Last year I had this opportunity to attend an event that was based around the idea that laurels would issue challenges to the public and you could take up your choice of the challenges (or as many as you want, really) and submit it to the laurel. It was called the Laurels’ Prize Tourney and took place in the barony of Carolingia last March.
I just love love love this idea and I don’t think that they are doing it again this year which makes me super sad, but alas..
The challenge I took up was issued by Mistress Eva and she requested submitters to create a tiny calligraphed scroll. It could be illuminated or not, and could say whatever we wanted. The only requirements were that it was tiny and had a minimum of 150 characters. Challenge Accepted. Here is the challenge word for word:
Eva’s Tiny Scroll Challenge (Mistress Eva Woderose) – Make a tiny calligraphed piece (and illuminated if you so choose) based off of period sources. Enjoy the aesthetic of period proportion and style. If your scribal heart desires, feel free to make use of period materials and techniques. Each piece must have a minimum of 150 characters of text (but could certainly have more).
Please bring with you any sources you based your piece on so that we can have an intelligent discussion about your beautiful work.
The manuscript that inspired me was the Taverner Prayer Book because it is adorable, it has lovely calligraphy and they did this funky thing where they kept going over on the text so they extended into the borders and I wanted to mimic that little eccentricity. The piece is 7 cm by 5.2 cm and I used gouache and iron gall ink on bristol paper. The words are the chorus from Lord Nicol’s “Malagentia”
The final count of characters is 182 (not including the gold on the top.)
This piece was one of my first times doing calligraphy and yeah, it’s not great but I learned so much from doing this. I got to sit down and work with Mistress Eva who advised me on a lot but I found her advice on ligatures and getting descenders just right was especially helpful. I still refer back to a lot of what she taught me that day.
If you get the opportunity to do something like this I would highly recommend. I am a shy person and it really helped me make a connection with a brilliant scribe (which admittedly made her much less scary) and I got to mingle with a bunch of other artisans.
Have you participated in a challenge like this? I would love to hear what you’ve done!
One of the reasons that I didn’t start scribing earlier was because I had so many ideas of things I wanted to try, I didn’t want to fall in love with scribal. I’m really terrible at reining myself in and focusing on just a few new things (this is why I’m slow to get good at anything.) But, the call of shenanigans was strong so I tried it, fell in love, and began my journey down that path.
While working on the “troll scroll” I heard that there was a scroll blank competition happening at Birka and I was intrigued. I found an inspiring manuscript and gave it a shot. This is the scroll that taught me that you have to wait for your colors to dry before doing white work on top. It is so discouraging to watch your pretty white line turn pink.. and then try to fix it by adding more white and it not only staying pink but also looking clumpy… I also had pretty thick and wobbly black lines so I learned about getting that a bit more consistant, (use the very tip of the brush). The scroll was inspired by the Breviaire de Marie de Savoie, an early 15th century Milanese breviary. I really like this manuscript and would like to return to it someday. It is absolutely gorgeous and I love the animals.
The picture I took of it is meh because I was working on it in the hotel room at the event. I need to seriously work on getting all my scrolls done in time and scanned. It’s hard. Anyway, without further ado:
Media: Gauache and old powder/paint on bristol paper
Thank you for reading! I would love to hear your thoughts or your own learning experiences.
Welcome to my first real post! I’m going to show some of my older projects first because I don’t have too much and it isn’t that overwhelming of a project.
The first scroll I ever did was inspired by a handsome lord who I was beginning to grow fond of. He was one of the many people I had met that year, and also one of the many I knew fighting in crown. I told him that I wasn’t sure who I was going to cheer for and he seemed offended that I would consider anybody else but him soooo I asked him to convince me he was worth it.
Well, he wrote to me the most magical argument which was quite inspiring and he ended it with “and… this never goes on a scroll.”
Obviously, this inspired me to learn how to put it onto a scroll so I could troll him. So, this is what I did and also how I begun my journey into the scribal arts.
I based the page off of the Book of Kells and I learned a lot. I made the mistake of making the page a little too small (I guess this was a BIG book!) and the bottom of the page looks a little funny because it is not as detailed as the rest. I wanted to use real gold and felt bad using gold gauche but I was informed that was okay because shell gold would have been appropriate for this piece.
I got to explore knotwork. Some of the knotwork is copied exactly from the page, some of it I created myself, and some of the copied work was improvised because accidents happen. 😛
I’m leaving out the calligraphy for the privacy of my lord but trust me, the words are glorious!
Overall, I would say I am happy with my first scroll. I had a lot of fun creating it and giving it away.
I would love to hear your comments below! Thanks for reading!