Margherita Makes an Original Scroll Sunday, Jun 10 2007 

I made my first original scroll this week (this week, because I had to spend last week working on my outfit for my belting; I would have been happier if I’d had more time.) Here it is in its finished state.rapierscrollall

The scroll was the award for the champion of the rapier tournament at Legends, an event hosted by my shire, Sol Haven. As there were no preprints for this, I was left with the somewhat intimidating task of doing the whole thing myself; however, as I’d been wanting to move up into doing originals, I welcomed the chance to see what I could do.

Since the event was late-period Italian themed, I decided to use the later Italian style that involved painting jewels and scrolling acanthus leaves in a border made of rectangular panels. I thought it looked easier to do and quicker to paint than the styles with more fiddly whitework or lots of tiny leaves.

I began by blocking out the border area and the writing area in pencil, and then started drawing out theraperscrollpencil design. Using a stencil with a wide variety of small circles  cut out helped a lot, but even then I was nearly tearing my hair out over the acanthus leaves. I am good with stencils and rulers and constructing things mathematically, but my freehand drawing skills are… not very skillful.

Finally, I had the whole thing roughed out, and it looked pretty much like this. The device at the right is the device of the Shire of Sol Haven. I was originally going to include acanthus leaves on the top and bottom as well, but it had taken me three days working pretty much all evening after work to get this far, so I gave up that idea and put in clusters of jewels with strings of what were originally to be pearls but what ended up as gold roundels.

Next I calligraphed the scroll in an Italic hand. I am not very happy with the results, but after the second retrapierscrolltopry it became obvious to me that I needed more time than I had for this scroll to improve my crapierscrollleftalligraphy to the point where I would be happy with it. I just need a lot more practice. Oh well- I hope the award recipient liked it anyway, because I put many many hours into it and tried my best to make it nice for him.

After the ink was dry and the design pencilled, I began to paint. I didn’t finish the painting until I was actually at the event, just a few hours before court. After the paint was dry, I inked the scroll, and then once the tournament was over I got the winner’srapierscrollright name and added it to the scroll, adding a little flourish of gold dots to either side to make it fancier. I am much happier with the illumination than with the calligraphy on this scroll; I think that on the whole it turned out very nicely. It was certainly vivid and pretty with all the bright jeweltones.  I am posting detailed pictures of the illumination in the borders. I’m not entirely happy with the acanthus leaves still- they seem kind of skinny and puny, but I had trouble fitting them into the space. I need to do more experimentation in this style, I think. I would like to do some AoA scrolls in this style, but before that I need to work on my acanthus and calligraphy skills or lack thereof.  Overall I am fairly happy with how it turned out, given the short time constraints and the fact that it was my first shot at an original. Hopefully I can improve my skills to the point where I can make some really stunning scrolls in this style, because I honestly think it can be extremely lovely and impressive when well done, just through the sheer brilliance of all that color and gemstones glittering around. Ideally I’d learn to do proper gilding, too, to really set the gems off.

As always, please feel free to leave comments!

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Updates and such Wednesday, Jun 6 2007 

So it’s been a busy couple of months here at Fuori Moda- most notably because I was getting married, which: yay! Unfortunately for the SCA crafts, though, all my spare time for a while went to wedding-related things.

 Once the wedding was over, though, it was time to turn my attention to my next upcoming projects: completing a Florentine 1480s outfit to wear to my apprenticeship ceremony (which was last weekend: yay!) and preparing a class and a scroll for an event that the Shire of Sol Haven is hosting this weekend.

 The dress went pretty well, and I will post pictures when I can. I had some difficulties with the sleeves but they were LEARNING difficulties, so that’s all right then. I think they will behave better if I

  1. Sew the seam closed at the top half of the arm rather than depending on lacing.
  2. use a single short lace for each pair of lacing rings, as ladder lacing makes the sleeve pucker when you try to pull it snug.
  3. Remember that when flat drafting a pattern you have to draw the seam allowances in afterward (oops!).
  4. Learn to tie those nifty Renaissance half-bows.
  5. Actually, teach my husband to tie those nifty Renaissance half-bows, as it is impossible to tie anything on the back of one’s own dominant arm.

Also, drafting the giornea, as simple as it was, actually gave me a hundred kinds of fits. I couldn’t get it to hang properly. Of course part of the problem is, it’s very difficult to drape without a dress form when your only assistant is a helpful-minded but not sewing-savvy guy. A scene:

Me: Honey, could you come here for a second?
Him: Sure, what do you need?
Me: Pin me right here!
Him: Where?
Me: See, here where I’m pinching? put the pin along the fold line.
Him: But I’ll stick you!
Me: Put it in horizontally.
Him: (silent attempts.) Ow! OK, there it is. I think.
Me: Thank you, sweetie. I think I can estimate from here.

 I should teach a class in Helping People Sew When You Don’t Sew Yourself.

 (This is not to say that Alric is not wonderful in every way and always willing to help, because he is. But still, I always feel bad asking him to lace me up, tie me off, pin me together, and help me out of various scraps of garb when he regards sewing as a fabulous and complicated enterprise, full of shiny sharp poky bits and things that are easy to ruin. The bottom line is, I need a dress form like crazy.)

 Anyhow, I’m currently hard at work on my first original scroll, for the rapier champion at Legends. It’s done in the Italian Ren style, in keeping with a Borgia-themed event, and I’m hoping it will turn out well. Of course it’s taking forever, but such is art! I did the calligraphy yesterday but I think I’ll be redoing it because I think I made the text too big. I’ll post pictures soon- I have a new digital camera now so I can do pictures again.

 I’m also teaching a class on maiolica at Legends. I’m hoping to enter some maiolica in Kingdom A&S next year.