Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Revival: Lonely Tower's Monthly Scriptorium Gatherings

M. Rolf And Other Scribes
You probably noticed Lonely Tower has a new Baron and Baroness, Augustin le Blinde and Aleit de la Thomme. They took the reins at our 2018 12th Night event. 

Their Excellencies have inspiring ideas for us including giving original scrolls for awards they present at court. That means Lonely Tower scribes will have opportunities to use the skills taught in our recent classes.

Our Early Gothic scribal classes ended before Thanksgiving so M. Rolf and I planned to hold monthly casual  Scriptorium gatherings. The good news is these meetings will now have more purpose and direction with M. Rolf now the Baronial Lead Scribe.

Calontir calls an informal scribes' meeting a "scriptorium". Lonely Tower's scriptorium is open to any and all calligraphers, illuminators, preprint artisans, and wordsmiths to meet, paint, letter and socialize. You are welcome whatever your skill level whether you're an accomplished scribal Laurel like M. Rolf or you haven't yet begun.

The Barony of the Lonely Tower's Scriptorium will meet at my house the fourth Sunday afternoons of most months like we did for classes. We will have Open Project gatherings. In these, you work on personal projects, preprint awards or a current scroll assignment. Now, the scroll assignments may also include Baronial requests. You may also bring something you're learning, practicing, or zen-doodling. All are welcome.

Remember, if you bring an assigned scroll to work on, hide any identifying items with something like low-tac tape or a sticky note. Scroll assignments are kept very secret even from other scribes. We don't divulge names or even heraldic devices. Mum's the word.

If you're nearby, come create visual splendor or just chat with us about ink, paint or scroll text writing. The more the merrier. 

Related Prior Post: 
C & I Class Preparations
Lonely Tower's Continuing Scribes' Class  
Photos from Lonely Tower's 12th Night 2017

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Jump Starting 2018: Lonely Tower's 12th Night Event Photos


12th Night, a way to jump start the new year. As always you'll find diverse regaling activities.  Here are your event photos showing them from gate to feast and in between.  




Early gate check-in.





Morning court, showing Baroness Giulia Isabella de Venezia 
pictured to the right of Their Majesties in Lonely Tower's chairs. 





Aleit de la Thomme and Augustin le Blinde enter court,
 to accept the Baronial mantel.





M. Tatjana Nikonovna waiting for lunch at the inn.





Mistresses Roise ni' Ullachain and
Honoree de Saussay cook and serve lunch.



Council Bluff's The Center is the venue the Barony of the Lonely Tower has been using for events. You might find the site a tight fit, even though we use every room, office, nick and cranny. We'd use the swimming pool if we could. We are thankful for their generous help and affordable price.




Final preparations for evening court.






M. Gyða glóra and HL Galla Zandra
Judging a 14th century costume entry.




And some SCA precious fairy tale children.















Occasional Visitors





Calontir Steel Fighting and Photography





Court Hall / Commons





Sword and Shield Competition





With Their Highnesses stepping up next weekend,
Calontir's scribes are busy painting awards.





The winter stoat with its owner
HL Nickolai Kolpachnik

.





M. Dorcas Whitecap with her well disguised heraldic laptop.





Waiting to speak with the peerage candidate.





Gwen Verr Heugh in her so recently finished
lovely green cut velvet.





Still waiting. Enjoying the visit.





Evening court held wonders for friends and photography.



B. Augustin and Aleit at Evening Court





First the Baronial Court





Longtime Friends





Maegwynn Attewode welcomed to
Calontir's Order of the Calon Lily.




Peers, mostly knights, waiting to enter court.





Bjarm Rorikson's procession into court.




Bjarm stands before Their Majesties a Knight of the Realm.





And a few pictures of the delicious and plentiful feast.




Head table at feast.




The Barony of Mag Mor's choir
painting musical tones on the air.

So much to photograph for you and to share. But there's more than I can ever show. The friends and close friendships formed over 25 years.




Related External Post:
Falcon Banner: Twelfth Night Court Summaries, Januray 6, A. S. 52


Prior Related Posts:
Photos from Lonely Tower's 12th Night 2017

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Heralding: Lonely Tower's Roll of Arms Project

Barony of the Lonely Tower's Roll of Arms

You've seen these before in earlier posts, often in the background. It's Lonely Tower's Roll of ArmsAnyone in the Barony who has an SCA heraldic device has a painted picture of it here with your name on the back.


The oldest existing armorial is from the 13th century. They continued to be made up into the 17th century, well past the SCA time period.


I update the order and paint new devices to Lonely Tower's Roll at least once a year, for our 12th Night Event. It easy to do. But the Roll is also displayed at any of our events on the Calontir Kingdom Calendar.


Sewing the fabric.

I first sew by machine enough 8.5 x 11-inch cloth rectangles for the arms I need to add. The pieces start out 9.5x12 inches. I sew a small hem on each side, turning 1/4 inch over and turning it a second time before sewing.


Calontir has a searchable online Armorial, as most Kingdom's do, with images of people's heraldic devices. Using it, I print out the images as close to 8.5x11 as I can.


With my light-pad and pencil, I trace the picture on the sewn cloth. I change the shape from the shield shape to a rectangle, adjusting the border and individual heraldic charges (separate images) as needed.


Drawn design
with initial painting.

Using acrylic craft paint, with some fabric media added to keep the paint softer when it's dry, I paint the arms like the printed pictures. I start with the lighter colors, not caring much about staying in the lines.


When the light color is well dry I carefully paint a darker color. I continue until I've painted all the heraldic tinctures.


After drying I sometimes use a permanent black fine marker to add details. The black lines distinguish overlapping parts of charges such as wings, cart's wheels, and others.


After the rectangles are dry I safety-pin them to our large panels. The curtain-like panels were sewn out of heavy white cotton cloth years ago. Narrow hems on each side and deeper ones at the top and bottom. The top hem accepts a dowel with a long cord tied to each end. The corded dowel allows you to hang the whole panel on a wall or in a window.


Finished painted device
and its printout.

Although I've seen other SCA groups organize their Roll of Arms according to the order the devices were passed by the SCA's College of Arms, our Barony organizes the devices by the owner's rank. After the Barony's device is our founding Baron's. The later Baronages follow it chronologically. Those never change, but are added to as we get a new Baron and Baroness. Then follow the devices of our members with approved arms by their rank. 


Each year, if not sooner, I change the order of the individual small banners. They are added or removed when 
  • Lonely Tower gets a new Baronage 
  • people get devices that didn't have them before
  • a member receives a higher rank
  • people move into or away from here
  • a member becomes inactive

Maintaining Lonely Tower's Roll of Arms is a small way to contribute to the local group that adds color and interest. At events, I see those walking by it stop and challenge each other to name the individual devices' owners. It's not an official competition. It's just an SCA social thing you do.  


Related Prior Post:
How To Use Heraldry On SCA Scrolls 
Barony of the Lonely Tower Arts and Sciences' Revel




Sunday, January 7, 2018

The 7 Most Popular Calontir Photo Posts of 2017

Although you are interested in history, don't you still love photos? Especially photos of events?

Through the year I spent days enjoying and photographing Calontir's events. Its sights and adventures. These 2017 popular photo posts share those memories.

M. Nesscia at 12th Night

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Secrets of Black And White Gouache

Today's scribes learning to paint Calontir's preprints often start with a Reeves gouache set for their paints. They're an inexpensive student grade non-acrylic paint that does well for painting entry-level awards. 

What do you do when you use up your first paint, usually white? What is the best white gouache to buy?" 

In gouache, there are several whites: chalk white, zinc white, titanium white, permanent white and lead white. It can be puzzling. What is the difference between the gouache whites?

In Calontir the gouache scribes use is a water-soluble gum arabic paint. It is not an acrylic product even though some of those are labeled "gouache". 


While all those paints listed are whites they each have a different hint of another color. That tinge distinguishes them from each other. 

It is difficult for me to see the difference unless I paint them in side-by-side swatches. It's even harder for you to see if I scanned them to post here.

Besides the slight color tinge, the various whites are made from different chemicals. Each behaves slightly different depending on what you do with it.

Chalk White or Lime White's use dates back to prehistoric times and continues until today. It doesn't hide underpainting well, so it isn't used for scrolls.

Lead White is poisonous because of, well, its toxic lead. Historically its use goes back to antiquity, a very early SCA era. While it is still sold by a few producers today, it is mostly used as Flake White in oil paint. It is seldom used for SCA awards.

Zinc White, initially called "Chinese White" when introduced by Winsor and Newton, is not period. It was first made in the early 1800s. Zinc White is a translucent gouache and does not hide underpainting well. Although I like it better for making tints

Titanium White is even newer than zinc white, initially sold in 1916. The website Pigments through the Ages describes Titanium White as the "Strongest, most brilliant white available to artists in the entire history of art." 

I prefer Titanium White for highlights or strokes over underpainting. It is great for geometric diapering and small bar borders. 
And what about permanent white?  Permanent White is a based on titanium. The manufacturer just has a reason for not calling it "Titanium White". Maybe they add something to it or they just like that description better. Blick describes their's as "bleed proof", so marketing may be a reason.
I prefer either Titanium or Permanent White gouache for adding details over the colored underpainting. If I'm mixing pink or another tint I use Zinc White.
Another color about which newer scribes often ask questions is black. Are their differences in gouache blacks? There are several blacks: jet black, lamp black, and ivory black.
Lamp Black is the popular gouache name for Carbon Black. It has been used as a pigment since early, early history. Traditionally Lamp Black was made by collecting soot from oil lamps. As charcoal, it also has a long history as a sketching material. While Lamp Black is the darkest most opaque black water-soluble paint, it is not a popular gouache paint today.
Black in
Zaneta's Grant
Ivory Black is the alternative name gouache producers call Bone Black. It was used in prehistoric art and is still popular today. Originally it was made from charred bones or waste ivory. Today it is an inorganic synthetic product made from Carbon Black and calcium phosphate. 

Ivory Black is a dense black with a blue tinge. Ivory or Bone Black is a slightly less intense, black than Lamp Black. The synthetic version was discovered in 1929. 
Jet Black is a rich, deep, opaque black discovered in 1863 for dying cotton cloth. It has a blue tinge and makes blue greys when mixed with white. 
My favorite black, as you probably guessed, is Ivory Black. 
While this is an overview of the various white and black gouache paints, you'll want to try these out yourself. Test them on your favorite Bristol board, pergamenata or any unfinished preprints you have. How these whites and blacks handle depends on your touch too. 

As I read on Wet Canvas, "Your best teacher is your own brush".

Prior Related Post:
Why Buy More Scribal Paint Colors?

Sunday, December 31, 2017

That New Year's Eve Thing

New Year's Eve is here and where do you go in 2018?

Pour a glass of your favorite taste. Think about what you did well or not. Set a few goals or make resolutions.

I've been blogging about things scribal and the SCA for two years. With this being  New Year's Eve I thought it a good time to examine the results. Join me.

What have I accomplished? Where can I improve? How does the SCA fit with the rest of life?

There are two other frequent SCA scribal bloggers. Alexandre Saint Pierre's Pensive Pen and Ian the Green's Scribescribbling. Both excellent, frequent writers about calligraphy and ink topics. 

There's Adrienne d'Evreus' The Scientist's Scroll. She emphasizes medieval pigments. 

And there are a few online scroll portfolio blogs. 

But when I began there weren't any bloggers focusing on scroll production. That became my niche. Teaching virtual scribal students who want to learn at their own pace. How have I done for you? 

My blogger.com control panel says I've had 30,000 page views for all time. 

Interestingly my most popular posts are my photo arrays. But they are suited to everyone in Calontir, so I tell people on Facebook after they go up. That inflates their numbers compared to my other posts. 

The most popular non-photo posts were: Using A Scratch Nib For Corrections10 Ways To Practice Calligraphy and What's An Award Scroll's Purpose?. And the most popular blog page is my Scribal Resources.

The most common topic I post about after the SCA, in general, is Calligraphy and Illumination. But my C and I label includes everything from books to scripts and scrolls. My next common labels are How-toPhilosophy, and Review.

What can I improve? What would you like me to change?

This blog is for you as much as it is mine. I want what I write to help or be interesting for you. 


I post regularly on a Sunday, Wednesday schedule. I hope this attracts more of you. I welcome feedback and requests. I'd love to see more.
What is in the future? Who knows, but I can plan or set goals.
I want to improve my own scribal skills. But many in the SCA say that because it's what we do. My calligraphy is my weakest link, so for personal improvement, I will focus on it starting with Calligraphy Boot Camp

As a blogger, I want to plan my schedule better. Perhaps use a scribal content calendar.

Now that the scribal community knows me again after the break I took, I want to do more original scrolls. They are what inspire and keep me enthused. They provide you photos and scribal topics.

I enjoy working with scribes. The Lonely Tower class will take a new direction. In January it becomes a monthly scribal gathering. Classes won't be scheduled unless requested. But my door will be open to anyone interested the last Sunday afternoon of most months. 

As I finish my New Year's Merlot, which didn't take long, I'm thankful for the past year and all its opportunities. I have renewed focus and spirit for 2018.

If you haven't taken stock of your SCA scribal niche, I recommend it. A brief look to see where you want to go with it the New Year. 

Prior Related Post: 
New Years, New Opportunities

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The 6 Best Scribal Facebook Groups

Lonely Tower's Scribes
I'm not the Scribal-Answer-Lady, and I don't care to be. However, discussing things scribal with others is important to build skills, knowledge, connections, and fun. Where do you go for that? 


As a 35-year SCAdian, it pains me to answer...Facebook.  

Facebook provides you comfort, hope, purpose, and validation as a member of a community. It's a place to share interests and concerns. But it's huge.

I find discussing things is better in smaller groups, even on Facebook. Perhaps you do too. 

To help you connect, if you haven't already, here is my scribal Facebook Group collection. 
  1. Calligraphy For The Left Handed is a public, small-membered public non-SCA group dedicated to "sinister" (left-sided) letterers. 
  2. Falcon Scribes is a "closed", Calontir focused, small-membered scribal arts discussion group. A place for advice, inspiration, and Kingdom scribal coordination.
  3. SCA Calligraphy Boot Camp is a "closed", medium-membered calligraphers' group, encouraging skill development through monthly projects and active posts. They also have a separate website
  4. SCA Scribes is a public, large-membered, general discussion group dedicated to SCA scribal arts, advice, and inspiration. 
  5. SCA Scribes and Illumination is a public, medium-membered group discussing SCA scribal arts.
  6. SCA Scroll Gallery is a medium-membered, "closed" group sharing SCA scroll images and information for recipients and artists.
I know there are other groups, especially specific Kingdom-focused 
groups similar to the Falcon Scribes. There are probably some on other social platforms, as well. So don't stop with these. 

If you don't find what you want, keep looking. Or, you can form your own group

Don't be shy like I was before the Internet. Connect with a scribal group and make friends. 

And if you know of an online scribal group I missed please share it in the comments section below. 

Related Prior Post:
Better Together, Calontir's Scribal Community

External Related Information:
Scribes Guild: Starting and Maintaining  pdf by Hillary Rose Greenslade from Ansteorra

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Hope Your Christmas Rocks


Christmas Eve. A joyous night in the year. 

I'm fortunate my grandkids want this Grandma to stay overnight with them, to wake up and watch them open their presents. There is no greater joy than seeing their dreams come true on Christmas. They won't always be so eager for my sleep over with them, but for now I will enjoy it and be grateful.

I hope you can share your holiday with people you love. And may you all be blessed with joy.



Related Prior Post: 
More Merry Christmas December, 2015

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

A Genius Way To Help Paint Dry

I've told you about my studio in the past and mentioned my dual swing-arm lamps. The double lamps that keep shadows away from my work. 


Showing the Reveal bulbs
But the 65 watt Reveal light-bulbs serve another purpose. They speed-dry the gouache. Placing them over the work and leaving them for a time dries the paint layer so well I can work the next step without waiting overnight. 


I have not timed how long I leave them. All I know is this works for me. 


I've done this for years, even with large paint areas. The paint doesn't crack and the pergamenata doesn't curl any more than it already was. (Perg isn't known to be truly flat.) The lights are warm, so if you do something like this be careful with any plastics near by such as grided rulers and LED light-pads.
Lamps in the drying position


This is my unique adaptation to scroll creation. It speeds my work while I still paint in the fun details. 



Prior Related Post:
My Scribal Work Space
My 10 Favorite Scribal Materials and Tools


Sunday, December 17, 2017

The Art and History of Calligraphy, Book Review


Do you have Patricia Lovett's book Calligraphy and Illumination...?  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 purchase. If you're interested, be aware it is not an instruction book. If you want that you'll want her Calligraphy and Illumination... This one is a beautifully photographed and written book about calligraphy art and materials.

Related Prior Post:  
Beginning Illumination, Book Review
8 Scribal Books For Cyber-Monday Ordering















  • ISBN-10: 0712356681
  • ISBN-13: 978-0712356688

Here is a sneaky peak inside the book.