My most recent work was calligraphy only, but it was a chance for me to work on a style of calligraphy that I had struggled with in the past. I have noticed that as I tune my fine-mortar skills (regardless of whether it is in calligraphy, illumination, or something else) I notice a great improvement and confidence in my calligraphy work.
This project was near and dear to my heart because it was for my teacher, Baroness Audrye Beneyt’s Maunche scroll. Not a few months back, she had recommended that I try using a gridded method to improve my spacing between letters/words while calligraphing and I had an opportunity to try this method out on two scrolls. I love it! It really has helped me see what appropriate spacing looks like, and by Jove I was going to be certain to do it on this scroll too!. I lined my paper and three practice sheets and broke out my calligraphy book.
Calligraphy on Scroll for the Order of the Maunche for Audrye Beneyt for Crown’s AnS – 2020.French Prayer Book 14th century France. Chr. Bruun: The Illuminated Manuscripts in the Great Royal Library. Copenhagen. 1890, pp. 148-150, recto 20, var 1.
Right off the bat, one thing that I noticed that differed from the calligraphy book and the exemplar was the letter ‘d’. In my calligraphy book, the letter ‘d’ had a completely hooked leg (I am describing the stick part of the ‘d’ as the leg…) and it wrapped around into this lovely loop, making the letter almost look like an 8. It was quite lovely, and I had practiced this on about 2 blanks. When I finally looked at the exemplar to think about text size, I noticed that the ‘d’ legs actually did not create an 8 at all, rather, they arched over the round part of the letter as if a person were reaching an arm over to their left side. I completed another scroll blank and found that this small difference actually changed the entire look of the scroll, and I was MUCH happier with how it mirrored the exemplar!
Final ink on the page: the first line was done in Cayenne Red (by Noodlers), as the exemplar also displayed the first line of the document being red, followed by black ink. Sizing was perfect and, three days later, the lines were erased and the scroll was prepared for Mistress Camille des Jardins to illuminate.
This scroll was not just special because it was for my teacher (though that was an added bonus) but it was thrilling to revisit something that I had done before (and really not that long ago) and be able to visibly see progress. I was able to see that I was,
1. Thinking about how text better fit on a page; not by guessing, but by a mathematical equation.
2. Looking at small differences between my exemplar and my letter guide book and making decisions based on historical accuracy rather than capability or lack of familiarity.
3. Improving dexterity so that I could create more fluid letter shapes, which has allowed for smaller letter side and better spacing.
Overall, this piece was a milestone for me; showing me how I have grown over the last year or so, and giving me the opportunity to display me improvements for a person that is very important in my SCAdian growth.
The final touches to the scroll (illumination) were done my Mistress Camille des Jardins.