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2015 Wrap Up

2015 Wrap Up

It’s a new year! While I am usually overwhelmed by possibility and eager to start the new year’s projects, this past year has ended on a difficult note for me, personally. I am having a hard time being excited about 2016 and what it will bring. I want to take a minute or two to look back at my finished projects for 2015.

Head CLoth

Embroidered Head Cloth for Dena:  A quick and sweet little embroidery/handsewing project for a friend, with elements of her heraldry on the back.

Sabina's Court Barony Scroll

Court Barony Scroll for Sabina: A tongue in cheek, fun scroll for a friend’s Court Barony. My first real scribal commission. The first time I’ve ever deliberately defaced my scribal work.

Prick and pounce tutorial, for Opuselenae.com

Prick and Pounce Tutorial: I’m counting this as a project because I feel strongly about the roll of tutorials and sharing knowledge in educating people. Still my favorite way to transfer patterns.

Rabbit's Lion Scroll

Rabbit’s Lion Scroll: First time really experimenting with pigments treated in a period manner, first (semi-successful) gilding on a scroll.

Red Crow Cup Cover

Badge Cup Cover: My heraldry passed, and now I want to put my badge on ALL THE THINGS. Starting with this cup cover, that attaches to my goblet stem so I don’t lose it.

Dragon Pouch

Dragon Pouch Collaboration: A fun little thing I did with my friend Lia to sponsor a fighter in a tournament where the buy-in was an item made by an artisan (or two!).

invites

Queen’s Champion Invitations: Last minute call to make pretty invites for an event.

The embroidered pouches are all finished!

Cantigas de Santa Maria Pouches (and part two): An artisan trade with a friend, based on two pouches from a medieval manuscript.

C&T

Cut and Thrust Championship Scroll: A kingdom-level award scroll based on a renaissance fencing manual plate.

These aren’t all the projects I’ve don’t this year, but they are all the ones I’ve blogged about.

Sewing Red Hose

I blogged about these red hose in progress, but I need to do a completed project post for them and the ginger version.

roman

I made myself a beautiful Roman outfit.

achievement The write up for this ridiculous scroll is coming. I promise. It may be two or three entries long. It was a monster.

My maiolica plate, finally fired. Only a year after I painted it! Fingers crossed that this one won't break; third times the charm, right?

Finally managed to fire this plate (third time’s the charm, right?) It lives on a shelf high up and away from danger.

poem

Calligraphed a poem for a very dear friend.

heraldry

Worked hard on learning to be a proper heraldic artist.

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Wrote out the calligraphy for the invitations to our Baronial fall event.


collar

Finished this monstrous endeavor. It ended up being shorter than I thought it needed to be initially, which made me cry, but it turned out okay in the end. Write up coming.

veil

Made a 14th century frilled veil. That I kind of hate and want to remake.

kintsugi

Practiced the Japanese art of Kintsugi.

garter

Made a pair of garters for my friend Cecilie.

callig

Calligraphed this award, which is not for the SCA (but still looks amaze!)

All in all, it’s been a productive year. I think I’ve missed a couple things, actually. Next up will be discussion of some projects I’m hoping to accomplish this coming year, and some changes I’ll be making to the site. Happy New Year, everyone!

Cantigas de Santa Maria Pouches, Part Two

Cantigas de Santa Maria Pouches, Part Two

When last we left our project, I’d finished up the embroidery on the first pouch, and I’d sketched out the diamonds on the yellow linen (the last of the linen from my Byzantine dress [have I seriously not blogged that either?! What is WRONG with me?], except for what I’ve held back for lining the cuffs, whenever they get finished).  . Digression aside, I basically marked equal spaces along each edge and connected them, leaving me with a lovely diamond grid to embroider.   . I only did one line of chain stitch. Since the overall motif was much denser than the other pouch, I didn’t think it needed bolder lines. Here it is all finished, ready to be sewn up.  . I lined both pouches (but forgot the take pictures) with coordinating linen by laying the pieces right sides together and machine sewing at the seam allowances. I clipped the curve of the cover flap and then turned them right side out and pressed, not unlike the Double Eagle Pouch I made some time ago. But that braided finish is a pain in the neck, and I kind of hate doing it, no matter how fantastic it looks.  . So instead, what I decided to so was whipstitch the pouches closed with a thread that matches the outer fabric, so as not to be so noticeable, and then just do a decorative chainstitch along the edges of the join, to mimic the braid stitch without all the fuss. I did this on the dragon pouch too (technically after these were done, but I did blog that one first), because I really liked the effect.  Finishing up the edges of the pouch with chain stitch. I added long shoulder straps in the lining fabric, as shown in the manuscripts. The strap ends were doubled over to create a smaller footprint when attached to the pouches. The red ones were sewn to the back, and the blue ones were inserted into the pouch and sewn to the lining. I’m really pleased with the way they came out and I want to make a million more of them.  The embroidered pouches are all finished!

And the chest that Juan Carlos made for me? It’s beautiful! IMG_1714

Court Barony Scroll for Sabina

Court Barony Scroll for Sabina

I was commissioned by a friend to make, in secret, a Court Barony scroll for his wife, Sabina. He had some very specific ideas for what he wanted it to look like. He wanted a very long scroll, that could be unfolded (and unfolded and unfolded). He wanted a genealogy, going back to the line’s founder, and ending in Sabina. Her persona is Italian, so he wanted a very Borgia-like family, plagued by misfortune and calamity (some of it wrought by other family members).

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Looking around, I found a manuscript, the Genealogy of Christ by Peter of Poitiers (ca. 1130-1205, which is way early for a Venetian courtesan, but who’s telling this story?!) that we both liked the bold, graphic nature of.

Sabina's Court Barony Scroll

I started off by measuring the longest sheet of paper I had, Somerset printmaking paper. It turned out to be 30″ long. I settled on making the scroll 11″ wide, to make it look even longer proportionally. I taped two pieces of graph paper together and marked off 1.5″ margins all around. Then I marked out the central line and circles where I thought they’d look pleasing. It should be noted that this is not meant to be an accurate family tree, even for her persona. It’s meant to be a prop that looks good, and is accidentally a legal document.

Sabina's Court Barony Scroll

The design was inked to allow for easier tracing via lightbox.

Sabina's Court Barony Scroll

Using my patented Giant Natural Lightbox technique (ie: taping the papers to my french door and tracing the lines), I transferred my design onto the final paper. You may not that I didn’t do any “wet-fits,” or making sure that the calligraphy would fit into the allotted space. If you look at the original manuscript, the text is rather jammed in around the lineage. I wanted the same look. I did, however, leave what I was pretty sure would be enough space at the bottom for the actual award text.

Sabina's Court Barony Scroll

I inked the initial lines in red. Originally I used brazilwood, but I think perhaps some remaining iron-gall ink in my nib oxidized with it and instead of a lovely light pinkish-red, it darkens to a pretty (but incorrect) purple. Instead, I used a red india ink.

Sabina's Court Barony Scroll

You can see my first serious screw up. I traced the line with my ruler upside down and the ink bled underneath it. I love my first screw-up of a project. It keeps me from being too precious about the rest of it.

Sabina's Court Barony Scroll

And for a mistake, it’s easily fixed by scraping the top layer of the paper off with my scalpel and burnishing the fuzzy spot that’s left. The green inner circles were drawn with watered down gouache, and the faces were sketched in (very loosely, this is not a time for perfectionism) and then inked with my favorite Scribal Workshop Iron Gall ink.

Sabina's Court Barony Scroll

Portraits are all finished! That’s Sabina at the bottom right. It kinda looks like her, too.

Sabina's Court Barony Scroll

Side by side comparisons of the design paper and the in-progress scroll. All the painting is finished there; I’m particularly proud of the central stripe. It’s so lovely and graphic.  Sabina's Court Barony Scroll

A close-up of the portraits. They got a small bit of shading after this picture; I thought they looked a bit too flat, even for this style.

Sabina's Court Barony Scroll

Names and causes of death filled in. Like any good Venetian family, lots of poison, lots of war, lots of killing each other in underhanded ways. Even one “defenestration,” which is being thrown out a window. Sabina's Court Barony Scroll

And with the text and marginalia written in. The actual award text is in English, while the marginalia is in Latin. I wanted the writing to be there, but not to detract from the actual award. Some of the latin bits are Bible verses on the importance of a loving family, and some are notes about how horrified the poor scribes are about how “unlucky” this family has been.  Sabina's Court Barony Scroll

If you notice, the last seven heirs died in a fire (started as they attempted to kill each other to obtain the estate). This family tree and the coronet she was given were the only surviving artifacts. Part of my commission was to make sure that the scroll looked like it had been rescued from a fire. I aged the paper with various washes of watercolor, and added some bloody handprints and splatters. I also painted the paws of my more tolerant cat and had him walk over the back of the scroll. He was very patient and only cried a little bit when I washed the excess paint off him.
Sabina's Court Barony Scroll

I added some wine rings on th front (such careless scribes!) and some more blood splatters and sooty handprints. I was going to make those in charcoal, but it wasn’t wanting to cooperate, so I just used dark grey gouache instead. Then I took a candle and burned the edges, and made soot marks.
Sabina's Court Barony Scroll

The one place I deliberately (mostly) avoided was the legal text. I didn’t want that getting smudged or burned beyond recognition. The hole in th middle accidentally forms a nice portrait window if you fold it over right, too.  Sabina's Court Barony Scroll The scroll all folded up. I actually have some hanging seals to attach, but I thought it’d be easier to do it after the hoopla in court was done. 
Sabina's Court Barony Scroll A clean version of the scroll text, before clean-up. I misspelled her name horribly, but it’s a relatively easy fix.

Photo by Katy Thompson. Used with permission. Photo by Katy Thompson. Used with permission.

And Her Excellency Sabina with her scroll!