Monday, August 26, 2013

You Inspire Me Week 2

Inspired by the Paris Psalter, dated around 975.

Today I purchased various colors from various brands. That was my experiment for the day. So I wanted to pick something where I could focus on the various colors and see how well they worked. So far, and I knew it was going to happen from previous experience, I am in love with the Winsor and Newton. Not a huge fan of the Bombay or the Walnut ink. Neither gives me as crisp and clean lines as I want and I feel I need to go over the color a few times before I get the hue I want. I'm also not a fan of how watery it is. Maybe they just weren't fully shook. Higgins, again, is something I have no preference with. Speedball, again, is a good stand by. I will experiment further tomorrow. Having used white ink for the first time, all I can say is... where have you been all my life!? I am so going to work on a black paper to do a few at some point. I know I have a few examples in my book. Did they dye the paper? Paint it? How did they do it?

Today's inspiration is Elizabeth Greenleaf. I have watched her work on many a scroll and have seen the final work as well. Not only is her work beautiful, but she works -at- events to get things done. Last minute scrolls, scrolls that were just pushed to the limit. And every single one looks beautiful. Sometimes she signs into an event just to sit in some back room somewhere to work because she wants to make certain that that person receiving a scroll is given something so important, so meant for them. That moment is to be completely special, and she knows that.

And through all this service and dedication, most importantly, I don't think I've ever seen her without a smile on her face. She is always welcoming, happy, hospitable, and gracious. She is a lovely and elegant woman and is certainly an inspiration for what I would like to live up to in the SCA.

Inspired by Turin-Milan Hours, dated 1380-1420.

Today I wanted to make something quick because I have a busy day ahead of me, but that doesn't mean it need be awful. Today was a lot of experimentation. I wanted to see how terribly bad the soak was on the two aforementioned inks. They tried to bleed all over. Yet both say on the side that they will not travel once placed. It makes me think maybe they need some time to dry out. Just a little. But this is also india ink as opposed to my acrylic I have been using. I also wanted to see what it was like doing one pass through and two passes through. I get a much richer color if I go over the area twice (as you can see in the Y) and a much less opaque color when I just go over it once. It makes me a little sad and I'm trying to think how I can fix these colors to make them more opaque and bleed less, if there is no fix, or if maybe I'm using the wrong paper. I still think the card came out lovely and I'm glad for the experimentation time.

Today's inspiration (and I think she would be super happy to be considered inspiration on a day of so much experimentation) is Lady Irene. She is in my shire and loves to have fun with glass and metal. Her skill is amazing, but more than that, her skill and patience teaching -and- learning is incredible. I approached her one day with a technique I wanted to try, having never done anything in the glass field before and not only did she say she would love to help me, she was also excited because she had never tried the style either. She is happy to answer any questions and yet she will never pretend she knows everything and will enjoy, just as much, to sit down at the books with you to try and figure out the answer. To have someone so filled with excitement, enthusiasm, patience, and knowledge is such a boon to my shire as well as my kingdom in a whole. I know I'm not the only person to exclaim that she is an inspiration.

Inspired by Codex Aureus of Canterbury, dated the middle of the 8th century.

I wont give up. I wont let these new inks beat me. I actually put the back end of the pen in and stirred them. A few of them are now lovely and I really enjoy them, such as the terra cotta and yellow orchre by the Bombay company. But there are some that are still so awful I am almost thinking of emailing the actual company, not where I got them from, and say 'you said it doesn't spread, and it spreads like a wildfire on a dry August night'. Especially since some from the same company are good. I'm also having some issues with the gold and silver flowing smoothly through the pen. Today I used a paintbrush, for example, on some areas out of ease. I'm actually pleased with the result and will be adding two or three of my extra fine brushes to my calligraphy kit. But today was about perseverance.

I will be the first to admit that I am not good at freehand celtic knotwork. It is something I have to plan and strive towards and then I can do some beautiful stuff. But, this was just tough so I didn't worry too much. But the thing I loved about this was the crunched and overlapped letters at the end, hence the E in ME. It wasn't a kerning issue. I just wanted to try out the crunched little letter.

Why? Because today's inspiration is a woman who wouldn't allow me to take no for an answer. In fact, she would put her arm around me and tell me not to listen to the naysayers, but to keep on doing what I love doing. But if I'm going to do it, I better be putting my whole heart in it.

eLeri was an inspiration to more than just me. More than just a Barony. More than just a Kingdom. She always held an encouraging tone, was always happy to do whatever she could to help out, and always always always had that smile on her face. She was the heart of the Kingdom. Ask anyone to tell you a story about her, and I will bet they will have a smile on their face thinking back on good times with eLeri. It doesn't end there, though. Oh no. She lives on in all of us. She is still encouraging us all, even now. She is a person that can not be forgotten and continues to inspire people inside, and out of, the SCA. This past Pennsic, there was a tourney in her honor. Those that fought, fought with chivalry and respect. People donated their hair.

To this day, she still whispers words of encouragement and inspiration to me. And that is why this card took all day. Because I had to put my entire heart into it.

Inspired by Kitab ad-Diryaq Book of Antidotes, dated 1199.

Today's card had a purpose. One of the things I love in watching other calligraphers is seeing how they can make a style of writing that feels like it belongs to another language (such as Arabic, like here) and someone make English words using that style of writing. It is fantastic. And although I don't think I did the -best- of jobs, it was a lot of fun to play and experiment. And I really liked how they had the elongated bits and I thought it would work well for some of the words and how it is interwoven into the design. Normally I steer away from these styles of calligraphy because I don't know how I will go about creating it. But I'm rather pleased.

Today's inspiration is my persona brethren in arms, Pashkalika Kanabala. I have a feeling she would approve of me trying to create the whole feel of the particular style I was trying for.

And now, for a story. My first big even in the SCA, over night wise, was War of the Roses. And I remember going to court, knowing almost no one save a few Concordians, and Kanabala was called into court. She moved with grace and beauty and was the essence of everything Hindustani. As she was given an award called an Emerald, I leaned over and asked the person next to me what it was for. Persona. It was amazing to watch her receive that award, to see the scroll she was given. I determined at that moment, she was exactly what I strived for in this society: to -be- the person, not just look like the person.

I have watched Kanabala for years now, and there are so many things that inspired me. In fact, she even put something in an A&S competition that I simply needed to know more about. I was invited to her camp to learn to make pearl flowers. And that is where my first taste of beading and, more importantly, metal working began.

There are very few people I know that are as dedicated not only to their persona, but teaching others, hospitality in making other comfortable, and keeping with the thought that 'if it isn't fun, why are you doing it?' She is another person that, even if from a distance (and closer now a days), has helped to mold me into the person I am in the SCA today.

Inspired by The Vienna Dioscorides, circa 512.

Today was an experiment in trying to do a still life from a... photo of a drawing of a still life? No, but seriously, I wanted to see how the picture would look without the bleeding of the calligraphy on the other wide, and I feel like it is missing something without having that. I also wanted to use the more scribbled notation style of font (like you can vaguely see in the upper left hand corner). I'm happy with how it came out, even if I feel it is missing something.

Todays inspiration is a constant blossoming flower in my life, and, like the medical and herbal plants, she is someone I like to have near by daily and has kept me sane because of it: Jenna Childslayer. This woman is incredible! Talented! Kind! Friendly! And one of the things I love about this woman... her addictive ability to always have hope. With everything that happened recently with her kitty, with looking for a job... she would get frustrated, she would want to give up, but she would keep striving. She would never give up hope. And people like her so full of hope, wonderful beautiful people like Jenna... they fill me with inspiration and the feeling that the world is a beautiful place. Thank you for being my sanity, Jenna!

Based on Gaston Phoebus: Book of the Hunt, circa 1405-1410.

 I'm really starting to enjoy the simple understated joy of rich colors with a soft and delicate design added via white ink. That and I feel like I'm getting better with the calligraphy. At some point I plan to work just on that. But for now, beautiful.

Today's inspiration is none other than Nutmegs and Ginger. The first time I heard this group perform, something caught in my throat at the beauty of the music along with the fun the group had. It reminded me of these amazing times I had when I was younger singing in vocal groups. I began to dream as I listened to them bring medieval music to life in such a delicate way that I craved nothing more than to be a part of it.

This past year at Pennsic I was the 'and friends' part of the Nutmegs and Ginger and Friends concert. Being given the opportunity was incredible. Feeling that feeling in my chest as harmonies hit was amazing. Realizing how beautiful medieval music could be as well as so fun and creative? Well, lets just say I have been hunting out some new pieces to play with myself.

How did they become the inspiration? I kept singing their song The Hunt is Up the whole time I was working on this piece.

Thank you, all of you, for all your inspiration in this field.

Based on Bestiary, circa 1210.

Today I really wanted to experiment, so I did nearly all of the card other than outlines and fine detail with a paintbrush. I am not quite good enough to do the fine detail with a brush yet, but I can get good detail with the pen. I also had an ink blob that ended up being part of the Y. But I think it really helped a lot. I'm still not happy with the blue or the red. I think because they aren't opaque. I prefer opaque. I think by the end of a month of these cards, I may start looking at other inking options such as gauche as has been suggested with great gusto.

This fantastical card is today inspired by a wonderful group of people: FALO. Or, I suppose, I could call them Tir Thalor. This fantastic group of people has let me be someone I really enjoy being. They embrace the silly. They smile. They are magicians in making magic happen in the world. They create not just amazing food, costumes, and ambiance, but they create a whole amazing world. It is impossible not to go to one of their events and feel incredibly inspired before you leave. Usually half way through I have a million ideas in my head of things I want to do.

So, to FALO, for making a little girl's dream come true and letting her continue to play the little girl and enjoy the sparkle and the magic that adulthood takes away... I raise my cup to you!

Based on the Carmina Burana, circa 1230-1240.

At least one person I know was surprised when I said I wanted to tackle the Carmina Burana. It has very very few illuminations in it, but they are all incredibly gorgeous and intricate. Mine is not as intricate, but I am still so very happy with it. Here I worked just in pens. Since everything was, more or less, looked to be drawn on and then either given an inner halo of color or colored in (like the sky), it was kind of fun. It was like hand drawing my own coloring book and then getting to fill it in myself.

Today's inspiration is Master John Lyttleton. I know what you are think. Carmina Burana... singing... has to be for his singing. Yes, John has an incredible voice, but that isn't why he is coming up on here. It is honestly because of his attitude in life. That positive outlook he seems to always have. And, of course, all the inspiration he gives through his teaching. He almost seems happier to watch other people grow in their performances than to perform himself. I have been to his master class at Pennsic quite a few times now, and each time I return doing better than the year previous. He has the ability to make people feel amazing about their performances and know it is all them. Something about his teaching style really resonates with me (and many others). Kind, giving, and a positive influence on so many people.

If not for John, I never would have realized why I sing. Because, like him, music is my life. If there is no music, there is no reason to live. I sing to live, and I live to sing.

John, you are loved. And you are an incredible inspiration to so very many people.

Inspired by The Black Prayer Book, circa 1466-1476.

Today's card was a major PITA, honestly. Not only did I have to mix inks, I had to prep the card (which I did last week sense I knew I wanted to do a card like this at some point) using walnut ink and then, when that wasn't dark enough, a layer of black. It specifically mentions that this style was rarely done because of how fine the pens had to be to make the gold and silver patterns. Well, I had just bought new nibs and figured, today is the day! Unfortunately, all of this was more or less down with a brush, including the calligraphy, because my metal inks do not flow at all in my pens, and I'm not sure why. This card also caused my first ever accident as, in my frustration, I forgot I hadn't closed my ink bottle and spilled about tablespoon of silver ink all over. My hands looked like I just strangled a fairy. BUT! Even with all the frustrations, I can not tell you how excited I am to try this style again when I get a little better! This card, in working on it, inspired me to want to do more. But, like in the middle ages, this style of card will also be rare in my pack. It isn't something I have the patience for every day.

Today's inspiration is Master Arden. Arden, the man of such wonderful skills that came from serious amounts of study that he can now create and it can have the feel of the middle ages. Not only is he talented, I don't think I've ever seen this muppet of a man (he sang Mah na Mah na for me at my first Dancing Fox) without a smile on his face. He is generous and gracious and he is so very very happy to teach and to let people play. Curious about an instrument? You have never met an instrument pimp like Arden (self proclaimed! I'm serious!). He will hand you his instruments with a smile if you show enough enthusiasm and curiosity and let you fiddle around, so to speak. Arden is one of those people I feel everyone should meet. So go out there! Find Rabbit Stampede or the Bhakail Branslers when he is playing with them and introduce yourself!