Saturday, April 12, 2014

Blank M for Nordmark


This weekend I attended the Scriptorium Nordmarkensis, and during the "free scribe" period I wanted to prove to the people taking my puzzle initial class that yes, they really are that easy and did this one up in about half an hour. I then left it with Alfhild, the Nordmark signet, for future use. The exemplar is BL MS Burney 28 fol. 1.

© 2014, Sara L. Uckelman.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Blanks for the Gulf Wars gift basket

Gulfwars '14 Blank 1Sloane 265
Gulfwars '14 Blank 2Burney 6
Gulfwars '14 Blank 3Harley 4903
Gulfwars '14 Blank 4Royal 6 D VI

Since the easiest light-weight, easy-to-pack contribution that I can make for overseas gift baskets is scrolls, I wanted to do a few blanks for TRM to take to Gulf Wars. I picked out one exemplar on Jan. 1, because I remembered how fun other initials of this style were to make for last year's Pennsic basket. I sketched out the margins the same day, but then did not have time to return to this until Feb. 14, when I picked out for more exemplars. Feb. 15, Gwen actually played happily and let me sketch out the margins and base frameworks for all of them, and then I began painting while she napped. I managed to complete the first one (based on BL MS Sloane 265 f. 2) that day. I completed the second (based on BL MS Burney 6 f. 4) on Feb. 16. For as simple a design as it was, I made a lot of mistakes! I definitely want to do this one again, since I think I could improve it quite a bit. I completed the third (based on BL MS Harley 4903 f. 137v) the same evening after Gwen went to sleep. I love this style -- it's really pretty amateurish, but I think the palate and the bold leaves are really striking. And when you do it with gold leaf instead of gold paint, it doesn't look cheap. I then started and finished the fourth one (based on BL MS Royal 6 D VI f. 58v) on Feb. 17. It took "Northanger Abbey" plus about 10 minutes of "Emma" to complete.

© 2014, Sara L. Uckelman.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Letter for Nobelesse Largesse gift


I was asked to step in as an "angel" swapper for the previous Nobelesse Largesse gift exchange. The theme for that exchange as "high persona", and included the requirement to write a text in-persona to your recipient. I miffed the intro to my text, intending to spell my name in Latin and then failing. Oh well.

I hope to transcribe the text of the letter and add it soon.

© 2014, Sara L. Uckelman.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Lindquistringes for Tamara Samuilova of Thamesreach (a blank used)

I always love it when I get pictures of blanks that I've made after they've been completed. You'll recall back in October I posted images of four blank scrolls I'd made for a new scribal arrival in the kingdom, Lord Andrew von Otelingen. The first has been used and given out (my illumination, his calligraphy):


Turned out very spiffily indeed.

© 2014, Andrew Grosser & Sara L. Uckelman.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Sigillum Coronae for Efridis Eriksdotter Skarp


I had asked their Majesties if they (or Efridis) had any particular preferred style, but didn't get any answer, so that meant I was free to choose what I wanted. Halloween night I curled up with Smeyers, Flemish Miniatures, going through all my bookmarks and also flipping through the rest of the book to see if anything new caught my eye; it's been a year or two since I've last gone through the book for inspiration, and I know my abilities have improved in the interim. Plus, since I have about two months, I wanted to pick something that would push me a bit. I found something I liked in Smeyers that night, but the next morning wasn't as enthused -- I wanted something with more fine detail, and more gold. So the next morning I pulled out some of my other books, and Gwen and I curled up on the couch to look at pretty pictures (her enthusiastic "wow"s were very cute), and we found two on p. 78 and p. 80 of Englische Buchmalerei der Gotik 1200 - 1500, plates from two BL manuscripts:

Throughout the day whenever she'd let me (either by napping or by playing with herself), I started sketching things out, combining elements from the two designs, and *gasp* making up a few of my own. I got everything sketched out (except for a few small pieces that I knew I'd only add after the first outlining was done), and did most of the inking that night while Gwen slept and I watched "The Importance of Being Earnest". Nov. 2 I didn't get much done other than erasing lines.

Nov. 3, I began painting! Red, yellow, blue, and pink in the inner and outer diamond borders, and in the initial. I painted one of the lozenges the wrong color sigh, but I was able to scrape it off well enough to be able to paint over it, with the requisite lighter color. (If you can tell which diamond was mispainted, you get a prize.) Nov. 4, I added the black to the border, and began pencilling in the outer border. I decided I was unhappy with the S's I had sketched in the center of the capital, so I left them be for a good 1.5 months before returning to redraw them.

Nov. 8, I began inking in the outer border, almost completing it. The rest of November was swallowed up by travel, so I was next able to return to the border on Dec. 2, when I completed the inking and the painting of the leaves/flowers. Dec. 3 I got to experience that wonderful feeling you get when doing whitework. The entire thing still looks awfully garish and messy, though, I hope the addition of the gold (and more whitework) will help. I then moved on to doing some of the contrasting decoration in the inner border.

Back from another set of travels, and the event getting close, I returned to this again on Dec. 23, when I worked on the inner portion of the 'O', the sigils in the corners, and the evocative elements of the King & Queen's arms (lions are a bugger to draw). In the evening, I managed to get about 45 min. of painting in after Gwen went to bed. Dec. 24, I got quite a bit more painting done while Gwen napped. In the evening, I sketched the dragons and painted two before I got distracted by Christmas gifts. Skipped a day, returned to painting on Dec. 26, back to the dragons, and after them, onto the red details on the animals, and more whitework.

I began composing the text Dec. 27. It reads:

Omnibus, ad quos presentium noti cia pervenerit, Sueno et Si vana, reges de Drachenwald, in Domino salutem. (To everyone, to whom these present notices may come, Sven and Siobhan, kings of Drachenwald, in God salutations.)

Know that for the love we bear her and for her support, counsel, and service, we the abovenamed king and queen by the regnal authority avested in our hands and crowns do give, grant, and confirm unto our herald, by name Efridis Eriksdotter, whom some call the sharp, the right to bear our sigils. For such sweet friendship we cherish towards her, let her display the queenes edelweiss and Albiones head, ensigned with our initials. this giving here by ourselves witnessed on the iii day of January, in the year of the society xlviii, while sitting on our thrones in our court in Attemark.

When writing the text, I had no idea how much I would have to amend it in order to fit in the space I had given the choice of calligraphy I would end up with, since at that point I hadn't yet decided. I really wanted to do a Gothic hand like in my exemplars...but I'm very bad at Gothic hands and didn't want the calligraphy to let everything down. I eventually did my best to attempt the hand (failed miserably as usual), and re-wrote the text as I went, unfortunately ending up a bit short (!). Still, I think the remaining empty space will be filled sufficiently by the signatures.

Dec. 29, and we're getting down to crunch time. I drew the internal initials and painted them, leaving just gilding and white work! Unfortunately, gilding will have to wait until tomorrow, as it took nearly 4 episodes of QI just to put down the size tonight. The next day, anxious to see how gilding would go this time, I got everything out in the morning, while Gwen was eating breakfast, and was thrilled to find it go just as Ari Mala has always said it should! I worked on it off and on all morning and afternoon, but I didn't have to put a second coat of size down anywhere. In the evening after Gwen went to sleep, I touched up the black outlines and did more whitework. I got maybe 1/3 of the way finished. Dec. 31 throughout the day I managed to get almost all the rest of the whitework done, except for the bits on the arms and on the yellow and black. I wasn't sure what to do for those; I had done some cross-hatching behind Sven's anvil the night before, and ended up painting over it today. I let it sit for a day, and on Jan. 1, finished up the rest of the whitework. All in all, I'm pretty pleased (though I wish whitework showed up on yellow better).

All told, I think this took me between 35 and 40 hours to complete: far, far, far more than anything else I've done (for example, a regular-sized scroll with a puzzle initial takes 2-2.5; something big and calligraphy intensive around 5).

Here are some stage by stage photos:

© 2013, Sara L. Uckelman.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Some blanks for a new scribe

October 18. BL Royal 5 C IX f. 114

PBL MS Royal 5

October 21. BL Royal 4 B II f. 43v

PBL MS Royal 5

October 27. BL Harley 2957 f. 1

NBL Harley 2957

October 27. BL Harley 2878 f. 9

NBL Harley 2878

A new arrival in Drachenwald was looking to get started in calligraphy, so rather than send him plain perg, I said I'd send him some blanks. Given that Prothall and Cecilia will be ascending the throne in a few months, I figured some blank 'P's would be a good choice. And then I got tired of 'P' and decided to do a few puzzle initials in letters I hadn't done yet. The 'N' was done in two steps; first the red and blue, then the green and purple. It looked so nice after the red and blue was done, I almost needn't have continued on! Regarding the last one, it didn't turn out quite as nicely as the original, and I'm not sure why. I think the proportions of the extender are part of it; my page was simply too short for the height of the letter. However, I think with proper calligraphy and maybe some internal capitals, this could be spiffed up quite nicely.

© 2013, Sara L. Uckelman.

Monday, October 21, 2013

AoA for Cristina Erici


I received the assignment on 9 Oct., and given the recipient's name I decided to do a Latin scroll text. I've got only one stock one for AoAs, and it begins with "A", so the next thing to do was choose the A. My list of "A's I want to do someday" is LONG, and there are so many amazing pretty options to choose from. I was able to narrow it down to 7 pretty quickly, but then I had to let them sit and simmer. With the help of Constanza, I decided on Codex San-Florianensis III, 5, fol. 93v. That night I sketched out the initial and the lines, and inked in the initial, and began painting the base coats (orange). I was away for the next few days, and returned to the painting on 15 Oct., completing the painting on the initial. I'm so pleased with how the grotesques turned out!

The next night (16 Oct.) was devoted to calligraphy. I started with my basic Latin text with a bit of an extra, which reads:

Audite verbis Sue- nonis Iohanneque regis regineque Drachenwalden- ses. Magnas et multas attestati- onis actionum subjecti nostrorum Cristina Erici audivimus, et placet nos. Scite quod his present- ibus agnoscimus virtutem dignitatemque supradicte Cristine. Altamus et assignamus ei ord- onis domine et jus tali armis prout de- feret cum Collegio Armorum. Posthac habebit ium solum proprium que prae se ferre illi insigne in hac nos trum Societatis. Fit manibus nostris in xxvi die Octobris anno societatis xlviii, apud Gotvik. Testare cujus nos hic nostrum manum ponimus sub hic.

About half-way through, I realized I needed about 6 more lines of text than I had, so I went to Caid's site and cribbed from their Latin AoA text. That still didn't make it long enough, so the next day I searched for more images from the same MS to see if I could find some flourishes to add to decorate the text, and found this I, which could be turned into horizontal sidebars.

I completed the calligraphy the night of 17 Oct. The text reads in translation:

Pay heed to the words of Sven and Siobhan, King and Queen of Drachenwald. Great and numerous attestations of the actions of our subject Cristina Erici have we heard, and it pleases us. Know that by these presents we recognize the worth and dignity of the aforesaid Cristina. We raise her to the rank of lady and award to her all rights to such arms as she shall register with the college of arms. She shall henceforth have the sole and exclusive right to bear these arms in this our Society. Done by our hands on the 26 day of October, in the year of the society 48. In witness whereof, we here set our hand below.

I also had time to sketch out and paint my space filler. The grotesque there turned out quite nicely too! Both of them seem happier than the ones I copied. The next evening, 18 Oct., Joel gave Gwen an early bath, which gave me the time to get the gold size down on the filler, and I completed the rest early enough to let it set long enough before starting the gilding, which unfortunately did not go well, and when I asked on FB, no one really seemed to know why:


Oct. 21 I tried putting down more size, rehydrating more, and putting gold down again, and whatever I ended up with would have to do, since the scroll has to go out in the next day's mail. Luckily, the re-gilding cleaned up most things, and re-outlining things helped with the ragged edges, and the end result is something very shiny, which is definitely the work of a beginner, but is also work I'm not ashamed of.

© 2013, Sara L. Uckelman.