Thursday, February 27, 2014

Phillip the Reed - Serjeanty - a.s. xxxxviii

Project: Serjeanty for Master Phillip Reed the Facetious.
Words: His Majesty, Kenric aet Essex.
Paper: Natural Heavy Weight Pergamenata.
Pen: Hiro Rond #5. Minim height is 4 nib widths with a 1:3 ratio for minim:interlinear space.
Ink: Walnut Crystal.
Size: 9.5" wide by 7.5" tall, including space for signatures.

I was asked if I was up for a calligraphy only scroll. The recipient's persona is from Southern England and just after the year 1200. The Magna Carta seemed like the perfect choice as an inspiration.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Quills II — Experimentation with Inks

[4/30/14 - Updated to include Higgin's Eternal and Ian's replacement Iron Gall Ink.]

Just over a month ago, I experimented with making & using my own quill pens for the first time. I said at the end of the process that I was happy with my results and there was a good chance I'd be using quills on my next assignment.

Since then, my continued practice has not been going well. My lines were either crisp but very pale, or dark but blotchy.

I described my problems to an online community of scribes in the SCA and was given some advice:
  1. Try different inks — the Walnut Crystal and Winsor & Newton inks I normally use with my metal dip nips are a little on the thin side, so it was suggested I try a thicker ink. It probably didn't help that I had just mixed a new batch of the walnut ink, and it's still a bit thin, even when used in metal nibs.
  2. Try modifying my inks — Ian the Green has a wonderful article on this very subject. In short, add some gum arabic or let some water evaporate out of the inks to thicken them, or add water to thin them.
  3. Try different papers — my initial practice was using some cheap "calligraphy" paper, and not the Pergamenata or Bristol Board I typically use for my projects. The quality of paper can have a huge difference, I should have known to at least try this first...
  4. Try different angles for my writing surface — I changed from about 70° to 45° on my writing surface when I first experimented with quills, but further experimentation might be needed.
With this advice in mind, I ordered some new inks and supplies and put the quills aside to work on a few assignments and get ready for an event.