On the first weekend of Janurary 2022 we were honourd with a special guest. Lord Aelric of Battle form the Shire of Meadowmarsh (Barony of Knight´s Crossing) kindly visited our humble fighters practise. With inexhaustible power he gave everybody an individual teaching. We connot thank him enough for sharing his knowledge for improvind our fighting skills an hope to meet him again in March at Meadowmarsh Boot Camp in Düdelsheim.
by Ellisa von Styra
First of all – what is a Peerage in the SCA?
The SCA awards people for their achievements and the highest possible distinction is that of a Peerage (eine Ritterschaft) for currently one of four possible categories. There is the Order of Chivalry for heavy fighters, the Order of Defence for fencers, the Order of the Laurel for the arts and sciences and the Order of the Pelican for those committed to service to the society.
Design choice – What am I comfortable with?
I was told in January 2020 that Anna Syveken would be raised to the Order of the Pelican. To my initial shock, I was asked to do her peerage scroll for Spring Crown. This is when the planning began.
The inspiration here is the Gorleston Psalter (http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/FullDisplay.aspx…) which has some key decorative elements. All decorative borders are linked by continuous vines that tie into knotwork, frames and so on. It leaves plenty of opportunity for personalisation in the form of marginalia, medallions and whitework. For more information on the Psalter, you can read this thread >> here.
I chose this style because I am rather familiar with it and lots of people wanted to contribute. The various components made this possible. So in January of 2020 we discussed what path to take in a select group of people.
Wording – The first step in making it personal
Perdita von Bremen was approached to do the wording. She wrote the very nice originally modern German version which I then translated into Middle High German. I used Vienna’s first city law (https://www.monasterium.net/…/22(Privil_Nr_2)/charter) as a basis, with additions from Lexer’s Mittelhochdeutsches Wörterbuch (https://woerterbuchnetz.de/?sigle=Lexer#0). To make it sound more period, I introduced “doubling” of terms (such as “share and distribute” – “teilen und zerbreiten”). In addition, I researched old terms for dates until I arrived at “the evening before bluomostertag”. The evening before Palm Sunday was the date Spring Crown 2020 and the elevation were originally planned for. Anna asked how much time I spent on it, I’d estimate a total of five hours for that alone.
Hie bî suoln wizzen die gegenwuortigen und auch die chuonftigen, daz wir, Æiríkr und Jacquelyna, chuonig und chuonigin ze drachenwalde, unsere liebe getriuwenlîche Anna Syveken ûfnemen und erheven in unser orden des pellikân. Lange habent wir bemerket und gesehen ire bereitlîche und arbeitliche vleiz ze dienen niht aleine der krône sundern ouch dem volc. Wir êren ire bisunder gâbe ze erdenken unde ze ordenen, mit der sie in allen zît ire ambahte zegevrumen vermac mit offenbârlîche lîchticheit, wie wol diese arebeit andere niht ze leisten wizzent. Wir lobent ire willicheit, ze teilen unde ze zerbreiten iren wîstuom. Wir wizzent: mâc ouch diu werlt morgene undergân, als lange als Anna Syveken zuowetet, wirt ez sich zuotragen auf ein gemaeze und wolgeordenet wîse. Dâvurder geben und verleihen wir ir daz patent ein wâpen ze führen und ze brauchen in allen und yeglichen erlichen und redlichen sachen und geschefften und an allen enden. Dise urchuonde ist vegeben ze Polderslot da anno societatis warn LVI jar ze sankt severin vonunser hant.
Planning and brainstorming – more personalization
The next step was to design the overall layout. Gorleston, of course, does not have double pages with a divider down the middle like this scroll. In a book, each page would have its own frame. I tied them together because the scroll doesn’t have a fold down the middle.
Naturally, the center images are the award granted and Anna’s badge which she prefers to her arms.
The corners were distributed among the ladies who wanted to contribute (Ellisa von Berenklaw, Katherina Mornewegh, Baroness Nordmark) with a discussion of general ideas. What did Anna like? What could I include? How could I play to her mundane interests? Her elevation wishlist mentioned some old sci-fi references as options for her scroll, so we assigned sci-fi movies and series to the corners.
Since we already had a number of modern items in the scroll, we went looking for more ideas. The references to Anna’s life range from logos for plays and musicals she has appeared in, her musicality in general, drinks, embroidery patterns, a favourite garb item and many more. The plague also received notice in the form of the little corona virus and the figure wearing a mask in the medallion next to it.
Writing and more planning – and a big emotional hole
My own next step was to outline the frames and then write the scroll text. This of course takes more than one attempt until nip and size are perfect and the text is distributed correctly. I don’t line my paper (in this case Pergamenata) but rather write on my illuminated tracing board. That happened in February of 2020 with the original date and time planned for the elevation. Another 5 hours or so.
The result I then copied a number of times and doodled in the margins. How would the planned corners tie together? What could I do inside the big initial? Which decorations would be whitework, what would be done in colour? The initial design was then traced onto the written scroll with very fine sepia marker. I use this because any colour gouache will later cover the lines.
And that was when the plague hit and we had to cancel Spring Crown. Cue the emotional hole that led me to put aside the scroll for over a year.
In the intervening year+ I occasionally added to my scribbled notes of ideas for marginalia. I also practiced sewing perg together with what was originally intended as interlaced herringbone stitch. Later, I decided against the interlacing because it put wear on the holes from repeated tugging. It was also a bit too much visually.
When Anna finally found an event we could plan for, I was faced with the biggest decision: Should I write a new scroll with the correct data or keep the original one and modify it somehow? It was already so full of weird and personal items I decided to keep it. (Ok, let’s be honest, I was also proud of my calligraphy on the original and terribly out of practice). Just like the medallions, I would sew the new information onto it instead. The new date is also religious in format. The day of the elevation was that dedicated to Cologne’s St. Severin so this is what I chose.
Gold and colour – the ugly duckling turns pretty
Next, I had to figure out the colouring. I did that in one of my copies and ran into some trouble because of the complexity of the margins. So I added the very rare rose ocher background tone to the usual blue, red, ocher and gilt. Gorleston doesn’t use more colours than those in the backgrounds. It adds green and orange for foliage and a variety of colours for marginalia, however.
Then came the gilding – sugar/gum arabic/pigment/water as gesso, let that dry for 48 hours, then gild with transfer gold leaf and polish.
The image here shows the scroll drying after the base for the gilding is applied. The gesso is pigmented in red for two reasons. For one thing, it helps me place the gesso precisely inside the lines, for another, the red pigment prevents the gold getting a greenish tinge afterwards. You can see that designs are still sketchy in the bottom half while the top is already developed in a lot of detail.
More information on gilding can be found >> here.
This is when the scroll entered the “ugly duckling phase”. There is no time in the entire process when it looks more awful – patchy and like the artwork of a primary schooler.
Painting and outlining in black came next (Reeves gouache with a horrible white replacement from Royal Talens that needed repeated tracing on the whitework and will be thrown out as soon as I get a better white).
The images here show the scroll in these two stages – the first one is my ugly duckling, in the second you can see it with the outlining done but without most of the whitework. The pelican has also not been painted yet, I wanted to do that in daylight because of the shading.
Sewing – yes, I know this isn’t something you’d expect in a scroll
While doing the whitework (my hands were shaking, so I needed the breaks) I sewed on the (pre-punched) medallions with linen thread. The top right one was gilded in shell gold by Mistress Ellisa von Berenklaw, which to my horror broke off during the process (after a year of waiting to be used, the colour was quite fragile because it had gone through more than a circle of seasons before being handled) and had to be glued back on with gesso.
In this image, I am working on the one by Katherina Mornewegh which you can find in more detail in the gallery below. You can also see the replacement date and time sewn over the original segment in the scroll.
The last step was to finish the whitework which incorporates a lot of designs that refer to things and events in Anna’s life as well as to clean up sloppy outlines.
I have no idea how many hours the scroll took in total, but it was easily 30. Is everything perfect here? No, of course not. There are a lot of things where I know I can do better, but it is the first scroll I touched after the plague and I am content with how it turned out in the end.
More posts about this event: Gemeinschaftsprojekt spätrömische Dalmatica
Boredom is the worst enemy during our so called “lockdown” in Austria. Covid-19 forces us to avoid social contacts and our beloved Wednesday heavy fighters practise. So we stay at home and practise. We share our isolation with our frieds all over the world by joining the #100DayPellChallenge. 100 days, (at least) 100 hits given to your pell.
Fun fact: when we started the Austrian chancellor announced, that within 100 days everybody in Austria can be vaccinated. We get back on this on 9th of July. Stay tuned!
During the boredom of corona lockdown we had plenty of time to study masterpieces of famous old Dutch painters from the 16th century as Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Breughel (the Elder). Their works inspired us to reeenact some Details taken out of their pictures. They were taken long before we learnt about similar actions like #gettymuseumchallange and others. By the way: some of those paintings are in Austrian museums… #scaartschallange. Since they were published on our social media channels we like to store them here to not be forgotten.
UPDATE: we are very proud, that the Austrian federal broadcasting company ORF awarded one of our pictures in their artschallange #dubistkunst.
(All Pictures by Birgit, Katja and Florian Seidl)
When winter days are getting longer we will do an extraordinary Sunday special Heavy Fighters practise. Maria Candlemass gives us the opportunity for an relaxed day: practise, lunch and cultural program for special guests in Vienna .
Start: 11 a.m., HTC site (Vienna, Prater)
Registration and further questions: firstname.lastname@example.org (Flose Thordson)
This Wednesday is a special date. We dedicate this day to the memory of Yussuf ibn Yussuf. Since he can´t attend our heavy fighters practise, we will visit him instead. So meet us at Sieveringer Friedhof (Group 35, Nr.5) at 17.30. Bring your own bottle!
Usually, our Wednesday is on Wednedsday (thats why we call it so), but if we are visited by friends, we are felxible to make an exception. Like last Satureday, when we had the honour to host frieds from Kingdom of Caid. So we are undecided, wheater we should practice heavy fighting this week or just save energy and prevent our equipment from damage. Because next weekend will be Parasol War! No excuses accepted!
Thanks to the hospitality of our neighbours at Knights Crossing and thank you for hosting us at your great event! We gladly made new friends within the SCA and showed our progress in heavy fighting, archery and fencing. Highlight was the honor to participate at HE Baron Aelrric of Battle´s vigilant for the Order of the Pelican. Vivat to Drachenwal´d newest peer!
We proudly announce the visit of His Excellency Barobrand Hissgant in Vienna! The Central Region Earl Marshal of Drachenwald will participate at “Heavy Scribing” and hopefully teach our heavy fighters some valuable lessons and share his knowledge practically. Thanks for coming all the way to our humble Shire Ad Flumen Caerulum!
So join us for heavy fighting here:
Date: Sunday, 9th of June,
Location: HTC training site
Schedule: Arrival and gear up from 1 p.m.
Inspection of arms: 2 p.m.
Dinner at the famous Luftburg Inn at the Vienna Prater.
Please contact us for reservations: email@example.com