January 2018 – Iceland

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“Island” is Iceland in Icelandic.

Calligraphy and Illumination by Baroness Cassandra Boell von Bayer

Why did you choose this culture? I chose it because so much interesting literature was written there – the sagas, some wonderful shorter stories, such as Adun and his Bear – which was my inspiration for the art. The story is about a typically northern (Norse, viking, Icelandic) understanding of gift exchange.
Materials used: acrylic paint on paper.
What is your favorite medium to work in? My favorite mediums are pencil and oil paints.
What is a C&I technique that is challenging to you, or not your favorite? Challenging media are any water based paints (like acrylic). They dry too fast for comfort.
What is a piece of advice would you give a new scribe? Buy the very best quality paints and especially brushes you can manage. They really do make a difference.

February 2018 – Italian

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Once a mosquito came a-buzzing round the happy place
Where in his mother’s lap Love lay sleep-bound with pretty grace;
Said Love, aroused from slumber by the hum: “How from so small a body can so great a clamour come,
Awaking all?”
Beguiling him with song, Venus replied:
“Thou too art small, yet mortals wake who on the earth abide
And the Gods all up in the sky,
Hearing thee cry.”
(Torquato Tasso, second half of the 16th century; translated by Lorna de’Lucchi)

Calligraphy and Illumination by Mistress Rhonwen glyn Conwy

Why did you choose this culture? I didn’t; it chose me.    🙂   We lost our Italy person midway through the process, and I like Italian, so I stuck with it rather than choosing a different one.

What is the inspiration for your piece and why did it appeal to you? My inspiration is A Book of Hours for the Use of Rome, Naples c 1480, attributed to Matteo Felice.  It appealed to me because I had selected an Italian poem about Venus and her son, Love, who is often represented by the figure of Cupid.  Since the piece was for February (Valentine’s Day), I thought all the little putti (angel babies) running around was a good fit.

Materials used: Calli brand India ink; Mitchell nib, size 4, in a wooden holder; gouache paints

Other notes of interest about your piece: I find it interesting that one of the putti is sticking its hand into a lion’s mouth!

What drew you to participate in this project? I love the calendar project.  I think it’s a beautiful way to highlight our spectacular scribes and bring our whole Kingdom together.

What is your favorite medium to work in? I love doing illumination, but the calligraphy is my favorite.  I really like doing very period all-text scrolls when they’re appropriate, but I know most people would prefer a bit of bling!

What is a C&I technique that is challenging to you, or not your favorite? Whitework continues to challenge me.

What is a piece of advice you would give a new scribe? Don’t get discouraged when what you make doesn’t look quite like you had hoped it would.  Learn something from every piece you make, apply it to the next one, and keep practicing.  As with any skill, the more you do it, the better you’ll become!

March 2018 – Jewish

Then Miryam the Prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women went after her in dance with timbrels, and Miryam chanted for them: Sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously… the horse and the rider He has hurled into the sea.  (Shir Miryam, the song of Miryam)

Calligraphy and Illumination by Mistress Sunniva Ormstung

Persona:  12th century, Norse father, Jewish mother

Why did you choose this culture?  Echoes reality.

What is the inspiration for your piece and why did it appeal to you?  I have always loved and admired Miryam, sister of Aaron and Moses.  She played a central role in saving the baby Moses and was a lively presence throughout the Exodus.  Also, she was known as a prophetess, a rare title for a woman.

This should be seen as an illustration for passover.

The passage I used describes the scene at the red sea, and the song that she sang in praise of the salvation of her people.  Great stuff, although I have always been sorry for the horses.  The prophets were not fond of horses, but one must remember that horses were the tanks of that day.

Materials used:  Japanese sumi colors, transparent watercolor, and gouache. Also india ink.

Other notes of interest about your piece:  Wild as it may seem all the weird animals , etc. in the large Hebrew letters of Miryam’s name are copied from various manuscripts!  Who could make them up!

What drew you to participate in this project?  Sounded like fun.

What is your favorite medium to work in? For scrolls the colors mentioned above.  In general, oils.

What is a C&I technique that is challenging to you, or not your favorite? I have a love/hate relationship with gold leaf.  It looks great when it done, but sometimes I have more of it on my eye lashes then on the paper.

What is a piece of advice you would give a new scribe?  Look through a lot of ms. and find a style that you might be able to copy.  Don’t start with the most complicated style.  Grow into it.  If you have trouble with the human form choose earlier ms.  with simpler drawing of people or stick to flowers or, if you are very mathematical try some of the geometric borders.   And it is not “cheating” to trace things, nor to use a ruling pen and triangle to get clean edges.

Remember this is a game…and enjoy

April 2018 – German

In the joyful springtime
when blossoms are springing,
when limes bud all over
and green grow the beeches,
the birds with good reason
fall gaily a-singing,
for love, they discover,
again in their reach is,
each finds a mate,
then their mirth is great,
whereat I wax elate,
for all their songs were hushed by winter’s treason.

(Heinrich von Veldeke/ Minnesangs Frühling (12th C.) 

Calligraphy and Illumination by Lady Altani Khatagidai

Persona: Mongol from the Ordos region of present-day Inner Mongolia, c. 1300.

Why did you choose this culture? I am currently learning German mundanely, and a German friend of mine (who is also a SCAdian) suggested that I do a page in a mediæval German style. Granted, modern German and Middle High German are… different, but it was also a fun foray into a style I hadn’t previously explored much.

What is the inspiration for your piece and why did it appeal to you? I tend to prefer geometric/botanical forms when illuminating scrolls, and figured botanical imagery would lend itself best to the springtime. The Eberler Bible (1464) provided numerous examples of illuminated floral motifs (as well as exquisite historiated initials), and the helpful supporting researchers behind this year’s calendar endeavour directed me to a handy text in the form of a song from the Minnesangs Frühling, a collection of mediæval German songs about springtime and courtly love. The selected song is called ‘In dem aberellen’ (‘In April’).

Materials used: Ink/gold leaf/gouache on pergamenata.

Other notes of interest about your piece: The songwriter depicted in the historiated initial I is Heinrich von Veldeke, the 12th-century author of the particular Minnesang from which the text is borrowed. His appearance here is based on a painting of him from the Codex Manesse (early 1300s).

The first line of the featured stanza was changed from the original wording (‘In April’ became ‘In the joyful springtime’, as best as I could translate) when I first began scribing this page, as I was under the impression that although the other spring months were still available, the month of April had already been spoken for. I found out later, once the page was nearly finished, that April was up for grabs again. Oh well! 🙂

What drew you to participate in this project? TL;DR I was asked very nicely. 🙂 I actually had been out of the scribing game for a while due to some hefty shifts in mundane life, and Mistress Rhonwen happened to find me right as I was considering jumping back into the fray. This was an opportunity I was honoured to be presented with, given the artistic proficiencies of my fellow scribes of the East.

What is your favorite medium to work in? In the SCAdian context, I love working with gouache, as I find it to be a very forgiving paint (provided I don’t accidentally drip water on what’s already painted!) Mundanely, most of my doodles never make it beyond the pencil stage, although the pencilling can become rather detailed.

What is a C&I technique that is challenging to you, or not your favorite? The hardest part of a scroll for me is simply the initial layout – walking the thin line between too sparse and too crowded, and making sure border, text, device, and everything else can come together in a way that satisfies the mediæval aesthetic (which changes, depending on the style of a given scroll) without overwhelming the modern eye. I have taken to playing around in photo-manip software with resizing text and image elements to conjure layouts, ensuring that I have a workable concept before I even put pencil to parchment… although this approach is admittedly overkill at times.

What is a piece of advice you would give a new scribe? Take all the time you need in learning the art of scribing – practice makes perfect (or should I say ‘Übung macht den Meister’ here?), and accept that you will, at first, make mistakes… but over time, your technique will improve, your ink and paint will flow more naturally, and you will, hopefully, continue to find inspiration in the works of your fellow scribes – from the Middle Ages and from the Current Middle Ages alike. And remember to enjoy what you do!

May 2018 – French

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Is there no gentleman among you who would perform some feat of arms for the love of his lady? If there is, then here I am, ready to go forth fully armed and mounted to tilt with the lance three times, to land three blows of the battle axe, and three strokes of the dagger. So let there be someone who can undertake such a feat, and all for his lady. Now let us see amongst you Englishmen if there be any of you in love.”  (Histoire ancienne jusqu’à  César, Perrin Remiet)

Illumination by Lady Aaradyn Ghyoot
Calligraphy by Mistress Eleanor Catlyng

Why did you choose this culture? I have French heritage, and because when I think about “myself in medieval times” this is how I see myself. I bounced around a lot in time periods before I settled on the 14th century.

What is the inspiration for your piece and why did it appeal to you? Art inspired by Royal MS 20 D I f6r, circa 1330. The first fancy “court” dress I ever made was a cotehardie for a pas d’armes. It seemed fitting that I do a tourney piece for my calendar page.

Materials used: gouache on perg

Other notes of interest about your piece: Unlike other tourney pages, there are no ladies present on this one. The English (standing behind the King) are armed for defense. The French Knights who issued the challenge don’t reveal their faces, but are prepped and ready for the List. This isn’t for pomp, this looked to me to be Knights calling out men not worthy to face them.

What is your favorite medium to work in? Gouache on vellum- the feeling of the vellum really helps me suspend belief and helps me feel closer to period.

What is a C&I technique that is challenging to you, or not your favorite? I am a poor calligrapher, and am exceedingly grateful for the excellent Calligraphers in the Kingdom!

What is a piece of advice you would give a new scribe? Keep scribing. Even if you don’t have an assignment- don’t stop creating.

June 2018 – Hungarian

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Soldiers, what finer worth is there upon this earth than the borderlands can show? Where in the time of Spring beautiful birds all sing setting our hearts all aglow – the fields have a fresh smell where dew from heaven fell, delighting us through and through!

Let the foe but appear – brave soldiers have no fear, their hearts are roused by battle. High-spirited they rise, and shouting their war-cries quickly they prove their mettle. Some fall, wounded or slain, but the foe flees again – our lads have suffered little.

Arabian steeds – dash, fly, heeding the trumpet-cry, then, those standing sentinel dismount, and with swords drawn, wait until the new dawn. When night on the battle fell, the soldiers, tired and spent, go to sleep in their tent for a brief refreshing spell.

For honour and good name, for manhood and for fame, they leave everything behind — they give up all they own nobly, and quite alone, staunch models of humankind — like hunting hawks they fly across the smoke-stained sky, of the wind they one remind!

Braves of the borderlands, noble and glorious band! Warriors of grand repute! Through the whole world your name has won honour and fame like rich orchards ripe with fruit.

With good luck and riches may God fill your britches – may God’s boon be absolute!

(Stanzas (1, 2, 4, 5, 9) from Balassi Balint’s most famous poem, “A Soldier’s Song”)

Calligraphy and Illumination by Lady Palotzi Marti

Persona: I’m Lady Palotzi Marti (that’s Martha from Palocz, a small town in northern Hungary). I’m a 15th century Hungarian who is now living in the East Kingdom, and the clothes are much more comfortable here.

Why did you choose this culture? I didn’t choose it, it chose me: I’m mundanely Hungarian, and I actually speak the language, so there really wasn’t much choosing to do.

What is the inspiration for your piece and why did it appeal to you? I get most of my inspiration from the Bibliotheca Corviniana, which was the library of King Matthias of Hungary (ruled 1458-1490). He purchased most of the books from Italy, but because he needed to employ artists to, at the very least, add his arms to the books he bought, sometimes he bought undecorated books and had his court scribes decorate them, and sometimes, his court scribes did the copying as well as the illumination. (Said court scribes were probably Italian, but let’s not get bogged down in details.) In those relatively rare cases where a book was produced entirely by Matthias’ scribes in Buda, they used this type of decoration – kind of like the poor cousin of Attavante’s Florentine style, but still quite pretty in its own right.

The text itself is a different story, set about a century later, which is quite anachronistic — in period, it was possible for a book to be decorated much later than it was written, but the other way around simply didn’t happen — but it was too perfect to not use: Balassi Balint (that’s Valentine of the Balassa family) was a nobleman, soldier, and poet during the 16th century Ottoman wars in Hungary, and “A Soldier’s Song” is arguably his most famous poem. None of his poetry was actually published during his short-but-adventurous life, but there’s evidence that his love poetry, especially, was passed around in manuscript copies. Unlike his contemporary bard, Tinodi Lantos Sebestyen (that’s Sebastian the lutenist from Tinod), whose idea of rhyming was to end every line in “-nak” or “vala”, Balassi used the Hungarian language to its fullest, to the point that there’s a rhyme scheme named for him. This poem uses that rhyme scheme, and the translation I chose does its best to follow it, too.

Materials used: Since the intent here was to make something that would reproduce well, I worked on Bristol board and used gold paint (Pearl Ex brilliant gold in gum arabic) instead of leaf. Every time I work on paper, I’m reminded why I don’t like working on paper…. The rest of the materials are what I usually use: oak gall ink, walnut ink, vermilion, madder rose, Verona green earth (green mud!), viridian, ultramarine, azurite, titanium white, lead white, bone black.

Other notes of interest about your piece: The coat of arms at the top is the Balassa family’s. The arms at the bottom are of the Arpad-house, the first ruling dynasty of Hungary. (Which is some more anachronism, since the Arpad-house died out in 1301, but the arms of the Kingdom of Hungary were in flux during the 15th and 16th centuries, so going back to the older version seemed a good compromise.)

What is a C&I technique that is challenging to you, or not your favorite? Let’s just say I Don’t Do Blackletter.

July 2018 – Mongolian

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Baγačudün jaidalaa. Arγamaγün dabkiγa. Olan tümenü daγulalčaa.
Ečige ekeyin sorlayin. Mončuγün ber jaidangün {par par} činggiyin
Adali qarčaγaiyin burgibar, barilduγači jasaγulün daγun qalidiyer.
Adali qarčaγačiyin dokiyalayin, jasaγuli barilduγači čolatai silügleyin.
Kümüsün ; al, köken joduγači ömüdüyi eteng γutuli emusün
Anu-yi dörbeken qarbuyi. {šob}! Bulu modun embüreyi.
Surčin yabaγan bulčiγanayin. Anu adaγu jinggineyin.
Köseriyer alqu-iyen! Aγuriyer simedkeiyen! Sergügelgeiyen!
Tuγün isün čaγan kilγasun quruljayin.
Boltuγai köke Tngriyi naγadumči nidüleyi eče!

Translation:
The children ride. The horses run. The people sing.
(as) Parents (of riders) decorate the manes, the bareback horses with their red neck tassels do{snort contentedly}
As Falcons rise through the clouds, so too the wrestlers soar on the Zasuuls’ voice.
Like a falconer signals (to a falcon), Zasuuls sing songs of the wrestlers triumph/rank.
Men wear Zodag, Shuudag and Gutal of red and blue.
They draw and 4 arrows fly, {Thwack!} The wood cylinders (targets) tumble down.
The Archers move here and there on foot. They ride swiftly on horse.
Walk with the earth! Absorb the atmosphere! Awaken your senses!
The nine white horsehair banners (of Genghis Khan) flutter in the wind.
May the Eternal Tengri watch carefully over the athletes of the Nadaam!

Text note: Keep in mind that Mongolian is read top to bottom, left to right. When written sideways for English reading of poetry, in this case, you must read the bottom sentence first and upwards from there to read the poem in the way intended by the author, the way it is written in the illumination.

Calligraphy and Illumination by Baghatur Borujin Acilaldai

Persona: A Hungarian Pechneg of the late 12th early 13th century. I am interested in Steppes cultures and I am descended of Turkic and Hungarian German peoples. Also, it offered me the opportunity to “exist” at a time that historically held the opportunity to do many of things in which I am interested.

Why did you choose this culture? I have always found the Uighir script(Classical Mongolian) to be a beautiful written language and as a hobby I have been learning how to write in the script properly for a while now. Making scrolls and things with a functional language is an opportunity to share that with others.

What is the inspiration for your piece and why did it appeal to you? Pre-classical Mongolian (Uighur script)- and- the border of the only known surviving sample of early Mongolian flat woven carpet. It was recently sold at auction on Christies of London on the 21rst of April, 2016. The title as of last sale was: “AN IMPORTANT MONGOL EMPIRE WOOL FLATWOVEN CARPET: Central Asia or China, late 13th or first half 14th century.”

Not many Early Mongolian woven textiles still survive. The moment I found out about it, I knew I would want to do create a scroll or Illumination from it.

Materials used: Bristol Vellum, Gouache, ink and synthetic brush

Other notes of interest about your piece: It is written in Classical Mongolian, Uighur script. The text is original and I learned how to do this by studying the language, grammar and conjugation from various sources. Most prominently http://www.linguamongolia.com/index.html

What is your favorite medium to work in? Well…my favorite thing to do is word smithing. As for medium, I try to research and create complete, original works that specifically pertain to the person receiving. I have no favorite, though I am most often called upon to do early Russian, Mongolian and Turkic persona scrolls.

What is a C&I technique that is challenging to you, or not your favorite? Ah…the most challenging is simple ink and quill imitating woodcut imagery. All you have is you, the ink and the paper. Every time you touch pen to paper you must exercise exceptional caution, because to correct misplaced ink, one must start over again.

What is a piece of advice you would give a new scribe?
1. Don’t be afraid to collaborate with others to get scrolls done. Do the part that bring you joy and share the other parts with those who like to do those.
2. If you don’t have time to do a scroll that is requested of you, say so right away, so that it may be assigned elsewhere and given on time to the recipient.

August 2018 – English

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You will go safely on your way & you shall not lose your gear. When you lie in your tent, your sleep will be sweet.

Through fog & flood, through blizzard & swarm, I have come. Through all obstacles I have traveled to reach your gates.

So I say to you now, go forth & travel unto the ends of the Earth. There you will find wonders.

(Original work based on Proverbs)

Illumination by Baroness Emma Makilmone
Calligraphy by Duchess Thyra Eiriksdottir
Words by Lady Lillie von der Tann

Persona: Like a leaf on the wind.

Why did you choose this culture? I wanted to remain flexible for the settings around me.

What is the inspiration for your piece and why did it appeal to you? I’ve used this source many times (The Luttrell Psalter) and knew it had what we needed.

Materials used: Mostly Windsor Newton guauche on pergamenta.

Other notes of interest about your piece: The calligrapher loves flamingos!

What is a C&I technique that is challenging to you, or not your favorite? Early Celtic is KNOT my favorite! Hurts my brain.

What is a piece of advice you would give a new scribe? The more you invest in your efforts, the greater your zen and the recipients delight.

September 2018 – Armenian

Dzovinar told them about her dream: – In my dream, tonight, Saint Garabed revealed to me That the Khalif, in dire straits, Has pledged to sacrifice you to his idols. When he tries to do this, You should fend for yourselves. He will sacrifice you to his gods, my sons. Run away, go to the city of the Armenian king. Follow the bright star at night, And at daytime ask for directions To the land of the eastern king.”
(‘Sasunts’i Davit’, ‘David of Sassoun’, an oral Armenian folk epic)

Calligraphy and Illumination by Lady Keziah Planchet

Persona: I’m working on developing a persona for an early 14th century French city woman. Being raised SCAdian, I’ve had a problem pinning down one persona. I did 10th century Danish through high school and now have found myself in love with the illuminations and embroideries of the early 14th century.

Why did you choose this culture? When I was asked if I wanted to do a page for the calendar, I was at Pennsic, missing my brushes waiting for me back at home. I’ve only been illuminating since the end of May and have still been experimenting with what I like (and don’t like) to do. I had stumbled across an article talking about some British museum having a small show of Armenian pieces and they just were fascinating to me. The bright gold, the geometric patterns, the pillars, flora and fauna, all with broad lines and deep rustic colors. I hadn’t yet had the chance to undertake one and I’d been spending all my spare cellphone battery at Pennsic looking at more pictures when I should have been going to bed.

Immediately after saying I would do a calendar page, I went to one of the booksellers and asked about books, but was instead introduced to a woman from another kingdom whose passion was medieval Armenian culture. We exchanged emails and I continued to do my own research online. I talked to many people at Pennsic and no one I talked to knew what I was talking about! I knew I had to change that. (I was excited to see one of the Pennsic A&S Champions’ entries from another kingdom was an Armenian scroll this year and I sent many people over to look at it.)

The more I researched medieval Armenia, the more I knew it was the right choice. Armenia’s patron saint is Gregory the Illuminator and throughout their very fascinating history, they prized their manuscripts (all of which that I found were religious) above their own safety at times. Crazy stuff!

Inspiration: T’oros Roslin, an 11th century Armenian illuminator was a big inspiration. All of his pieces were fantastic. The main inspiration was one of his Canon pages that I found on his wikipedia page and then another page, from a Bible, off the Armenica, a website where there are hundreds of scanned manuscripts. I took aspects of these pages for my own calendar page. These pages were some of my favorites, as I was able to do a little bit of everything I liked, geometrics, flowers, you name it, it got to go onto that page.

Materials used: Gouache, all the way.

Notes of interest: I was really excited to be able to throw in a blue Eastern Tyger into the mix, he came out great. I was overjoyed to find a verse from the story of ‘David of Sassoun’, an oral epic, that talked about an ‘Eastern King’, even though the rest of the verse is definitely a bit confusing out of context. I encourage folks to find a translation online, the stories are full of heart and a few times had me laughing at the bravado of the heroes.

What drew you to participate in this project? What drew me to participate in this project has to be the fact that ever since I started illuminating, the Northern Regional scribes have been nothing but encouraging. Christiana Crane walked me over to Mistress Rhonwyn at the Pennsic EK Scribal meeting and said I would love to hear about the calendar. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to try something new and to put myself out there (a hard task to do!). Impostor syndrome is a real thing, especially when you’re doing something totally new! But with others’ support (especially that of my now-Laurel master, Harold von Auerbach), I knew I had to go for it! One of my favorite things about the SCA is the wild outpouring of support you get whenever you decide to try something new and scary.

Favorite medium: Gouache! I’m still trying out new kinds of paints and inks, but gouache acts how I always wanted paint to act as a kid, but never knew to try. (but you know, I was given my first gold leaf the other day, and I’m pretty excited to try that!)

Least Favorite/Most challenging technique: Measuring things. No, seriously, whether it’s for a border, for calligraphy, for finding the middle of the page, I am all thumbs and will inevitably have to remeasure and pencil out a border at least three times because -something- will be off. Thank goodness for erasers.

What is a piece of advice you would give a new scribe? My advice for new scribes is to mix your gouache somewhere to a consistency between light and heavy cream.

Better advice would be to read the EK scribes handbook because it has great information! Take notes on what you do, because our EK scribes are going to ask you what you’ve done and why (because they all want to be helpful in troubleshooting problems!) and notes will help you learn. Just like in the Magic School Bus: Take Chances, Make Mistakes and Get Messy!

October 2018 – Japanese

The wind is rustling
through the yearning-bamboo
                  on the reedy meadows:
      now people will realize
             that autumn has begun.
(“Autumn’s Beginning” by Prince Munenaga)

 

Calligraphy and Illumination by Lady Mariette de Bretagne

Persona: So, my persona is ~technically~ 14th century French, which I chose back in the mists of time because I am a Francophile, but I do very little with that outside of poetry. I wind up in Indian, Viking, or Japanese clothing far more often than I actually do Western European.

Why did you choose this culture? Japanese aesthetics have always appealed to me. The lines are deceptively simple, but that simplicity is so hard to reproduce. Also, Japanese depictions of nature employ such a strong use of white space. It really embraces the “less is more” mentality of minimalism, which forces artists trying to reproduce the appearance of period pieces to exercise restraint. Could I have put more bamboo on the page? Sure. Would it have made sense to do so? No.

What is the inspiration for your piece and why did it appeal to you? Mundanely, I am a poet and an English professor, so the words almost always come first for me when working on a scroll. For this project, since it is a calendar and seasonal imagery came to mind, I went right to a compilation of uta (31-syllable lyrical poems) from Japan’s late medieval age. The selections in the book contain many references to the seasons, and the poem about yearning bamboo rustling and autumn beginning evoked a clear image of what I wanted the visual to be; I knew that would be the poem I used for the calligraphy. From there, the meditative aspect of sumi-e painting, and the spare, impressionistic view of nature it portrays, felt like just the right match to the poem.

Materials used: I used black sumi-e ink thinned down varying degrees to accomplish the gray scale in the finished piece, and used various sizes of sumi-e brushes to achieve the differing line thicknesses for calligraphy, leaves, branches, and stalks. I worked on watercolor paper, because that is what would be best for reproduction (even though rice paper would be more appropriate, and more conducive, to this genre of painting.)

Other notes of interest about your piece:  In addition to countless practice pages of bamboo stalks, bamboo leaves, and Japanese calligraphy, there are actually 6 drafts of this piece. Two of the drafts are ones that I consider completed pieces of art, and got signed by me and marked with a chop. The version that will be in the calendar is #4 of 6.

What drew you to participate in this project? Honestly, I loved the idea that the calendar would show work representative of all the different cultures in the SCA. While the SCA was founded with a focus on European medieval history, it is always encouraging to see acknowledgment of the wonderfully rich cultures of Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Europeans had connections to these places by the end of our period, and one of the things we can do as SCAdians in the 21st century is to embrace and celebrate those cultures in a way that many Europeans in period could not.

What is your favorite medium to work in? I love working with thinned-down metallic gouaches as inks. It takes significantly longer to do the calligraphy, since I am constantly cleaning the paint out of the nibs and waiting for sections to dry before moving on, but nothing beats that “ooh” sound when people see the pop of metallic letters on a dark background when a black hours-inspired scroll goes out in court.

What is a C&I technique that is challenging to you, or not your favorite? Anything involving the recreation of people in a realistic way is something beyond my ken. Portraiture done well is an amazing talent, but one that I absolutely do not possess.

What is a piece of advice you would give a new scribe? Practice as much as you can stand it. Before I became an “actual” scribe doing scrolls for the Signet’s office, I spent years copying letters in cheap ink in notebook after notebook of graph paper. I still have some of those notebooks. When I am disappointed in my calligraphy, I pull one of those books out and remind myself how far I have come. I still have much to learn (So many hands! So little time!) but every single assignment involves at least a page of practice letters in the combination of ink and paper I will actually be using for the final project. Don’t expect to put pen to paper the first time and expect perfection; it is a process.