I did was trace the main elements of the design onto tracing paper and then overlaid it with another piece on which I did a first draft of the calligraphy, more to see how it would fit and how many capitals I’d need to do and where I could put the sentence spacers. It ended up making more sense to only use one of the spacers as the signature lines would end up taking up the bottom space.

Once I felt that the words would fit, I started practicing the hand and the words on scraps of perg that I had left over from other projects as I’ve found that since I normally practice on paper, I’m always nervous on perg – so I need more practice on perg. Thankfully I’ve finally convinced my head that the perg isn’t really that expensive, particularly in comparison to other scribal expenses, so I can use the scraps for practice –

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I still don’t have the discipline to get my angles consistent and I’m still not great on keeping my letters within the proper lines. It’s like it’s a test where you have to fill in just the circle, no more, no less  – and for some reason my hand always slips, no matter how hard I concentrate. But it’s getting better with daily practice. I have very little desire to ever do full gothic (I don’t like how it looks) but I do hope to get better at this looser style.

Leanne and I brainstormed some hands that might fit my natural tendencies better like humanist, but I like the cartoony style of the 12th-14th century.

But anyway on to the actual scroll –

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Ignoring for the moment the shapes of my letters (too round, I know) the two other issues are word spacing and line spacing. The line spacing is the stupidest mistake – for who knows what reason I started on the wrong line – DESPITE LABELING THEM- and then got slightly confused on the fourth line down. There is nothing to be done here other than beat myself with a heavy book. But I swear I do this every time… It’s so frustrating.

My word spacing issues come from my perennial fear of running out of space. I over compensated this time, smooshing everything in together. I think more vertical guidelines would have helped with this – but also doing more drafts at full size on the tracing paper so I can be more confident that my words will fit on the page.

As for the illumination, I think it came out pretty well. It’s very hard to tell from this picture because of the lighting (zooming in helps), but there’s white work on everything and it really adds a great dimension to the piece. I like the natural graceful shape of all the shapes. I measured and drew most of it by hand, and then traced over that to get the more natural lines. I decided to keep the slightly listing border design (the words are justified, but the border isn’t, it’s at like a 10 degree angle to the words) as that was how many of the borders were presented in the original, and I could see why the scribes had chosen that option – the text was the more important part and this was the easy way to make the border fit in around the capitals.

I used Holbein Gold gouache, mixed with WN Alizarin Red gouache to get a range of gold shades to make the gold on gold work look better and feel more three dimensional. The rest of the highlighting and shadows were done primarily using whitework, which sadly isn’t showing well in this photograph.

This was one of the first scrolls I’ve done entirely with gouache instead of using my WN watercolor pans, I’m not sure if it made much of a difference. I do think that the gouache is better for the flat background colors, but I think I much prefer the pans for the shading layers and details as it’s easier to get a consistent layers of paint with the watercolors. Mixing up colors with all the different shades I might need is hard to keep track of and not contaminated with other colors – though that’s mostly because of 20 years experience with high quality watercolors. I’m too used to being able to just mix on the fly.

Which style is more period really depends a great deal on which time period. The difference between gouache and watercolors is primarily the binders and amount the pigments are ground down. Looking at earlier period manuscripts (pre 1300’s) it seems like the technique is closer to the watercolor theory of layering lots of very light coats of pigments in a thin binder. But starting around 1300 you start getting images that look more three dimensional and involve layers of more opaque paint on top of one another. This is much more in line with the gouache techniques and I think also the tempera techniques, though I haven’t played with tempera in many many years. This change in techniques allows for the later full color borders with intricate bugs and flowers that appear lifelike. That is technically possible with the watercolor technique, but is significantly easier with the gouache style of painting.

Two scrolls for 12th Night

A scroll blank for Caera Fitzpatrick, calligraphy and words by Nest. Based on __ To be filled in later…

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And then we have an AoA that I did all by myself. The calligraphy looks kinda awful, but it looks exactly like the source. Source :http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b8423829s/f13.item.zoom It’s a weird transitional hand.
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2016 Goals

Crafting/Art – Continue doing something creative every day. Learn a new thing each month. Update the blog regularly!!

SCA – Teach more classes on different subjects. Get one period competency with Athena’s Thimble. Enter at least 2 A&S competitions. Do a high merit award scroll.

Social – Step away from internet arguments instead of continuing them. Continue to invite people over the house once a month. Hangout with someone new at least quarterly. Consciously practice deliberate speaking and writing. Ask more questions about what other people are doing and listen to their answers. Don’t give unsolicited advice.

Cooking – Have at least 1 fruit every day. Have at least 2 veggies every day. Eat at least one meal every day that could be claimed as home cooked (toast does not count).

Cleaning –  Get my room to a manageable amount of stuff

Fitness – Endurance: be able to run a mile without stopping in 10 minutes. Strength: get upper and lower body to 150 lb weight resistance. (Currently I’m at about 70) Go to gym 12+ times a month, ideally get 250 minutes of cardio a week.

Health – Weight – I suppose a better goal would be shape based, apparently hip to waist ratios for women should be lower than .85, and ideally around .7 (I am currently .9) I would also like a bust measurement of less than 44 inches.

2015 Goals Revisited

Crafting/Art – Document all projects as I start them. Try to do something creative at least 250 minutes a week. Draw something every day. Also write every day, preferably in a journal. Post to my blog at least once a week with my updates.

Well, I have documented more projects this year than usual? That’s got to count for something. And I think I’ve been pretty good at the do something creative every day/draw every day. Writing has fallen down a long dark hole, I’m not sure if I even care that I failed at that one though. My blog really ought to get posted to more often though, particularly given how many projects I have completed lately. Which brings us to:

SCA – Have “respectable” feast gear. Have at least 1 outfit to wear in court that I am not ashamed of. Make a scribal portfolio. Enter at least 1 A&S competition. Teach 3 classes at various locations. Learn more metal working skills. Document what I make on my blog. Get to Craftsman status with Athena’s Thimble, try to become a senior member. Perhaps become an apprentice?

This one I nailed. Though it did take me basically all year. I have respectable feast gear. I have 1 outfit, and soon a few more (they just need some handwork) that I feel comfortable wearing to court. I not only made a scribal portfolio, I am a real scribe now, doing live scrolls, finally. I entered 1 A&S competition, which was pretty fun/miserable, I still am somewhat on the fence about K&Q in a month, but if I can manage to scrape together a portfolio of viking spoons.. I’ve taught at least three classes at various locations, some even weren’t intro to embroidery! I’m still working on remembering to blog about the projects though, but I’m working on it. I did finally attain Craftsman status with Athena’s Thimble at yule. I need a few more Ps&Qs before I get to try to be a senior member. AND, best of all, I did apprentice myself to Rozi. Hopefully next year I’ll have some time for more metal working.

Cooking – Have fruit every day. Have veggies every day. Bring my lunch to work at least 4 days a week. Eat out no more than twice a week during normal situations.

Ha ha.. nope. I think I might have even gotten worse about this this year than last. Though I have at least been eating at restaurants less, but I’ve mostly done that through intelligent snacking.

Gardening/Farming – Harvest foods before they go to seed. Dry herbs for the winter. Can food for the winter. Keep the weeds down around the garden. Compost the chicken litter.

Nope. I planted two planters, nearly everything died. There was nothing to can. I gave up on the garden because I was too busy in the spring.

Building –  Organize all the tools and put up a peg board system.

Well, I did at least get the work bench out into the garage and now there’s a place to work on projects. No peg board system though. But we do have drawers…

Cleaning – Re-organize the pantry twice a year (once already done today), get my room to a manageable amount of stuff.

Yay it’s time for the annual pantry cleaning! Which means, yeah, no, I didn’t do it twice a year, though I did a quick sort sometime in the summer.

Fitness – Endurance: be able to run a mile without stopping in 10 minutes. Strength: get upper and lower body to 150 lb weight resistance. (Currently I’m at about 70) Go to gym 12+ times a month, ideally get 250 minutes of cardio a week.

I have managed to go to the gym about twice since 2014. That said, I don’t think I’m in considerably worse shape, but I certainly did not meet these goals and will probably use them again.

Health – Weight – I suppose a better goal would be shape based, apparently hip to waist ratios for women should be lower than .85, and ideally around .7 (I am currently .9) I would also like a bust measurement of less than 44 inches.

I am the same size and shape I was in 2014. Which while better than being worse, is still not reaching the goal. Goal will remain the same. Priority will be on me in 2016, not everyone else.

new keyboard

Thanks to my habit of painting and carving over my keyboard, it needed cleaning this morning. When I pried off the spacebar I snapped a bit of the plastic holding it properly in place, expediting my need for a new keyboard.

I looked at my options, most of which were either way too big, way too expensive or just way too much until I found a reasonable shaped and sized wireless keyboard. It’s not quite full sized, which currently is a little bit of a pain, but it does have a full number pad which is important to me. Also it has chiclet keys like a laptop, which means that the larger pieces of dirt and such won’t get stuck in it. But more so, being smaller and wireless, I can put it away when I’m not using it!

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2015 goals

Crafting/Art – Document all projects as I start them. Try to do something creative at least 250 minutes a week. Draw something every day. Also write every day, preferably in a journal. Post to my blog at least once a week with my updates.

SCA – Have “respectable” feast gear. Have at least 1 outfit to wear in court that I am not ashamed of. Make a scribal portfolio. Enter at least 1 A&S competition. Teach 3 classes at various locations. Learn more metal working skills. Document what I make on my blog. Get to Craftsman status with Athena’s Thimble, try to become a senior member. Perhaps become an apprentice?

Cooking – Have fruit every day. Have veggies every day. Bring my lunch to work at least 4 days a week. Eat out no more than twice a week during normal situations.

Gardening/Farming – Harvest foods before they go to seed. Dry herbs for the winter. Can food for the winter. Keep the weeds down around the garden. Compost the chicken litter.

Building –  Organize all the tools and put up a peg board system.

Cleaning – Re-organize the pantry twice a year (once already done today), get my room to a manageable amount of stuff.

Fitness – Endurance: be able to run a mile without stopping in 10 minutes. Strength: get upper and lower body to 150 lb weight resistance. (Currently I’m at about 70) Go to gym 12+ times a month, ideally get 250 minutes of cardio a week.

Health – Weight – I suppose a better goal would be shape based, apparently hip to waist ratios for women should be lower than .85, and ideally around .7 (I am currently .9) I would also like a bust measurement of less than 44 inches.

2014 goals, reviewed.

Fitness – Endurance: be able to run a mile without stopping in 10 minutes. Strength: get upper and lower body to 100 lb weight resistance. (Currently I’m at about 40) Go to gym 12+ times a month, ideally get 250 minutes of cardio a week.

Review: This went ok, though fell apart around the middle of July. Current Strength: upper body 75 lb, lower body 65 lbs. Cardio. ha.. yeah, so about that middle of july statement. I did great the first half of the year, not so much the latter half. Though I do seem to still have a fair amount of the endurance I built up in the first half of the year.

Health – Pain – Record all medications taken, try to reduce pain medication by half.
Weight – In an ideal world, get weight to 150. Which would require losing a little over 4 pounds a month, which is unrealistic. I suppose a better goal would be shape based, apparently hip to waist ratios for women should be lower than .85, and ideally around .7 (I am currently .9) I would also like a bust measurement of less than 44 inches (which would mean I fit in most normal clothing brands)
Food – Try to record all food and or do an elimination diet for a little while to see if it helps with various pain/swelling issues.

Review Pain – I did not record all medication, though I seem to be taking a lot less pain medication. Weight – er, utter fail. Food – I spent most of the year following my edict of “bread and butter do not make a meal!” which I need to get back to. Also my snack box (pre-measured baggies of snacks, mostly high in protein nuts) has gone very well. Will continue. Have not done an elimination diet. Probably should. Really don’t want to.

Crafting/Art – Document all unfinished projects. Finish them. Document all projects as I start them. Try to do something creative at least 250 minutes a week. Draw something every day. Also write every day. Post to my blog every day about these things.

Review Ha. did not document *ANY* unfinished projects. But I did finish a few. I haven’t been good at documenting new projects either, though I have been pretty good at documenting progress. I think I have actually managed to do something creative at least 250 minutes a week. I also seem to be drawing nearly every day. Writing/blogging.. not so much.

Cooking – Make sausage. Make Kefir. Have fruit every day. Have veggies every day. Bring my lunch to work at least 4 days a week. Eat out no more than twice a week during normal situations.

Review We made sausage! We even ate it! and made it again! I also made Kefir, but didn’t drink it. Also kombacha, but did not drink it. I still fail at having veggies every day. Need to get them into my snack box somehow. I’ve been doing well bringing my lunch to work nearly every day, snack box has been helping with that. Eating out, well, if we don’t count take out… but yeah, we need to get back into the habit of cooking dinner.

Gardening/Farming – Start the seedlings early enough this time. Harvest foods before they go to seed. Dry herbs for the winter. Can food for the winter. Get 3-4 more chicks in the spring. Better automate the winter chicken situation. Weed/Cull the side gardens and work toward an intentional plan. Put in patio at the bottom of the stairs.

Review Seedlings were started! Some foods were harvested, but I did fail on this again. I need a better pest control system. I dried herbs for winter! I canned *nothing* this year :(, but I did get 4 more chickens! and now they are crowded and not laying.. sigh.. Failed on side gardens and patio.

Building – Build workbench in garage. Build shelves in the pantry. Build a box for my tools. Organize all the tools and put up a peg board.

Review There is a workbench in the garage! However everything else on this list I failed.

Cleaning – Re-organize the pantry, Remove 1/3 of my clothes from my closet/drawers, Donate/trash/use 1/4 of my stuff. no seriously. at least 1/4 of my stuff. Better organize the other 3/4ths and throw out more of it.

Review Pantry was reorganized. Need to do it again today, and probably every 6 months. Otherwise failed on the rest of this.

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