You’ve probably noticed how often the links in my posts are to a Wikipedia article. It’s like when you google and the search engine puts Wikipedia’s information in a fact box, or Apple’s Siri replies with it to answer your question. They’re an easy link to include to give you more information. I know it’s not the highest scholarly source. Some articles don’t even cite quality references for you to verify. Yet there is no other free resource like it. There are things you should know about Wikipedia itself if you don’t already. Wikipedia’s noble goal is to eventually cover every knowledgeable topic in the world. This impossible mission has made it a top ten most searched website in the world. But did you know Wikipedia was not the first online encyclopedia? Seven others attempted it first. And Wikipedia began as part of one of them, Nupedia. Also, Wikipedia’s operation is unique. It works through a volunteer gaggle and without traditional advisory boards or editors. A contributors’ pool that is prompt, authoritative and effective. But this force is shrinking while Wikipedia’s needs have increased. Its articles have grown in length. Plus it must also defend against the worlds vandals and manipulators. To revitalize it Wikipedia’s owner developed legal and technical ways to adapt its website and software to handle this. It created new editing tools and vetting procedures. And their automatic programs now reverse incorrect format changes and warn probable vandals they’re caught. These stiffer quality control measures reduce shams and hoaxes making things better for you and me, […]
Morgan M.456 Avis aus roys Folio 34v, 1340-1360 A.D., Paris, France Manuscript Miniatures is not exactly what you think it is from its name. It is a medieval armor research source with insight through illuminated manuscripts. The website’s intent is to make it easier to hunt for online digitized images from numerous manuscripts. A way to quickly view 15,000+ miniatures from 1500+ manuscripts of 15+ countries. It’s not a manuscript holder, so once you find an image you’ll want to verify its accuracy. But that’s easy. By clicking on the picture you’ll find its source. You can then verify its accuracy with the manuscript’s owner. Manuscript Miniatures has a tagging method that’s innovative. The labels are created by viewers sometimes with interesting spellings or descriptions. It’s also why you might find unique images included within a tag. As a scribe, you might not find illumination’s common term for things either. Its brickwork and brick pattern tags are what you’d call “diapering”. One of its best tags is ‘elephant‘. Its 75 images show Medieval people had little idea what an elephant looked like. But there’s more for you here than illuminated manuscripts. From this web page, you can tab to other similar item categories with separate URLs like Armour In Art, Effigies & Brasses, and Aquamanilia. Each offers similar ways to search. Its Effigies & Brasses’ Links also connect you to related external armoring information. While this isn’t exactly a blog round-up, it is a work-in-progress webpage collection with contributions welcomed. And I thought […]
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. […]
At Lonely Tower’s scribes gathering recently Ly. Kristin asked what the basic illumination skills were that she should learn. Kristin is an accomplished preprint painter with wonderful skills, but she wants to take it a step further. How does she know what skills she should learn? Where would you look? A great starting place is this archived article “A Guide For The […]
Link If you are like me and it’s expensive to get away from your home group you might try upping your activities there. That’s what I’ve done. I’m still doing my usual blogging and helping with kingdom events the Barony of the Lonely Tower hosts. There’s always one or ten handcraft projects to do. But my new passion is developing more fully my Jehanne Bening persona. About 2008 or so, I became Jehanne Bening from 15th-century Bruges after starting my SCA life as Siobhan le Blake from early 14th-century Galway, Ireland. I made the change because I couldn’t then find any female illuminators in Ireland. That’s about as far as I went with it until now. I’m so excited because I recently learned even my ancillary interest areas fit within that persona. There are records of women illuminators in Bruges guild logs. And a note of one living in the Beguinage there. That fits Jehanne. I found that information reading the tome Illuminating The Renaissance: The Triumph Of Flemish Manuscript Painting In Europe. Edited by Thomas Kren and Scot McKendrick and published by the Getty. This beautifully photographed catalog tells about the finest illuminated manuscripts created in Europe during the greatest era of Flemish illumination, the reign of the Burgundian duke Charles the Bold. It begins in 1467 and ends in 1561 with Simon Bening‘s death. Jehanne was born in 1439 and lives as many years as I do. To me, this is illuminations grandest epoch […]
When I had two peerage scrolls on my calendar I surveyed my C & I supplies for missing necessities. I ordered them on John Neal Bookseller’s website. I’m a sucker for books so I also looked for their’s on clearance. I found Enrich Your Calligraphy by Diana Hardy Wilson and decided to take a chance on it. Hardy’s book is not an introduction to calligraphy or a “how to” guide. It does not cover scripts or their ductus. It has a niche topic that stimulates and encourages scribes, graphic artists, and modern calligraphers to advance to their full potential. The book is filled with detailed inspiration about scribal topics including developing your creative process and visual awareness investigating spatial relationships developing and reviewing a reference collection I particularly like the information and encouragement on developing visual awareness. While Hardy writes for calligraphers the information on seeing details applies to illumination as well. Enrich Your Calligraphy is an easy to read book for the calligrapher who has more developing and exploring to accomplish, which is most of us. It’s a unique book for a devoted calligrapher or lover of lettering. Related Prior Post: How to Select a Calligraphy Guide Book
If you’ve looked at the stunning art in medieval manuscripts and wondered how they were made then the main book you need for learning illumination is The Illuminated Alphabet: An Inspirational Introduction to Creating Decorative Calligraphy by author Patricia Seligman and calligrapher Timothy Noad. As SCA scribes know, illumination is a unique craft with its own techniques. It is not watercolor or acrylics. It’s not even illustration. So ferreting out its methods is tricky. The Illuminated Alphabet is the best book to help you learn methods to re-create historic illuminated letters. The book begins with a brief illuminated letters’ history, describing artists creating them and their patrons. It then delves into basic illumination techniques and a materials’ list. paper and vellum brushes, pens, and pencils paints and inks including gouache, egg tempera, and watercolors gilding techniques such as the combination of gold leaf and gesso My favorite explorations in the book are Noad’s illuminated letter adaptations from period masterpieces. They cover five individual manuscript styles: Celtic Romanesque Gothic Renaissance Modern Revival Each style includes upper and lower-case letter designs, borders and decorations, materials used, gilding instructions and a gallery. The examples featured are: the Lindisfarne Gospels the Book of Kells Emperor Henry II’s Periscopes the Lincoln Psalms a Bestiary Lion Books of Hours Whitevine Lettering William Morris a Horoscope Initial The Illuminated Alphabet has detailed instructions for each project and how they were adapted from original sources by the book’s artist. Step-by-step photographs and instructions include tips on […]
Do you have Patricia Lovett’s book Calligraphy and Illumination…? I often refer to it. When I learned she published another book I went online cyber-Monday and bought myself a Christmas present. Her recent book The Art and History of Calligraphy, published last year by the British Library. Since the author is a British professional calligrapher and illuminator you won’t be surprised the book emphasized historic manuscripts’ lettering. Her first chapter shows the high-value of calligraphy shown in her book. There’s a chapter on historic manuscript production including quills, vellum brushes, pigments, and gold. And a section on how the letters are made. The last, most beautiful section traces writing through the ages. It features 50ish detailed pictures of lettering and manuscripts from the British Library’s outstanding collection. You’ll like the pictures of enlarged few lines showing the letters’ tiny elements. There are many photos without illumination, one of writing in shell gold ink on black dyed vellum. The book’s historic manuscripts include information or pictures on the Bosworth Psalter, the earliest surviving manuscript of the ‘New Hymnal’ from England the Lacock Cartulary with its wonderfully flourished letters a two-page spread picturing one page of the Luttrell Psalter. Lovett’s book doesn’t stop with the Italian Renaissance but continues modernly including recent renaissance-style calligraphic art by William Morris Shiela Waters “Roundel of the Seasons” a present-day work by Stephen Raw of Carol Ann Duffy’s poem “Light By Sunlights Glance” Lovett’s book clearly describes and photographs the artistic skill creating medieval manuscripts. I am very pleased with my cyber-Monday […]
My recent scroll showing gold Finetec paint over black underpainting and natural pergamenata I have a new favorite gold paint. It is Finetec’s Artist Mica Opaque Watercolor. It’s as good as the Perl Ex mica paint I used previously plus I don’t have to mix it with a gum Arabic binder. It comes in small hard paint pans. So easy to use, […]
I had no idea there was anything like the Digital Public Library of America until I saw it referenced in the Biblliocraft book I bought several weeks ago. It’s fascinating what I uncover with it. Now I’m hooked. DPLA is a gigantic digital storage locker I can paw through to search, explore and discover enticing items to use or read for fun. It is a discovery tool. With it I’ve found public domain and openly licensed books, images and other content stored in US archives, libraries, museums, and cultural heritage institutions. I love how it finds items I didn’t think to look for like when I used its home page search tool to find “illuminated manuscripts”. I amazingly netted 3,341 results from 62 contributing institutions. That kept me busy a very long time. To decide my best plan of attack I can click to arrange them by relevance, alphabetically or date. They’re listed in sections divided by term, location, language, institution and more. The items are listed with bibliographic information and include a picture if available. DPLA has a help page with videos about using it and other information. You find it on the topmost bar. There are also a searchable timeline and map pages. The map search for “manuscripts” returned 1,139 results visually displaying their 28 locations. That tells me how far and where I can go to see the actual entries if I want. Its exhibitions page tells stories compiled from libraries, archives, and museums across the United States. […]
Yesterday I went to my favorite bookstore, Half Price Books. It’s so close to home, I’ve walked to it. I always check out their $2 sale section. This time I found something unique. BiblioCraft: A Modern Crafter’s Guide to Jumpstart Creative Projects, by Jessica Pigza. I bought it just for giggles, without looking it over. Was I surprised. As a SCAdian and a scribe, I’m well aware there’s amazing wealth in libraries. I thought I’d become an expert in searching them and online. This book’s author is a librarian and she beats my ability hands down. Pigza’s book tells how to develop projects based on library resources, just like we do in the SCA. It’s intended for all creatives whether hobbyist or professional, basicly anyone in the SCA. For us Part I may be the most important. In it Pigza tells how to find and use what libraries’ have to offer, online or in person. From the library’s branch, research, or special collections; to how to find the right library for you; to how to plan a library visit the proper way; and how to search. There’s amazing information there. Part II includes 20 projects inspired by library resources. While these projects are not historic recreations, the resource information within them is relevant. I was excited to read Pigza even includes stuff on illuminated manuscripts, penmanship, the history of type design, bookplates, decorative book bindings and the art of heraldry. Topics a scribe might […]
Recently I posted about my lightbox setup. This has changed slightly. I now have an LED light pad and I’m very excited about it. I wouldn’t have bought this but M. Rolf came to Lonely Tower’s scribes’ class and showed us his. I was so thrilled about it I went on Amazon to look for it. Unfortunately, M. Rolf didn’t have […]
I’m a Medieval manuscript search addict. I’ll admit it. This time I found the sexy way to find inspiration and information on digitized manuscripts. It’s Sexy Codicology I’m nuts about its enlightening blog posts and newsletters, which is how I first discovered Sexy. SC is an independent project that dives into digitized manuscript collections to find beautiful or intriguing illuminated manuscripts to share on social media. SC has over a thousand followers on its Pinterest board, a Sexy Codicology Youtube channel, a Twitter account, and an SC Facebook page with over 11,000 likes. They are also on Google+ and Tumblr. Sexy was started in July of 2013, by Giulio Menna and Marjolein de Vos. Their team is spreading interest and access to the world’s illuminated manuscripts. They are also working with the collectors to make high resolution viewing technology operate consistently between digital collections. This will improve remote research between sites and provide artists greater access. Giulio Menna is dedicated to western medieval manuscripts and the challenges of digital humanities to develop new ways to access digitized material. He began the handy searchable digitized manuscript map (DMMapp) linking over 300 digital libraries with 20,000+ medieval manuscripts that can be browsed for free. It can also be accessed via an app. If you love medieval manuscripts as I do and also have my passion for new technologies to access them you’ll love Sexy Codicology. It is spreading the illuminated manuscript word around the digital world and bringing the dusty old manuscripts into today’s light. Prior Related Post: How to Google for Illuminated Manuscript Inspirations
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.
Today I am sharing my 2016 five most popular blog posts. Those that have been “clicked-on” the most. These aren’t my “best” posts. (You and I have our own opinions of those.) They may not be my most useful posts either. In today’s world popular blog posts happen by your willingness to share, comment on, and talk about them. It’s also how they rank in much, much later internet searches, making them more popular. So here’s my current top 5 blog review. 12th Night 2016: Barony of Lonely Tower’s Midwinter SCA Festival This one has the longevity advantage, as it was posted January 3rd. It is also a photo collection and people love pictures. But its count has been stable for 6 months. What’s An Award Scroll’s Purpose? Posted August 2nd, it already has almost as many clicks as #1. TBTh: 1990s Barony of the Lonely Tower Fashion Show Only posted September 1st, today it is shy by 7 clicks of #2. Not bad for less than a week. TBTh: Warthaven’s Master William Blackfox Posted August 18th. Lilies War XXX Photo Array Posted June 19th and has a few clicks less than #4. Please leave me a comment below. Let me know what you think about them. I’d love to know, for my future posting efforts.
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.
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.
I’m at my local mall doing my lunch and 2ish mile walk. I’m also test-driving this Blogger app. Taking a photo and writing a brief post away from home. See how it handles bumps and speed. Snapping unsuspecting models’ pictures is a sneaky fun. People seldom survey their surroundings and never think to look up for a photographer or other nefarious acts. I am also more observant because I am a photo-sleuth. Later… The app doesn’t update well and its posts don’t have the same “look” as I use at home. Using something that accesses the Blogger website directly creates better posts.Too bad. It would have been gaggles of fun to photo-sleuth-post.
As I am planning things for the coming scribal classes, I found an excellent handout about starting and maintaining a scribes’ guild. While my intent for our classes was to continue on from the information provided at the recent Barony’s scribal introduction class, not to form a guild, the information in Hillary Rose Greenslade’s article is relevant and helpful. She includes topics that are organizational, financial, and resourceful. Written for use in the SCA, its concepts could apply to any start-up art group supported by a broader organization, such as a church or community center. Her article cheerfully guides you through all operational stages and could serve as an entry guild leader job description. If you are reading my blog and want to start a local scribal group, within or without the SCA, Hillary’s article is just what you want to read. Be sure to check my Scribal Resources Page for recent additions.
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 […]