Monday, March 27, 2017

Seamstress to the Crown - Svea

Recipient: Svea the Short-Sighted
Award: Seamstress to the Crown
Hand: humanist bookhand
Specs: guache on pergamentata

My scroll with a print out of the original for comparison.  Final scroll was 5"x7".

Close up of the finished piece.

I felt like this piece has a lot of things going right for it.  The hand was light and airy enough, most of the capital letters looked correct (including most of the S capitals).  The scaling I think went fine except for the illuminated capital F which is a tad too small.  Measuring out the F to the predetermined block size went better than expected and all the guoache and shmincke gold cooperated.

Scroll text was fleshed out for reading in court:

"While the skill of our artisans is hailed through the Known World, it is also their generosity that makes them and by extension, the East truly great. For her creation of largesse for our kingdom do We, Brion the King and Anna the Queen name Svea the Short-Sighted as a Seamstress to the Crown. Done on this 25th day in March A.S. 51 at the Thawing of the Mud."

Vigil Book - Kennimathor

I was asked by the talented crew putting together the vigil book for Kennimathor Geirrson to help with the illuminations.  Ken (like Matthias) is of the knightly lineage of Earl Seannan an Chasur so this post has a few familiar heraldic beasties.

Edward and Colin (the knights of Matthias and Ken respectively) had the same team create their vigil books, so both books followed the same format: (1) what I call the "preamble" praising the one called to vigil, (2) the recipient's heraldic charge with a shield, chain, helm, and mantle, (3) the knightly lineage, (4) family/household heraldry.  I tried to keep that the same for Matthias and Kennimathor as well.

I lovingly refer to this as the "project of the secret court name person, by the people with secret court names".  Thyra gets a pass on that since her name can be spelled with a "thorn" instead of a "th".

Vigil Book for Njal "Kennimathor Geirrson" Virtanen
Leather journal by Johannes Mikkinen (called Jenson)
Calligraphy by Thyra Eiriksdottir
Illumination by me - AEsa feilinn Jossursdottir (called Feilinn)

Gouache and ink on hot press paper.

Close up of the front cover of the book by Jenson.

Thyra's calligraphy and text based off Njal's Saga.

Heraldry of Njal Virtanen, called Kennimathor.

I'm very proud of the heraldry for this page for a few reasons.  When I was originally looking at the exemplars from Colin's book and period sources, having the acanthus leaves and helm on a shield for a viking persona...just didn't fit right.  Thyra suggested using the Sutton Hoo helmet for the helm and my husband, Sergei, suggested Odin's ravens as supporters instead of the leaves.   I'll nit-pick about the ravens not quiiiite being even, but considering I was now drawing into the bound book instead of the unbound pages I'm not going to complain too much.  The aesthetics were right on the mark and considering a new helm in the style of the Sutton Hoo helm was part of Ken's vigil regalia made me flail like a fan-girl.

Bonus - heraldry with straight lines!  *scribal swoon of joy*

Knightly lineage.
Gryff's stags continue to haunt me as the most difficult of the lineage shields.  The stag on the left says "Look at me, for I am refined and elegant!!!"  The stag on the right (much like the right stag in Matthias' book) says "Derp" to me. *sigh*

My favorite of the bunch continues to be Gregor's lion.  Despite all the fussy elements (claws and fluff), my brain has an easier time making it look correct for some reason.  Pigs are hard to draw (Colin), but then again so are greyhounds with a border of fleur de lys (Edward from Matthias' book).  Both of these venerable gentleman get the squinty-eye of hard to draw heraldry honorable mention.

Heraldry for the Household of Lochleven.

I had a great time with this book and both Thyra and Jenson were a joy to collaborate with.  Congrats, Ken!

Queen for a Month - Feilinn's viking dress

After the Edward III and Thyra II World Tour #2, the sewing ladies of the Worshipful Company decided that each person was going to get a new fancy outfit in as if they were "Queen for a Month".  Thyra was my project manager and Marieta was my concept designer for this one.

What did I want?  Cute viking...and a wolf...also blue...and something that fit.

What this meant was we finally delved into my stash of fabric and made a full viking under dress and apron.  The main component of the apron was something termed "Fantasy Viking" in the SCA...I wanted a wolf design right on the apron.  I had found a design I liked on Pintrest from a million years ago (in which I also found examples of Thyra and Aikaterine in lovely viking dresses when they were queens).

This is where I confess this is my third/fourth embroidery project and biggest applique of the bunch.  I was taught how to do a split stitch specifically for this project.  I did all the hand embroidery for this with the exception of the sun detail on the wolf's collar (done by Thyra) and the eye detail (done by Marieta).  The wolf is 30% merino wool felt, layered on itself, and the apron is either a very light weight wool or very wool-like linen.  The design is based off a Fenris wolf design from the depths of Pintrest, edited to remove the rope fetters/shackles on the paws.  I kept the collar and leash to add color and movement.  The thin bits of felt were tacked down with fusing and pinned in place while I started the stitching process.  Dot details are (terrible) french knots.

Queen for a Month: Wolf Applique
Wool felt stitched with wool thread.

Yard stick shown for scale.

Close up of the stitching and detail work.  I have been told I have the tiniest stitches.  My favorite is the gold eye bead on the wolf.

QoC - Cellach Dhonn

Recipient: Cellach Dhonn inghean Mhic an Mhadaidh
Assignment: Queen's Order of Courtesy
French translation: Kirsa Oyutai
Hand: carolingian miniscule
Specs: gouache on pergamenata, 23k gold gilding
Source: Book of Kells, Gospel of St. Matthew

Finished scroll

Close up of the capital "N"

Original from Book of Kells coloring book.

This was my second full attempt at gilding and on a much larger scale.  The original for this was actually from a Book of Kells coloring book.  I tried to cross reference the colors associated with it to the original manuscript page which I found...and then lost the link to.  My internet-search-fu has since failed me at fining the link to the original.  The knot work on for the birds of the top was simplified to only be one large thread and one accent thread.  Originally I had thought to keep it simple and have the interior of the N's legs one solid color.  After doing the gilding and painting of the birds, I decided just having the flower wheels on the interior was going to be too plain.  The beast-knots in the interior were hand sketched/simplified from the originals and all the detailing of the squares and flowers where free-handed while painting.

Overall, I'm happy with the piece.  I think there are some things I could have done better for scaling of the capital to the body.  Painting was actually easy and the consistency was spot on.  The gilding I'd like to practice more because of issues I had with making the miniatum flow nicely (so there are ripples in the gold that to me are noticable).

Words were by me and read as follows:
"We speak the languages of man, but also many others such as the language of blades or of arts or of service. These are languages spoken through deeds, boldly on event fields or quietly at home. There is one special language in which Cellach Dhonn inghean Mhic an Mhadaidh is well versed. It is the language spoken when addressing a high noble lord or the youngest fussing babe. Its message is spread by helping hands, a mischievous grin, and sometimes even by the gift of fudge so plentiful not even the fearsome Eastern army could consume it all in one sitting. This is the language spoken by the heart of the kingdom; the language of courtesy. It is with great joy that We Anna, induct Cellach Dhonn into Our Queen's Order of Courtesy. Done at Our 12th Night Celebration."