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Inktober Is Coming

You may be asking “What is Inktober”? It’s sort of a weird name, right? Something cobbled together from “Ink” and “October”. And you’re right. But it’s more. “Inktober” is an artist challenge dreamed up by illustrator Jakes Parker. Its original purpose was to improve his personal inking skills. But the challenge has been taken on by others. Inktober’s primary rule was drawing something in ink everyday for a month. Easy right? The website encourages you to take pictures and post them. My goal is to just do it. Because – as in my SCA motto Gloria in Facto – there is Justice In The Doing. You can use any kind of ink. Dip pen, micron pen, cartridge pen. As an SCA scribe you might choose a quill or bamboo. You can use any inks you want commercial or self-produced, modern or medieval. You can do this in a sketchbook or on single pages. You could also use Inktober to practice your calligraphy for a month. Each day a different phrase. Each day a different script. Each day a different pangram. The fun is your efforts don’t have to be perfect or extensive. It’s up to you to determine what qualifies as answering the challenge each day. You’re the only one that will know or judge your effort. Parker’s intent was to improve his illustration sketching skills. But I see it as an excellent scribal experiment and personal challenge. To play […]

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Blank Borders Then And Now

Blank borders – the illumination only scroll part – are used when Their Majesties give a spontaneous award. But did you know there’s a historical precedent for them?  History You can find illuminated manuscripts with completed borders without writing later in the SCA period. They served a similar purpose to our SCA blank border scrolls. They were waiting for a scribe to fill in the words. The reason you find more blank borders later in period is that booksellers then parted out section “gatherings” or page pairs by the tasks needed. While it was still better to do the calligraphy before the design it wasn’t required. If the text didn’t fit within the available space it flowed onto a page with limited illumination. You’ll also find pages having a large amount of blank space after the text for the same reason. Period blank borders allowed manuscripts to be sold by illuminated page quantity and quality. More prosperous buyers – or those wanting to appear so – could buy more lavish books. And the book dealers could make more money. It was a win-win. Every stage in an illuminated book’s creation still required intensive labor. And sometimes multiple collaborating workshops. Parchment made from dried animal hides cut to size, inks mixed, quills prepared, designs planned, pages ruled. But no longer were illumination and calligraphy done in a specific order. Additional 21412, f. 3  Foliate border This system originally developed in Paris for university textbook production. It spread […]

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Apprenticing and Cattle Raids 2019

On August 24th the Barony of Mag Mor, Lonely Tower's nearest and dearest cousins, held their annual Cattle Raids event. It included so many activities. Camping, archery, arts & sciences competition, artisan show-and-tell and martial arts. I always see it as a photo op safari. I usually spend the day scoping out views to snap both on the field and indoors. This time was not different.

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Changing Times

I’ve been in the Society for Creative Anachronism since the 1990s. And the world is a different place now. It’s no longer the “hippies” era like 1966 when the Society began. It’s a multi-cultural stew. And the SCA must adapt with it just like Dylan Thomas’ song The Times They Are a-Changin. Faced with recent serious issues people at the top are truly taking action. The Board of Directors is modernizing the way the Society operates. For its long-term viability this is a must. I am personally very pleased. I’d felt this wonderful organization’s shriveling losses, discussed it with long-time friends. Thankfully the SCA is adapting. In August 2018 the SCA mission statement changed. The “Western Europe” reference was removed leaving only the specified pre-17th century time frame. The Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) is an international non-profit volunteer educational organization. The SCA is devoted to the research and re-creation of pre-seventeenth century skills, arts, combat, culture, and employing knowledge of history to enrich the lives of participants through events, demonstrations, and other educational presentations and activities. Society for Creative Anachronism But will this change affect us now? Personally as an SCA scribe I won’t have to finagle my Arts and Sciences documentation as often. I can now recreate a page from the earliest extant complete illuminated Christian manuscript and just state it comes from Ethiopia‘s Abba Garima Monastery The ancient Garima Gospels are from there and probably never left it. So until […]

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British Library Hebrew manuscripts site.

Originally posted on Novgorod to Three Mountains:
A useful looking resource: The British Library has set up a new page focusing on Hebrew manuscripts, many medieval. The digital collection includes Haggadahs, Torahs, Pentateuchs, and various treatises. Additionally, the site has articles explaining various aspects of these manuscripts. Check them out here. Some examples: 14th c Pentateuch Excerpts from Maimonides’ Code…

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