Sunday, August 19, 2018

How To Sharpen Your Broad-Edge Calligraphy Nib

Does your metal broad-edge pen nib give your calligraphy hairline strokes? Or does it have a burr that hangs up on the paper? Don't throw it away. Sharpen it. 

Nibs aren't sharp like knives. But sharper nibs give narrower strokes.

You want a slope or bevel on your nib edge to reduce the amount of metal that touches the paper. But if it's too narrow it dulls easily or burrs. 

To sharpen my nibs I use the flat side of a hard small white Arkansas stone. I also don't use it with oil. 

You want to create a bevel that is about 45° for larger nibs, less the for the smaller nibs we use in the SCA. The smaller angel for narrow nibs is to retain the edge's strength. Strength is more important than extreme thinness. 

I've also done this to my cartridge pen nibs. Even my Rotring. Works wonders for me.

In my opinion, this video "Calligraphy - sharpening nibs"  by Patricia Lovett, published on YouTube Aug 19, 2013, is the best current video showing nib sharpening. This will help your calligraphy; it did mine.

Tip: If you're having trouble getting your nib to start writing, give the nib's back a few strokes to restore its lost crisp edge.

It's easy. You'll be able to make hairline strokes that are cat's-whisker-thin.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

How-to Educate Yourself In Scribal Skills? Learning And Teaching Them

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 Beginning Scribe". I found it on the humongous Atlantian Arts & Sciences Links webpage. Then go to Scribal Arts and finally Beginners' Guides to Scribal Arts.

Since it was written in 1998 it doesn't give the author. That seems weird today, but I still have an early class handout from M. Agnes de Lanvallei that does not show who taught the class. I know because I took it. That's what happened then.

If you are wondering what calligraphy or illumination skills to pursue this article gives you their concise descriptions. It's like a scout badge requirement's list giving you their step-by-step descriptions and their purpose. It even gives you tips.

While the article is not any Kingdom's detailed handbook or a Patricia Lovette practical guide, it is a well-begun overview. And it's said, well-begun is half done.
Me teaching my "Playing With Pigments" Class

After creating original medieval art for a few years, if you're searching for skills to teach this article lists ideas from which you can choose. Become proficient in them then write in-depth handouts for your students. Be able to knowledgeably and easily talk about how you do each step. Experiment and develop your own tips as this guide gives. And consider the most interesting way to present your topic.

Developing students and teachers can both benefit from the descriptions in this anonymous C and I "Basic Guide". That is a lot from one old archived article. 

Prior Related Post: 
The Beginning And The Evolving Scribe

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Testing - Which Gouache Brand Rewets Best?

I often read James Gurney's blog the Gurney Journey. Gurney is the Dinotopia guy. His art is amazing and his posts inspiring. 

Recently, I found a post of his I think you'll find interesting. Some gouache tests his associate Cathy Gura ran comparing gouache brands rewetting behaviors. She also compared their consistency and of all things their smell.

I was intrigued because Cathy did these with gouache straight out of the tube. 

As an illustrator, Cathy likes working with gouache directly from the tube which is how we work. Considering gouache's cost she likes the results Winsor and Newton's gouache provides. And how it dries shinier than others without adding glycerine or gum Arabic. 

Who would have known or even wondered if some gouache brands are better at reconstitution than others? Leave it to a professional. 

Related Prior Post: 
7 Sins of Gouache
Why Is Gouache So Expensive?

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

5 Inspiring History Recreation Blogs - An Internet Round-up

How about an inspiration boost? Websites you might browse to charge your creative history juices. An Internet Round-up.

Here are five blogs from different eras each painting their own authenticity recreation picture. Your introduction to their personal history journey. 

This pretty is from a Book of Hours
Belgium, Bruges, ca. 1520
MS M.307 fol. 174v

I enjoy losing myself in photos and stories other history buffs have. I search their projects and event descriptions imagining how they created their works whether clothing, hunting, manuscripts, embroidery or more. 

I know you'll find these inspiring


Anachronistic and Impulsive Ancient Rome and Byzantium in the Current Middle Ages. 

Exploring the medieval hunt describes renacting everything involving the medieval hunt around late 14th century. 

Medieval York: Eulalia Hath a Blogge is about her adventures in recreational medievalism during the reign of Edward Longshanks

Miriam's Middle Eastern Research Blog to help spread knowledge on the lands of the Islamic Middle East (known as the Dar al'Islam) from the fall of the Roman Empire to 1600 C.E.

St. Thomas Guild is a medieval reenactment group centered in Nimweghen, the duchy of Gelre around 1370 (currently the Netherlands). Medieval woodworking is its focus but sewing, embroidery, and jewelry are sometimes included.


Interesting? I thought so. 

Please let me know what you think. You can do that in the comments thing below, if you like. I enjoy when you reply.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

New Blog Start-up In Calontir

Bloggers of Calontir present you - their readers - research, information and personal thoughts about reenactment and history. I am interested in personal bloggers who post SCA relevant information at least quarterly.

And I have another blog for my list.

This one belongs to a Calontir friend. It is a new blog. Although she's not new to blogging, she has another. That one is modern with widely diverse topics. This one will focus on the SCA.

Her new blog is "Auntie Aidan's Lazy Laurel -Musings, Posts, and Paricles on Life in the SCA". Or I suppose you can just call it the Lazy Laurel's blog. She would.

But M. Aidan Cocrinn is anything but lazy. She's a laureled production scribe, an accomplished writer, and is Calontir's Minister of Arts and Sciences. Her third kingdom job. All this and employed outside the home, too.

Your blog is your story, your musings. It's like writing a lengthy letter home while you are visiting another country. You're excited and want to share what you've seen, learned or did. I'm confident M. Aidan's musings will show you that and tell you even more.

Find her blog and welcome her to the Calotir blog sphere. You''d be getting in on the ground floor, as it were. 

Related Prior Post: 
4 Calontir Blogs That Will Inspire You

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Why I'm Organizing The RUSH Book Arts Seminar

You may have noticed I've stepped up my local SCA participation. It's difficult for me to get away from the Barony so I've decided to do more here, taking on more event and local jobs.  
Book Arts RUSH Flyer

I coordinated crash space at Bardic Bedlam, Arts & Sciences competitions at Coronation, and now I'm the Barony's Social Media Officer. 

But my bigger project now is organizing a future RUSH Book Arts Seminar. Something Ly. Zafara and I dreamed up. 

This idea sprang from the Calontir Kingdom's Arts and Sciences Minister, M. Aidan's plan to put bookbinders, text composers and manuscript supplies' producers under the "scribal" umbrella. So. why not have a day of classes including all those skills?  

That's my main thing now. Making that happen. 

First I found a site. Wonderfully it's economical. It's the Grace United Methodist Church whose minister is also a Lonely Tower member. And she's also going to cook a long-time tavern for it. That's a plus.

Next, I filled out and submitted a bid to the Lonely Tower Financial Committee. It passed easily.

Then I designed an event flyer for Calotir's e-newsletter, the MEWS. I downloaded Inkscape from the Microsoft store. Inkscape a user-friendly free publishing program. Especially if you also find a tutorial with a guide that works for your project.

Ly. Zafara Baabur, whose the Falcon Signet, is handling promotion at the events she attends, including personal future teacher arm-twisting. She'll also be visiting local supply stores asking for helpful nifty donations.

My next step is scheduling six hours of teachers for four classrooms. This project is keeping me busy while helping others throughout Calontir. I'm tickled the early feedback is encouraging. I hope to see you can come.

External Related Link:
Atlantian A&S Links: Scribal Arts

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Judging: What Happens During A & S Competitions

A competition of any sort is an activity requiring you to enter using your skills to try and win. The skill amount needed depends on what the competition is asking you to do. 

If the competition is well defined and uses Kingdom judging criteria you already have a leg up on how your entry will be judged. The criteria tell you what to look for, the expected results and how values will be given to your work. Ultimately your judges give you points and a total value for your creation.  

But more goes on during judging at a Calontir Kingdom level competition than evaluating an entry and ranking it among others. It's a way for a judge to mentor entrants, to encourage and teach them. It's also a way to encourage and teach a newer judge.

The Kingdom criteria for a craft limits a judge's biases focusing their attention on the specific qualities to consider and rate. 

Calontir has a long history of coaching judges to use gentler tactics, especially at Queens Prize, where everyone is newer. Like asking you how you want to be judged? By a grade or just chatting. And including any critical points sandwiched amoung way more praiseworthy comments.

Judges, yes there should be more than one, should be knowledgeable in the area they are expected to judge. The knowledge multiple judges bring to a  competition gives you a sense of fair play. It also allows a "teachable moment" to naturally happen between you and your judges. 

So a lot happens during each judging session at a Kingdom A & S competition.
But there's also a competition shortcut. It is the popular "populace vote". The one where you choose your favorite among entries. This competition type is well liked because the written documentation is almost none. It's mostly listing the 5 Ws. Who. What. Where. When. Why. On a 3x5" card.

There are drawbacks to populace "fav voting". While the SCA and Calontir emphasize honor in the Society, it's possible an entrant's friends may vote their friendship rather than for the best quality entry. And the number of beans for each entrant may influence the choice others make. 

Populace choice competitions seldom have ties because when the designated deadline looms heralds announce to all the selection deadline is looming. So those who haven't seen the entries may make a selection just to break a possible tie.
Judging at the 2018 12th Night event.

And what do you do if you are running the A & S competitions at an event? What if there is a tie? Do you have a formal plan B or pull one out of the air? 

It's good to have any possible need for a backup defined in advance. If Kingdom Criteria are used you could designate "In the event of a tie, the score for Documentation'' will be used as a tiebreaker.” Or  “If a tie occurs, a special tie-breaking Judge will apply the same Judging Criteria to determine the winner.” 

Contests are worth the effort. They’re fun and generate an arts and sciences buzz, awareness and potential entrant attention. But more goes into judging than you can see.
Related Prior Post: 
6 Links To Remove Scary From Writing SCA Documentation

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Perplexing Pictures In Manuscripts 3

Link to image.
When you look through this 13th-century manuscript made for the Pope you see it's filled with giant killer bunnies, geese lynching wolves, and other crazy things. They are cute, silly, or a comment on Medieval daily life.

But not all. This one pictures a dog hanging by its neck from a tree. The rabbit with his paw to his mouth casually shushes the dog. Even if the rabbit was a human why would 'he" do that? Perplexing.

And there's more. The woman over the tree is looking into her mirror, a sign her looks are most important. The mirror shows she's vane. Vanity is prideful and "Pride" was one of the 7 Deadly Sins.

So not exactly things you want to put on a scroll. What would they tell the recipient? They're mean or hate dogs. Lack respect. Think highly of their looks.

There are cuter, sillier bas-de-page illuminations you can use in the Royal 10 E IV. There's also weirder ones, too. You'll find them in the manuscript's perplexing details. 

Related Prior Post:  
Perplexing Pictures In Manuscripts 1
Perplexing Pictures In Manuscripts  2

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Why I'm Thrilled With My New Found Interest - Finding Jehanne

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 EuropeEdited 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 and Bruges its greatest city.

Illuminators of that time and area made stunning, innovative use of color, light, texture, and space. They created a dominating natural style that was demanded throughout Europe for a century. 

My renewed fascination for this book - I've owned it for years - is its information on the illuminators' activities and roles in the County of Flanders during the Northern Renaissance. Especially for women. 

This book gives information such as there were more women illuminators than women painters of tempera and oil because they could do this at home without a ladder and large easel. That's fascinating to me. It makes 15th-century women illuminators seem real. 

I can't read enough of this book at one time, now. It is too large to read casually and I want to soak up everything as I do it. Not just its gorgeous pictures.

Related Prior Post: 
How to Find the Script Your Persona Might Have Used

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The Best Beginner's Paint Making Post

My students making their own paint.
I missed something. Something you will really want.

Two or three years ago when I was getting up to speed again for teaching my paint making class I missed the best introductory Medieval paint making post.

It is the Medieval Yorkist's Eulalia Piebakere's adventures in "Making Your Own Paints: A Beginner’s Guide".
Just what you need to get started making your own paints.

Paint making is fun. It's very sensual. Enjoy the subtle texture variety you feel as you squish the pigments into the binder. Be a kid again messing around while combining the parts. Try it, you'll like it.

Related Prior Posts:
10 Free On-line How To Make Paint Tutorial Links  

My Class Handout:
Playing With Period Pigments: A Make And Take Class--The Google Doc of my class handout minus its pictures.