New English Translation of Cennini

New Broecke Translation There’s a new English translation of Cennino d’Andrea Cennini’s “Il libro dell’ Arte, by Lara Broecke, a professional paintings conservator and artist. Amozon’s webpage intriguingly describes it as establishing: more precisely what Cennino actually wrote, by correcting more than 400 errors in Thompson’s text…In addition, the author’s most informative introduction places Cennino in context and accounts for the genesis of the libro dell’arte by r eference to the society in which it was produced. With all those errors some may explain the problems some have recreating Cennini’s recipes and techniques. While Broecke’s book is lauded as a “landmark text” for art history students and professionals it is just the kind of book many SCA scribes will drool over. And maybe for a long time because $90 for 248, 6.9 x 9.7 inch, pages is steep. Especially since Thompson’s 80-year-old version is cheap on Amazon and free on the web, although it takes effort to access on Notebook. Before you buy it, you may be interested in the International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Work‘s extensive review.  With my retirement budget, my option to read this book will be interlibrary loan from my local library. 

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How to Select a Calligraphy Guide Book

I’ve collected numerous calligraphy manuals over the years, searching for tips and tricks to improve my lettering. As an SCA scribe, my book criteria differ from calligraphy books for modern works. Here are my preferences. Traditional Calligraphy Guides The book should focus on the nib-lettering technique I want to learn. For most of us in the SCA that is lettering […]

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Beginning Illumination, Book Review

Queen’s Prize in Calontir, September 2016 Checking out the calligraphy and illumination entries at Calontir’s recent Queen’s Prize Tournament I saw a copy of Claire Travers’ book Beginning Illumination. I was intrigued, so I ordered it. While only 80 9″x11″ pages, it is worth the reasonable $19.97 hardcover cost.  Travers first introduces the reader to the materials and basic techniques. Then using photos she guides […]

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Incredible Wealth Of Free Artist e-Books

I’ve been searching and collecting information for my Scribal Resources page. Recently I came across this large free book collection by David Myers. Rather than pillage his items individually, please, check The Art is Creation, Free* Artist Reference e-Books page yourself.  The web page is a scribe and art history geek’s on-line library in one place. The books contain a humongous free information trove. Most available in Kindle format.  No longer do you have to pay hard earned money for books or spend days at local college libraries gleaning information. (I described the research transition from library to online in a prior post.) Today, your access is easier. Take advantage of it.

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My Random Reads

I love reading. Back in the day, I carried a paperback everywhere, just in case I was called upon to wait. Now with an eReader and a smart-phone, I’m never without a book. And most of them are digital.  Unless I am reading to learn something, I now prefer casual-books that keep me laughing. The best books for this are Jana DeLeon‘s Miss Fortune Mystery series that begins with Louisiana Longshot. I found this series a year ago and have read all eight.  There are other’s who write about Miss Fortune, her friends and the town of Sinful, Louisana, but Jana DeLeon’s are by far the best. I’ve explored other humorous mystery writers as well, but none compare.  I’m apparently not the only reader that adores DeLeon’s Sinful tales. The books have been picked up by Sony for a future TV series. And DeLeon is now listed as a best-selling author by both the New York Times and USA Today.  I enjoy her writing so much I’m reading the Shaye Archer private investigator series that begins with Malevolent. While these are serious detective stories, DeLeon’s well developed, personable characters carry the book easily through its tortuous, twisting plot.  I will continue reading the Shaye Archer series, but I can’t wait for the next Miss Fortune mystery to come out. I hope the TV contract doesn’t signal the series end, but a new beginning for the author. 

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Bang Up Book: "The Art Of Teaching Craft, A Complete Handbook"

Wandering through my local 1/2 Price Books I came across  the The Art Of Teaching Craft: A Complete Handbook by Joyce Spencer and Deborah Kneen. Written in 1995 it is just what I’d been searching for to help me prepare for my calligraphy and illumination classes. It is a practical guide to teaching small to medium classes, in your own home, your studio or at another venue. It details how to set up your space, plan your class, provide teaching aids and keep records. The authors also include multiple check-lists to summarize each section. I find it’s very useful for lesson plans. Written in 1995 for those living in Australia, it still applies to teaching crafts in the U.S. today. Although if you are starting a business you would want to confer with a lawyer on legal things.  An easy to read book and well thought out. However, I would love to see it updated. One that would include the use of internet media such as Pinterest, Facebook, eVite and Google Doc, Sheets, Slides and Forms.  So much has changed in internet media that are useful for small group teaching, but may be unknown to some.

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Bang-up Book "On Writing Well"

I’m reading this book on writing well. It’s a guide to writing nonfiction. And that’s almost its title. I’ve written so many SCA handouts and competition documentations I forgot writing nonfiction was fun.  William Zinsser’s book, while on writing basics, is amusing and shrewd. I’ve changed my style because of it.   I’m throwing out adverbs (when I recognize them) and abridging things. I’m rewriting earlier posts for practice. It’s fun seeing the flow and feeling become graceful. Although my dogs think I’m crazy, I say out loud everything I write before I push the publish button. A journalist and teacher, Zinsser sometimes breaks rules. Like his thoughts on contractions,  Your style will be warmer and truer to your personality if you use contractions like “I’ll” and “won’t” and “can’t” when they fit comfortably into your writing…There’s no rule against such informality–trust your ear and instincts. And the on valued untouchable initial word “but” he writes, Many of us were taught that no sentence should begin with ‘but.’ If that is what you learned, unlearn it–there’s no stronger word at the start. It announces total contrast with what has gone before, and the reader is therefore primed for the change. I relish the humor he spreads on each page. Like when he describes the difference between “that” and “which”. Anybody who tries to explain “that” and “which” in less than an hour is asking for trouble.  Or his comment about […]

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Wow! Scribal Research Has Changed

I love books, which is why my favorite bookstore closing was such a big deal. I buy books or borrow them from everywhere. Books and research are part of the SCA‘s attraction to me. Bookstore Search When I first joined the SCA, 26 years ago, I spent hours at the library each week. Then took a  stack off books home.  […]

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