Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Mixed-Media Wedding Gift

I was contacted by my adorable friend Sherece, who wanted to commission a piece of artwork to decorate her wedding reception. We talked about some ideas, including a quote she wanted included on it, and I suggested it be our wedding gift to her.

This was an incredibly fun chance to delve into a new style of art, and to create a project full of fun colors, textures, and symbols of love from many different people, particularly the love and admiration of our friends Theresa and Marshall.

Have you ever delved into new styles or media?

Many pictures below, to attempt to show you the color-shifting paint effects as they settled into textures.

Click to look closer.


Monday, July 17, 2017

Baronial Archery Champion

The last month was spent focusing on projects and preparation for Artemisia XX Celebration, and a special Wedding gift project that I'll post about later. Therefore Midge Marsh Melee arrived in a hurried flurry. I had to prepare a scroll for the Baronial Archery Champion with less than a week to do so.

I found an inspiration image on the Bibliothèque nationale de France website, and decided to use the decorative "N" Cadel as the focal point. This would be a quick project but still look nice and fancy for the recipient.

Les premieres Œuvres de JACQUES DEVAULX , pillote en la marine 

Published in 1583, the "First Works of Jacques Devaulx" appears to be a nautical reference.

Lately I've been struggling with pain in my hands and wrists, which makes doing calligraphy and illumination a lot less fun than it has been. Medical testing is forthcoming, so hopefully we can resolve it. Sadly, as a result the calligraphy is a lot less precise than I'd prefer, but given the timeline for completion, it's a win. In retrospect, I should have done a batarde hand, but c'est la vie. Gothic Textura is one I do in my sleep, so that's just what came out.

In the end, Owen y Bwa ap Howell won the competition, and the scroll is in his hands.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Uchiwa AKA Oopsie-wa

My wonderful and amazing apprentice, Satake no Nana aka Shauna Sal Speranza, was long overdue on receiving a Baronial Arts and Sciences award from the Barony of Gryphon's Lair. I begged Their Excellencies to allow me to create the scroll.

My initial plan was to create a custom hand-painted silk folding fan, to support and honor all the work she has put into her Japanese research and persona. Unfortunately time and finances got away from me and when my husband saw an Uchiwa (rigid paper fan) at an Asian shop, I picked it up to use as a frame.

This is one of those cases where I made assumptions and tried to document my work after the fact. Oopsie.

It appears that the Uchiwa, or rigid fan, is a Chinese export, most likely not being popular in Japan until decidedly post-SCA Period. They were largely wood-block printed on rice paper and extremely popular from 1644 until today.

The pien-mien is the Chinese equivalent. The earliest pien-mien (fixed fan) was a fan covered with feathers or silk stretched over a frame and either painted or embroidered. It was not until the Song dynasty [960-1279] that painting these fans became an accepted, indeed esteemed, branch of art. This type of fan derives its name from the use to which it was put: hiding the face and consequently concealing the emotions. Officials, for example, shielded their faces with these fans to signify their unwillingness to be approached by petitioners. reference: Spurlock Museum

Unfortunately I lack the language and searching skills to find sufficient evidence of earlier period examples, even those from China using the internet. This will require books I don't have and additional research. Again, oopsie. But here's a bread crumb I found. 
So, lessons were learned about researching first, and not making assumptions. However, the rigid fan is EXCELLENT for personal cooling (far superior to a folding fan), and since Nana spends a great deal of time marshaling the rapier field, it is still a very usable tool for her.

I used the commercial uchiwa as a frame, traced the shape onto blue paper, and drew her personal unregistered device onto the center. Her colors are navy and hot pink. The text is written in the style of a haiku in faux-Japanese using Finetec gold gouache. I then drew Japanese style motifs on each of the fans in the same gold, and glued it to the fan base using PVA glue.

I left the back of the fan as purchased, with it's pretty Japanese koi pond print. I used a thin strip of gold paper from my bookbinding stash to bind the outer ridge.  It is rather sturdy and creates a wonderful breeze.

The text reads (vertical, right to left):
For outstanding skill
Sharing artistic prowess
Gryphon and Candle

Satake no Nana
June thirty AS LII being 2017


Haiku is a Japanese poetic form consisting of 17 syllables arranged in lines of 5, 7, and 5. Again, assumptions were made without prior research, and I've come to find out that haiku didn't gain distinction until the Tokugawa Era (1603-1770). Oopsie. 

So overall, mistakes were made, but despite all that I like the finished product and Nana liked it so I'll call it a win, if an embarrassing one.

Edit: Nana sent me a link to a Tang Dynasty sample, to solidify the mien-pien information:

Zhou Fang painting (Tang Dynasty)

Court Barony for Conchobhar

Conchobhar is one of those people who is always busy doing things for other people. Always with a note of humor and sarcasm, and we love him for it. I was thrilled to be a part of his project, and excited to once again work with HE Bethany. She and I worked together on Conchobhar's White Scarf Scroll back in the day. What a wonderful thing to come together once again for him.

We based this piece on three things. Her Majesty Gwenevere and Conchobhar's collection of cats, combined with his nonstop heraldic work, in a late-period design.

Matriculation Register of the Rectorate of the University of Basel, Volume 1 (1460-1567),Parchment 232 ff 
Woodcutsof the Triumph of Maximillian I, c.1512-1519

After some planning calls, I did the layout, calligraphy, and acanthus border with gilded accents on Pergamenata. I used Pilot Irishuzoku Sumi ink, Windsor and Newton gouache, and gold leaf is adhered with miniatum ink.

The calligraphy hand on the inspiration piece appeared to be a transitional style that lands somewhere between Humanist and Secretary, so I sort of analyzed and tried to create something similar.

The piece (and my color palette, so our acanthus would match) was then passed on to HE Bethany, who did the illuminated letter, herald and gryphon, and the adorable cats. Note that Isis kitty will have none of the shenanigans, and is probably wondering where her box and sportsball are.