Monday, November 15, 2010

Richard Clitherow’s Pelican

DSCN0092Award: Order of the Pelican

Recipient: Master Richard Clitherow of Marcaster

Kingdom: Trimaris

Inspiration Source: Tres Petites Heures d’Anne de Bretagne

Time: 40-ish hours

Text: Written by Master Octavio de Flores

Receive these words of Lorcan and Grainne, newly crowned King and Queen of Trimaris and Cry these tidings known throughout the land:

DSCN0094 Upon Our celebration of the founding of the Kingdom of Trimaris twenty-five years ago, it gives us great pleasure to acknowledge a Gentleman of our Realm, Richard Clitherow.

He Stands with Humility, Leads with Service, Defies Tyranny with a Smile, and Challenges Complacency with Courage. His Worth is beyond measure and His Integrity is beyond Question.

And So it Our Right and Privilege to accept the many recommendations proffered, affirming the will of the people of Trimaris, and Grant him this day a Patent of Arms as a member of the Order of the Pelican. Witness Our hand and Seal on this 4th day of September, a.s. XLV

Lorcan, King

Grainne, QueenDSCN0095

About this piece: Richard is a wonderful gentleman and I very much agonized over something that would suit him just so. His colors are blue and gold so I  started by searching for something that heavily used those colors. I came across the Tres Petites Heures d’Anne de Bretagne which is a tiny volume of lovely and understated illumination that seemed just right for this project.

The miniatures were changed entirely and only the blue border with gold acanthus leaves and the gold boarder with architecture are derived from the original page. The major illumination of a bridge hung with pennants is taken from Master Richard’s favorite poem, The Bridge Builder. The bridge is hung with pennants that include the arms of Don Alain, Richard Clitherow and Mistress Columella. A Pelican in its piety has been included in the gold architectural border and several triskeles were incorporated into the design.

DSCN0093Special thanks to Mistress Finneadan who added some of her immense drawing skill to this task. What she does in moments can often take me several agonizing hours. Finneadan created the base drawing for the bridge miniature based on some designs I sketched on scrap paper.

About the Original: Anne of Brittany was Duchess of Brittany and was Queen to two successive French Kings, Charles VIII and Louis XII. Anne was one of the richest women in Europe and commissioned many fine manuscripts for herself and for her children.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Little violets

Award: Golden Galleon

Recipient: Finnguala inghean Alister

Inspiration: Prayer Book of Michelino da Besozzo (Folio 6)

Finnguala is my apprentice and I learned that she is fond of violets which made choosing a subject for illumination quite easy. The Prayer Book of Michelino da Besozzo is a great source for simple yet elegant floral borders that are often complimented by nice clean lines of gilding. The calligraphy was executed by Queen Grainne of Trimaris but I have no photos of the page after completion.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Three Lilies

Award: Augmentation of Arms
Recipient: Mistress Stephanie of Nethyrwode
Kingdom: Meridies
Source: Mira Calligraphiae Monumenta
Commissioned by: TRM Thomas and Elisanda
Time: 30-ish hours

Text: Behold this fair gentle who among all good nobles of Our Society has proven herself to be a paragon of those ideals we hold dear.  She is a beacon to those in need of inspiration and guidance and a pillar upon which Our beloved Kingdom depends.  Her service and dedication know no bounds; having enriched not only Our Kingdom, but our Society as a whole.  In Our eyes she stands  an ideal peer whose sacrifices do not go unnoticed, nor will we permit them to go  DSCN1017 unrewarded.  So that all may know that we hold Stephanie of Nethyrwode in the highest esteem, We, Thomas and Elisenda, King and Queen of the Laurel Kingdom of Meridies  bestow upon you a token of Our respect and admiration.  From this day henceforth, we charge you to augment your personal arms with the Meridian Augmentation of three mullets in chevron argent.   Thus is confirmed your sole right and privilege to bear the arms describe by this heraldic blazon: Sable, a dragon's head erased, on a chief engrailed erminois three lilies azure, for augmentation on a canton sable three mullets one and two argent.  Proclaimed with Our voice and done by our hand and seal this 11th day of September, Anno Societatis XLV, being 2010 by the Common Reckoning. (Written by Thomas and Elisenda)

Mistress Stephanie’s arms included three lilies, so I included three from the Mira Calligraphiae Monumenta: Lily of the valley (top), Orange lily (bottom left) and a Madonna lily (bottom right). The text is fairly long but I still had to add some text at the end to complete the knot work design.

How to Write in Knots

Step one: Draw the interlace and flora: Although the text looks like it would make you crazy, it is actually easier than oneDSCN1027  would think. First I lay out the knot work and produce a top and bottom line in pencil to use as guides for the calligraphy. In that design I verify all of the knot work over and under passes.

Step two: Text layout: Later I pencil in all of the text to make sure I have enough or not too much space. This also keeps misspellings to a minimum. and

Step three: Get the ink and the whiskey: I did the calligraphy this piece in one sitting, stopping to do a shot of whiskey when I hit the very tight knots at the N, E, S, and W compass points of the interlacing.

Step four: Get sober and then paint: After completing the calligraphy I came back through an painted the lilies. I finished the gilding last on this piece because I knew it would take the least time. Also, after everything the gilding actually seemed nice and easy.

Step five: Walk away: Slap that page in a frame and walk the hell away before your make yourself crazy with what you could have done better.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

A Wedding Blessing

DSCN0155 I completed this Wedding Blessing for a friend who wanted just the right gift for her brother’s wedding. Her brother and his fiancée love the outdoors and hike often. Thus Jill chose blackberries and pine needles to represent the simple beauty of the woods, a poppy in honor of their home state of California and a Buckeye Butterfly in honor of her brother’s favorite team of Ohio State.

The Buckeye Butterfly is based upon a photo taken by the lady who commissioned this page. The poppy and blackberry are based upon images from the Mira calligraphiae monumenta. The pine needles are modeled after needles from a tree on my street with a nicely low hanging branch.

Calligraphy is done in a Carolingian Miniscule with brown Windsor Newton ink to continue with the natural feel of the piece. 

Known also as the Apache Blessing, here is the text of the poem:

Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be the shelter for each other. DSCN0161

Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be the warmth for the other.

Now you are two persons, but there is only one life before.

Go now to your dwelling place to enter into the days of your life together.

And may your days be good and long upon the earth.”

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Grainne’s Pelican

Award: Pelican

Recipient: Grainne ingen Anlon meic Cerbhaill

Materials: watercolor gouache, various period pigments, pergamenata, gold leaf, gold ink, ink

Total work time: 35 hours

Painting Assistance: Lady Bryna of Kildare

Calligraphy and Illumination: Maol Mide

Based upon the peacock border pages [ff.97v-98] from the Hours of Englebert of Nassau by the Master of Mary of Burgundy.  The major illumination of the Annunciation was removed from folio 97v. and the smaller illumination was moved from folio 98 and adapted for the left hand side of the scroll. The piece was adapted by changing the coloration of the female figure to match that of the recipient, my friend Grainne. Also the castle in the background of the original was replaced with a building modeled after the main hall at Camp Indian Springs, the campsite where Grainne’s local group traditionally holds their events.

Grainne’s device includes a peacock so this border seemed the perfect match for her Pelican scroll. She specifically asked for something small in size so the full page as just smaller than the opening in a 8.5x11 inch viewable frame and mat.

Lady Bryna did a grat deal of the underpainting in the peacock feathers and her awesome help gave my hand a very needed rest.