This year is the 50th anniversary of the SCA. In 1966 a group of students in Berkeley decided to have a Beltane (May Day) celebration medieval style and thus began the worldwide society that we enjoy today. As someone who is not originally from the West, I was particularly thrilled to be able to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the SCA in the very first kingdom to be established. The West Kingdom has a Beltane Coronation every year, but this year we had a Golden Beltane that lasted 10 days and included a Towne Faire where we tried to simulate a medieval marketplace. It was very cool, and I wish I’d taken more pictures while there so I could make a post all about it. It was definitely one of my favorite events to date.
In addition to that celebration, there was also a society wide celebration in Indiana, SCA 50 Year. Representatives from each kingdom and members of the society worldwide gathered to celebrate, and each kingdom had a display to show some of the history and culture of each one. About two weeks before the event, a call for volunteers to make a list of the Royal Lineage of the West went out, and I answered. Because the West Kingdom has been around for the whole 50 years and because we have three kings and queens a year, that turned out to be a very long list– 310 names to be exact. I was a bit anxious about it because I had a relatively short time to complete it and because I still consider myself an intermediate calligrapher at best. But I stepped out of my comfort zone and powered through and got it done. Here’s the result!
This is the first project that I’ve used the Gothic Littera Bastarda script found in the book Medieval Calligraphy: Its History and Technique by Marc Drogin. It’s been one that I had aspired to learn and seemed to be the best choice for this project because it’s fast and forgiving. Plus, I just really like how it looks, especially in the small format that this project required.
This project took me about a week to complete, and I often worked several hours per day on it, much to my husband’s chagrin. This was also the first time I used gold leaf, and it was rather difficult to get it consistent and shiny. I had to do three or four layers to make it look the way I wanted.
I did not get to attend SCA 50 Year myself, but I was told my work received many compliments. When I get it back, I plan on thickening the outlines on the arms and possibly adding more embellishments. I want to have it framed eventually and will probably end up donating it to the Kingdom.
By the way, if you are interested in learning this hand and other historical ones, Drogin’s book is a wonderful resource, and you can get a copy by clicking the link below!