Wednesday, 15 December 2010

back in the scribal to speak.

my dear friend Andrew ( Robin)'s AOA. This was a joy to do.

So after a considerable break from the quill I took a scroll assignment on for coronation. We have not been to an event in a long time, so long in fact that I can't actually remember what the last event we attended was. ( if you are now confused then I should explain we ( husband and I ) sometimes play in the SCA, a let's pretend to be in the middle ages costume recreation group)

For a very long time I have been a scribe, a person who sets ink on paper in the form of calligraphy and illumination creating a certificate known as an award ( there are many kinds) for a person also in the SCA.  It's a form of thank you, or an achievement certificate done in the style of books of hours pages. It's not strictly medievally accurate but no one seems to mind a whole lot because usually they are quite pretty and people like to hang pretty on their walls. I supposedly got good enough at this stuff they gave me an award for it too but that's another story.

I love this craft, let it be said. It took me a horrendously long time to get to the point where I thought I was any way decent at it. I struggled with calligraphy for a long time and it was hard. This particular art form did not come naturally to my hands. So I paid my dues. And now you're asking if I loved it so much why did I stop? Well that too is a long story....

The bottom line is I stopped because I began to feel used. As an artist there is a point at which giving my art away seems wrong especially when the people who receive the art do not bother to ever say thank you.  I know it's hard to say thanks, you have to pick up the phone, or write a letter or gosh darn it type a little email ( yes my email address is on the back of all the pieces I do) but you know I usually spent about a week or so on the piece of artwork in question so I figured 2 minutes of time for a week would be an okay trade off but I guess not. People, it seems, do not really think about thank yous any more.

And because I felt used and very unappreciated I decided to stop doing this for free, and since being paid for it wasn't an option I decided to stop doing it at all. After all other artists actually make some money from their art work and people tend to say thank you. And you know, i didn't miss it which is always a sign that stopping is a good thing.

I could rant about this for years, it's my biggest pet peeve with the SCA in general but this is not what this post is about. This post is about the fact that I took on a scroll assignment for coronation and it's a big thing for me to get back at it. I hope can remember how to do a batard hand ..( good thing I have how to books) and I need to come up with a design. It's a lot of work, the planning out, the research, the text, the lining of the paper, the sitting down to calligraph, the inking of the illuminations the painting of the illuminations...if I do gold then the gold leaf is a LARGE amount of work and let's not forget about the costs of the materials.

We do this for free because the SCA is basically run on the hope that people will volunteer their time but volunteers are never treated very well and usually it's the same people who do the work while the same people complain eventually that gets tedious. Then eventually, the volunteers use a bad word and leave. No one likes to be treated like a drudge no matter how medieval that may be....we only pretend to be medieval we don't actually want to go back and live there.

So I am heading back into the studio to set up a piece of art of a different kind, one not about crows, or freedom to slosh paint and or ink about in a wild manner but one that requires a lot of thought and exacting technique.  I love the precise nature of the work I just don't really like the lack of appreciation. This may or may not be a 1 time deal, we'll see how I feel about it in the end and I will keep you posted on the work itself.

Until then, be excellent to each other! ( and don't get frostbite)

1 comment:

tales from the dark side...