Friday, August 26, 2016

Pennsic commission - Gift Scroll for Count Cellach

This project was a favor done at Pennsic this year.  Lady Fortune put out a call for scribal help for a friend with the promise of a suitable bribe.  Because I am a glutton for punishment, I thought this was a fantastic idea with the atrociously bad heat.  My only demand was I was provided words.

I met a very nice squire who told me of a gift he was giving to Count Cellach.  I'm a sucker for a great story and could I say no to someone so nice and sincere?  No bribe needed. :)

This took about 1-1.5 hours done in a single sitting.  There are a few flaws in here, the most noticeable one is where I sweat on the page.  It was after all, over 104 degrees with the heat index,  and I was sticking to everything.

I even did capital letters!  Go me!  (I did suffer from a bit of shaky hand at the end, but it got done and he loved it)

Scriptorium Backlog Project

The idea for a full on Scriptorium is entirely Thyra's idea.  The goal was to get a bunch of scribes together and work on certain techniques all at once for the same or similar projects.  Getting a small test group together was pretty easy and my Laurel came to the rescue with ideas and guidance.  And with that Thyra, Marieta, and myself dove into the madness!

Eva contacted our incredibly patient and benevolent Scibal Backlog Deputy for three AoAs (people from different regions too) so we could have a real assignment with a real deadline.  When it's supposed to go to someone, rather than be an entirely practice piece, I think we as a whole all try to finish it and get it done too.

Eva chose a page from The Hours of Catherine of Cleves.  This isn't the page we worked on, but it's a neat overview of who Catherine was and links to some great miniatures in the book.

For this project we learned a new hand (gothic) which, let me tell you, was HARD.  Meeting once a month, it took a tremendous amount of time before any of us were ready to put ink to parchment.  At some point Eva said "enough practice, do calligraphy for real!" and well...we did calligraphy for real.

This was also my first goldwork project.  We used leaf gold which as a wise woman told me "Sticks to everything!  To you, to the paper, to the cat, everything!"  This was the part of the project I enjoyed the most.  Not because I stuck gold leaf to a cat, but because holy crap it's awesome and makes scrolls pop!

Long story short, we started this project on Aug 25, 2015 (date of email from Backlog Deputy).  It took us just under a year to finish it.  We learned and did:

- proportioning of scroll layout area (which I suck at)
- new calligraphy hand (gothic)
- wordsmithing (I cheated since my assignment had words) and script area planning
- free hand drawing of acanthus leaves
- gilding
- capital letters (calligraphy and illuminated)
- white work and shading

Check this bad boy out!  AoA for Tristan Fischer of Olachlacha.  Words by Theodora Brynnissa, called Treannah (with some editing from me for style and to fit the space).  This is from AS 47 for the reign of Gregor and Kiena.

It's done!

Different angle so you can see the shiny!

And the obligatory group photo to prove that we are winners and can finish a backlog while still being active scribes and plan 3-4 vigils during that time period.

Huge thank you to Antonio Patrasso the incredibly patient Backlog Deputy and to my Laurel Eva Woderose the patient teacher.  Special thanks to Oberyn the Cat for sitting in scribal boxes and almost getting gold leaf on himself.

We then had ice cream with sprinkles because sprinkles are for winners!

Vigil Planning for Matthias - Part 4

On this post, I'll be focusing on the vigil book.  This was a tag team effort with the ever talented Anastasia our embroidery ninja, Thyra who did the calligraphy on the book, and myself.

If you haven't checked out Anastasia's blog entry on the book, it can be found here.

It was requested by Duke Edward (Matthias's knight) that the knightly lineage of his line be included in the vigil book.  Whomever did Edward's book, did a lovely job of illuminating and calligraphing the names and arms of the lineage (who were all Eastern Kings as well) and created a daunting piece of work to live up to.

With that looming, I began to sketch and layout the design...

First thing on this was Gryffith had a second reign.  That was one of the first things that would need to be updated in the new lineage layout. Secondly, Edward's arms would be added and the greyhound would need to be drawn with a ducal crown as a collar.

I do like that all of the animals are wearing their coronets (Gryff's coronet is like a super hat over both stags) and it was suggested that the unicorn on Matthias's arms could be drawn with a baronial coronet to match.  I decided against this from an aesthetic point of view , as well as I hadn't seen this done on other devices or if it was done it's not wide spread and I wanted to put the focus on the knightly chain and mantling of arms.  This was actually the first page I did, but the second in terms of location in the book. 

The first page was going to be more detailed since I was modeling it after Edward.  In his book, his arms were presented with a helm and mantling all encircled by a god knightly chain.  Take a cue from this, I set Matthias's up in a similar fashion.  I sketched out the general look (minus the device) and decided to change the helm from a front facing helm to a side facing one.  I would like to fool myself into thinking this was purely aesthetics, but I have a hard time with symmetry for audience facing pieces and will endlessly fiddle with it to look right (and I already was fiddling enough with the acanthus leaves).  I didn't have that kind of time and I really do like the profile styled helm.  I also decided to do the knightly chain as a necklace instead of encircling the entire device.  Side note, I had to repaint the chain.  I started doing it in silver because it looked better and then confirmed it needed to be gold.  Ah well. The progress pic below doesn't really show the screw up.

Looking pretty evil as is fitting for "the Evil Squire".

The rest was all unicorns and rainbows...I mean...comets.  Funny thing about comets.  Heraldic comets kinda look like a star-topped Christmas tree that fell over.  See below:

The Christmas tree is toppling over! And now you can't unsee it either.

There were many jokes and stories about cats climbing decorated trees that escalated into fits of giggles while I was working on this.  That led me to try to find something, anything, that wouldn't invoke giggle fits when I looked at the book.  I ended up finding a period or at least traceable art worthy selection that wasn't going to scream "Christmas is ruined!!!"

With the comet and unicorn drawn, they just needed paint. The acanthus leaves and helm got some paint as well.

Black outlining was added to make the chain pop and you can't even tell I started painting with the wrong metallic.  Highlighting was added to the acanthus leaves and a little bit to the helm. 

The final picture of the ancestry (with Thyra's calligraphy) is below.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Vigil Planning for Matthias - Part 3

In this post, I give credit where credit is due as I talk about the AMAZING banners that were made for the vigil and the awesome people who contributed.

Research - Countess Marguerite
We reached out to Meggie as our local "person who knows stuff about silk painting stuff" and she put together a fantastic Pintrest board of information of how silk dyeing works, what to use, etc.  The coolest thing though was she did the research for period Austrian/German banners!

I want to call attention to this manuscript since this was the main source we used for the banner:

Manuscript ONB Han. Cod. 2915 Historia belli Troiani soluto sermone scripta Folio 47r Dating 1390-1400 From South, Germany Holding Institution Österreichische Nationalbibliothek:

Kind of weird nerdy fact - the middle orange banner has a Moor's head on there. Apparently that was a common "thing" to find in Germany on various coats of arms. See also Pope Benedict XVI's papal coat of arms as well which contains the "Moor of Freising" which is specific to Archdioses of Munich and Freising. I found out that nugget when I was going down a rabbit hole of researching the Holy See and papal coats of arms a while ago.

The "Oklahoma" shape of the banners is smack dab in the correct time period for Matthias' persona and is something we hadn't seen done with other banners. Meggie's idea of the motto banner to go with it is from the unicorn illumination in the same Pintrest board. She told us of her research about how unicorns were a very appropriate for the time period and for Germany in general. It's too much to share here, but ask her the next time you see her!

Latin phrase - Lady Tullia Tranquilla
Darostur's resident Latin expert (and mundanely a Latin teacher), Tullia very patiently listened to my ideas for mottos and translated/conjugated the various forms of how that would be expressed in proper Latin.  We settles on trying to capture the essence of "It's the quiet ones you have to watch out for" and went from there in translations.  She settled on her favorite being "Necesse est ut silentes spectes"

Unicorn Banner - Don Llewellyn Walsh
This section needs to first be prefaced with terrible unicorn sketches that I did for Thyra in coming up with what the banner sets should look like. Behold!
Graze upon their grace and splendor! (and goat toes)
Llewellyn was talented enough to turn that up there into this beautiful banner below.
Llewellyn and his lady posing with their awesome banner creation.

Motto Banner - Lady Fortune St. Keyne
Fortune came through in perhaps the hottest span of days possible leading up to GNEW to produce the motto banner.  Thyra provided the font for the motto and Fortune wrangled unruly silk, braved WTF humidity, and came through with a lovely piece of work.

Final piece is below, tied onto a borrowed spear in honor of the source document. (Yes that's me carrying the spear).

Photo courtesy of Astrid Sigrun Ulfkelsdottir (mka Jamie Driggers).

Seriously, I cannot thank this team of people enough.  They took some crazy ideas.  Made them appropriate to period, got things done on time, and rocked the hell out of this project.  You are all awesome.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Vigil Planning for Matthias - Part 2

Now that we had decided on the vigil garb, it was time to look for inspiration for the detail pieces - particularly the embroidery portion of the outfit.

Thyra and I sat down and looked for inspiration.  Off the bat, we decided that a group of people learning how to do German Brickwork stitch was not going to happen (because we like our friends and want to stay friends with them).

We stumbled upon this lady's blog in searching for inspiration:  There are lovely examples of her inspiration of polychrome tiles from a church in Burgendy.  More google searching led to information of this being a thing in various portions of Europe.

In Slovinia -

In France -  We also liked this from Kathy's blog -

In Germany (out of period restoration) - You need a subscription for the article, but a google search of the church will yield some nice pictures.

In Vienna - St Stephan's Cathedral roof is wonderful.

St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna
St Stephan's Cathedral.  Vienna, Austria
We did some initial sketching before deciding on a modified version of Kathy Storm's blog and embroidery pattern especially since we found examples of tiny M's in some of the brick work roofs.

Feilinn and Thyra get sketchy and toy with different ideas for trim!  You can see we started off with a comet theme since no one wanted to embroider unicorns.
With the planning done, it was off to the Worshipful Company for figuring out how to do this and get it sewn.  Marieta worked with Thyra to do the layout of the design with a pattern website I found (,  There was much hand waving and magic (and swearing and throwing things I imagine) and *poof* we had silk, a pattern traced out, thread from Akaterine, and it was off to the races with our embroidery kits.  14 kits in all done by 13 people. It was decided to do a backstitch for the embroidery since there were so many pieces.  Three strings of silk floss were used.

Here is my work for one of the sleeves of the purple silk over tunic.

One done.  You can see the pattern traced out on the plastic medium as a guide.

Two of four done for the sleeve.

All four done.  My husband's truck keys inadvertently provided for scale.

Vigil Planning for Matthias - Part 1

It's been a good year for Darostur (my household) so far.  One peer elevation, and two elevations for members of Edward's personal household in which Darostur helped with.  Well, let's not stop there! I had gotten word this was on the horizon like eight months or so ago.  As as Vice President of the Matthias Fan Club, I may have done a dance when I got the official confirmation he was going to be elevated to the Chivalry.

The big trick with organizing this thing was timing.  First it was Pennsic, then OMG NOT PENNSIC, the maybe GNEW, then sometime "hand wave"....nope definitely GNEW.  Since we had gotten the heads up well in advance, my personal mission start working early and not get sucked into the false sense of security that we had so much time...we'll get to it.  (like most people do every year for Pennsic prep)

I have the benefit of working with Thyra so we could chat during lunch about evil plans and logistics.  The first order of business was working out vigil garb.  Since Thyra knows everyone, she put out some feelers for suggestions on garb in the 14th C time frame for German/Austrian clothing.

Thyra's thoughts on the matter were discussed on our seeeecret Facebook page entitled "Dance Garb" because no one would think Thyra talking about dance garb would be anything other than what it was.. Oh ho!  Not the case!  See below for her thoughts on garbing Matthias.

-Targeting early 14th C Austrian
-From one source: "To a large extent 14thC is pan European so sources like fashion in the age of the black prince or woven into the earth are great."
-Related to that, fitted cotes are lovely, but we have to work off of measurements and I don't want it to look ill-fitted.
-Contrary to that, 14th C German/Austrian pictures show either plate armor + cloak (not an option) or loose tunics. Plus side, we know he likes wearing loose tunics.
- Here's a source that looks promising:

We decided that the kneeling guy was going to be our go-to inspiration for the garb portion of "Dance Garb".  And so it begins.....

Silver Wheel - Katherine

Well, I thought I took a picture of this phone disagrees with me. *sigh*

Scroll assignment:Order of the Silver Wheel
Recipient: Katherine Murray
Hand: Early Gothic (still practicing this one)
Specs: Gouache on pergamenata

I only did the left hand border of the manuscript and did some pen sprays/leaf motifs instead of the knotwork toward the bottom left.  The center of the letter was replaced with a red background with some whitework and the Silver Wheel symbol. I was quite happy with the white work overall.

Biggest feedback, I have to learn how to do capital letters now. Boooooooooo.  

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Silver Rapier - Matthias

Ah now this was a fun one!  I had gotten seeeeeeecret word from the heraldic staff of Kenric and Avelina that this was likely happening.  As Vice President of the Matthias Fan Club and his consort, I asked Nest for this assignment when it became available.

Fun facts about this project:
- I hemmed and hawed about which source to use and nerded out a bit with some fencers about German fencing manuals.

- Painting in 90+ degrees makes the paint dry REALLY fast which is very frustrating.  Holy crap it was hot that day.

- Alys is a wordsmithing saint and Eva's "messy-terrible "calligraphy is better than my calligraphy on any given day and she's a perfectionist.

- I picked this picture because it reminded me of LARPing and "losing an arm" while in a fight.  It narrowly won over the picture of someone getting bashed in the face with a buckler that Thyra really liked.

- I worked on a portion of this scroll at Matthias and Thyra's house with Matthias RIGHT THERE.  After all this was for "some dude with a weird name" *shrug* and I "wasn't going to see this scroll again anyways so meh". :P  Matthias did offer a few compliments on the illumination as I was working.

Without further ado - the uncleaned up pic Eva sent me right after she finished her calligraphy (which I think is still awesome).

Scroll assignment:Order of the Silver Rapier
Recipient: Matthias Grunwald
Calligraphy: By Eva Woderose
Words: By Alys Mackyntoich
Specs: Guache on pergamenata
Source: German fencing manual -

Award of Arms - Eudes

Going up to Tir Mara is always fun. This time I got to bring scrolls with me to be given out at Crown Tournament.  The one tough part in making scrolls for recipients up in Tir Mara is the panic after I had finished of "Oh crap....was this supposed to be in French?!??!".  I rechecked the assignment and no preference in language was listed.  Well...too late.  It's in English.  Hopefully the French Heralds can translate if need be (and they did).

Recipient: Eudes de Creully
Assignment: Award of Arms
Hand: carolingian miniscule
Specs: gouache on pergamenata
Source: (forthcoming)

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Scroll Wording - Eydis' AoA

Yes, the wording was for "that Eydis" who also happens to be a friend of mine and fellow Dancing Lady.  She was given her AoA by Brennan and Caoilfhionn on April 9th at the coronation of their heirs.

Marieta did a lovely craving based on the Osberg ship that featured intertwined cats.  For a lovely viking lady who happens to be a bard, I took a stab at skaldic style poetry.  I didn't have a lot of time to research how to phrase or set up sections of the poetry or to see if there were actually set "rules" for writing skaldic poems.  That will be part of my "to do" list when I take another stab at this.

This is my first attempt at this type of poetry.  Copious amounts of looking at text from rune stones happened and Googling Norse gods/patrons.  Bygul and Trigul are the names of Freya's cats that pulled her chariot.

"Fierce Caoilfhionn and wise Brennan called their people to hear their word. On this day of Eostre’s pride, winter wanes and the skald’s words are known to all:

Thorgrim’s daughter, fair Eydis

Friend of Bygul and Trigul kin.

Bragi-favored skald, gifts wordfame to the north.

Ring givers Brennan and Caoilfhionn

Honor and arms to her proclaim."

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Award of Arms - Aine

Like a complete doof, I forgot to take a picture of this scroll.

This assignment was an AoA with very little info to help construct words and find an inspirational manuscript.  I did some digging on OSCAR and found that her name and badge are going through commentary.  Her byname "Fháeláin"was a dead give away that perhaps....maybe... this person likes wolves (gee, how would I know that one?) and there were wolves on her proposed device.

A lot of medieval pictures of wolves I've found involve wolves harassing sheep and attacking people.  Could I just fine one that says "Hey, I'm wolf!  Look how cool I am!"?  Nope.  I did find this gem though and decided to use it a source material.  I used the first panel of the story for the illumination.

Recipient: Aine ingen Fháeláin
Assignment: Award of Arms
Hand: gothic (second attempt at a gothic hand)
Specs: gouache on pergamenata
Source: (f17v -f18r)

When I first started looking at this I wanted to figure out what the heck was going on in this picture.

1) Why is this wolf blue and looks like a fox?  (Now I understand why foxes and wolves conflict in heraldry).

2) Why is there a wolf in an acorn cap receiving a host? (host being the Eucharist wafer)

3) Why is the other wolf wearing a St. Bernard whiskey cask?  Is it a traveling tabernacle?  Where the heck did it come from?  Does the priest know the wolf possibly stole a tabernacle and is wearing it around his neck?

The story going on here (from what I can tell from various sources) tells of a priest of Ulster traveling through the forest when he is approached by a male wolf at his camp.  Some versions have this as a friendly and good werewolf instead of a normal wolf.  Wikipedia (in all it's peer created wiki glory) says that this was a man who was curse to live as a werewolf for seven years and as a man for another seven (with his wife curse the same way).  Either way, our heroic wolf seeks the aid of the priest to cure (or administer last rites to) his mate.  He leads the priest through the woods back to their den where the she-wolf is resting.  The priest then gives her a host and she's either cured of her sickness (as she's a normal wolf) or I guess she dies (as she's a dying, but good, werewolf).

There are a few variations of this story as I mentioned above, but I prefer the version of the noble wolf who was just looking for help for his mate and in turn helped the priest get through the scary forest with weird trees unscathed.  Wolves are awesome like that (in my own biased opinion).  ;)

The idea of a wolf helping someone is what led me to choose this illumination as a source material.  The text I wrote is short but sweet.

(text to be added later)

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Ramblings - Belly Dancing with an Audience

I went to a Realms (LARP) event over the weekend and took some time to catch up with a friend in between my working in the kitchen for the feast portion of the event.  I talked to him about my disengagement with the Realms community where it seems that I only go to help out rather than play anymore.  He asked if there were things I found interesting in the SCA that I could do in the Realms, so I went down the list of art, cooking, etc until I go to dancing.

SCA - I do both European and Middle Eastern dance.  I may have even flown to Germany with a Duchess to go to a dance event.

Realms - I do European dancing at the Black and White Masquerade (the only event with dancing, we've tried to have more with little success).  I have ZERO interest in belly dancing in the Realms.

I stopped myself after that one and thought about it.  Belly Dance and Middle Eastern dancing in the Realms for me was scary and sends red flags racing through my head.

Let me back up here.  I started belly dance classes two years ago taking lessons from Mistress Anne with no intention of ever dancing in front of an audience.  I took lessons for ballet, tap, and jazz when I was young for a number of years and I do like dancing in general so a convincing argument from a friend who also dances with the group made me show up and give it a shot.  I've since done two public performances;  Bad Raqsan'e Sahra's recital for friends and family and a performance at the Quintavia Hafla.  Neither one of those felt weird or scary or anything.

The group of ladies I dance with (Bad Raqsan'e Sahra) is incredibly supportive, has ladies of all ages and body types, and boasts an almost equal number of children to advanced degrees within the group.  Did I mention they were all lovely?  I mean really lovely as well as being fun, flirty, and even downright ridiculous at times.  I have body image issues as so some of the ladies I dance with, but we joke and fan our selves over the sexiness of our fellow member's solo dances.  I was even convinced to don a pirate hat and send my crew to fetch yonder maiden whom I was swooning over as part of a performance.  There is a sincerity in appreciating of your fellow performer's art within the group.  It's always a fun, family-friendly, and safe environment.

That's the kicker:  safe.  Belly dancing in the Realms to me was always seen as purposefully seductive and slinky, dancing in front of a fire in barely any clothing, and always done in front of a crowd (most always a drunk crowd) of staring and sometimes leering people solely for their amusement.  I've heard the sneering comments of how "hot" or "vastly unattractive" some of the performers were from the patrons of various taverns and event goers.  Being ogled by a bunch of potentially drunk people, some of which I don't even want to be associated with out of game, is not my cup of tea.  It also doesn't help that most of the events that boasted dancing were thinly veiled drunk fests either.  I'm not trying to be a prude, but the thought of dancing in that type of environment gives me anxiety.  So...I don't.

I can thank fully say I've never run into this in the SCA or seem much of this (even at Pennsic, though I've never performed there).

How do as people, not just as a community, be a better audience?  How do we get to a point where our culture in the game (LARPing or otherwise) applauds an honest effort and rewards the desire to perform with appreciation in a safe environment?

Mistress Anne said something very profound.  "The first part of belly dancing is belly acceptance."  At the heaviest weight in my adult life, I found it easy to dance at the Quintavia Hafla for the performance.  There was no judging, but there was support and various fan clubs of people supporting their friends of all the groups.  We need more of that.

Picture by Madame Perronnelle De Croy.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Scroll Wording - Tullia's AoA

I found the documentation for this and felt the need to share it.

We managed to gt Tullia to 12th Night and all dressed up since Simon was being elevated to the Chivalry.  What she didn't know was she was also getting her AoA that same day.

Mundanely, Tullia is a high school Latin teacher.  Taking her love for all things Latin to the SCA, it's no surprise she has a Roman persona. I did some searching for ideas for wording for Roman personas from period texts and found this : The wording was handed off to the scribe who was assigned the scroll and she managed to have it translated into Latin. :)

I wrote the following text based off the source.

"Emperor Brennen Augustus and Empress Caoilfhionn Augusta, supreme pontiffs, holding the Tyger throne for a second time, proclaim:
We know of an Eastern citizen who has done venerable work in the fiber arts of spinning and weaving and has distinguished herself in the study of Our noble Roman forefathers.

Whereas in accordance with the decision of Our advisory council, do We wish to recognize Tullia Tranquilla as a loyal daughter and citizen of Rome and award her the following arms: Azure fretty Or, on a chief Or three drop spindles azure.

Done at the celebration of the 12th Night, in Anno Societatus 50, on the second feast day of Carmentalia in the Shire of Midland Vale."

Carmentalia is a Roman festival taking place on two days (11 January and 15 January) . Since 12th Night happened to be January 16th, I thought it was okay to include it to make the scroll persona specific (and I was only off by a day).

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Maunche - Ulfgeirr

This is a project that almost got got away from me in terms of my artistic "vision" colliding head long with my ability to procrastinate and still maintain a deadline.  Usually I budget a week to do research in what I'd like to base the scroll on, but somehow I had in my head that this had to be awesome.  This is also the first maunche scroll I've done so I think I was a little intimidated subconsciously.  I've actually met Ulfgeirr a few times (while retaining for Edward)  and I have a tremendous respect for his work and craftsmanship.  The award write up was incredibly helpful as well with examples of his work and a few killer youtube videos.

I hemmed and hawed for over two weeks of what I wanted to do for someone with a 9th century viking persona.  I had a ton of great ideas but nothing felt "right" or "appropriate".  I eventually enlisted my super-spy Thyra to try to find out what he might like in a scroll.  Because Thyra obviously knows everyone, she confirmed via his lady wife that Ulgeirr like the Urnes style of artwork used in the later part of the viking period.  Let's just say I did a bunch of research based on that tidbit alone.  ;)

For those not in the know, the Urnes style names for the style depicted on the Urnes stave church (which is an example of the later Urnes style). The church doors have a lovely knotted art style with very stylized animals.  You can see that below.  I'm in the camp of people who think the figure on the left hand side is a wolf because hooray wolves!

Urnes stave church door in Ornes Norway.

Great!  I have a style to go on!  I then got it in my head that it would be awesome with a week and a half left until it was due to try my had at making a runestone carving in a similar style.  I thankfully came to my senses and said hell no, I am not picking up a new hobby right this second for a piece with a firm deadline.  I wasted a good three days trying to figure out the logistics though.

I kept with the idea of doing a runestone with the Urnes style and settled on this lovely example.  The ever talented Anne of Framlingham graciously crafted words and my personal viking superhero Avaldr Valbjarnarson provided the translation into runes.

U240 Lingsberg Runestone, Sweden.

Recipient: Ulfgeirr Ragnarrson (the Nice)
Award: Order of the Maunche
Words: by Anne of Framlingham, translation by Avadlr Valbjarnarson
Specs: Acrylic on slate tile, sealed with W&N matte sealant.
Source: U240 Lingsberg Runestone (see above)

This lovely slate tile was found at Home Depot and it was "the one" due to it's variations of pink and red in the slate.  I opted for my good friend Liquitex Acrylic to get a good coverage on the uneven surface of the slate.  I used an enlarge pic of the runestone and transfer paper to get the proportions correct (and done within my time fram) and ended up freehanding a lot of the design elements since pencil was incredibly hard to see.  Faces and toes were almost entirely tweaked since they didn't transfer well and all managed to get onto uneven surfaces on the tile.

Complete outline of the design done in white.

Choice of two reds,  I went out and bought the one to the left because I thought the one on the right would be too orange.  This is why we test swatch people.  I learned that early on.

Mostly finished base.  All animals are painted and you can see the penciled maunche symbol in the cross if you squint.

Once the base layers were painted, it was crunch time: put the words on the scroll.  I had a fit of shaky hands toward the end but my stubborn streak would not let me put the paintbrush down.  Thyra suggested doing a double ribbon of text inside the snake/dragons as she had done something similar in a runestone scroll.  As Donovan Shinnock (my gracious transporter of the scroll to the event) point out, you can tell I paint miniatures with the tiny handwriting.  I touched up the outlining and sent this scroll on it's merry way.  I'm always going to be my own worst critic, but I do feel like I could have done more for this.  I'm not unhappy with the result, but it left me wanting a tiny bit.

Finished stone with tiny rune writing.

Scroll text by Mistress Anne:

"Hearing I ask from Heimdallr’s sons,
For the worth and might of Ulfgeirr Ragnarrson,
Known to all as a prince of men,
Wielder of counsel, wise in speech.

Brave battle-tree of iron bone-house,
Tames the ravager, bane of wood,
Brings forth battle metal, man’s measure,
And rings to adorn the valiant of Tyr.

Fire-beater acclaimed by all,
Name him among the Sons of Ivaldi.
So says Brennan, Warder of the People,
And so says Caoilfhionn, Willow of Gold.

Done this day in A.S. L, at K&Q A&S Championships, in the Shire of Barren Sands."

Monday, March 14, 2016

Queen's favors- Caoilfhionn II

The call for embroiderers always needs to be answered especially when it comes to queen's favors.  Having worked hard in two reigns, I got to see how much it means to someone to be given a favor by sitting royalty.  Spoiler alert: seriously makes a person's day.  I've seen a lot of people tear up and be very moved by a seemingly simple thing.

Once again, the good idea train (lead by conductor Marieta) stopped by to hand me a pile of favors to work on.  I started working on favors at Coronation and then put them off to work on scrolls and Cassandra's Laurel coat.  I picked them up now and again as a fiddley thing to do while watching TV and to relieve stress.

All of the two tailed mermaids (melusine) were done using the reverse chain stitch,  I ended up doing about 7 or 8 favors with another unfinished one still in my bag I hope to have done before they step down.  All in all, it helped me feel more confident in my embroidery skills and it was fun.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Compass Star - Cassandra Grey's Laurel Coat

This was my second embroidery project (finished for Yule December 2015).

I was convinced to help out with the laurel coat for Cassandra Grey's elevation since it was sold to me as a "small embroidery project".  Well..that and I couldn't say no. :)

Duchess Aikaterine spearheaded this project of a coat fitting for a middle class Elizabethan woman that incorporated Cassandra's compass rose design.  Each person would be given a kit to work on and they would later be appliqued onto the coat.

Aikaterine's design schematics

Aikaterine's finished applique.  Setting an amazing example for the rest of us.

I learned SO MUCH doing the embroidery for this like:

  • Metal thread is a pain
  • Couching! 
  • Beading
  • How to be sneaky with a group of 10+ people
The finished coat was paneled for Athena's Thimble and we were given competency for Free Embroidery, Applique, and Metalwork.

Some last minute finishing work was done the day off by the group right before the panel and before court.  Epic teamwork by all!

Go team sneaky embroidery!

I will post a picture of my individual star at a later date.  This is one I didn't get a chance to do progress pictures of.  On the plus side, everyone signed their names into the embroidery so we could keep track of them. Photos to come!

Award of Arms - Erik

This was an AoA due for 12th night Jan 2016.  A few of us were furiously working on garb for Simon's knighting and something for Tullia to wear to court (she was getting her AoA in addition to being front and center in the knighting procession).

Marieta found a nice late period source that was similar enough to the Italian manuscripts I was looking at for me to choose this.  Funny enough, we believe our two AoA recipients were dating so it was only fitting they were being worked on at the same time.

My goal was keep it simple, clean, and don't try anything new because I had a bunch of stuff going on.  I'm particularly proud of the white work and details.

Recipient: Erik Gutermuth
Award: Award of Arms
Hand: Humanist bookhand
Specs: guache on bristol

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Court Barony - Marieta

This was many of the secret projects I was working onto be given out at Yule (December 2015).  Thyra approached me about tag teaming this project and I immediately started doing some digging.

Something to keep in mind during this process:  I host weekly an informal scribal work day at my house every week and the recipient of said secret project is a regular attendee.  I had to work on this scroll without Marieta catching on (and also gathering anecdotal information about her persona and things she likes)

As part of the Queen for a Month garb project with WC, I found out her persona was a textile worker from the Netherlands and had a range of dates to work on for time period.  I hit the jackpot with the source text on Pintrest as some beautiful and lovely person linked the page back to the original source.  <3  I looked at a few pages from the source to look at examples of marginalia and layouts and consulted with my intrepid calligrapher Thyra.  The super bonus for this is it had red and blue flowers (which I found out later Marieta's favorite color is blue).  Since my artist mark is a blue flower, I thought it was nice that both Thyra (favorite color being red) and I had another signature on the piece.

One particularly sneaky thing we did was have Marieta work on the resubmission of her heraldry and had her sent the original docs to my husband so we could print them.  Once those were printed, those files were emailed to me to use to incorporate her mice into the design.

Stylistically I wanted to give a nod to the activities Marieta enjoys and things that were a part of the reason she was getting a Court Barony.  Mice (which are a main part of her device) became an obvious choice to include.  I worked in a scribal mouse, an embroidery mouse, a mouse waving a pennant,  one holding a shield (for her arms when they pass), and two at the bottom of the scroll holding up the line drawing of the court barony coronet (I call those the Triforce mice).

Without further ado...

Recipient: Marieta Charay
Assignment: Court Barony
Words and Calligraphy: Thyra Eiriksdottir
Illumination: me
Specs: Guache on pergamenata
Source:, (Southern Netherlands Book of Hours, also note there is a calendar component for more capital letter examples)

Completed piece!
Thyra's calligraphy is done.  Artwork is 50/50 freehand and tracing.

The outlining of the mice was not my best work, but I also was on a tight and very secretive deadline.  The gold I borrowed was from Constance.  It's a very neat cake of gold paint that acts a lot like shell gold.  Once I got the hang of it, it was awesome!  The swirlies were inked with a crow quill.  I would have loved to do more detail and fussy work on the flowers, but I was running into the "fuss with it and potentially screw up" vs "it's done, lovely, and don't overly work it" conundrum.  I opted to leave it as is with the thought that I could always steal it later to do more work on it.  Fast forward to now, it's already framed and hanging on a wall which means it's perfect the way it is.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Sketch time - Tyger courant

A call went out on FB and G+ in November 2015 for a line drawing for a "tyger courant" which would be used for the badge for the Golden Lance, a new (in the East) Order of High Merit for equestrians.

I said I'd take a stab at it and spent a bit of time fiddling.  I did a general trace of the East Kingdom populace badge and then freehand/tweaked the entire thing to make it less "meh"... oh and of course move the legs into a courant or running/leaping pose.

Heraldic tygers are weird creatures.  Between the beak, puffy fur, and weird toes, I fought with myself for a bit on what looked "right" for it.  The finished product was outlines in a back micron pen and emailed away.

Embroidered Rose -Caoilfhionn's Rose Cloak

At Pennsic I was convinced to go to an Athena's Thimble guild meeting and panel a counted cross stitch Tyger's Cub I was working on.  I've done cross stitch since I was young so it wasn't a huge deal for me.  My first "official" project was handed to me while a bunch of people were over my place watching football.  It was to embroider a rose for a small cloak for Princess Caoilfhionn's (soon to be Queen Caoilfhionn II) at coronation.

Once I got over the "I'm making something for the queeeeeeeeeeeen" panic, I sat down and did it.  It's very simple and took inspiration from Anastasia de Monte's embroidered rose for the same cloak with keeping it simple.  I learned the reverse chain stitch for this and learned "back stitch" was actually the right name for my straight lines.

The tiny arrow points to my rose.

The finished cloak with all roses attached.

Award of Arms - Ciar

Recipient: Ciar of Skye
Award: Award of Arms
Hand: carolingian miniscule
Specs: guache on bristol
Source: Lindisfarne Gospels, 10th C

Tyger's Cub - Arya

I love the Tyger's Cub award.  Plain and simple it is one of the best we give out in the kingdom.

I did something to my right hand/wrist, LARPed, and then irritated my wrist to the point where I needed to use a brace for a bit.  I did a bulk of the calligraphy pre-brace.  Doing the calligraphy and illumination completely fatigued me and it took a lot longer than I thought to finish it up.  I also somehow could not find my exemplars of carolingian miniscule or my copy of Drogan.  I ended up doing the calligraphy in a chancery hand instead.  Because of the time crunch and fatiguing issues with my wrist, I recycled a source.

The only downside with this scroll is the quality of the photo makes it so you can't see the bit of whitework/detailing.

Recipient: Arya the Braider
Award: Tyger's Cub
Hand: Chancery
Words: Alys Mackyntoich
Specs: guache on bristol
Source: Gorleston Psalter, England (Suffolk), 1310-1324, Add MS 49622

Seamstress to the Crown - Sandrine

I remember when I got this assignment (due Sept 26th, 2015) I was incredibly busy.  I churned out this tiny scroll in a few hours while taking a break from sewing and trying to keep my head on straight.  C&I along with words by me.  It's a tiny 4x4 inch scroll.

Recipient: Sandrine de Berry
Award: Seamstress to the Crown
Hand: caroligian miniscule
Specs: guache on pergamentata
Source: (will provide later, found by Thyra)

Award of Arms - Coilean

And then there was this time that I loudly proclaimed in front of all of Darostur that I will never work on a scroll at Pennsic ever again!  Mark your calendars.  That was August 2015.  I'm waiting to eat my words this year...

I foolishly though I would have enough time before Pennsic to have this done well in advance to enjoy our annual pre-Pennsic birthday excursion without deadlines.  Boy was I wrong!  I know.  Shock and surprise.

My birthday usually falls during the first week of Pennsic, so I take the few days off from work to extend my vacation time.  My husband and I take our time getting to Pennsylvania and try to do something fun and relaxing.  I completely slacked off and had an amazing birthday filled with wine tours, great food, and adventure in upstate New York.  This also meant I was behind on my scroll because I didn't get much done before leaving for the trip to begin with.

I finished the calligraphy and base illumination in a day sitting at a KoA cabin starting at my phone for the source material (because I'm a cool kid and forgot to pack my printout of the page).  I finished up the scroll one lovely evening in Darostur's camp with Thyra and Marieta (who were also finishing up their scrolls) and managed to drop them off the day before they were to go out.  Success!!

Recipient: Coilean O'Rein
Award: Award of Arms
Hand: carolingian miniscule
Words: Alys Mackyntoich
Specs: guache on bristol

Award of Arms - Lisabetta

This next AoA had a lot of new things going on that I was kind of excited about.  New calligraphy hand, new style, and gold painted capital letters!  That might not sound interesting or hard, but for me it was completely out of the box and a bit scary.

The biggest challenge for me wasn't the usual debate of "oh my good too many things I want to draw and paint!" but rather "how is this lady's name actually registered and spelled????".  The award write up and contact person had two different ways of spelling her name.  I did some digging on OSCAR and found a third way of spelling it!  Well crud.  Some more digging through the award write up mentioned that she was autocratting the event in which she was getting her AoA and thank god it had her SCA name written out!  And it matched the OSCAR entry!!! :D

This is also the first scroll I worked on since going to KWHSS in Toronto.  The class Marieta and I attended Sunday morning mainly talked about shading techniques so it was fresh in my mind when I went to work on the pearls for the artwork.

Late period Italian manuscripts are lovely with their simplicity and elegance.  Everything was free hand drawn and fiddled with during the final painting.  The biggest change for me in terms of style was in using this source material, the text has an "airy" quality achieved by skipping extra lines.  As you can see below, I did the gold work on the name last and missed which line to write on.  Oh well. I think it still looks nice.

Recipient: Lisabetta vedova di Alessandro
Award: Award of Arms
Hand: Humanist bookhand
Words: Eva Woderose
Specs: Guache on bristol

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Burdened Tyger - Julianna

Assignment: Burdened Tyger
Recipient: Julianna von Altenfeld.
Hand: carolingian miniscule
Words by: Magnus hvalmagi 
Specs: Guache on bristol

Queen's Order of Courtesy - Philip

This last minute scroll assignment was one I could not say no to.  We were finishing up with E&T's second reign, Thyra and I are preparing to go to Germany in a week,  all the things are happening.....and yet I jumped at the chance to do this one.  Philip was one of the awesome people I had met during our fantastical world tour of  the East and beyond and I was surprised to learn how much behind the scenes things he did to help dancing happen at the royal progress events.

Given the short timeline (~3 days), I wanted something simple, yet elegant....and also I needed to work gold in there somehow.  I did created the words with some editing help from Thyra.

Scroll Assignment:
Queen's Order of Courtesy
Recipient: Philip White
Hand: carolingian miniscule
Specs: Guache on bristol

The picture I had taken is a little dark, but I still think it came out well.

Award of Arms - Amis

This is an AoA for Amis Mwyn given out at the Baronial Investiture in Dragonship Haven. This is my first attempt at using guache as "ink" to do the red lettering for the recipient's name. I ended up fiddling with the consistency for a while.
Scroll Assignment: Award of Arms
Recipient: Amis Mwyn
Words: by Alys Mackyntoich
Hand: carolingian miniscule
Specs: Guache on bristol
Source: Gorleston Psalter, England (Suffolk), 1310-1324, Add MS 49622

Friday, February 19, 2016

E&T Backdrop - Part 3

Hooray again!  We're done!

Well....not really.  I was under the impression we were not going to do the sun chariot in the center of the zodiac and just leave it as a pretty sun with rays extending out.  Nope.

Clarice and I buckled down and tag teamed the most complicated part of the backdrop.

Finished sun chariot.

The finished product, both canvases.

And here it is, in all of it's glory with two people I am incredibly proud to call my friends front and center.  It really did made a damn impressive piece.

Total hours clocked by me: ~40+
Total hours clocked by Clarice: ~30+

Thank you for everyone who came to help, keep up company, offer words of encouragement, and in general were awesome through the entire project.  Kudos to Anton for an amazing idea, but next time I'd like more lead time. ;)

Photo credit: David Holland