AoA: Constantine the Varangian

There are not many pictures of my 1st pieces of SCA work. Mostly because at the time I didn't think too much about it and film development was expensive. This piece, an AoA scroll for my friend Constantine the Varangian was done sometime around 1986-87 ( maybe). He was one of the founding members of the Shire of Ar n-Elean-ne, ( St. John's Newfoundland) and he was my friend.He was the herald who told me that if I wanted a Welsh name I should be prepared to have it mangled in every court I was ever called up in, ( which is why I chose Bridget and not something very long lacking a lot of vowels) who found a way around the rules so I could incorporate the name Greywolf and who helped me design my device and insisted I un-clutter it. I owe him my identity because before he helped me with name and device I was an SCA ghost.

When I set out to do this for him I had no clue what I was doing and it shows. I combined my love for Celtic uncial with my love for Gothic borders and used every single colour of paint I had. The idea was good the execution very iffy but he was happy and I had made something for a friend.

It was done on arches water colour paper, because I had some on hand, with a variety of paints not the least of which was reeves poster paints ( yeah I know sue me) and I have no idea what ink or what pen I used, probably a Parker calligraphy pen and Parker ink though because I had one at the time and I was very proud of it.

I look back at this piece and see all the mistakes but also I see where I had the right idea. Something I tell scribes often, especially the new ones, the ones just starting out who are looking at the laurel level work and wondering if they will ever get to that point is that we all begin at the beginning.

I have seen some brilliantly talented artists who get it right off the bat, whose ability for calligraphy or for miniatures made me heavy hearted at my own lack and failures but in the end their successes and abilities are their own, their beginning point is different than that of anyone else and they have their own demons to slay. Mine are mine and being envious of someone else's talent or abilities doesn't get a person very far. My desire to get better pushed me forward, my sense of I can do that too kept me going and filling a need helped keep me focused so eventually, as with all things practised, I improved but it's taken a long time.

We all start at a single point and move forwards. This was my starting point and this is my journey forwards.

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