Monday, April 21, 2014

Roberts Knighting.

I was asked, by the Knight of a dear friend if I would be willing and able to make for his Squire Robert Downey of Forfar a scroll befitting his elevation to the Knighthood.  This is the highest honor that you can grant me as a scribe, being chosen above all other scribes in the kingdom and even knowne worlde.  'Tis a heady feeling.  Making this scroll from start to finish was an act of purest joy.  For I can think of no-one more worthy of belt and chain than Robert, and he is truly an inspiration for all.

The research process was interesting for me because at first I tried to research something that would be period appropriate for Robert.  Finding a Scottish text that would do justice to the grandeur that this needed to have was impossible, so I fell once more to my books.  It was difficult for I found myself trying to capture everything that I know Robert IS in a scroll, and earthly pieces are lacking so much in character.  I narrowed it down to two, The Hours of Henry VII and the Neopolitan Luxury Bible (1390).  At this point I corresponded with Robert's Knight, Sir Bardolph, who made the choice of the Italian Bible, over the English Book of Hours.  Then the fun began.   

Research: 4 hours
Scroll Mapping: 1.5 hours
Facebook stalking for pictures: 2 hours
Sketching: 6 hours
Calligraphy: 14 hours
Guilding: 5 hours
Painting: 20 hours
Whitework: 12 hours

TOTAL: 64.5 hours
MATERIALS:  Gouache, Composite Gold Leaf, India Ink.
I worked in stages around the edges, turning my table as I went along to make it easier to paint and work without having my arm across work I'd already done.  

At about 42 hours into this scroll, I was involved in a fairly serious car accident. I was not injured, with the exception of some soft tissue damage to my lower back.  It left me unable to seat myself so the entirety of the finishing work of this scroll was done with me the scribe upon my knees in front of my table (which was incidentally at a perfect height to do this).  Wether this is dedication to the craft or sheerest folly I have not yet made up my mind. 

Wording edited to SCA proper and legal by Master Cerian Cantwr but based upon the Grant of arms of John Alfrey, 1459/60

To all those who shall see or hear these present letters do we Cellach
otherwise called Dragon King of the Mid-Realm and Vukasin, Our Queen,
give greetings and all humble recommendation. Equity requires and reason
ordains that men virtuous and of noble courage be rewarded for their
merits by renown that they may be in all places of great honor
perpetually shining before others by certain signs and shows of honor
and gentility. That is to say of white belt and golden chain in order
that by their example others may the more endeavor to spend their days in feats of arm and other virtuous works to attain renown of ancient gentility. And therefore do We, who not only by common renown but also by the report and testimony of other nobles worthy of credence, are informed that truly Robert Downey of Forfar has deserved and is well worthy that henceforth may be known as a member of Our Order of the Chivalry.  And for the remembrance of this gentility assigned to the said Robert is the blazon ermine, a tower and on a chief embattled vert two fiddles fesswise necks to center argent to have and to hold for him for evermore. In witness whereof We have signed with Our hand and sealed these present letters. Made and given the nineteenth day of April in the year of
the society forty-eight while sitting on our thrones in our Marche of
the Unicorn.






Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Black Hours Pleides

This illumination is an experiment from the Kleinodienbuch der Herzogin Anna von Bayern or for everyone else the Jewel Book of the Duchess Anna of Bavaria, p.11.  The manuscript is an inventory of the jewelry owned by the duke and his wife, Duchess Anna, a member of the Habsburg dynasty and a daughter of Emperor Ferdinand I. It was commissioned in 1552 and is simply a spectacular manuscript.  I wanted to try out the lovely black paper that was in a laurel prize basket that I won, and I thought that this particular illumination would be an excellent choice for experimentation.  It was not terribly complex, yet it had an elegance that just drew the eye. 

Yes I did write it in German.  No I do not speak German. Yes there is a spelling error, I noticed it after I wrote the word and then went...'crap I don't know how to fix it in this medium."  If you wish to correct my translation do feel free! 

My thoughts:

Some of the colors are hard to lay on black.  If you don't lay white underneath you risk not seeing the color...However if you DO lay white underneath you risk a pastelling of the color.  I clearly had that problem with the purple.  I prefer mine to the original, based on the appeal of the color itself, and its appropriateness to the recipient. There is a happy medium that can be found, but it is annoying to reach. 

White ink.  Not cool.  Simply not cool, clumpy and sticky and generally hard to deal with. I found that dipping the pen first in water, then in the ink and THEN writing worked for about 10 words before I would have to rinse my nib completely. The white ink looks amazing however so I think I will fiddle with it more just to see what I can figure out. 

Gold gouache on the black:  Simply epic.  The way you can just make it leap of the page with a minimum application of brown gouache as shadow was delightful. 

Pearls:  They have the tendency to look like rock crystals instead of pearls unless you lay the white on heavy.  Next time, I will shade it with blue and purple as well as the grey to see if that mitigates the effect some. 

Note to self: Next time, try a very thin gold gouache in place of ink and see how that works.
I do have a few other illuminations from this book in the works, and it is rapidly joining the 'go to for amazesauce sources' list.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Willow Scroll

I only did the Calligraphy for this one. I do not know who provided the Illumination

Combat Scribing!  I was given the blank and started writing without reading the wording, got to the name and did a double take. It took me a little bit to get over the shock that I was doing a scroll for the Princess.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tres Riches Heures

I really like the Tres Riches Heures of Duc Du Berry.  I come back to it from time to time when I want to really expand my ability to shade and detail a piece.  This one, is a backlog panache that I sent to my lovely Laurel and it should be given out...soonish. 

The name has been removed from the image for that reason.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Blast from the past

So, I was recently visiting the home of a friend with another friend...and we happened to go upstairs into one of the guest rooms.  Sitting in said guest room was a pile of art work, scrolls and other miscellany upon the dresser.  Vaguely I noticed one of the pieces looked familiar and so I lifted the other pieces from atop it only to stare at a piece I had LONG since forgotten about. It makes me wonder if I have any other blanks remaining in the Baile Stash.  One can only hope not.

Hence....we are going to view the place where I started from...which is terrifying looking back now.

Lets see, this was a mixture of watercolor, micron pen and gold acrylic.

 I did NOT do the Calligraphy.  Merely the Illumination.

Monday, November 11, 2013


This is  a scroll that I did AGES ago, but I never heard whether or not it had been received by the recipient until this weekend when I was taking photographs of Crystal Ball.  I asked "so who is this anyway"  and I was told that that was Derrick the Tailor I said "Oh I know that name, I did a scroll for him"  and the responce was "Why yes, you did!" 

From that I assume that it must have been given out. 

It is from the Sforza Hours, which I love.  Gouache, and drawing ink.  The hand is better in this scroll than it is in some of my more recent pieces.  I need to sit at the desk and do some practicing in my vast amounts of free time.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Alzbeta's Pelican

I was truly and deeply honored to be asked to do the Pelican scroll for my friend Alzbeta, I've been assigned peerage scrolls before but never have I been asked.

The response to this scroll however was truly a defining moment for me.  I have never before had such an extreme positive response for any piece of my work than I did for this one piece at Feast of Saint Ethyl.  I felt Very Special and I am still overwhelmed by it all.   Maybe one day I'll be able to put it into words.

So I started out researching Polish pieces, to find one that was appropriate for the Persona of Alzbeta Michalik, I found one in the Catalogue of the Archbishops of Gniezno.   St. Stanislaus adored by Sigismund the Old and Bishop Peter Tomicki, 1535.  National Library, Warsaw.

I saw an immense amount of possibilities with this one, since in my mind I could see the assembled people being the pelicans kneeling around the King to admit a new member to the order.

The scroll reads:  Upon the 24th day of August at the Feast of Saint Ethyl the Imperial Order of the Pelican does accept Alzbeta Michalik into it's ranks upon the order of Dread King Lucien and Queen Catarina of the Middle Kingdom.

I took MANY pictures of the Process, as requested by my lovely Laurel.  <3