Sunday, July 19, 2015

Samuel Peter Bump's OBT

Samuel Peter Bump's backlog OBT project was fun and interesting.

Colluding with his fiancee and now wife, Wynefred, Alexandre and I decided to make a crossbow stand.  I first saw Godric Sprague's crossbow stands at Endewearde's Baronial Investiture and then at the East Kingdom University.  Though we have no evidence that they were used in the middle ages there's something to be said for not putting your bow on the ground at SCAdian practices and wars.

I had never done a 'non-scroll award' so it was a good challenge.  And by challenge I must admit that Alexandre Saint Pierre bought all of the materials and did much of the woodwork.

I helped round the edges with a router and traced and painted his arms, the Burdened Tiger badge and painted in the letters that Alexandre outlined for me with a nifty double pencil apparatus of his design.

Using "outdoor" acrylic paint made by FolkArt we hope it will protect the colors from sun damage.  I spoke to several different artists, woodworkers and hardware store personnel about what to use as a finish.  Each one recommended something different.  As a theater person, all around handy guy and experienced woodworker I decided to let Speedbump decide what to finish the oak stand with, if anything.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Iris experiments 2015

Today (3/26/16) I taught my period pigments class again and we played with some of the pigments I made in 2015.  Re-reading this post today I realized that I have learned a lot since then and need to update you all with a new post.  I promise this will happen soon after Easter, aka tomorrow.

In the meantime you can explore my page of references, here.

Collecting the blue iris blossoms as they bloomed, May 30th, 2015 for over a week, I ended up with several hundred flower heads in two gallon sized zip-lock bags.  Taking the advice of Wendy Feldberg, I froze them for later use.  Though there were not freezers in medieval Europe, this seemed like a reasonable compromise with modern obligations.

The chemicals and linen I ordered from Dharma Trading Co. arrived!  I used the wrong alum in these recipes, aluminum sulfate.  It should be 'rock alum' which is evidently potassium aluminum sulfate.  In 2016 I used the correct alum with pretty much the same results.  Blue clothlets when they were wet changing to green the more they dried and painting out green.

I washed all of the linen with modern washing machine soap (Free and Clear Tide) and a 1/4 cup of white vinegar.
Not sure of the weights of medieval linen I ordered a yard of each of the three weights available from Dharma Trading Co. 3.5oz, 5oz and 8oz for making clothlets.

In the Materials and Techniques of Medieval Painting by Daniel V. Thompson, iris green is described (171).  Clothlets are mentioned but not well defined and the process is never described.

Courtesy of Clair Turner I learned that the Glossary of the British Library describes it in depth:


A piece of cloth impregnated with PIGMENT (generally a vegetable dye). A portion of such cloth, when soaked in a little BINDING MEDIUM, releases its colorant and produces an artist's pigment. Clothlets are called petiae in Latin and pezze or pezzette in Italian; bisetus folii refers to clothlets dyed with folium, or turnsole, extract. Clothlets were a convenient way of carrying or shipping vegetal pigments, and they were especially popular from the fourteenth century on, with the growth of the textile trade. Glazes of vegetal dyes were often used to enhance other colours in book ILLUMINATION, since they created a rich, glowing, and transparent effect.

Randy Asplund then clued me in to Mary Merrifield's Original Treatices and there I found my recipes. 

Based somewhat on the recipe translations in her book I made clothlets and prepared egg shells and clam shells with iris juice and a pinch of alum.
I was excited to get started and in a hurry to get something accomplished so I did what all of my friends and family would tell you I do with all of the recipes I work with:  combine techniques from several sources and hope for the best, modifying behavior for the next round based on results!
Also found references in the anonymous treatise  De Arte Illuminandi (translated by Varney pgs 7, 15).

And the paint results from August can be found here:

MOD scroll, Caine Ramsey

Caine's scroll was fun.  This would be my first peerage level scroll.  We began with the inspiration, and awesome words from Alys Mackyntoich:

Darius, King of the Eest, and Etheldreda the Quene, to our right trustie and right weellbeloved Caine Ramsey, greetings.  Wheras by our royall wisdome and princelie cair for the peace and happines of our dominiones, we have caussit the Ordore of Defens to be constituited in this realme; and wheras diveris of our subjectis have by ther severall petitiones humbly besought us that you should be indewit with the beforesaid Ordore; and wheras you have manifested maniefauld skill and excellence in the practeis of defens, and have shewin noblesse, wisedome and faith in your dedis, we do therefore, by these our presents lettiris, insese, indow and indote you as a Master of Defense, ordeaneing the said indewment and dotatione in all tymecomeing to have the full force and strenth of perfyte securitie.  And we do fwrthir giwe and convey wnto you for all the dayes of his lyftyme all honoures, dignities, proffites, liberties and priviledges which are possest and brookit by Peers of the realmme, and decrie and ordeane that you shall possess and enjoye fully and frely Armes by Lettiris Patentes in the forme herein stated: Per pall inverted sable, argent, and azure, two dogs combatant counterchanged and a tower argent.  And, lykeas, for ourselfes and our successoures, we promeiseth in verbo principis to hold the abounvrettin gyft, indewment and dotatione firme and stable, and to cause it to be trewlie observed by all our leiges according to the tennour and intent therof for now and evir.  In witness wherof, we have caussit these our lettiris to be mad patentes, witness ourselfes at Glen Linn, 4 Jullay in the fiftieth year of the Society.

There was a request for 'pretty illumination' with a Scotty dog.  We played with the idea of a ram crest or a garlic scape since "The wild garlics of England... were called ramsons." (Fischer 54), then there was a rumor of 'horrible pants'.  But, always, I came back to the scotty.  So I researched scotty dogs.  Turns out most of them do this cute little head tilt so I somehow had to do that!  
I printed out a version of the inspiration, ripped off the stag crest and made up a sketch of a scotty dog based on pictures of Caine's dog, Kringle and random tilted Scotty dog heads from the internet.

Alexandre wanted to do the gold MOD swords and calligraphy so that was his job.  I researched all of the flowers on the inspiration to make sure they were appropriate for the recipient and try to make sure I was drawing/painting/highlighting them appropriately.  Clockwise from the top border I saw borage (Borago officinalis), roses (Rosa spp.), strawberries (Fragaria spp), daisy (Bellis perennis), pinks (Dianthus spp.), forget me-nots (Myosotis sylvatica) and violets (Viola tricolor).  Mostly I copied the original but the Dianthus may not have been so I went to my plant books and took artistic liberties with their drawings/pictures and general shape/size from the original piece.

And here's the finished scroll: 

 Here's a picture or two in process.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Summary of medieval pigments for a class handout

Medieval Pigments

Minium (red lead), Vermillion (HgS), Brazilwood (Caesalpinia echinata), 
cynople (Brazilwood in chalk?), Folium/Turnsole (Chrozophora tinctoria)(acid), Madder (Rubia tinctorum), Kermes, Red Ochre, Cochineal, Naturally occurring Cinnabar, Stick Lac, Ivy Lac, Dragonsblood (sap of Pterocarpus draco or Dracoena draco), grain (Coccus ilicis stings Quercus coccifera and dies on it)

Silver Blue (a type of verdigris), Egyptian Blue Frit (recipe lost after the fall of Byzantium),
Indigo (Indigoferra), Woad (Isatis tinctoria), Lapis Lazuli, Ultramarine (purified lapis lazuli),
Ultramarine Ash, Azurite, Cornflower Blue, Bilberry Blue, Folium/Turnsole (Chrozophora tinctoria) (alkaline)

Malachite, Verdigris, Terre Vert (gluconite and celadonite), Prasinus (?De Diversis Artibus),
Iris Green, Rue Green, Cabbage Green, Leek Green, Buckthorn (or Sap) Green (Rhamnus spp),
Black Nightshade (leaves), Caprifolium Seed Green, Vergaut (indigo + orpiment)

Saffron, Lead Tin (I) Yellow, Weld (Reseda Luteola), Yellow Ochre, Orpiment (As2S3),
Realgar (orangey As4S4), Buckthorn Yellow (unripe), Massicot Yellow/ Litharge (Yellow Lead), Naples Yellow (Lead-Antimony Oxide) volcanic activity, Violet Yellow (unnamed in De Arte Illuminandi), Turmeric Yellow, Black Poppy Yellow (De Arte Illuminandi), Mosic/Musive Gold (SnS2)

Lichen (Rocella tinctoria), Tyrian Purple (Shellfish purple from Muricidae which is ph sensitive),
Elderberry Juice, Wild Poppy Violet (Strasburg Manuscript recipe), Rose Purple (Mappae
Clavicula, species unspecified), Purple Fluorite

Ceruse/Lead White, Bone White, Chalk White, Gypsum

Brown Ochers (Umber, Raw Siena...)

Carbon Black, Vine Black, Lamp Black

Who are using
Mappae Clacicula, 9-12th century
On Divers Arts Theophilus, 12th century
Liber de Coloribus Illuminatorum Siue Pictorum, also known as Sloane MS No. 1754, 14th century
De Arte Illuminandi, Naples, Biblioteca Nazional, MS XII.E.27, 14th century
Liber diversarum arcium, 14th century
Il Libro dell'Arte Cennini, 15th century
Strasburg Manuscript, 15th century

YIS Adrienne d'Evreus 207-651-5837

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Jamilia al-Suba al-Hadid min Bhakail OBT

Recipient:      Jamilia al-Suba al-Hadid min Bhakail

Award:            Order of the Burdened Tyger

Date:              May 30, A.S. L

Event:             SRWC & K&Q archery champs, Barony of Carillion

Royalty:          Omega and Ethyldreda

SOSN:            DE15-098

Be it known that Jamilia al-Suba al-Hadid min Bhakail al-Sayyidda has distinguished herself upon the occasion of Our Coronation. As autocrat she gathered and inspired a talented group of our subjects to create a glorious day. Therefore We, Darius and Etheldreda, King and Queen of the East, are pleased to admit her... again... into Our Order of the Burdened Tyger, as a sign of her achievement, being certain she shall henceforth avoid such follies ... until next time. Done this Feast Day of St. Hubert the 30th day of May Anno Societatis L at Kings and Queens Archery Championships in Our Barony of Carillion.

Words and Illumination by Lady Adrienne d'Evreus

Calligraphy by Lord Alexandre Saint Pierre

This scroll happened with a great amount of help from her lord, Rowen, who shared her current title and name spelling as well as periods of interest and favorite colors.  Then with help from my lord, Alexadre, who not only did the beautiful calligraphy but mentioned the Visconti hours, a page of which became the inspiration!

I first determined the size and chose LF33v of the Visconti hours as the inspiration.  I resized the inspiration and traced it in pencil to a piece of drawing paper using a light table.  Giving Alexandre the space dimensions for my drawing and his calligraphy, I sent him to play with the alphabet based on the same hours.

1. I inked the drawing then traced it onto the calligraphed 'blank'.  
2. Inked the pencil with India Ink.
3. Then I gilded it...  Three sections, three coats each before the gold.  It took three days.  So many little leaves!
4. Confirming with the signet clerk that the tiger was an unspecified blue, I chose the paint colors to reflect Suba's favorites, cyan blue and pink.
5. Two shades of each paint, plain dark cyan for the tiger, highlights, low-lights, tongue and ears.
6. My least favorite part, white work.  Getting better every time!
7. Touched up the black with black paint and cleaned up anything that needed it.
8. Ding!

It's difficult to reproduce your steps when you're not doing it... guess I should keep a better record while I'm doing it!