Super Secret Scroll: Finished!

The scroll is finished, and the title was given this Saturday during court, so I can talk about it now. It’s a Court Barony scroll for Robert de Bray, and it was requested that I include a European dragon of some sort and his coat of arms, all in a vaguely 16th century style. I went through Pinterest looking for suitable medieval depictions of dragons and found this page from a German manuscript (c 1463-1476, so a little early, but I can’t resist a good versal).

Court Barony

I moved the verbal up to the top of the page, to start the words, and made the tail spiral down around the gold bar. I also lengthened the top border to go all the way to the other margin. I calligraphed the words in my standard blacklister gothic hand, but replaced the capitols with painted letters in blue and red, to match the manuscript.
Court Barony

I didn’t use period pigments on this scroll, because of the time consideration. I had two weeks from commission to delivery, and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to re-do it if I ran into a problem. I used store-bought gouache, and the Majestic Gold pigment from Griffin Dyeworks. 
Court Barony

I wanted to include this picture of the coat-of-arms with a ruler for scale. The little dragon is an inch and a half tall. The details were painted with an insanely tiny liner brush. I am very proud of this wee guy, and the whole scroll, for that matter. 
Court Barony


As you may have noticed, I have kind of fallen of the NaBloPoMo wagon. Usually it’s not too bad, but this year I have two blogs, an active two-year-old, and several more commitments than I have had in the past. So I’m giving myself permission to stop. I’ll still be posting multiple times weekly, but I need blogging to be something I’m not stressing out about.

And in the interest of full disclosure, let me share another way I messed up recently. I was working on the giveaway cup cover at a recent event, and got distracted by a bard singing near me, and started embroidering the wrong part of one of the spirals. Out it came. I’ve started that one again, from the base this time.


Infallible Spell: Completed

Since this piece has been received (and approved!) by the commissioner, I can talk about this now. My friend Mel wanted a small piece showing the Infallible Spell for Beauty from CS Lewis’ Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

Only the top part of the text was written in the book. The other words are crappily translated nonsense-Latin based on the spell performed in the movie version. That’s okay, though; it’s the Harry Potter principle. Spells don’t need to be real Latin, they just have to sound it.

Infallible Spell

I based this little piece (it’s 5″x7″) on an English Psalter from the latter half of the 15th century.  I had a really great time doing the whitework and shading. I used pigments from Griffin Dyeworks and Scribal Workshop. The gold is an imitation shell-gold (it’s bronze powder, I think) mixed with gum arabic and a little bit of glair.
Infallible Spell

I wanted there to be a representation of Aslan on the page, both because there was one mentioned in the book (he snarls at Lucy for contemplating using the spell) and as a reminder that even if you were use it, he would love you anyway. Infallible Spell

Teal and Orange Bliaut

I finished the teal and orange bliaut. Did I even talk about it here? God, I’m such a bad blogger. Okay, so my friend Cecilie is doing a vow renewal this coming spring, at our local Renaissance Festival, which is Robin Hood themed. So she wants everyone to be dressed in 12th century garb. Since I’m to stand with her as her maid of honor, I needed a dress. And when our Fall Baronial event theme was announced as Legends of the Third Crusade (read: Robin Hood) I knew I had to make a dress for it.

Cecilie and Me. You can see the neckline in this post, which was made by the simple expedient of a slit cut down the center of the dress. It messes with the shoulder/upper arm portion of the dress in a way I hadn’t anticipated, moving everything farther down the shoulder. I love the V it makes, though.


Me all kitted up. I’m wearing a half-cirle wimple underneath my usual oval veil. I kind of love the way it looks. And the colors. And the bit of gathering at my stomach. I need a longer belt to wear with it, though.


A decent picture of my whole silhouette. I got told several times that I looked authentic, which was the best compliment ever. You can see that I’m wearing my basic white smock that I wear under everything. It’s the most versatile piece of clothing I own.


A good shot of the side lacing. The torso isn’t lined, just faced at the collar and the side openings. The eyelets are deliberately placed far apart so that the excess length gathers on my stomach. The only part of the dress that’s lined is the bell part of the sleeves.


Embroidery tests for my bliaut collar. Not I need to get on my embroidery. There will be an embroidered collar and bands around my biceps. I did a couple tests for colors, and I’m liking the green-and-purple swatch best.


Gilding the Lily

I got some new gilding substrate recently, miniatum, and I wanted to test it out. I made a basic ‘a’ letterform, gently raised, to gild. I waited for it to dry, then used some fairly inexpensive Thai gold I got on eBay to test it out.

As you can see, it worked perfectly, resulting in a lustrous mirror shine with only one layer of gold, and minimal burnishing.
I did kind of accidentally gild my finger, though.