Calligraphy and Illumination by Claire Curtis

I make Medieval-style illuminated manuscript pages. Most of them are given as prizes and awards within the Society for Creative Anachronism, but some are made as pieces of art, wedding certificates, etc. Some are commissioned, and some are just for fun.

Some of you may know I am a violinmaker (see my real website: I find that many of the techniques and materials used for calligraphy and illumination carry over into varnishmaking and varnishing violins - and vice-versa. Certainly the painstaking focus on details and the need for patience is the same.

Most of my manuscripts are fairly small. I try to make them so they will fit within a 9x12" opening mat. Some are smaller; Sunniva's Millstone is 5x7". They are painted with gouache and/or egg tempera on hot-pressed watercolor paper or pergamanata. The gold is mostly loose gold leaf;  some scrolls also use shell gold. The ink is old-fashioned india ink or walnut ink, usually applied with a Speedball C6 nib.

My apologies for the erratic quality of the photography. I often finish a scroll at the last minute, and end up having to take a snapshot in a hurry with a point-and-shoot camera.