Monday, January 13, 2014

A Panoply of Scrolls (and other things)

I've been juggling a couple of things lately, including three scroll commissions from the outgoing queen of Calontir, and learning how to use my new lampwork torch.  I also entered a blank border contest.

So, after my trip to the Middle East, I was inspired by the many, many, many Qu'ran pages I saw at Qatar's Museum of Islamic Art, as well as this page that I saw on Pinterest.  One thing I liked about this particular page was the variety of colour, as well as the ability to modify it somewhat for SCA use.  In the future, I think I'll add more bars, like what is in the extant (which is a 13th century Persian Qu'ran), but I'm otherwise pleased with this.  There's so many techniques to try and learn (I suspect the extant also has gold leaf, which I really must learn to do soon).

While that was being worked on, I also received a commission for three separate scrolls, and for a very important client: the sitting Queen of Calontir.  She expressed that she wanted something French, but she also wanted to personalise the scrolls a bit, as the recipients were for the Queen's Endorsement of Distinction.  The Queen's Endorsement of Distinction is listed as such on the Calontir Awards page:

As the patroness of all gentle and courteous behavior, the Queen of Calontir may, at her own discretion, bestow this recognition upon some few individuals. It may be given only thrice during any one reign, and only once in each category:
1. Unto the individual combatant or archer who has shown the highest of chivalric behavior;
2. Unto the individual who has best exemplified gentle and courteous behavior; and
3. Unto the individual who best exemplified the ideals and goals of the Society.
The Queen may bestow any or all of these recognitions as she chooses. She may bestow upon those individuals a badge of her own initials entwined with a rose, constructed as she desires. Members may place the initials QED after their names. Individuals may be so honored by more than one queen.
So, each scroll is personalised - one with bees, one with an archer and bunny, and the third with a later period knight.  I'm pleased with how they turned out.  You can see them here.  There was a part of me that wanted to add some more marginalia, and there's a lot more vining and detail that I could have added that in the future for a scroll from 14th century France really should have. On the other hand, each recipient loved their scroll.

Scribal work feeds both my service needs and my arts niche.  It's a lot of fun, but definitely takes a steady hand and a gentle heart.

My new lampwork torch and supplies have been a lot of fun - I've been making beads and veil pins and all sorts of glass fun.

There's a lot that I still can't remember or don't have all of the supplies to do, but the evening I figured out how to enrobe beads in clear glass very much made my day.  It's a bit of a challenge, really - it's making sure the glass is warm enough that it doesn't crack, but cool enough that the clear glass doesn't deform the cooling glass underneath.  It's a challenge, but the results are beautiful.
The veil pins, though - fun!  I found some 12th century veil pins (here) with glass that appeared to be wound around the brass. I used 18 gauge brass wire, hammered it in two directions, making sure to flatten and spread the wire a little bit to keep the glass on the pin, and then cut the wire at an angle.  After the pin is worked, the metal was heated slightly while being held in pliers to prevent thermic shock, and then the hot glass was added to the pin.  I then let them cool down in a heat blanket.

In the future, keeping the pin round, but work hardened will be work to figure out, but I look forward to the challenge.


  1. I think you've got the wrong link to the three scrolls -- it goes to the article on Calontir awards.

    1. I did. Thank you, Your Excellency! It's been fixed. :)

  2. The first time I tried to make pins, I thought I'd be cunning & stuck the pin-to-be-worked into a cork mounted on a mandrel so I could spin it easily and keep the glass balanced. Turns out the heat transfer down the copper wire was spectacularly more than I'd expected... the cork caught fire! :P So yeah, I hear you on how challenging it can be to make a rounded glass end while turning the pin in pliers.

    1. Yeah, the hand cramping afterward wasn't fun. I think I may need to come up with a good way to turn a wire without using pliers.

      Time to look at some other solutions! Experimentation time!