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This page is under construction
So many requests have come in to see the book and hear how it was made that we rushed it online.
We hope to be able to make it more user friendly in the future.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.

This page outlines the steps that
THLord Aengus MacBain (now Sir Aengus MacBain, OL) and
THLady Eibhlin ni Chaoimh (now Maitresse Yvianne de Castel d'Avignon, OL)
took to make a County scroll/book for Morguhn and Meirwen, 3rd King and Queen of AEthelmearc.

Please click on the ** to view a graphic image of the step described.

The first steps were the hardest. After accepting the assignment, there was plenty of work to be done before we could even begin to think about calligraphy and illumination. We had to decide on size, style, number of pages and content.

The size was suggested by Countess Meirwen. “About this big” ended up being 5x7 inches. Allowing 1/2 inch all around for margins that would leave us 4x6 inches in which to illuminate and calligraph.

Cygnus and Dorinda were originally asked to work in tandem with Aengus and Yvianne in this endeavor. It was their suggestion to use the Petite Hours of Jean, Duke de Berry as an exemplar because it is approximately the right size and all four scribes are familiar with the style.

We had a set amount of money we could spend on vellum (up to $125). We chose a piece of vellum that would be appropriate for the project and ordered it.

We divided the size of the vellum into 7x10 inch pieces (folded in half that would give us the 5x7 pages we wanted). That is what determined the actual number of pages. After careful measuring we found that the vellum could just barely be cut into 6 pieces the size we needed. Once we folded the vellum in half, we were left with 24 pages (front and back) to fill.

All of that being accomplished, we had to decide on content. We wanted to focus on the reign, but touch upon the other accomplishments of Morguhn and Meirwen. We had only gotten about this far when ... Sir Cygnus was victorious at Crown Tourney. The assignment was passed to Aengus and Yvianne as Their (then) Royal Highnesses, Cygnus and Dorinda had other duties to fulfill :-)

Many ideas and rough layouts were discarded before we came up with the following

  1. glued to front
  2. illumination- Arms of AEthelmearc
  3. calendar style page-Prince & Princesses of AE
  4. illumination-Morguhn wins Crown for Meirwen
  5. text--Morguhn wins Crown for Meirwen
  6. illumination-Coronation - 3rd King and Queen
  7. text--Coronation - 3rd King and Queen
  8. illumination-Royal progresses
  9. calendar style page-Royal progresses
  10. illumination-Meirwen Countess and Lady of the Rose
  11. text-Meirwen Countess and Lady of the Rose
  12. illumination-Morguhn King and Count of AE
  13. text-Morguhn King and Count of AE
  14. text-Confirmation and corroboration
  15. text-continuedConfirmation and corroboration- space left for signatures
  16. Blank
  17. Blank
  18. Blank
  19. Blank
  20. illumination-Kings & Queens of AE
  21. calendar style page-Kings & Queens of AE
  22. future Kings & Queens of AE (to be filled in at a later date)
  23. illumination-Arms of Morguhn and Meirwen
  24. glued to back cover

  • Layout
    A “mock up” constructed of printer paper was made. Six pieces of paper were cut to 7x10 inches and folded in half to form folios. Two folios were nestled together which gave us 3 signatures. Each signature consisted of 8 pages. The pages were numbered and the subject was written on each one. This was how we were able to make sure each page would have the proper content. We could work on 4 pages (1 piece of vellum) at a time and know for certain when the book was put together the pages would match up just as we had planned. One of our biggest fears was putting all of the time and effort into this and ending up with a jumble of pages.

    To make sure each page would be perfectly square, a master page layout was made using graph paper. **All lines were inked on the “master” and transferred to the vellum with pencil. This saved us vast amounts of time measuring, checking and re-checking the actual dimensions of the finished vellum pieces, margins and fold lines. The vellum pages were clearly numbered in pencil to assure us that each page said or showed what we wanted it to. We were constantly checking between the mock layout, computer printout of the content and the actual vellum pages**Sketches of each page were drawn and inked on layout sheets then traced onto the vellum with pencil. The lines were then inked where appropriate. Yvianne spent 38 hours just creating the layout and transferring it to the vellum.

  • Gilding
    There was never a doubt that we would be using real gold leaf... and lots of it. The process involves **laying down gesso, allowing it to dry completely, sanding it smooth then ** applying the gold leaf and **burnishing it to a mirror finish. Yvianne likes to use a lot of gold, so the gesso was made months ago from her favorite recipe and stored as buttons until needed. As usual, the gesso worked better on some days than on others. When the conditions were right, the process was tedious but rewarding. When the conditions were not right, the work was technically demanding and frustrating.

  • Calligraphy and Illumination
    Wording for the piece was put together by using a lot of creative writing and several kingdom handbooks for inspiration. Duke Sir Morguhn also helped us by writing down some thoughts so that we could include them in the book. The text for each page was written on the computer and printed out. The inked layout sheets were taken to a print shop and copies were made so that the calligraphy could be tried out to see how it would fit on the actual pages. A practice page was calligraphed. From there Aengus knew approximately how the finished page would look. Many times we needed to go back and add to the text to fill up the page, sometimes all that was needed was an adjective here and there or a bit of Gothic line filler. Once Aengus was reasonably certain he could nicely fill out a page, he began calligraphing on the vellum. The page was lined with an Ames lettering guide and pounced with gum sandarac. The hand is Textura Quadrata executed with a .5 Brause nib and Higgins Black Magic ink. Occasionally he needed to calligraph in blue or red. For that he used watered down gouache.

    The illumination was done using glair as a medium. Where possible, the paint was made using period pigments. Many of the pigments were purchased ready to mix. Yvianne ground a few herself from raw materials including the blue (lapis lazuli), the light greens (malachite) and the yellow ochre was found in a local playground. To reduce the chance of the pages self destructing over time caustic, fugitive and unstable colors were replaced with gouaches mixed to match medieval pigment samples. The Gouches were also mixed with glair to maintain a consistency of texture and finish. The primary illuminator for the project was Yvianne, who spent over 60 hours at the easel, painting. Aengus assisted by spending 23 hours just filling in red and blue backgrounds for the bars and ivy. Two scribes working on different steps of the same project in the same room was a totally new experience. It was much like working in a medieval guild and gave us a new perspective of our art.

  • Binding
    A tooled leather cover based on a 14th century German book was commissioned from THLady Morwenna an Leatharcheardaí of the Shire of Stormsport. It was slightly altered from the original to make it personalized for the recipients. Double headed eagles and crowned swans were replaced with escarbuncles (the badge of AEthelmearc) and heraldic roses. Yvianne crafted closures made from beads and braided silk. Once the pages were completely done and the materials to bind with were assembled, Aengus needed to turn it into a book. Because the pages were originally laid out so well (with the help of the "master page layout" done on graph paper) folding and trimming worked out exactly square and even on all pages. The signatures were formed. The front and back boards were covered seperately with leather. Starting with the back board and last signature the book was sewn together using a coptic stitch done in blue silk thread.

    The Binding
    the cover *** the closure *** the spine

    The Finished Pages
    pages 2-3Arms of AEthelmearc
    Prince and Princesses of AEthelmearc
    pages 4-5Morguhn wins Crown Tourney
    for Meirwen
    pages 6-7Morguhn and Meirwen were crowned
    in the Barony of Rhydderich Hael
    pages 8-9They traveled throughout Their Kingdom
    list of Royal progress events
    pages 10-11Meirwen proclaimed Countess
    and Lady of the Rose
    pages 12-13Morguhn recognized as a Count of AEthelmearc
    and brings honor to his lady, kingdom and self
    pages 14-15Morguhn and Meirwen's reign affirmed
    signed by Cygnus and Dorinda
    pages 16-19these pages were left blank
    the content and scribes left to whim of the recipients
    pages 20-21Kings and Queens of AEthelmearc
    list of Kings and Queens
    pages 22-23Kings and Queens of AEthelmearc(to be continued)
    Arms of Morguhn and Meirwen

    Aengus and Yvianne (who was known in those days as Eibhlin) would love to hear from you about what we did, what we didn't do (and should have) or what you have done or are planning on doing.