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Craft Dancing

True ease in writing comes from Art, not chance, as those move easiest who have learned to dance. — Sound and Sense by Alexander Pope. I came across this aphorism in a book I picked up down the street at the Half-Price Books Store. The quote describes the way good writing appears. It’s a bold claim that a good writer makes it look effortless and easy.  […]

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Surviving The Event Black Hole

The Calontir RUSH Book Arts Seminar is only three days away. I am now in a black hole of confusion. As Event Steward, I am in the uncomfortable spot in an event timeline that is often chaos. Have you ever been there? Pulling your hair out chaos. While I think I’ve organized everything into oblivion, the preparation steps are not quite complete. There is […]

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Putting Medievalists

This happened Friday evening. My friends and I dressed in “garb” and met at Medieval Putt in Elkhorn to bobble our way through 18 holes.   I’m not great at this. In fact, I’m ghastly. Then throw in riding a mini zip line all I could do was have fun. And I did. So much I missed the best pictures swinging a […]

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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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Scroll Finishing Touches

Deadline Made – Court Presentation So you finished a scroll, and you’re pleased. You’re also glad. Glad you didn’t have to start completely over. Glad you made it with time to spare before the presentation deadline. But is that all to finishing a gorgeous scroll? What about finishing touches? Getting the finishing touches right can elevate a scroll to something special […]

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Tracing Uses

Tracing is not cheating. Well, it is if you are passing something off as your own work. But meticulously copying a medieval manuscript you admire is excellent practice. It works well for copying illumination motifs and is a period practice.  This image of the manual is from the Public Domain Review Tracing is even better for calligraphy. It helps you learn the best tools and strokes to use to achieve a manuscript’s same result. It’s also a good exercise warming up your hand-eye-brain connection before a lettering session. To better understand your favorite manuscript’s letter formation select a page with mostly script. Download and print all or part of it in a size that suits your premium printer paper and nib sizes. (Any printer paper less than premium bleeds ink for sure.) Adjust the page size and density through your photo editor. Select your nib size to approximate the printout. Then go over the letters your print out. If you go to the British Library’s Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts advanced search on the right there is a box where you can enter a script’s name. Their terms are rather specific so you might have to try more than once with different script names. Or select a manuscript by location and era. You might also practice letters from this 1510  pattern book from Swabia, Germany made by Gregorius Bock that I’ve pictured. Once you have your printed page you can trace the script and form the letters like […]

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British Library’s Own Internet Round-up

This may seem to you like cheating, but these are too good not to check out.  Cutting from a University of Padua diploma  c. 1465-79 They are the British Library‘s collection of blogs. A group of interesting, knowledgeable blogs all in one place. You could say they are its own “internet Round-Up”. One blog is perfect for SCA book artists. It’s their […]

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Cat Love

Llull’s Llibre de meravelles (BNF Fr. 189, fol. 283),   second half of the 15th-century You have my new cat Luna to thank for this blog post. I’m lounging with my tablet because she wants a nap. But this Luna-break gave me a reason to look up medieval pet cats. And so I came across a ninth-century poem about a monk’s white cat named Pangur Ban.  While the poem was written by an Irish monk it was found in a monastery near today’s Austria on Reichenau Island. In the poem, the monk compares his search for knowledge to the cat’s hunt for mice and the pleasure both get from their efforts. In the poem translated by Robin Flower the monk shows the fondness he had for his cat. He named it and called his pet a “he” not an “it.” So in peace our tasks we ply, Pangur Bán, my cat, and I; In our arts we find our bliss, I have mine and he has his. That is a person who adores his cat. “Pangur Ban” is a delightful poem relevant to us in the SCA today when you take joy in hunting for history’s knowledge. Aren’t you elated when you snare an elusive information tidbit? Don’t you want to show it off as a cat displays a trophy-mouse to its owner?  Related Prior Post:  Searching For Illumination Manuscript Humor  SCA Award Texts External Related Links: Cats as Pets in the Middle Ages Larsdatter on […]

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He’s Back

Hello again, Ian the Green. I want to welcome you back with joy to the world of active blogging and ScribeScribbling. Your year-long absence of inspiring posts was noticed. The two years you worked on a Master of Science degree is important both for you and yours. But without realizing it, your degree will benefit your interest in the hobby you describe as a “lovely and wonderful private scholarship”, your explorations into historical scribal tools and materials. And thus it will benefit teaching your scribal readers too. Including me. So, welcome back Ian. You were missed. Related Prior Post:   5 Inspiring History Recreation Blogs – An Internet Round-up Related External Site: Ian the Green – Flickr Ian the Green – FaceBook

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How-to Write An SCA Award Recommendation

Recognition in Court Do you know someone worthy of an SCA award? Someone who deserves recognition for their outstanding medieval recreations or plentiful service? If you do you can help them out by writing an award recommendation.  Yes, you can do this. Anyone can submit one. In Calontir the easiest way to do this is by the Online Award Recommendation Form. Much simpler […]

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Perplexing Pictures In Manuscripts 5.

British Library Additional 14761 f. 30v  c. 1340 Spain, N. E., Catalonia (Barcelona) I was surfing the British Library’s manuscript collection again for possible pictures to use on a scroll and noticed the cute bunnies in the manuscripts. Especially in the 14th century. So many, they weirdly multiplied like rabbits.  But another thing you’ll notice is how peculiarly violent some are. Beyond […]

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What Do You See?

From the Daily Star in the UK You can enhance your work by nurturing your visual awareness. Whether you research pixels in medieval manuscripts or notice details in modern pictures you increase your observation powers through constant practice.  What do you see in the picture to the right? Is it a duck or a rabbit? Whether you see a rabbit or a […]

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The Only RUSH Book Arts Seminar

And the Barony of the Lonely Tower Welcomes You Calontir Book Arts RUSH  Location: Grace United Methodist Church 112 North Walnut, Glenwood, Iowa 51534 (712) 527-4607 November 3, 2018 Site opens at 9:00 AM Site closes at 10:00 PM Book Arts RUSH Flyer Whether you’re curious, have an interest or an unquenchable passion for Medieval book arts you need look […]

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5+ Medieval History Blogs – Internet Round-up 2

From the 1430 Milanese   illuminated manuscript  Bréviaire de Marie de Savoie  As I work on SCA projects I come across things I think would interest you. They don’t always come with pretty pictures like this Milanese rabbit, but I thought as a group you might find them interesting. So I put five together in one post with a similar topic.  These blogs are by a variety of professional historians.  Although Karen Larsdatter is also in the SCA.  I know you’ll find them as interesting as I did. And be careful. You might lose track of time or get “hooked” by one or two. Enjoy. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ History Of The Ancient World gives you “news, articles, and videos about antiquity, from prehistoric times to the Roman Empire.” It is edited by Peter Konieczny and Sandra Alvarez who you may also know for the website – a premier resource for those interested in the Middle Ages. Material Culture Blog where M. Karen Larsdatter “blogs about stuff from the Middle Ages and Renaissance, including clothing, armor, and artwork. News about museum exhibits and new books.” Don’t miss her showpiece links page where you can click on anything and be amazed.   Medieval Histories is another Larsdatter bonanza you won’t want to skip. This one is her traditional blog.  The Public Medievalist is Dr. Paul B. Sturtevant’s unique blog about how the Middle Ages are currently featured in popular culture, museums and in education. You even find posts about SCA culture.  Medieval Hungary is a blog written by Zsombor Jékely in English “about medieval art history, with […]

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The Arts And Crafts Jewel of Calontir: Queen’s Prize Tournament

2016 Queen’s Prize Tournament I’m bummed. Calontir’s Queen’s Prize Tournament is just around the corner, a month away, on September 15th. And I won’t be able to go.  Queen’s Prize is Calontir’s Medieval arts and crafts treasure. An event you don’t want to miss even if you aren’t entering. A competition that’s inspiring for us all, whether you’re a mentor or searching […]

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Two Inticing Paint Color History Books Reviewed

Yesterday I was going through my books preparing for the coming Book Arts RUSH and found again my current published books on pigment history. They are both books about early art material production. These books interest me because Medieval artists or their staff made their own paints. Knowing that paint production history enhances your color use when recreating illumination art. These two books present you tantalizing background stories and trivia about the complete color creation processes. The first book is…  Color: A Natural History of the Palette by Victoria Finlay  In this book, you read varied, interesting stories describing Finlay’s quest for the world’s historical pigments and dyes. Written as a travelogue through color history, her book takes you from Afghanistan to the Australian outback, to China’s ancient caves, and Spain’s saffron harvest.  You read vivid stories, anecdotes, and adventures about the colors themselves. About Cleopatra’s saffron use for seduction. Historically expensive ultramarine blue production from lapis lazuli extracted from an Afghan mine. And how carmine red, still used today in lipstick, is made from the blood of insects. I liked Finlay’s book for its intriguing historical information, especially the extensive notes in the back. Unfortunately, I lost interest and only skimmed through her detailed personal travel descriptions. Instead, I jumped to the color fact chapters labeled by their names. Better yet is the next book I recommend … Bright Earth: Art and the Invention of Color  by Philip Ball  This book tells you about western art history through the physical substances used to create color. […]

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