Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Argent Palm for Meara

Award: Argent Palm
Recipient: Meara
Size: 4in x 6in
Materials: watercolor gouache, bristol board, faux gold leaf, ink
Total work time: 6 hours

Last week I had the privledge of creating a scroll for my SCA niece, Meara. This young lady has a quick wit and a taste for gothy things. As this was her first SCA award, an Argent Palm, I wanted to make it special for her.

I created a page inspired by the Hours of Mary of Burgundy. This book of hours was created around 1475 for Mary, Duchess of Burgundy by an anonymous artisan known as the Master of Mary of Burgundy (active: 1469 - 1483 ). Mary of Burgandy was the only child of Charles the Bold of Burgundy and Isabelle de Bourbon and wed Maximilian, archduke of Austria, of the Habsburg (Hapsburg) family, who later became emperor Maximilian I. The book is richly decorated and contains a gorgeous opening illumination showing Mary of Burgundy in contemplation with a book of hours.

The page I created was inspired by a page with white acanthus leaves and flowers on a field of gold leaf. To suit the piece to the young lady, I exhanged one of the pea flowers from the original manuscript page with a skull from the Office of the Dead near the end of the manuscript.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Elspeth's Rose

A number of years ago Brigid Caileen and Mittion were the Crown of Trimaris and TRM Caileen had a very special project. Her friend, Duchess Elspeth, had been in the SCA quite a number of years and although she had received many accolades, she had not received many illuminated pieces to commemorate those awards. Caileen set up to have scribes create all of the pieces that Elspeth was missing.

Caileen asked me to take the commission for the Rose scroll and although I was swamped at the time I could not say no to her. Saying no to Caileen is like saying no to your sweet grandma wrapped in a hurricane because she is a darling and a force of nature in one.

I had been toying with the knot-worked calligraphy from the Mira Calligraphae Monumenta for some time and decided this would be a good piece. I selected three of Hoefnagel's roses pictured in separate parts of the book and paired them with the knot-worked calligraphy. In the calligraphy, the award text was not long enough to create the cross shape so I added in lines from a medieval poem that I cannot recall.

The calligraphy on the curves was not easy and I recall not being entirely happy with it but the illuminations helped me to feel better about the piece as a whole.