The Scribal Yin Yang Puzzle

In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang describe how complementary, connected, separate influences compel and connect. I know many such twosomes that exist. Fire and water, expansion and contraction to name two. The SCA has its own. Current creation methods and historic recreation efforts. As a scribal production Laurel, I am drawn to Medieval illuminated manuscript techniques and style yet creating award scrolls […]

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Do You Steal…Like An Artist?

I bought myself a present. I love the writer/artist Austin Kleon. He has a new book, Steal Like An Artist Journal. I’m flipping through the pages, seeing a little of everything.  The first image I came across relates to scribes so well. Kleon describes simply the difference between plagiarism and creative repurposing. He calls it good theft and bad theft. And he […]

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Why Guard Against Being Overfull?

Thanksgiving retaught me the meaning of “sated”. Defined as full beyond belief, or satisfyingly full. I choose to be satisfyingly full. As a scribe, that means knowing your limits. Knowing when you have enough on your plate to do in a timely manner, whether scroll creation or personal responsibilities, like family and holidays. Lack of energy, anxiety, irritability, lack of enjoyment […]

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How Can You Boost Your Scribal Confidence?

Confidence comes from physical activity. Just doing that thing you are interested in on a regular basis boosts faith in yourself. For me, it unleashed my calligraphy and illumination reliance.   I started with little skill, as you see here. What I had was a desire to learn. To make mistakes.  Mistakes are guideposts for a new direction, not failures. […]

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How To Toot Your Own Horn…Unobnoxiously

I am not a politician. bragging about my accomplishments. I don’t want to be that obnoxious person needling your nerves with bluster and boast. Even so, we all need ways to spotlight our own talents, scribal and other. As a scribe, our works commonly are grandly shown at court, taken home and hung on a wall. While they are appreciated by the recipient, their friends, family, and on-line social network, few others know the work.  This makes getting noticed as a scribe challenging. It’s also challenging because, in general, acclaim does not spread as well or as fast as drivel. So, how can you toot your own horn without being a show-off? I’d begin by proving my worth and let my creations speak for themselves. As a scribe develop a quality craft, and be reliable. The person assigning you a scroll depends on you to do your best work and present it before it’s needed for court. Anything less is a deficit for them…and you. Along the way, create works and show them to skilled scribes. Ask for their suggestions. In Calontir great ways to do this are entering Queen’s Prize or Tri-Levels competitions. I love these competitions because I learned the next best step to take, and who was doing what I wanted to learn next.  I’ve also privately shown my work to scribes I admire and asked for comment. Most love to share information and often learn from your techniques as much as you can […]

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What’s An Award Scroll’s Purpose?

In the SCA we devote hours to award creation and giving. Whether entry level or the highest awards , from start to finish, their total creativity hours are in the thousands for each six-month reign. With all that consumed time, what’s their purpose? Their obvious purpose is to acknowledge the recipient’s accomplished efforts. Whether novice or peer, we celebrate together and mark […]

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Throwback Thursday: Gone Too Soon

Don’t want to think of this, even though I know the SCA is 50 years old now.  Taken  September 10, 2010 as I was welcomed to the Order of the Laurel. Two people prominent in this photo are now gone. Mistress Luciana della Ridolphi and Duke Ostwald Konrad von Riestoten.  She received one of the earliest Laurels in Calontir, a well […]

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Is Handwriting Doomed?

With digital devices’ development and pervasiveness, educators have long promoted ending handwriting instruction. Something I cannot fathom or condone. Handwriting is not an archaic communication tool to be scrapped for modern keyboarding. Handwriting’s motions creating letters, words and sentences stimulate the brain in a way typing does not. According to Psychology Today’s Dr. William Klemm, Ph.D., learning handwriting successfully develops controlled visual tracking and high-speed neural responses to the corrective visual feedback loop. (That’s a mouthful.) He predicts: In short, learning cursive should train the brain to function more effectively in visual scanning. Theoretically, reading efficiency could benefit. I predict that new research would show that learning cursive will improve reading speed and will train the brain to have better hand-eye coordination. While computers and TV can be educational, Klemm also reports in another article, when letters are not made by your own hand memory-creation lessens. (And I found more; check out this blog, or NPR’s comments.) As a scribe, a calligrapher and illuminator, I predict more people will seek us out to do what they didn’t learn, to write. I’ve already been asked to do this for simple Christmas gift tags, but that was for beauty’s sake. What about skill and ability? I’m concerned the troubles my grandkids may experience. Ben may have difficulty learning caused by digital devices and short-forms used in schools. Charlotte’s artistic creativity may be dampened. They are both so wonderful at what they do either would be tragic. Not writing […]

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Seven Scribal Virtues

When Pope Gregory I (540-604 CE) defined the seven deadly sins, he also gave values to adopt, The Seven Virtues. Virtues may be both built-in talents and learned actions. They are both good deeds and their necessary training.  Here, I describe the seven virtues relating to scribes. Traits that effuse every scribes’ calligraphy and illumination on their every scroll, whether novice […]

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Why Write Documentation For SCA Projects?

Over my 26 years in the SCA I’ve heard many people lament writing documentation. They want to show off their authentic medieval re-creation.  They excitedly show me the well-done “what’s it” they made from start to finish. It’s a real medieval-style treasure!  They ask me, “What can I do to show it off, without writing documentation?”  I have a few tricks […]

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