Wednesday, September 11, 2013

You Inspire Me Week 4

Based on Croy Hours, circa early 16th century.

I wanted something fairly simple today but still with the beauty of complexity. I hope I managed.

Today's inspiration is Honorable Lady Jolie. Oh, I am sure she is sitting there right now confused and saying 'me?' Yes. You.

For those who do not know Jolie, she is an incredible person. She is kind and thoughtful and giving and has a very positive attitude. I know she has been through some tough times and even now with changing to a new Kingdom, everything has been positive. She refused to say good bye to anyone, because that would be like closing a chapter, and we all know she will be back.

Jolie is a wonderful woman, delicate and sweet and always decked out to the nines. Her garb is amazing and I am totally jealous and wish that I was able to wear such beautiful things. But I am lucky that in a arts and sciences swap, I was made a beautiful set of jewelry by Jolie. In that area, she also has an incredible skill.

Jolie is another person I know who I don't see sitting often at events. She ends up all over the place and most often you will see her volunteering with the children in making sure they are happy and smiling. She is that kind of a person, wanting to give back, especially to the children.

She has been nothing but kind and wonderful the entire time I have known her. She will listen, give gentle advice, and never push. And she loves to have the opportunity to tell people all the wonderful things about them that they might not know.

If you do not know Lady Jolie, hunt her out. In the short time I have known her, I feel we have grown close. It is so easy to become quick friends with her.

Based on Canticles of King Alfonso the Wise, circa 1283.

I did this card, more or less, with no sketching. I only sketched out the main inner and outer rectangle and then went from there. So it isn't as even as the actual document, but I feel like it has a really amazing feel to it anyway.

Today's inspiration is Linette de Gallardon. I first met Linette at a Winter Night's quite some years ago. I was still new, I was still nervous, and I sang my anti-sing-a-long song. She thought it was fantastic and SHE approached ME! We talked for quite some time and I gave her the words to the song as well as asked her questions about harping. There was a break and I didn't live far, so I recall bringing my harp to show her. She was like a hero to me! She played beautiful soft amazing music and wrote her own pieces and had this soft delightful tantalizing soprano and I think I have wept at least once with one of her songs. At LEAST once.

The thing about Linette is she is an incredible musician, but she is so much more than that. She is a great friend who listens and gives hugs. She is a lot of fun when you get her tipsy. She has a great sense of humor. She teaches and, most importantly to me, she loves to continue learning. She is educated in music in a way that conversation with her about the topic are entrancing. She and her husband run a household that nearly makes me cry tears of happiness to think of now with their hospitality and kindness.

And everything that she does, she does with the delicate grace of a lady (yes, even when she is falling over sleepy). She is an incredible person and you would be hard pressed to find a person to gather a group together for a sing-a-long as quickly or of such quality as she can.

I love talking with Linette. I love the things I've learned and I am grateful for every opportunity she has given me musically. I have learned so much and look forward to learning more.

Based on Firdawsi: Shahnama Book of Kings, circa 1330.

There is something amazing about covering the whole card in ink. But... I am so unhappy with the tint of my red. Maybe I need a more cadmium based red. Mmph.

Today's inspiration is Jaji, owner of Mongolian Wok. Jaji... is what I want to be. Or, rather, the hospitality aspect of Jaji is what I want. That is my dream. To cook for everyone. To be jolly and happy and smile and have fantastic conversations with everyone that walks in the door and feed every hungry soul, whether with food, drink, conversation, or even a song. His Wok was one of my favorite places to go at Roses. I looked up to him in a way of almost asking if I could work in his kitchen. I didn't want to get paid. I just loved the sense of camaraderie that emanated from his kitchen.

Jaji is certainly one of the most friendly and kind people I know in the SCA. His hugs, also, are amazing. I miss you, Jaji! It was good to see you for a little bit at Pennsic.

Based on Tristan and Isolde, circa second half of the 15th century.

Yay for seeing arms and thinking... huh... lets pretend to make my arms inside and see what it looks like? Of course, my arms are still pending, but I think they will be okay'd and this is what they will end up looking like.

Today's inspiration has been long overlooked. How could I overlook the love of my life? Today's inspiration is my son Johann. As I worked on this card, just like with every other card I ever have, for the first time ever he didn't say 'I want to paint too.' Instead he watched me intently for five minutes and then looked up at me and said 'Mommy, that's really pretty.'

Johann is his own special inspiration. There is something about watching a child explore and live life and learn things that to me seem mundane and boring. But to him, everything is new and special. Every experience is a first experience. And it makes me look at things a new way too. I watch him in his explorations and I can't recall a time he hasn't made me smile genuinely and laugh brightly from his antics. To have his imagination again, his sense of wonder.... it is an amazing thing. I love him.

Based in the Utrecht Psalter, circa 820-840.

Getting better at sketching people. Unfortunately, I had a small child bumping into me and making it difficult when it came to working the actual letters of this piece. But still, I really like it a lot.

Today's inspiration is local dance instructor and favored baby sitter, Lorita di Sienna. Lorita is an amazing dance instructor, able to teach a vast repertoire as well as starting to work on going back to the original sources and reworking the steps. She has taken on a young student who is doing very well under her tutelage. She runs events, takes on any responsibilities needed, and is amazing at what she does. We would be at a loss without her in our Shire. Others who know her know exactly what I mean as she is invited to even other Kingdoms in order to teach. Teaching is important to me, and she does it so well without even a stutter. I wish I was able to teach with such confidence. She is an incredible person and incredibly friendly. I highly recommend seeking her out if you enjoy dancing or would like to learn how.

Based on Albani Psalter, circa 1125.

Yes, I am loving doing the white work. And I really liked the labyrinthian three dimensional looking shapes in this one's border.

Today's inspiration is, well, let's start with a story. I had just vaguely started in the SCA again after having briefly known about it in high school and gone to dance practice once or twice. I didn't know much. I was a newbie and, although people were being kind and welcoming, I still felt really strange. Everyone was a stranger. Everyone was different. I was scared and it felt difficult to make friends.

And then, that holiday season, my friends from high school and I had gotten together for our yearly party and one of our friends who can't make it often had sent an email for us to read together. And in that email she offhandedly mentioned that life has been hectic because she was Princess.

Princess!! She was in the SCA! I have friends in the SCA! And suddenly I couldn't help but write her to hear all about all the exciting things to being something I couldn't even imagine for the life of me. Princess! What fun!

When we were still in school, I was in awe of her artwork. She always had this soft and gentle style, making people that seemed to swirl with this magical feeling.

And since then she has twice been Queen of Aethelmearc. The second time I was fortunate enough to be able to go and see her be crowned Queen. It was incredibly inspiring, filled with awe, watching her and her husband on the throne. And how welcoming to be invited to hang out behind the throne so we could catch up and spend some time together. But I always remember sitting there and talking with her about the ceremony and the clothing and her headdress. It was so obvious she was loved. Both of them. The people that were there really were there to celebrate their rising to the throne once again.

Do I aspire to someday follow in her footsteps? No. I wouldn't even know what to do to get there. Do I sometimes dream about what would happen if I ever was? How I could be kind and gentle and smile like she does and laugh like she does and put people at ease? How can I not?

Bethany, this is for you. For your soft and kind manners that I always loved about you when we were younger that have followed you, to this day, and made you the amazing Princess, Queen, Countess? Well, whatever the titles are, you are incredible and I can see how people in your own kingdom look up to you and adore you.
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Based on Bible Moralisee, Circa 1220-1230.

Only notes for today: I really did mean for all the words to be on the same line. I didn't plan my kernings right. Ugh.

Today's inspiration is Thora Sharptooth. And here's the thing... the thing I love about her is her attitude and demeanor. She is sweet and kind and giving and... wait wait wait. I know a lot of people who are really scared of Thora and get nervous around her and, I agree, she can be very stern when it comes to fiber, but it isn't because she is mean. She just wants to see people do it right. She is incredibly knowledgeable! But... I first met Thora through a different shared love. I may be a fiber nut, but I met her through BPAL.

Even in BPAL, even in fiber, she is incredibly intelligent. She knows what she is doing. But even though she has been doing both a long time, you can STILL see the enthusiasm, especially when someone bring something to her she hasn't fully managed to explore or had forgotten about. She is certainly not burnt out on the loves in her hobby.

I hope when I grow up, I can feel the same way. It is fantastic to see someone who still, even though her laurel is old enough to drink (happy 21 years to Thora's medallion!) is still swimming in research in joyful giddy glee. That is what I want to be.

Based on Dante's Divine Comedy, circa 1440-1450.

I wanted to really focus on calligraphy. I still feel like my nib is too big. Simple, but I still really like this design.

Today's inspiration is the first Queen I really remember in the SCA: Alethea Toscano. Alethea has an incredible presence to her. She is beauty and strength and intelligence and everything you could possibly want in a woman (ask Liam, I am sure he would agree).

What I remember most about first meeting Alethea is how friendly she was. She didn't seem like someone who was on the throne. She seemed like it was just a formality and she really just wanted to spend time with people and hang out. And the more I hang out with her now, the more I still see that. I don't often see her wear a coronet and now that she is a very well deserving Pelican, I don't often see her wearing her status.

I think Alethea was the first person I ever met who made me feel that... we really are all equal people. We all have hobbies and faults and loves and we hurt and cry and smile all the same no matter who we are. She is well loved for who she is, not what she has. And if that isn't inspirational, I don't know what is.

Monday, September 9, 2013

'You Inspire Me' Project Week 3

Based on Beatus de Liebana: Commentary on the Revelation of Saint John, circa 945.

Honestly, after the other day, I just wanted something fun and colorful. And out of all the people that I see depicted in illuminations, I know I can draw these ones. They are like the ones I did for the Beowulf tapestry. In either case, this one was just a lot of fun.

Today was inspired by Mistress Sol la Cantor. Sol has an incredibly cheerful disposition, bubbly spirit that is just infectious. And have you seen her as an owl? She is fun. She is sweet. And I don't honestly think I've ever heard her complain. She is positive to a fault. I adore her. She is incredible with her music and very encouraging to others. An inspiration? How can you not sit down and talk with her and suddenly want to dive into research into just about any of the various topics that Sol seems to know so much about. Linguistics? Religion? Philosophy? There is never a dull moment with Sol.

Based on Boccaccio: Decameron, circa 1414 - 1419.

Today I wanted to do something similar to the very first card that I did. A lot of things in the 15th Century all seem to have a similar feel, so it wasn't hard to find one. This had techniques similar to others that I had fallen in love with, so this one won out over the others... for now. But it was nice to see how much I had progressed in two weeks. I still have work to do, but who doesn't? Everyone has something they want to keep working on.

Today's inspiration is Master William the Alchemist, the man who introduced me to the Decameron. He is, also, my laurel. But he is totally one of the coolest guys, as many people will attest to. Although he hasn't done much in the SCA since his kids were born, he does enough to keep active. When he took me on as a student, he didn't know what he was getting into. Nor did I. We have since given each other home work assignments and bounce ideas off each other. This guy? This guy? Have you heard some of his performances? I swear, something about every single one of them sticks out in my head from a flamboyant devil to INSOLENT FUNGUS being shouted by a mighty oak tree. He is incredibly creative. And where I will get a homework assignment and it will take me a month or more, I can request a style and a theme and he can produce something within the course of a few days.

Incredibly smart, tons of talents, I'm still learning all the things he does. We are an oddly good fit as we both, equally, have a variety of hobbies. And sometimes I will say 'I want to work on this..' and he will say 'oh man, that so fits with this other thing I want to work on!'

But he is always good at saying or suggesting something that makes me take flight in a different direction than I thought I would and creating something pretty spectacular.

Based on the Ingeborg Psalter, circa 1195.

Not much to say about this card. I wanted to work on calligraphy. Squished the 'me' sadly. Accidentally got a drop of water on a part of it. Sad about that. But man those squares on the corners are rocking! I love the design. At some point I will just create a random card of all my favorite aspects I've found so far. Because there are a lot. And these are some of them. Also... my black is randomly bleeding? Even after stirring and shaking? Weird.

Today's inspiration is local calligraphy fantastic Isabel Chamberlaine. To be perfectly honest, she is who has inspired me to start working on my calligraphy again. I've seen the things she has done, I've watched her blog posts of the step by step processes, and honestly, she is incredible. She is all about teaching, and even reaching out to teach if you can't be at an actual class with her. It is really a positive thing to see. Her in depth blog is fantastic. And have you met her? Sweet and adorable and hilarious! But don't you ever call her dainty or she will take you out on the field and show you a few things. She is super incredible and I simply adore her. I am more than certain that I am not the only person she inspires.

Based on The Book of Machines, circa 1264.

Today's card is very special to me. Have you ever seen something and pointed at it and said 'wow, that is incredible!' and it just resonated with you? This is one of those pieces. A book of machines? I didn't even know something like this existed! I don't know why I didn't think that. I mean, I've seen drawings of various workshops and descriptions of how to do various things, but a whole book based on them just never struck me. And yet, here it is!

This card has a few aspects. First, it was obvious the ink wasn't black. Everything was just a little diluted, so I used a sepia ink and it gave me the exact effect I wanted. Other than the outlines and the small symbols in sepia, everything else was done with a brush, including the words. I even mixed some colors and did some shading, which is a big deal for me. I've been so nervous about mixing inks. I don't know why. I love painting and wet on wet paint mixing is my favorite. This was more mixing it before hand but still had some similar feeling aspects to it. So there were a lot of feel good moments in making this card and... it just makes me want to look at the whole book. I'm completely fascinated and intrigued. Does anyone know what is depicted here?

Today's inspiration is someone who, like this picture, resonated with me and made me say 'wow, you are incredible'! Tristan le Chanticler is someone who is absolutely incredible. Yes, he sings. Yes, he writes songs. But he is so much more than that. He invents. He creates. He is kind. He wears his heart on his sleeve. And people that are close to him, his friends, would all agree that he would do anything to see them smile. He is very giving in both of his time, his energy, and of his musical resources. The joy of being able to teach people music, to sing with them, is overwhelming. He enjoys teaching, giving to others gifts of knowledge.

Tristan is one of those amazing people who has such an incredible wealth of knowledge and humor that a conversation can never possible be dull. I am honored to call him friend. And I am inspired by him as both a teacher and a mentor, but also as a human being in his kindness and gentility.

Based on the Morgan Crusader's Bible, circa 1250.

I'm loving the paint brush. I'm loving doing everything via the paintbrush. I'm getting better at the crisp lines and I think, eventually, I will feel braver with mixing colors and then these will be real miniatures. But either way, this whole card was done via paintbrush except the final lettering and the white highlighting. I'm rather proud.

Today's inspiration is cute and tiny and sweet and has more musical talent in her pinky than I do: Mina. Mina is the daughter of some of my favorite people (let's face it, all my friends are some of my favorite people). The reason she is today's inspiration is for two reasons. One, as I was working on this I kept thinking how I loved how bright and colorful it was and it reminded me of a decoration for on a child's wall. In fact, I think Johann has something similar. The second reason was stated previously: her musical talent. I am totally giving credit to Sabine for this. But, for an example, she came to the Gingers and Nutmegs concert and the piece being sung had a really difficult timing rhythm to it and... SHE WAS KEEPING PERFECTLY IN TIME! But, that wasn't the astounding thing. The astounding thing was when the singers faltered for a moment and Mina's little face screwed up with a 'wait a second, what did you do!?' look. It was darling. Maybe I can get Mina to teach me about musical timing. But it was just so sweet and... honestly inspiring to see such a young child already so passionate about something that doesn't live unless you give it passion.

Based on the Trinity College Apocalypse (I saw this one!) circa 1242-1250.

I made this card over the weekend at Hunter's Moon, under the dimming lights of day, in the dance pavilion. There was a water spill accident (nothing was harmed) and people were in awe over the cards. I was in awe that I was able to do anything of any value while people were stomping around doing Nika Nika...

...which gets us to today's inspiration. I don't think I ever would have been able to do this well had I not trained so thoroughly in proper flourishing technique with Marr. Marr? Treecat? Nate? Flannel man? Whatever you want to call him, DANCE WITH HIM! Bonus points if you can also get Wilhelm to say 'stay away from them, they are scary!'

Seriously, Nate has an amazing ability for flourishes in dancing. He is the first person in the SCA that I said 'teach me' to. Not only that, but he is always bubbly and has a great sense of humor and really he is just a lot of fun. I think there isn't a soul he can't perk up with just his presence. I mean, have you seen this guy? HE IS MAKING FLANNEL CHAINMAIL!! If you want to have fun in the SCA, seek this guy out and stick to him like glue! Seriously.

Based on De Lisle Psalter, circa 1308-1310.

Because, what else do you do when you need to slowly and methodically ease down off the high of a Commedia weekend? You do something that you say 'this will be easy... the only tough part is the white' and then enjoy making dizzying letters, which is about how you feel after performing.

Today's inspiration is a young girl named Cassie. A young girl named Cassie sat down next to me at Hunter's Moon as I was working and started asking me what I was doing. She gushed about how wonderful it is and wished how she could do something like that. I handed her a small card, smiled, and told her she should try. She got so excited and began bubbling with ideas. Her father leaned over and said I may have an apprentice on my hands. She asked very intelligent questions and, surprisingly, I had a lot of answers for her. She asked what the 'program' was that I was doing this for. And I explained the whole purpose behind my project and how it was just something I wanted to do. I swear she swooned. She was intelligent, incredibly sweet, and hugely respectful. It was an absolute pleasure and delight to sit there and teach her things I knew. I was hoping to see her again the next day, but I never ran into her.

Well, Cassie, wherever you are... I have your card. It fills me with hope (which is what I think your project may be, giving a little hope to everyone you smile at). I hope that some day soon I will see you again and I can return your card and give you a small gift of ink and a brush and a few more cards so you can continue.

So if anyone knows Cassie from Raigne's Folk (I doubt I spelled that right) who is 11 years old, please let her know I would love to get together with her again.

I really wanted to finish the card I was working on with her and give it to her, but she left before I could. But if I find her again, she will be getting a card because she got me all kinds of more enthusiastic about what I'm doing... and this time she has a card with her name on it.