Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Happy Holidays!

To celebrate this holiday season, I'd like to share a manuscript page with you (click to enlarge).

Source: British Library, Add. 16997 f.57 Book of Hours, Use of Paris. 1st quarter of the 15th century

This page featuring the Adoration of the Child features beautiful floral motifs, brilliant colors, and acanthus details. I wish you all the very best of holidays, no matter how or with whom you choose to celebrate.

Lots of love,
Crystal / Jaquelinne

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Master of the Laurel, Italian Style

Back in August, one of my Artemisian scribal heroes, HE Mistress Heloys de Bec, asked me if I would be willing to do a Laurel scroll for Sir Marcello da Donnici in an Italian style. Which of course, was a resounding yes.

I wanted this piece to scream "Late 15th Century Florence" without being a copy of one exact manuscript. I collected inspiration pieces which I shuffled and analyzed throughout the layout/sketching process. I found that this stretched my creative muscles a little more than usual, trying to aim for a specific style rather than a copy.

My inspiration pieces included:

Philostratus Flavius: Opera

Philostratus Flavius: Opera

Biblia dos Jeronimos

Philostratus Flavius: Opera and Bibilia do Jeronimos are are both often attributed to the talented Florentine master, Attavante Degli Attavanti, but the Philostratus Flavius: Opera is now agreed to have been Boccardino il Vecchio.

Another piece that inspired me was this, found online and attributed to Attavante Degli Attavanti, but sadly I cannot find the source of this page (and believe me, I've scoured my sources to try to find it!). It is said that Attavante did work for Matthias Corvinus of Hungary as he was building his magnificent library, the Bibliotheca Corviniana. The aforementioned Philostratus Flavius: Opera is from this library. Note: The book, Bibliotheca Corviniana indicates that this was indeed Attavante's work, and the manuscript is in the Vattican library. When I'm less swamped, I'll come back and edit this post to include that reference.

Typical motifs include a ton of acanthus, medallions featuring symbolism, jewels and pearls, and vibrant jewel tones. I chose to ignore the common theme of putti and/or cherubs.

The final piece included Sir Marcello's registered device, devices from his associated households, and elements of devices from those who have had a strong influence in his life, and of course several laurel wreaths.

Photos were taken after Her Majesty, Esther, had signed the scroll but before His Majesty, Ibrahim, had a chance to do so. Rest assured, this happened before it was awarded.

This piece is on Arches hot press using Winsor and Newton gouache, Finetec metallic pigments, and Pilot Ishirozuki ink. The calligraphy is a humanist hand, often found in Renaissance Italy.

If there is significant interest, I can put together an album of "in progress" pictures, showing the different stages of development this piece went though, and what order I worked in.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Master of Defense Scroll

Several months ago, the lovely and talented Bethany of Windermere asked me to collaborate with her on one of Artemisia's Master of Defense premiers. The obvious answer was of course YES!

I was told that he wanted the piece to be based on this "Fechtbook." I'm afraid I know nothing about its source, so I just used this image when it came to doing the calligraphy.

I very quickly learned how incredibly a Roman hand is - Be it Trajan or New Roman. Everything must be uniform, straight, and clean. And all those serifs? They are a blasted nightmare. I don't think I've ever struggled with a hand the way I struggled to emanate this piece. Suffice it to say that I never got it quite to my preferred level of quality, but got it to a point that I hoped I wouldn't embarrass myself.

I actually like that the u's are v's, even though it can make reading it a bit difficult at times.

When I completed the calligraphy and decorative cadel swashy doodad (my favorite part of the piece), I passed it back to Bethany, who unfortunately had an explosion of life. She passed the piece over to the lovely Adele Blanked / Adeliz Fergusson who did the illumination. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Vigil Book

Adventures in bookbinding! I must admit this is a new obsession for me. When His Excellency, Don Aaron Carter was included as one of the three Premier members of the Order of the Masters of Defense for Artemisia, I was thrilled. Aaron is an amazing man! My dear husband raised my hand for me, offering me to do his vigil book. I'm still really shy about this skill as I'm so new to it, but when he said yes, I did a happy dance.

Aaron's device is green and has wagon wheels on it, so I was not surprised when he asked for the book to be green. I managed to find some vintage wagon wheel buttons to incorporate into the design as well.

As I don't tool leather (...yet, she says cautiously), I was extremely happy to find a piece green goat skin suitable to bind the book.

The paper is a higher quality standard copy paper. 32lb, if I recall correctly, with a nice creamy texture. My quest to find a high quality paper that doesn't have annoying watermarks continues.

I hand folded the signatures, hand punched the binding holes, and hand stitched the signatures together with waxed linen thread.

My father made me a book press, which I then used to shape the spine into a curve. After that, I glued on a silk ribbon for a bookmark, headbands, and used cotton muslin as a spine cover thingy... I'm not sure the technical term for this bit is. Time to crack open my books again!

I then attached book board (an ugly, undocumented process), and carefully stretched the goat skin over the book board. Mid-way through this process, I sewed on the button, glued in a strap, and finished the cover with a deep sigh of relief that my strap/button plan worked.

The end papers are a white embossed pearlescent scrapbook paper that I decided were perfect based on the fact that Aaron's elevation garb was to be all white satin, dripping in pearls. A touch of foreshadowing, if you will.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Notebook Largesse

When our glorious Majesties of Artemisia announced they would be travelling to Avacal for their premier coronation, and requested largesse to take for the occasion, I knew exactly what I wanted to make. Hand-bound notebooks, covered in leather.
As I was also in the process of beginning to make a vigil book for a friend (a post to come later), I decided to practice my meager bookbinding skills by making a few small notebooks. Killing two birds with one stone, you see.

The first, as you can see, is bound in a smooth supple tan leather, and the signatures are made of a taupe high quality paper. The end papers are pieces of scrapbook paper that I thought was pretty. Queue my obsession with the classic damask pattern.

The signatures are hand stitched with waxed linen thread, and bound with linen and twine on the inside spine. The book board is simple cardboard, but certainly sufficient for such small books.

The second was covered in some powder blue suede, and the signatures are a plain white paper. Its end papers are similar to the first, but the colors are grey and white. I rounded the corners of the cover of the blue book, and I quite like the look. I neglected to take pictures of the second book prior to handing them over for largesse, alas.

There was a largesse derby held, so I handed them in despite the fact that there were only two instead of a half dozen. They just take so much longer to make than I'd anticipated. Her Majesty posted this picture of my entry, so that's the only image I have of the blue book!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Protege Belt

My amazing husband became protege to Baron Don Vilhelm Silberhammer at Solstice Court in December.  Let me back up a bit, for those not into the SCA.

There are those who receive recognition for their outstanding service to this historical study/reenactment group. Baron Vilhelm is one such who received that recognition, by way of an award called the Order of the Pelican.

Members of this order sometimes take on students, to learn the ways of service. These students are called proteges, and are recognized by yellow belts they are asked to wear. Vilhelm and Sven took on that master/student relationship in an official capacity in December.

Sven's persona is that of a Templar, who cannot wear buckles (according to the Rule of the Templar, the book on how Templar soldiers were required to live, dress, eat, etc.). Templars often wore rope belts - a practice Sven took on readily. When it came time to don a yellow belt, however, we determined the best way to make this happen would be a linen sash.

I added a section at one end of the sash with a symbol from Baron Vilhelm's device embroidered onto it. This helps determine who Sven is "tied to," and it becomes a part of Sven and Vilhelm's history together, perhaps one day to be passed on to someone else.

This is done in black silk, mostly stem stitch, on dandelion yellow linen. This section of the sash is lined, so the ugly back side of the embroidery won't show or snag on anything.

Other than the fact that their tongues sticking out kind of got lost in translation and ended up looking like lame beaks, I'm rather pleased.

Friday, April 17, 2015

White Scarf Closure

This blog post is a difficult one for me, on several levels. If I get too wordy, forgive me in advance.

Reason #1: This was difficult because of SCA political reasons. If you're not in the SCA, skip down to Reason #2. The short version is that Artemisia has chosen to close the Order of the White Scarf, because there is a new Peerage specific for rapier called the Master of Defence. A new Grant level rapier award was opened in its place (Order of the Defender of the Papillon).

I have no issues with the actions taken, it's just a bit bittersweet because the White Scarf has a special place in my heart. I spent many years stalking the rapier field and have had my hands on more than a few White Scarf scrolls. Some of my dearest friends are members of the order.

I was very excited to be asked to collaborate with Mistress Bethany of Windermere to create a commemorative scroll in honor of this historic event in Artemisia's history.

Reason #2: Moments after Bethany dropped the layout and inspiration artwork off for me to begin working on the calligraphy, I was called by my obstetrician's office, and asked to go check myself into the hospital. Based on some test results they had just gotten back, I was sick. Very sick in fact, and they were worried about my son who was at 25 weeks gestation.

I was diagnosed with HELLP Syndrome, and it was too late for my poor son. I was induced into labor and after nearly three difficult and scary days in the hospital, gave birth to my stillborn angel. I was kept for another 24 hours for observation because of the gravity of the health issues I was going through.

Nobody can understand the agony of these tragedies but those who have gone through them, but most people have been very kind and understanding as my dear husband and I grieve the loss of our son. When I got home, I had to make a choice - pass the calligraphy assignment on to someone else, or use it as a catharsis to help me heal. I chose the latter. Bethany was so very patient with me - this took far longer than it should have because I did not anticipate the physical requirements my recovery would have on my body.

Now these amazing men and women of Artemisia are not only tied to my memories of this order, but are linked to my personal healing in a way they will never truly know.

Don Conchobhar mac Michil wrote the text. I did the calligraphy, and of course the lovely Mistress Bethany did the illumination, based on a fencing treatise by Thibault.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Fiametta's Laurel

Last August I jointly worked on a project with a crew of ridiculously talented individuals. I hadn't blogged about it previously, because I never got a picture of the final, finished product. Well, I've decided to write about it anyway because I *do* have pictures of my part, and an in-progress photo as well.

The team comprised of:

Scroll design/layout by: Yamnouchi Eidou
Calligraphy by: Maîtresse Jaquelinne de Radonvilliers, OL
Illumination by: HE Bethany of Windermere, OL, Lady Malatesta, Duchess Caryn von Katzenberg, OL, and Lady Allesandria de Capella

Eidou started the project by compiling a Pinterest page full of late Italian manuscripts to use as inspiration, and collecting a list of Fiametta's "wishes," which included diapering and sparkle. I asked him to include pearls because when she became an apprentice to Duchess Caryn, she dissected a pearl necklace and gave pieces to her friends. We decided that the calligraphy should be in Humanist, and I volunteered.

Lord Eidou created the layout and made it available electronically for me to print out and use to trace out the final scroll. This was a great way to collaborate across two Baronies to make this project more successful. Duchess Caryn and Lord Eidou crafted the text, which I then had to tweak just a hair to get it to all fit in the space available on the end product.

I then passed the piece on to the Illumination team to go wild. This is an "In-Progress" picture, provided by Duchess Caryn.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Saccoccia Largesse

When my beautiful Baroness made a cry for largesse to give to visiting nobles at our premier court event, 12th Night, I almost immediately knew what I wanted to do. A few weeks following this event, there was to be a Masked Ball in another Barony, with an Italian theme. So I chose to make a few saccoccias so that the lovely ladies would have an Italian accessory to sport.

I'm afraid that these are far from my best work - I'm a bit rusty with the needle these days, and I was having fights with the iron as well as the fabric.  But they are what they are!

The first is a lovely green damask (cut from a curtain I picked up at a thrift store!), lined in a horrible, evil, shreddy nasty satin. The lining pealed out of the sewn front slit like a banana, when I was flipping the lining inside where it belongs. So I had to make bias tape from the same evil satin (hiss), to clean up that hot mess. Don't we all have fabrics in our stash that were purchased unwittingly over a dozen years ago that we are a bit ashamed of?

The second is a brocade from my stash lined in a similarly evil satin, but it behaved a bit better on this one. I added a silk wrapped button as a pointless decoration for the fun of it, left over from my eggplant veste project. This one has a more rounded, tear shaped bottom.

The third is a bit of damask left over from my butter sottana from the Artemisian Costuming Challenge, lined in white linen. The casing for the belt is made of ivory silk taffeta.