SCRIBE NOTES 7
Unto all scribes in Lochac, and those interested in the scribal arts
From Mistress Rowan Perigrynne, Lochac Provost of scribes
Scribenotes seems to be turning into a sort of quarterly, rather than the more frequent letter it started out as. Ah well... Now you have all recovered from your 12th Night escapades, your New Year Festivities and your Christmas holidays, you should be sharpening your pencils and trying to dissolve the hardened ink from your neglected pens in eager anticipation of some new scrolls to do. Yes?
In this letter: making a scroll box, the new AA wording, some thought on gold leafing, news from the West, plus the usual assignments, mailbox, roster, etc.
THE ROSTER OF SCRIBES(If you want an explanation of what all this means, refer to the last scribenotes.)
Currently warranted: (and expiry dates)
Rowan Perigrynne (Jan 88), Caitlin O'Lorrigan (Oct 87), Marit the Wanderer (Apr 87), Richard de la Croix (Oct 87), Frae Fitzalleyn (Nov 87), Thorfinn Hrolfsson (Nov 87), Wulfwine Grimwald (Dec 87)
Warranted under the new system! (see News from the West Kingdom)
Turgar the Pathfinder (Aug 87), Christia Barrett (Mar 87), Gwynfor Llwyd (July 87), Cristoval Gitano (Mar 87), Braddock McCarum (June 87), Arian of Shadowvale (Feb 88), Bryony of the Bees (Feb 88), Griswald of Bucke (Feb 87), Haos Windchaser (Feb 88), Nygel y Baedd Gwylt (Feb 87), Phillipa de Lusignan (Feb 87).
Rhoddhu Oakburn, Hugh Louis, Dermod ui Niall
Frederick Ludovicus van der Meer, Rhiannon of Starfire Retreat, Leofric of Mona, Anna Segrovia, Isabeau Chanteuse, Aislinn de Valence, (Catherine Curl), Peter the Just, (Andrew Procailu), Rhiannon ny Diarmod (and company in Aneala), Kyriell du Papillion
Know anyone else who is interested? Anyone I've forgotten? Ask them to write or call me and get on my mailing list.
"THE PHANTOM CALLIGRAPHER"All right - own up. Someone sent me a stack of exemplars, mostly on blue paper, and I don't know who did them. There is a photocopied set of sctracts with this scribenotes...does anyone recognise the hand/s?
PLEASE, if and when you send me exemplars, write on to them your name, the style and the date. Many thanks.
ASSIGNMENTSOf the original assignment of 34, 17 have been completed (10 sent to the West, 7 awaiting transport), the remainder assigned.
A second batch of assignments cam from Aricia, of which 7 have been assigned. I asked her for some Lochac ones, so I hope we will get some of those soon. We have many many many scrolls to do. Lots. For Lochac alone the backlog is about 80 or so.
Several of you (Arian, Bryony, Frae, Griswald, Richard, Haos, Nygel, Phillipa, Wulfwine) have assignments with this scribenotes, either on your own or with another scribe. If you have never had an assignment before, you should also get a copy of 'Heraldry for Scribes'. If you'd like an assignment, please phone me about it, I am easier to get at work (on (02) 816 1611) but can also be found occasionally at home, especially in the mornings between 7am and 8.30 am on (02) 550 1714.
NEWS FROM THE WESTAricia sent a letter in November as an interim, and I was expecting to ehar from her again over Christmas but no luck so far, though I did get a card..
Interesting stuff from her last letter (I always ask pages of questions):
"A scribe is warranted after a suitable exemplar is accepted"
This is why some of you (above) are now warranted! Also, if there is no work from you for a year then you should reapply to be warranted again (unless your house fell on your or something).
On how much illumination for an AA: "at the most I say a nice border and nice illuminated capital is fine. If you decorate it too much then when people see the simpler ones they complain and hurt the scribe's feelings". So now you know (NB Thorfin!!) If they are a special friend, well that's a bit different.
There is some leeway in scroll sizes. This is worth thinking about if you are using vellum. It might be worth our while to find out what the standard size available frames are in Lochac and do Lochac scrolls that size (after all, that's why the current sizes exist - they are standard USA frames).
Sir William the Lucky (current His Majesty) is bring us some goodies, including some West Scribes handbooks, when he visits us for the Rowany Festival.
THE NEW AA SCROLL WORDINGI know some of you have already seen and even used this, but many of you have not. This is the new AA wording, which is MUCH longer (more period style) and also much more verbose and actually based more on period texts. It also starts with the King's name, giving a variey of initial capitals for the illuminators. There are also matching scroll wordings for some of the other scrolls. (Grants, Peerages, Royal Peerages)
These texts can be used as alternate texts for the relevant scrolls. The old texts are still valid.
(dammit - can't find my copy - see separate enclosure, I hope)
SCRIBING FOR LOCHACAs well as a seemingly endless supply of scrolls, there are other tasks which the scribes of Lochac can aid their Principality by doing. The following tasks regularly need scribes:
Oathes of fealty from the Viceroy & Vicereine/Prince & Princess
Charters for guilds
Petitions for changes in status
"Instant" award scrolls for Principality awards
Quite often these tasks need to be done on very short notice. If you are available for this type of work please let me know.
MAKING A SCROLL BOX/FOLDERA scroll box is a wonderful idea - it keeps your scrolls or paper flat, out of the rain, far from grubby hands and makes your works of art much harder to fold, spindle or mutilate. I have a stack of boxes I made out of some corrugated cardboard - you can have one if you pick it up at the Festival - but whilsts I was constructing these, I had a better idea. So here are some plans for a permanent box which can not only hold scrolls but also act as a portable writing desk.
The main pieces are sheets of light plywood or heavy card (heavy card can be painted with enamel paints to make it waterproof) about 20 x 26 (see accompanying illos). They are joined along one long side with a hinge of leather (could use canvas) glued to both sides. There are also flaps sliding out the sides. Cords for tying closed thread through the top. The tope could be used as a writing surface and the folder would fit an AA sized scroll.
The whole thing would take but an hour or so to complete. A nice addition would be to paint a suitable design on the folder.
I have ideas for a much more complex one - a real box, which could also carry brushes and palettes, but requires some woodworking skill. Maybe next scribenotes.
MAILBOXGWYNFOR - what's happening with the calligraphy for Eric's Baron scroll? It should be sent to Caitlin (address in Rowany Regnum)
FREDERICK - are you still interested in scribing - if so I can warrant you on your exemplar and give you an assignment.
TURGAR - How's the illumination outline going? Please send to me when complete!
BRADDOCK - I haven't heard from you for ages - if you still want that AA scroll, it needs to be worked on (subtle hint)
RHIANNON OF STARFIRE RETREAT - your exemplar is fine except for the style of your descenders. A copy of a suitable text is enclosed. Your spacing and letter forms are very nice. Could you do me another one with amended descenders?
ULFSTAN - looking forward to another exemplar a la Drogin's book. Heraldry for Scribes enclosed.
RHIANNON UY DIARMUD - I'd love a photocopy/picture of the Anealan Baronial Petition. Copy of Illuminations I enclosed, ditto Heraldry for Scribes text. Paper sample enclosed. I look forward to hearing from any other Anealan scribes!
THE ROWANY FESTIVALThere will be a scribes collegium time at the Festival - I'm not sure when, but will try and get the details into Pegasus. If you are coming, I'd love to see any work in progress (or better yet - completed), as I'm sure would your fellow scribes. If you are interested in doing some work at the Festival, please also bring pens, ink, paints, paper etc. Any useful texts would be a great addition if you don't have luggage problems. We can "workshop' some scrolls, teach new people, sort out problems.
There will be an Arts and Sciences pavillion on site. I really want a scribes display, so please bring work - complete or not - to disply therein. We might pick up some more people and you get the chance to be admired by others who really know how talented you are (this is meant to be an encouraging statement - even if you think you aren't that great, bring something).
SOME THOUGHTS ON GOLDTry as you might, nothing looks quite like real gold leaf on a scroll. But it is expensive and damnably difficult to work with - at least I have found it so. Gold leafing seems to be uppermost in the mind of most illuminators, so this is to get some thinking and correspondence on the subject in train.
Alternatives: Gold ink is just not very suitable - not dense enough and usually oil based. Gold guache (eg Pelican) is OK but hard to apply evenly. The best alternative I've found is to use an immitation gold dust in a suspension of glair*.
In period, fake golds were also used. "Shell gold" was made and used as a gold paint for letters and fine lines. I have heard that you can buy shell gold - does anyone know if this is true? How expensive is it? What medium is used?
Gold leaf is a very fine foil of gold sold in a 2" x 2" squre by the leaf or book of leaves. It is available from artist supply stores. You can get 9 carat and 22 carat leaf. The backing sheet is important - once released it is so light you can inhale the stuff. When working with gold, close all windows and doors and breathe to one side. You can pick it up with a comb rund through your hair, a wide brush ditto or a find brush slightly damp. If you use your fingers you end up with gold fingers and no leaf to lay. It is hard to cut, through scissors work while it is still attached to the backing paper. Cut pieces a little larger than required - the excess, once dry, will brush easily away.
The gold leaf needs to be stuck down with something. I have used glair*, gum arabic and gum acacia with varying success. I have heard that leaf gelatin works well. This is applied over your ground (often painted red to add to the richness of the gold colour in case of little cracks). I do not know if it is better to put the leaf on while it is still moist or let it dry, then remoisten by breating down a straw so it is all even. If too moist, the gold crumples up on the ltter. If too dry, it doesn't stick. The edges especially are apt to dry. Some recipes call for the addition of a little ear wax or honey to the ground.
Once the moist ground is lain, the leaf gold is laid on top very carefully. It must be in the right position before any of it touches the ground, for it will lay down like a magnet and can't be moved. It may take several pieces to cover the shape. Once dry (very dry - leave overnight maybe) the excess can be removed with a fine brush (this also removes any gold which wasn't stuck down or where the base coat was too dry - ah well). Repairs are made by brushing a bit more "glue" on and laying the scrap leaf over. Wait till its dry again. Then clean up and burnish with a very smooth polished stone or tooth. Even the slightest imperfection may tear the gold. Lots of light stroking produces a true shine. Then re-outline in ink or paint.
If you want to paint lines over the top, you may have to do two coats - the first mixed with glair* or some other medium which will stick to the gold. The leaf repels paint otherwise.
Now surely some of you have had more experience - and I hope more success - with this than I. Any addition/correction to the above info gladly welcomed!!! Any sources for supplies also appreciated.
Glair is a medium which has been used for paint for centuries. It is made by taking an egg white, beating until it has gone past the "rocky" stage and starts to break down again, then left to drain on a sauces. Collect the straw coloured liquid - that is glair. The foam that is left goes quite hard! Keep the glair in an airtight container. It will last for a week or so - longer in the fridge. Mix it with pigments or gold powder for paints, or use to lay gold. Once dry it is almost waterprrof so wash your palettes after use (anyone want a little bowl half filled with gold suspension in glair? It's been soaking for days now and is as solid as concrete).
You can use a copper, stainless, plastic or ceramic bowl for beating the egg white - don't use an aluminium one - it won't work.
Well folks, that's all for this issue. Please keep up the great work - we are well on the way to one of my goals for the College (more scribes in Lochac than in the rest of the West)! Some of the work you people are doing is truly great.
Yours for the Dream,
encl: AA words (?)
Illos for scroll box
Unknown scribal hands
scribes mailing list
Lochac Arts & Sciences
West Kingdom Scribe