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

E&T Backdrop - Part 2

Hooray!  After a week or working a few hours a night, the top was complete!!!  The middle had a big yellow sun added and Anton mentioned that he was going on a business trip.

And then the second canvas drop cloth came out.

Turns out, we were doing the other half of the illumination.  The idea was to do the trees and grass and then Edward and Thyra sitting on their thrones would be the focal point of the "picture" we were creating.


Time to break out the big guns.  Clarice got a bunch of people to help paint trees on that Sunday (among them Darerca and her family).  By Monday and Tuesday, we enlisted Simona, Caitriona, and Mathias to pretend to be Bob Ross and paint some happy little trees (and some big swaths of grass).

Paints for this were samples from Lowe's (same as the calendar half).  We used a bit of poetic license to make the trees doable and give them some definition.  Still more to come....

E&T Backdrop - Part 1

This next project can only be described as "epic".  So very epic, it's being broken down into multiple posts.

A project was underway for the coronation of Edward III and Thyra II to add some shtick to their elevation.  For their second reign together, the oracles that predicted the end of the world (and the end of their reign) neglected to see that there was a page stuck to the back of their prophecy. This "new" page predicted that they would indeed reign again for thousands and hundreds of ....hours (basically the duration of the normal Eastern reign of six months).

Master Anton has a lovely idea for props and shtick this time based off of the Duc de Berry "Tres Riches Heures" and incorporated the theme of the zodiac to go with the prophecy.
The inspiration for the coronation back drop.

I got a call from Thyra about two weeks before coronation asking me if I'd be willing to do some sketches for the zodiac signs of the reign.  I gleefully said yes, with the caveat that I sucked at drawing people.  Good news - I only had to draw one person (Aquarius).  Sure.  No problem.  We were only going to do the top part of the picture (the zodiac calendar).  Anton was going to handle the calligraphy painting of the months and days of all the royal progress events.  We were after all essentially making an accurate East Kingdom calendar for the reign.

Somehow I convinced Clarice della Luna to give me a hand painting some of the zodiac figures once I had finished the sketching.  I don't think either of us were prepared for what we were really doing.

Please note, Clarice is slightly taller than I am (I'm 5'2").  She's shown below for scale.  All the zodiac symbols were free-handed with pencil.  There are some heavy sketch lines that were erased and painted over.  Some figures were a "choose your adventure" with which guidelines to use.

Pisces was my favorite.

Aquarius mostly didn't suck.

Fat pony!  I mean...Sagittarius. 

Clarice painting Scorpio.

Libra, Scorpio, and Sagittarius.  The months are also started to be filled in

Yes, that is a canvas drop cloth. And, yes, that is pretty damn large.  More to come.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Tyger's Cub - Cody

This was the first scroll that I attempted to write my own words from a period source (I blame Alys for inspiring me to attempt it).

The scroll got away from me a bit as I had a sudden attack of life right before the deadline which involved multiple trips to the vet with Daenerys.

I am not unhappy with the scroll, but I have a lot of thoughts on how it could have been better.  It is what it is.   The best part about this assignment was actually seeing the recipient get the scroll (small adorable child awkwardly getting an award = adorable).  Lots of smiles were had and I felt a lot better about it.

Scroll Assignment: Tyger's Cub
Recipient: Cody of Endwearde
Hand: carolingian miniscule
Specs: Guache on bristol
Source: Text based on Frederick II Letter to Henry III of England (1229),
Artwork based on "Castle Ramparts with Knightly Pursuits" by Joseph Frenchman. Hebrew bible. Spain (1299-1300)

Things to work on - Outlining, Non-wiggly vertical lines.

Award of Arms - Rozalin

This scroll was my first collaboration with Eva Woderose.

Scroll assignment:Award of Arms
Recipient: Rozalin of Ruantallan
Calligraphy: By Eva Woderose
Words: By Alys Mackyntoich
Specs: Guache on pergamenata
Source: German fencing manual -

This is also my first time painting on perg and going through the process of removing my hand oils from the material.  I did the illumination first then handed off the finished (with my half) product to Eva for the calligraphy portion.

The big tweek on this was I tried to make one of the fencers slightly more feminine since the recipient is female and to make it more personal.

I don't have a picture of Eva's lovely calligraphy for this one, but she posted it somewhere.  I'll update this post if I can track it down.

Big take away from this - mixing paint to the right consistency was still kind of an issue.  The perg was very forgiving and kinda fun. :)  This was also attempt #1 on math-ing out all the sizing from the original.  I need more practice with it.

Edit:  Found the completed scroll pic!  I LOVE the "E".

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Silver Crescent - Edward

This was my first live scroll and sadly the one that almost made me abandon hope of becoming a scribe in the SCA.  I'm not going to go into the details of the bad, but instead focus on the good on this.  It ended up being a labor of love from four people and was highly personalized to the recipient.  It's still hands down one of my favorite scrolls that I've done.

Constance asked me to do the illumination for Edward Grey of Lochleven's Silver Crescent scroll.  My first reaction was OMG!!!! YEAY!!  I've known Edward since the fall of 2002 when I was in my senior year of college and met him through mutual friends in the Realms LARP.  To me, he was always the ridiculously tall guy who was incredibly kind and incredibly pun-tastic.  Fast forward to my joining the SCA, realizing I know way more people than I thought, joining Lochleven's sister household of Darostur, etc, etc...long story short:  Edward was a dear friend and I was honored to be able to do the illumination on the scroll.

Scroll assignment: Order of the Silver Crescent
Recipient: Edward Grey of Lochleven
Hand: Gothic Littera Bastarda by Constance de St. Denis
Words: Thyra Eiriksdottir, latin translation for the tiny banner by Eva Woderose
Specs: Guache on Bristol
Source: Gorleston Psalter, England (Suffolk), 1310-1324, Add MS 49622, f. 193v.  

The illumination is done completely free-hand.  Sketching was done before the calligrpahy and finished all painting afterward.  Thyra and Eva added the personalized banner detail at the bottom.  I changed out the bird detail on the border for Edward's greyhound.

I remembered to take a LOT of progress pictures for this one.

Hound detail.  The circle will become the Silver Crescent drawing.

Tiny Edward gets sketched in.

And done!
The big take away for this piece was that I needed to be more consistent when mixing paint which will alleviate brush stroke visibility.  Tiny Edward and the snail are my favorite parts of this piece.  When researching the vague time period his persona is from, this bit of marginalia jumped out at me.
Bonus points if you can read the latin banner! :)

Friday, February 12, 2016

County Coronet

This was part of a project swap with Constance and because I really adore the recipient.

Coronet for Countess Marguerite inghean Lachlainn incorporating her personal heraldry.

This coronet was made from a 1.5 inch veg tan leather strap from Tandy Leathers.  I hand cut the crenelations, hand dyed it, and painted it using Liquitex acrylic paints.  Liquitex is my tried and true paint of choice for painting Knight of the Eternal Flame belts in the Realms larp so I thought it would hold up well here.  It's sealed using NeatLaq matte sealant.

For a personal touch we had Edward cut two leather ties (one white and one black as a personal inside joke) since this was an open back/adjustable coronet.

All in all, I'm very happy with it.

New scribe

So fun story on how I got to be a scribe for the SCA.  Depending on how you look at it it I was either gleefully encouraged or expertly hoodwinked into signing up with the Signet at Market Day at Birka in 2013 during the glorious reign of Edward II and Thyra I.

The first advise given to me:
- You can paint, you're halfway there!
- Let's go shopping for supplies, it's easy.
- Buy this book.
- This is Ygraine, She is awesome.
- Do a backlog first.

It turns out Ygraine is indeed awesome and I bought the Marc Drogon calligraphy book from her.  Constance later took me shopping for paint and helped me contact the Backlog deputy.  

The first scroll I did was an AoA for Avista Mustafa ibn ‘Abdul-‘Aziz. He is a gentleman with a Turkish/Mamluk persona. It was advised that I use Gothic Littera Bastarda for a hand because "it's easy, looks medieval, and is good with any style". Knowing what I know now, I have to politely disagree with all points other than the "looks medieval one." I love the illumination of the horse, but the capital pained me.

Scroll assignment: Award of Arms (backlog)
Recipient: Avista Mustafa ibn ‘Abdul-‘Aziz
Hand: Gothic Littera Bastarda
Specs: Guache on Bristol
Source: (forthcoming)

Note on this scroll - My cat Daenerys jumped on it with wet paws just as I was taking a picture of the finished project. I freaked out out and the calm and wonderful Thyra helped me fix it. You can follow along with the progress pictures below.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

New Blog! Woohoo!

Hi everyone!  I'm Æsa feilinn Jossursdottir, better known as simply "Feilinn" in the SCA.

I'm finally getting off of my butt and making a blog to help me organize and display my various projects.  Thanks everyone for the gentle reminders that I should do this.

Most of my blog will likely be taken up by various SCA-centric things, but I'm hoping to incorporate a little bit of my other projects in here for my general frame of reference.

If you've known me for years, "Shy Wolf" should be pretty self explanatory.  For all you crazy new people, I will simply say that it's a fun and appropriate description.  Oh and "feilinn" is Icelandic for "shy".   It's like it was meant to be! :)