[Scriptoris] Monks and the weather

Elaine eshc at earthlink.net
Wed Sep 8 23:01:13 PDT 2010

You are welcome. My pleasure.

Re-doing is an excellent choice. It also shows you have good  
character, and you care about others. Not to sound patronizing, but I  
am proud of you. (I'm a grandma, and grandmas can say things like  
that. It's a privilege that comes..... if you can survive that long!!!!)

Did you know that slanting the board your work is being done on will  
minimize the ache in your shoulders? Check out the extreme slants the  
monks used in the scriptoriums. They couldn't take a coffee and  
doughnut break every 45 minutes to refresh their muscles.

(My personal experience is that scribing for long hours without a  
break decreases the beauty of the strokes the scribe is making, and  
the work starts looking sloppy. I've watched the mundane pros. They  
take breaks. Good lesson for me.)

You ought to read some of the marginalia the monks used to scrawl in  
the margins about how cold it was and how their body ached. One Irish  
monk was stating all the negatives about how bad the storms were and  
how he was responding to the work schedule, but ended on an up-beat  
note that he was grateful to God for the cold and the storms, because  
the Vikings didn't raid the area in that kind of weather!

The reasons for the various degrees to slant a board are (1) the  
weather, plus (2) the moisture in the surface on which they were  
working, not to mention (3) how viscous the ink was. Tinkering with  
all of that made for less ink blobs and having to do less scraping.  
Note that scalpel-looking thing in their left hand. That's not only  
the  the quill sharpener, it's also their "eraser." They weren't  
beyond scraping, either.

It was another matter for a Jewish scribe, called  a "sofer." Let's  
say they screwed up on a name of the Deity; the whole, enormous sheet  
was declared invalid and had to be re-done, even if it was on the  
last line. No scraping on that mistake. They had to really watch what  
they were doing if they were right handed---the words were written  
from right to left.  At the end of scribing, every letter was  
counted, and every line was compared. No mistakes. Talk about having  
to stay focused?

Mistakes by monks were sometimes hilariously "corrected." Say a word  
or phrase was left out. I've seen marginalia of monks and a crane,  
lifting the forgotten word up from the bottom of the page to where it  
should have been written, with all sorts of monk bystanders pointing  
and giving directions about what they wanted done.

Meanwhile, back at the scriptorium: In wet weather, the barometric  
pressure is lower, and ink tends to come off the pen faster,  
especially if the board is flat, giving gravity a field day.  Moral  
to the tale? Find the slant that's right for the conditions in which  
you are having to work and the products you are using.

[ In my pre-SCA days, I paid a lot of money to learn that trick. It's  
your for free.....  a fall rainy season present for a fellow  
scribe..... and some who just like doodling around.....  ; - )  ]

Hope I get to see your works sometime....


On Sep 8, 2010, at 10:28 AM, David Brown wrote:

> Thanks for all the advice but I think my decision is to just do it  
> over again. I
> would not want to hang it on my wall as a repair or any ot
> ________________________________
> From: Elaine <eshc at earthlink.net>
> To: "Scribes within Ansteorra - SCA, Inc."  
> <scriptoris at lists.ansteorra.org>
> Sent: Wed, September 8, 2010 8:44:53 AM
> Subject: [Scriptoris] Repair vs. re-do
> There might be, if the damaged area is, say in a foliate area. If  
> it is out
> there in the Wide Open Plains, it won't look well. I, personally,  
> would just do
> it over. On the other side, ask yourself, would you want to get an  
> award that
> has been pieced together?
> (snip)
> Best of luck,
> Lete
> ......................................

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