Sunday, April 24, 2022

Ffraid for Alexa Pologrinus


I've got a bunch of vellum offcuts, of really lovely quality but of varying size and shape. One was large enough that I could've gotten a good-sized rectangle out of it, except it had a great big hole in it. Then I remembered that I've had a blog post by Brandon Hawk on Dealing with Holes in a Medieval Manuscript saved for the last 4.5 years, and maybe I should go and read it and get some inspiration.

The holes in these MSs have clearly been mended in a way to make them a feature of the overall page, and it occurred to me that I could try to do that.

I also realized the piece I had was an almost perfect triangle, if I trimmed it a bit, whereas reducing it to a rectangle would've lost a lot of area. So I did a bit of a search to determine whether there were any medieval triangular books (none that I could find) or text that was shaped in a triangle -- and that led me to a blog post by Thijs Porck on Triangular Texts in Three Manuscripts From Early Medieval England. I decided to throw authenticity to the wind (a bit) and go with a triangular text on a triangle, but once I'd already thrown a little bit of authenticity to the wind I decided to throw ALL of it and go with a Sierpinski triangle text format. So the result isn't really period. I don't care, it looks cool, and it incorporates medieval elements!

I mended the hole first, and it was an interesting experience. It was clear I could not puncture the vellum with my sharp modern sewing needle, so Simon offered me a range of awls. I tested the first one -- a birdcage awl -- out on the bit of vellum I'd trimmed off, and it worked beautifully. So I put in a round of holes and threaded my needle (with cotton embroidery floss because I didn't have silk in the ID colors and wool is not allowed in our house due to wool moths), and started experimenting. The medieval examples are clearly very intricate; but the image resultions were such that it was very hard to figure out how they were done. So I tried one criss-crossing attempt, and realized: I need more holes. So I doubled the number and tried again and got something that was...meh. So I unpicked it all and tried a third time and got something with a complicated weaving structure that looked cool and decided to go with it!

Step 1  Step 2  Step 3  Step 4  Step 5  Step 6

Next, the text. The main text reads:

Audite verbis Sheridani et Rogentae principorum insulenses. Scite quod his presentibus agnoscimus virtutem et dignitatem nobilissime subjectae nostrorum Alexae dictae Pologrinae. Altamus et assignamus ei ordonis Ffraidae et ius insiginae huius ordonis scilicet planta querci diuisa nigra et caerulea cum glande aurea. Fit manibus nostris in vii die maii menses anno societatis xxxxvii apud Depedene sub Wychewood. Ego Arianuia bona scribo

And in translation:

Pay heed to the words of Siridean and Rogned, insular princes. Know that by these presents we recognize the worth and dignity of our most noble subject Alexa called Pologrina. We raise her to the Order of Ffraid and grant to her all rights to the insignia of this order namely, an oak sprig divided black and blue with a golden acorn. Done by our hands on the vii day of Maian month, in the year of the society xxxxvii at Depedene under Wychwood. I, Ary Bona, write [this].

The smaller triangles, from top, to left, to right, read:

(1) Hic ordo honore bonarum memoriarum horum seruorem insulis. (2) filius Lachlani princeps dux comes miles dominus. (3) fila Steingrimi principissa magistra lauriensis.

And in translation:

(1) This order in honor of the good memories of those who have served the isles. (2) son of Lachlan, prince, duke, count, knight, lord. (3) daughter of Steingrim princess, laureate mistress.

The hand is my attempt at an insular miniscule; for the central triangle, I didn't get the interline spacing right; it's better in the three smaller ones. But I am very pleased that in both cases I ended up with texts that were exactly the right length, even though I was making them up in Latin on the fly.

The end result is quite cool, if I do say so myself.

© 2022, Sara L. Uckelman.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Ffraid for Catherine of Carey


My first scroll in more than two years, thanks to the pandemic. I have struggled a lot with impetus, energy, creativity, and space, both mental and temporal. But the principality signet was in need of scribes at a point where I felt like I had all those things, so long as it could be something small, and not terribly elaborate.

Enter the Ffraid! A chance to give a token of recognition and thanks to someone who has probably already received another award, and hopefully already has a fancy, colorful scroll, meaning I could do one that focuses on craft and materials rather than bling and design: I.e., vellum and teeny calligraphy.

The initial is taken from British Library MS Arundel 66 f. 284v; I was really happy with how my interpretation of the face turned out. I was also aghast at the state of my gold ink when I pulled it out of the drawer for the first time in more than half a decade, but I gave it a thorough mixing and it turned out that while I couldn't use it as ink, it worked well as paint! If I didn't have the capacity to do gilding, this is a reasonable alternative.

The text reads:

Siridean and Rogned right noble rulers of Insulae Draconis to our dearly beloved cousin the Lady Catherine of Carey greetings and good wishes. Know that long have we observed your labours and many are the reports we have received from trusty and worthy witnesses of the same so that we in our might and justice and in accordance with ancient and honourable law and custom are minded to admit without prejudice or concern you into the ranks and numbers of the most noble Order of Ffraid. In witness whereof we have charged our clerk Ary, called the good, to daw up this present charter which we have signed with our own hands and presented on the vii day of may, anno societatis xxxxvii.

As always when I make up my text as I am calligraphing, I am enormously pleased at how well the spacing turned out in the end.


© 2022, Sara L. Uckelman.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Lindquistringes for Benjamin van Papenburg


Gouache and gold leaf on vellum. The exemplar for this scroll is one I've had on my "todo" list for a long time -- BL MS Lansdowne 851 f. 66.

The text reads:

Omnibus has literas visuris vel audituris Ericus et Jaquelyna regnantes Drachenwaldenses salutem in sanitate. With these our present letters signed and signified by our own hands we the said rulers name, enroll, and confirm our loyal subject Lord Benjamin von Papenburg -- who has served us long and well -- as a member of the Orden des Lindquistringes. Fit manibus nostris xiv dies martii a.s. liv.

Translation of the Latin: To everyone these letters seeing or hearing, Æiríkr and Jacquelyna, rulers of Drachenwald, greetings in good health...done by our hands on the 14th day of March, a.s. fifty-four.

Many thanks to the new Artfer Hours initiative in Durham, which is where much of this got painted and gilded. The bird-themed week is why I added the little green bird.

© 2020, Sara L. Uckelman.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

AoA for John Yarrowe


Given the recipient's name, it was so obvious what I needed to do -- find a medieval MS with yarrow in it and make a page that looked like it could've come from a medicinal. I found a variety of MSs, but liked the best this De Materia Medica image of yarrow from a 10th C Turkish MS.

The text on the left reads:

Achilleos sive yarrow, alias dictam vulgariter gearwe, est herbiferum flos ad solantem spirituum et animorum.

Which translates to:

Achilleos or yarrow, otherwise commonly called gearwe [the Anglo-Saxon name of the plant] is an herbaceous flower for the soothing of spirits.

The right-hand side was intended to read as if it were a translation or gloss of the Latin, but without being a translation:

Yarrowe, otherwise commonly known as John, soothes the spirits of all and is now named a lord of our court.

I'm exceptionally pleased with the calligraphy which I did freehand without even drawing any lines. I feel like I've finally figured out how to write rather than the draw.

© 2019, Sara L. Uckelman.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Lindquistringes for Maud de Elsynge


I didn't intend to do any scribing at Crown Tourney, so I didn't bring my stuff with me. Which just means that I calligraphed this blank (not yet finished, as depicted here) by Greta of Thamesreach with unfamiliar pen, nib, ink, and without a ruler. I'm pretty pleased with my ability to draw evenly spaced lines without a ruler, and while the calligraphy is by no means my best, and I came away with a hand covered in ink, the result is still not too bad. And I can't wait to see the thing when it's wholly done.

Due commendations and salutations to all seeing, hearing, or reading these present letters from Vitus and Isabel, king and queen of Drachenwald. Let all bear witness and testimony to our royal will that on the xix day of October Maud de Elsing is made a Lindquistringes.

© 2019, Sara L. Uckelman.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Sun and Chalice for Agatha of Norwich


I've had this blank, done by Saraswati man-Ikkam, for absolutely ages. It was a pleasure to use it for such a wonderful lady as Agatha.

The text reads:

Go forth and spread the words of Constanza and Duncan rulers of Insulae Draconis who by the power invested in us by the authority of law and custom do recognize our dear subject lady Agatha of Norwich as a member of the Order of the Sun and Chalice on the xix day of October, anno societatis liv. hac testamur (here we witness).

© 2019, Sara L. Uckelman.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Silver Guard for Robert du Prey


This initial is taken from Codex Michaelburanus perg. 1. f. 195r.

I screwed up a bit on the spacing of the calligraphy -- did the top line on the gap between the lines rather than on the text line, and then started the second line of main calligraphy too low. Ah well. Overall, I think it's okay. The text reads (unabbreviated):

His presentibus audite (Pay attention to these presents!) The kingdom of Drachenwald is made strong by those who protect our borders and those who are renowned are numbered amongst the Order of the Silver Guard. Such a warrior is Robert du Prey who we, Vitus and Isabel, enroll today as a member of the said order. Dated xxxviii sept. a.s. liv, and witnessed below.

I love doing these zoomorphic gold dragon initials with the red decoration, but have always struggled with getting the wash background right. This actually worked pretty well.

Two more snaps:

Robert   Robert

© 2019, Sara L. Uckelman.