When I was asked to do this scroll assignment, I was told a lot about Ezekiel. Everything I learned about this man made me think of him as a pillar of his community and that he should probably already have his silver wheel. I was selfishly glad I got to be the one to do it but this also meant my anxiety was through the roof because I wanted it to be interesting, unique, and exciting and him.
So, I tried something different. I found out that Ezekiel was interested in merchants, economics, and politics, especially within Italy and the Byzantine Empire. I spent way more time than I am willing to admit researching medieval merchants and travelers (and it was surprisingly difficult to find manuscripts with illuminations in this area of interest). I learned a lot while in my rabbit hole but nothing seemed perfect until…
…I found some maps that were incredibly intriguing. They were created by a Turkish sailor, admiral, and cartographer Piri Reis. The first maps I came across were really promising but they ended up being copies of his earlier work and out of SCA period. I delved deeper to find his original maps which were drawn in the 16th century. Side note: If you are interested in this stuff at all, you should look into his work. He has some maps that are labeled very mysterious because they showed things that he had no right knowing!
So, I found the earlier maps, and in that collection, he had a map of Venice. I thought this would be a good compilation of the things I knew about Ezekiel.
The not-so-good: I decided that I would try palladium for the first time on this scroll (to make the silver wheel really pop) and I found it fairly difficult to work with. The metal didn’t want to stick to the miniatum like gold would. I have received some tips for next time but it was extremely frustrating at the time.
The good: I love trying new styles of scrolls. I wanted this to fit the recipient’s interests so I looked for a long time to find something that I thought worked well. I think a map is risky but I’m still glad I did it. To this day, I’m not sure what other styles I could have done that I would have been as satisfying as this one.
Materials: Gold and palladium gilding, gouache, iron gall ink, Calli red ink, on Bristol paper
Words by Olalla Tristana