Sunday, October 22, 2017

HL Zaneta's Calon Cross Scroll

Project Title:
Calon Cross Scroll for Zaneta Baseggio
Project Date:
October 14, 2017/Crown Tournament
Text by:
HL Saito Takauji
Inspiration for Text:

‘The Prince’ by Machiavelli, James 3:13, and the structures of the Venetian government.  La Serenissima Regina means ‘most serene Queen’. The mazor consegio was a self-nominating legislative body, and that works as an analogue for the self nominating Cross. The collegio were yet another government body, which works as an equivalent to the College of Heralds in name and function.
Translation by:

Jehanne Bening
Jehanne Bening
external 11 x 14 inches
Notable Techniques:

Italic from David Harris' book
Mitchell 6 dip pen
Zig Sumi Ink 60
Inspiring Manuscripts:
Other notes:
Finetec gold, some over black gouache

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Calontir's 2017 Fall Crown Tournament Photos

Saturday I went to Calontir's 2017 Fall Crown Tournament event. These are the photographs I took. I missed photo ops but this is about the beauty and fun that I and my friends have and create in the Society for Creative Anachronism.

The lineup waiting to process in to Crown Tournament.

The combat.


Heraldic arms tell us who's fighting and who's up next.

The brackets filled out for the 2017 Calontir Crown Tourney
double elimination competition.

Duke Ashir and Countess Ashland invested as heirs
 to the Calontir thrones.

To enter Crown Tourney each person had to enter 
the Arts and Science competition as well.

Some A & S entries.

The new heirs artisan entries.

The Glassworkers' Guild held a silent auction,
staffed by M. Roise and shopped by HL Astrid.

The cutest SCAdian present.

Mistress Sorcha took an apprentice.

Fun times created by bored Calontiri, 
Sir Semjaka and Sir Xerxes.

Heather was called into Court by Their Majesties

HRM Issabell welcomed Heather
 into her  Order of the Queen's Chalice

Heather's Mom was more excited than Heather,
 who took the attention calmly.

Sir Killian O’Connaill and Mistress Rebecca Beaumont
win the Arts and Sciences competition.

Konstantia Kaloethina made a Court Baroness.

HL Zaneta receiving the Calon Cross scroll I created.

You can't see her face but this is Lonely Tower's Baroness Giulia
giving notice she wants to step aside.

External Link to 
Crown Tournament Court Summary October 6, 2017

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Acanthus Leaves

British Library
Border Clipping

Acanthus Painting for HO6.jpg
Acanthus leaf from my handout "Acanthus Leaves: Drawing and Painting" 

I love Acanthus leaves in art. They are an ornament that resembles leaves from the Mediterranean Acanthus plants. They have deeply cut leaves similar to thistles. 

I like Acanthus leaves because they are a curvy, variable decoration I can use in most any art medium or era. In scribal illumination, Acanthus leaves add color, visual movement and design contrast to large text blocks. They also enhance large decorated display initials or a heraldic device. 

There are several general Acanthus leaf styles from the broader leaf with ends that flip over to narrower forms without flips and in between. The Göttingen Model Book, a 15th-century workshop instruction manual, provides fascinating insight into how some period scribes drew and painted their leaves.

British Library Harley 3490 f. 13v 

You can create Acanthus leaves that are simple as in my above picture or add details such as dots along the vein and color modeling to enhance dimension.  Whatever you like. It's a scroll ornament that lets you be creative.

Related Prior Post:
The Making of an SCA Scroll, Part 2

External Link:
Acanthus Leaves: Drawing and Painting

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

My First Italic Script Scroll

My first italic script scroll lettering.
I have a new script I've done on my current scroll. It's fun but confusing because it doesn't seem to fit the common calligraphy rules. Sometimes you even push the pen nib, because it's somewhat cursive. It's italic, a late SCA period script.

Italic lettering is not detailed in "Drogin", the SCA scribes' calligraphy Bible. Although it is in both calligraphy books by David Harris.

The website calligraphy skills better amateur calligraphy also provides excellent help. It describes the script's basics as:
  • a distinctive ‘lozenge’ shape to the body of letters a, b, d, g etc
  • elegant, narrow branching strokes forming the shoulders of letters such as b, h, m, n, p etc
  • quite long ascenders and descenders
  • usually a slight slant to the right
I have the scroll's text done. The picture is just a tease. Yes, I have corrected the smudges with my trusty scratch nib. This script became more fun and flowed better the more I did it. I wish more people's personas could use it.

Prior Related Posts:

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Another Scribe Online: The Verdant Quill

Before I started blogging I searched the Internet for any blog I could find about manuscript illumination. I found many on calligraphy or fancy cursive. I found academic blogs on medieval illuminated manuscripts. But I found few that related to the illumination craft. 

Brother Thomas Profile Logo
I have listed related blogs and a few other Calontir sources you might enjoy to the side. There is another source I want to note. It's actually a source collection by Brother Thomas the Green. He has a Facebook page, an Etsy shop for his books, bookbinding and weaving crafts, and a blog by that name with his published tutorials. 

I stumbled on Brother Thomas' work in an odd way. His class handouts popped up unbidden on my Google Docs page. They were intriguing, so I went looking for the source. His teaching and blogging approaches are interesting. He uses vector graphics, of which I'm clueless. 

Brother Thomas' philosophy is different from mine, perhaps because he comes from the Kingdom of the Midrealm. Have a look at his "Scroll Levels" and "Starting a Model Book" guides. His Facebook page includes some videos he's made

Brother Thomas multiple online sites show he's busy teaching and sharing scribal and weaving crafts. Please have a look at them.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Medieval Style Free Coloring Printables

Cover art from
the Bodleian Library's
free online coloring book.
Adult coloring became the rage a few years ago. I think the rage continues. I have received books as gifts and given a few myself. 

Last year the Bodleian Library came out with a free printable coloring book compiled from original period sources. Some pictures my grandkids might like to color.

Skipton Castle, a 900 year old English castle, offers an excellent selection they created. Further down its web page are pages that can be colored and cut out to make 3-D things.

I look on homeschool websites for their many options. Super Coloring offers related Medieval adult coloring pages as well as some suited for children. 
One of my

Just Color's 50 free adult coloring galleries includes one that is about the Middle Ages. It features Celtic, Romanesque and Gothic detailed art based on
tapestries, knights, engravings, castles, and more.

While purchased coloring books offer printing and paper advantages free downloads can be more individualized and spontaneously acquired. They are good sources for demos or youth activities. You might also like my free book marks and small pictures

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Photography Tips for SCA Blogging

Blog photos are a special consideration. 

Because my blog is mine (not official SCA) my photos do not have model or photo use consents. If you officially serve the Society for Creative Anachronism any "people" photos or videos must have written consent. 

If I'm not posting medieval art, I include my scanned art or use my cell-phone camera to take my blog pictures. Because visuals are vital, I have some photo tips I use.  

  • Focus on faces. When I photograph SCA activities I include people's faces. If I'm photographing them close up, I ask for a quick picture of them with what they're doing. Back views turn readers off unless they're specific to the post, like perhaps in a garb project.
  • Take close-ups. While close-ups are compelling and informative, I like to have a variety of distances. I zoom in or step closer for detailed shots. I crop my photos before I post them.
  • Shoot at different heights and angles. I shoot most adult subjects at eye-level. I also move around and take pictures while kneeling, from a ladder or balcony. Occasionally these are outstanding views.
  • Consider the background. Beautiful, uncomplicated backdrops work best but are difficult to achieve given most SCA event sites. I do check to for possible trees and signs springing from people's heads. When possible I avoid modern appearing items or crop them out later.
  • Lighting.  With my cell phone camera, I use natural light and almost never use a flash. Even so, I sometimes move around to capture an image without a shadow.
Shot in the morning and cropped to "Rule of Thirds"
  • "Rule of Thirds".  When cropping and posting images I use the "Rule of Thirds", placing the interest-point to 1/3rd side of the frame. Today's cameras and photo editing apps have settings that have image guidelines to aid in following the rule of thirds.
  • Landscapes are the best shot just after dawn or prior to dusk. The light is soft, more diffuse. I love nothing more than early morning walks at Lilies War taking photos on my way to Oddessy Coffee. My  “golden hours”.
  • SCA Project Photography If you don't want to use a dual-light system to photograph your project, take it outside near noon on a sunny day. Zoom in or crop to fill the frame with your item.
Related Prior Post:

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

SCA Persona Development Gleaned Through Paleography

While writing my recent post "How to Find the Script Your Persona Might Have Used" I came across an article relevant to Jehanne Bening, my SCA persona
The article described a manuscript production method used in Bruges and Delf. Would this have affected Jehanne's illumination or life style?

Jehanne is from the town of Bruges in the Duchy of Burgundy and works in the Sanders Bening workshop. Sanders, who died in 1519, was the father of the well-known illuminator Simon Bening. And his workshop produced many fine things for the Dukes of Burgundy.

Around the 14th-century literacy increased and the new urban classes wanted affordable books. Manuscript production methods changed to accommodate this. 

The personal Book of Hours developed during that time. It contained fewer standard texts than the formal Psalter with some sections chosen by the buyer. 

The Book of Hours also differed in use from the Psalter. It was not always read from beginning to end. A section might be selected by the reader as needed or inspired. More whimsically. 

The Hague, KB, 71 H 56 fol. 1r
In some areas, manuscripts became created by modular construction that divided labor efficiently. This benefited book owners, who could pick desired texts for their manuscript and expand or change their book after they bought it if they chose. They could also be made "generically" for an undetermined future buyer. More books could be sold and more money made for the manuscript producer. 

The modular production worked well when making a Book of Hours because their sections were individually chosen and their order varied between manuscripts. And all were influenced by the location where the book would be used. 

The impulsive reading style and urban economy combined causing manuscripts in Jehanne's area and time to be written and created differently from psalters. They were made in smaller units combined during binding, just as they were read by choosing an inspiring section. 

Paleographers can determine the book's original material and that added after the manuscript was finished. This reveals workshop practices in Bruges where Jehanne worked used this modular construction, though other areas did not.

This information is also interesting to me as a scribe today. Knowing the style may vary within a 14th- or 15th-century manuscript, it is easier for me to see when I look at online manuscripts with many pages. It also explains blank pages and textless illuminated borders. Before the Internet, this could only be done through viewing original manuscripts or perhaps looking at certain facsimiles.

This modular creation system allowed Jehanne to work with other scribes on one manuscript. Each scribe could still work within their skill and expertise areas. 
The modular construction lead to personalized standard books, helped control costs and boosted manuscript sales. It was also job security for Jehanne.


Related Prior Post:
Wow! Scribal Research Has Changed

Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Graying of the SCA

Why do I continue to drive hours to attend events? What's the magnet and appeal for a Golden-ager, like me?  

For over 20 years, I've loved the SCA for encouraging wholehearted learning and skill growth. You saw this in the quality hand crafted largess presented at an event. Carved wood, needlework, weaving, clothing, and pottery, to name a few. That couldn't be the attraction, as I made many of these myself since I joined in 1991. 

The SCA is attractive for its fun and spirit. It is a place where, no matter your age, size, shape, gender or color you can wear a coronet, hat or wreath in your hair and feel beautiful. You can flirt and tease the guys your son's age because it amuses you.
Or, if you choose, a woman can put on armor and do combat with large, sweaty men. Whatever your current mania you learn from leaders, compete and feel pride in your prowess.

For guys, it's a place the nerdy (who are most of us) train, compete and feel like warriors. Important, superior. Where bragging-rites are expected and made into songs.

The SCA, especially Calontir, is a place of kindness and acceptance, that respects you for being you. I often see a first-row seat forfeited so that another did not have to do auditorium steps. I receive kind assistance to stand after sitting on the floor during a presentation.

The SCA strives for medieval ambiance, omitting things like the plaque. Even so, you don't notice glasses on faces. Your mind somehow factors them out. With the graying of the Society, there are more things to mentally gloss over, like mobility scooters and walkers.

It feels good to escape to where you are accepted, feel beautiful, and strong. A form of magic moment in which you are young again, if only at heart. Why wouldn't you return to it as often as possible to experience the joy? 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Scribal Project Information

Scribal Project Information 
I've looked at many lovely scrolls and scribal works on the Internet. Many Kingdoms, Scribal Guilds, and Bloggers display multiple, well-crafted scrolls. 

I enjoy reading about the techniques and materials scribes use to create their art. I sometimes wonder about information that wasn't included with the image. Often it's about the inspiring text source. But not always. 

Since my Laureling my own scroll records are scant, some totally missing. I was much better when my Peer might ask for my notes at any time. I'm not into record keeping so I won't fault others.

If you keep records from the beginning it's easier. It's also inspiring to see your accomplishments over time. To help you, I created a simple, easily accessed, editable Scribal Project Information form on Google Docs. I would also include a scan of your work

I hope you find this simple form a useful convenience. Ten years from now, may you still be adding scrolls to it. 

Related Prior Post:
Are You Keeping an SCA Portfolio?