Several of you asked for the parchment instructions, so am posting it
here. The page below is from a workshop I gave at NAEA a few years
ago. Since the participants were actuall working on this, the
instructions may not seem as detailed. If anything's not clear, please
don't hesitate to ask.
In AZ, the parchment dries very quickly; 30 minutes or so. Those of you
in humid climates will have to test it to see. Use the cheapest white
towels you can find, without the cutesy embossed flowers. The cheap
ones have a pebbly or "plucked" looking texture that often resembles
2-ply paper towels
1 quart amber shellac (may be hard to find; don't use white shellac)
cheapo bristle brush
black felt tip pens or India ink and dip pens
metallic felt tip pens
colored inks or markers (fine and broad tips)
Celtic alphabet sheet } These were in the
lined practice sheets }
list of aphorisms, proverbs, quotations }
sample borders and capitals }
II. Preparing the "parchment"
Lay out double layers of newspaper in the drying area.
In a well-ventilated area, lay out a thick pad of newspaper and have
plenty of extra on hand. Separate the paper towels first! Lay one or
two on the pad of paper and brush on shellac, paying special attention
to the edges.
Turn the sheets over and touch up any bare spots on the back side.
Extra shellac can be dribbled on for variation. Transfer the sheets to
the drying area.
Turn the sheets over again after about 10-15 minutes to ensure they
don't stick to the newspaper.
III. Creating the page
Practice the basic Celtic strokes first. Then practice individual
Begin practicing the selected quotation. Decide how it will be
divided on the page. Watch the spacing between letters, words, and
lines. Don't forget to leave room for the illuminated letter, border,
and other illustration. A sample layout will help determine placement
of the various elements.
Place a guidesheet under the parchment and do the calligraphy. Allow
the ink to dry thoroughly before adding other elements.
When using the colored and metallic inks, it's more effective to do
the coloring first, then outline it in black or another dark color,
rather than drawing the outline first and filling it in.
The edges can be torn or burned slightly to age the sheet. One person
should manipulate the lighter while a partner holds the sheet.
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