I love showcasing the knowledge and expertise of my fellow scribes. I was requested to make a blog post about simple decoration designs. The first person I thought of that could do this was The Honorable Lady Heather Hall a fellow scribe of the SCA Middle Kingdom. She has been featured before with her cadels. Without further ado I give you her guest blog post.
I do feel the need to say that this is my formatting off what THLady Heather Halls sent me. So if the formatting seems off, please, blame me, not her. THLord Ian the Green.
As a scribe, I love the look of vine work; heck, who doesn’t? It can be a surprisingly tricky thing to pull off, and I find a detail that always likes to stick out to me rather common with vines, and that is the experience of the hand. Scribes in history were, of course, professionals, and they often worked under conditions that would nowadays be perceived as unethical. Of course, this influenced their hands, and they often moved through ornate details, such as cadels and vines, without batting an eye. I like to pursue this look. I found some vine work that displays foundational strokes beautifully, and did my best to take some of the mystery out.
This example is from the Eadwine Psalter (283v) from Canterbury, dated 1155-1160. These scribes used limited palettes, and the vines are only one color, providing for a great specimen to practice from. From here, I will make my observations. The centuries have faded the image in such a way that corrections, touch-ups and re-dips are conspicuous. This was a seasoned hand. Most segments of the pattern are about 1×1.5 – 1×2. This is not strict, as the speed of the hand appears to be a priority. This mindset also appears to apply to the vine ends as well, as the leaves, flowers, etc. vary with apparent randomness. The shapes of the vine and leaves are dictated by the stroke of the brush, rather than a deliberate and specific shape.
Correct brush selection is clearly consequential, and experimenting was necessary. I selected (as I often do) a pin-striping brush, and I find that although I can make long, smooth lines with it, the “leaves” are a bit thin compared to the original. I suspect the original instrument was a little bit plumper.
If you found this useful then you will love her step by step process showing how to make a Cadel.