Scribal Playdate, Part the First

Scribal Playdate, Part the First

A couple of very lovely, wonderful ladies got together last Saturday and threw a Scribal Play Date for those of us who were interested in learning some intermediate scribal techniques. It was almost ten hours of scribal classes and experimentation, and we still didn’t get around to mixing pigments and painting. I’m going to break it into three posts, one for each class, so that they don’t get unwieldy.

First up, Penelope, who helped organize and teach, cuts vellum for us.

Scribal Play Day

 

Penelope’s mum, Martha, who is a calligrapher mundanely, and kindly hosted the day at her beautiful house.

Scribal Play Day

 

Rachel, and her tea. Tea featured very prominently during the day. I think I had two or three different kinds.

Scribal Play Day

 

Lady Cat, getting things together for the gesso class.

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Mistress Amata.

Scribal Play Day

 

Gesso ingredients: raw sugar, slaked plaster, titanium dioxide, fish glue, and gilder’s bole for color.

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Grind all the dry ingredients together. Forever.

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What it should look like when it’s ground properly.

Scribal Play Day

 

Add the fish glue. Which doesn’t smell nearly as bad as you might think it does.

Scribal Play Day

 

And then you get something that looks like silly putty, with the consistency of caramel sauce.

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Using pumice and gum sandarac to properly prepare the surface of the vellum.

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Drawing in our letters (or whatever) in gesso. Some of us used quills, some used brushes.

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My gesso was quite, uh, pillowy. Go big or go home.

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Martha had some gesso made with lead white, instead of titanium oxide, that we reconstituted and tried out, too.

Scribal Play Day

 

Then a break between gesso and iron gall classes for some cordial tasting. You can tell we’re classy because our pinkies are up.

Scribal Play Day

 

Next time: Iron Gall ink.

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