What’s A Scratch Knife Nib?

If you’ve been around kids recently or were ever one yourself I know you’re familiar with scratch knife nibs. For kids they’re just called scratch art nibs because even small knives are considered dangerous. Scratch nibs are commonly used to scrape through one surface revealing a lower contrasting color layer. But did you know they weren’t intended to be a kid’s toy? The original intent for scratch nibs was to remove ink from animal skin supports. They looked like small bladed knives with paring-knife handles. Later, dip pen nib manufacturers made them to fit their common pen holders.  Today scratch knife nibs are a curious commodity made for scratch board artists. But they are my go-to ink eraser. Scratch nibs easily scrape ink off the surface of pergamenata and vellum with little damage to its surface. You can even use them on paper if your ink purchases on its surface and isn’t absorbed. Its fine sharp blade gently scrapes ink mistakes away sometimes leaving the paper surface usable. Ampersand and Speedball make professional scratch art nibs that fit common type B dip pen holders. Royal and Lang make a less expensive nickel engraving foil set too. I prefer scratch nibs to a sharp knife or an x-acto for their smaller sharp blade. The teeny blades easily scrape away ink blobs within letters “a” “s” and others. They are inexpensive, and can be sharpened by a whetstone. The nibs come in […]

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Challenging The New Year

Calendar fragment with wishes for the new year. Printed in Basel between 1480 and 1490. ow in the British Museum The New Year is fast approaching. Just two days away. As I do most every year at this time I reflect on the last year. I encourage you to do the same for your SCA life.  You’ll want to consider both things that went well for you and things that did not. What inspired your SCA creativity and what depleted your energy? And how well you used your hobby time?  After pondering those questions I consider what I learned last year. And, what  I did with what I learned. And finally, I consider how I might do things differently in this new year. For the future I set goals. One long-term goal that I chop into several that are shorter.  Last year my SCA goal was to better connect with the SCA scribal community. Then M. Aidan – the current Calontir Minister of Arts and Sciences – chose to take within the scribal community all Book Arts, not just the skills used for making scrolls. So I expanded my goal slightly to connecting better with Calontir’s book artisans.   As with many SCAdians, the reason for this goal was my restricted budget. I wanted a way to connect and support Calontir scribes that didn’t involve kenneling my two dogs for extended periods. The kennel cost limits my participation. You may have limiting budget factors too. Most of us […]

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Merry Christmas All

I’m fortunate my grandkids wanted this Grandma to stay overnight again this year. Waking up and watching them open their presents is my gift from them. There is no greater joy than seeing their dreams come true on Christmas. They won’t always be so eager for my sleepover with them, but for now I will enjoy it and be grateful. I […]

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Christmas Wishes From The 16th Century

With tomorrow being Christmas I thought you would enjoy this 16th-century poem describing what it meant at least to Thomas Musser – the poet of early Elizabethan farm life. Musser wrote about it in his book Fiue Hundreth Pints O Good Husbandry chapter 23.  Feast from the British Library’s 16th-c digitized Golf Book Add MS 24098  f. 19 Of Christ cōmeth Christmas, the name wt ye feast, a time […]

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Happy Friendversary – Almost

Detail from the British Library’s manuscript Burney 201  f. 90  Some of you have been reading this blog since I started it December 9, 2015. I am so pleased you are still with me. It’s an anniversary of sorts. A friendversary. It’s been an incredible journey for me. Seeing my numbers rise is inspiring. And the numbers keep going up. I started it as a hobby and a way to stay connected with people in the SCA and other scribes. I‘ve tried to give you meaty purposeful tips, tricks, and information about book arts and the SCA. I couldn’t have done it without you. A blog isn’t a blog without you the readers.  Especially this one because it isn’t my career. So as we celebrate a friendversary I want to say thank you for your support over the years. You’ve helped me make a dream come true. I hope what I’ve shared here has helped make your dreams realities, too.So here’s to our future together. With a new calendar year almost upon us, too. I hope you’re able to realize even more of your life’s dreams this year. Wishing you a Happy Friendversary. May we share many more.Related Prior Post:70 Years And Still CountingKris Kinder Absence–Family First My One Day Pageviews Shot Up Over 1000

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Perplexing Pictures In Manuscripts 6

Jacques de Longuyon’s poem“Vows of the Peacock.”1350s Tooting butt trumpets, really? It’s amazing what you can find exploring Medieval illuminated manuscripts on the Internet. And this isn’t the only one. Medieval scribes worked long hours in cold rooms bent over their work. To entertain themselves bored and cranky Medieval scribes used the page’s margins to kvetch, adding ribald doodles that often commented on the text they were yet again copying.  If this perplexing marginalia entertains you I recommend Michael Camille’s enlightening book Images on the Edge: The Margins of Medieval Art. It teaches about their comments on Medieval life and gives you a rare look at their way of thinking. Surfing the Internet for weird marginalia is fun. But Camille’s very readable book takes that beyond exploring to learning about the perplexing border pictures and the people that doodled them. Prior Related Post: You can see others in my series Perplexing Pictures In Manuscripts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

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300 Posts And Counting

I want to say thank you to all my readers. You are the reason I continue writing. Your numbers are growing and that’s thrilling to me.If you had told me when I started this in December of 2015 that I’d still be doing this in late 2018 I would have doubted you, if not telling you straight out, “No way”. I doubted […]

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