woensdag 13 maart 2013

Cutting quills

Cait came over to visit, and showed us how to cut quills. She helped us both cut one on our own, and now we're all excited to work with them!

Even though one of the lessons we learned is that we don't have the right knives, we both managed to cut a workable quill, which we didn't succeed in when we tried on our own a while ago. And using the quill is amazing, it feels much nicer on the paper, and just works better shaping letters.

The only trouble is, now I can't go back to writing with cheap and simple metal nibs... We'll just have to find some swan roosting spots and go hunting for feathers in June (something else we learned from Cait: swans drop the right kind of feathers in June, and geesefeathers you have to pluck from the bird).

So in between bouts of flue and practicing bagpipes, I used the quill we cut together to write the numbers on our wooden 'Shut the box' cards, and then I actually cut another slightly narrower quill on my own to work on a piece of music that Mariken asked me to write the words for.

As you can see below, there's still some experimenting to do (how not to start with big blobs of ink that spread all over for instance, and how to shave off bits of quill, without shaving off bits of thumb :)), but overall, I'm extremely pleased. We're set for proper medieval calligraphy, and best of all, it's so much more enjoyable to practice! So, three cheers for Cait!

We also visited the Zaanse Schans and Verfmolen de Kat to look at pigments, and had a very good (and very cold) time there. Soon we'll get around to making paint with some of the pigments we bought, and update some of the color discussions...

donderdag 19 juli 2012

Slowly but surely

After a bit of a break for vacation and planning an event, we got back to work in the past few weeks. Bertrik is close to finishing the main gold work on all pages, and the first ever booklet of gold leaf as well!

Simeon came and helped last week, painting red and blue leaves. I worked some more on blackwork/green leaves.

Tonight, I was getting bored with the fiddly green stuff, so I practiced calligraphy for a bit, and did some whitework. Laura and Mariken have set a high standard on the pages they've done, and I've never been happy with the stuff I did, so I want to practice before I work on the book again.

To finish the night with a good feeling, we'll have a look at all the pages and see what we finished but didn't mark in the tabel of work. It's nice to look through and see lots of pages that are 'almost' or at least partly done. Almost no empty pages anymore :)

donderdag 12 april 2012

Here it is!

The first page that is completely finished!

This one is done with gold paint instead of the real stuff, so that will be another milestone...

vrijdag 30 maart 2012

Penwork and leaves

Yesterday I did the first green leaves and serious penwork, and I'm quite content with the first try. I did realize when I started drawing the black lines around the green leaves that they are shaped up side down, with the pointed bit at the end of the leave instead of the start, so that will take a bit of practice. The line of penned flowers on the left side of the right hand page turned out rather well I think.

I used the terra verde paint, and it worked better than expected, probably because these are just small shapes, and maybe also because the paint is fairly fresh (made last week).

Hopefully I will be able to finish the penwork next week, and then we'll have reached a milestone, the first page that is completely finished! Wow.


I've been doing quite a lot of writing in the book lately, but the scriptorium last week also put me up to looking through my folder of half finished illumination projects and lots of examples of 15th and 16th century Dutch illumination.

We're getting to a stage in the book where lots of pages have been written and are ready for the next "layer": adding whitework, leaves and penwork. We decided not to spend weeks practicing before starting on the book; we've got everything from gold paint to three different kinds of gesso in there allready, and lots of people have helped, some more experienced that others, and all of that is part of the character and charm of the project. So yesterday, I started doing some penwork and green leaves on one page (see the next post), and it looks pretty good.

At the same time, I do want to try and decide on one style of letters to use, and practice a little whitework and penwork, so I'm planning on doing a sampler. These are some of the things I want to have in there:

-the final version of gothic bastarde to use
-penned capitals
-painted lombardic capitals with and without penwork
-whitework examples, both bars and a few larger letters
-line fillers


Last Sunday we planned another work session, and this time announced it a bit further ahead of time. We worked with 8 people, and got lots done, yay!

Hilde, Gerulf and Jehan worked on illuminations, Laura filled in some decorated capitals and started on an illumination, Elisabeth painted lots of leaves and her daughter worked on whitework. Bertrik provided paint, and I did a little bit of painting and lots of running around. I also looked up examples of whitework, capitals and penwork.

Bertrik took lots of pictures that he put online: http://www.bertrick.nl/photos/Calligrafie_25-03-2012/#

zondag 12 februari 2012

Sunday Afternoon

We planned a Sunday afternoon for a group session working on The Book, but due to the short notice, snow, flue rapant and various other things it's just Bertrik and me here. We're using the time to tackle some stuff that we haven't had the courage for on the regular worknights, notably working on some illuminations that have been half or almost finished for about a year: 1993 and 1992.

Bertrik estimated that we have about 1-2 years of work ahead of us before the book is done. We'll see if we make it :).

We're using the shells of paint that have been sitting in a plastic box for the past year or so, and that works fine. The terra verde paint (dark olive green, see the hills in the background of the top picture) is as unpleasant to work with as we remembered.

The top illumination is done now, and on the bottom one we just need to fill in Helena's dress, so good progress!

I also wrote the last bit of page 1990/2 and looked at the word counts. There are 339 words left for page 3 and 4, which have space for 150 words on average. Also, it looks like I've been writing a lot less words on a page than the average, so I'll have to keep paying attention and continue cutting words as I go.