|The massive drafting table.|
|making Lief's knighting scroll.|
|Double Wars, Sweden|
The thing about being an artist is that you can work pretty well anywhere as long as you have the right materials and tools. As a scribe, making a work space is fairly straightforward. Flat surface and the gear you need. ( paper, paints, pencils, rulers etc...)
For over 20 years now I have had the same small drafting table to work on and it's travelled with me from across Eastern Canada all the way to Germany and then Switzerland and back. In all but the last two pictures you can see it. It has been the best buy ever and certainly one of the most used and useful things I've ever bought, second hand from a fellow student who no longer wanted it. It is my favourite surface to work on. I've been asked about my scribal working environment many times and although the location has changed a lot the actual set up hasn't.
The little green drafting table is my main space. It's the table I draw and paint on. I keep my water on a separate surface, right now that happens to be a rolling computer files drawer thing that was a gift from friends ( picture 6). I make it a policy to never have any form of liquid or food stuffs on the same table I'm working on, that way I avoid spills, drips and coffee cup rings on the scroll ( yes I've seen all of these on other people's work) A clean working environment is something I try to take fairly seriously, I already make enough mistakes on my scrolls I don't need the added danger of a water spill or worse. Picture number one is the exception because this was actually a staged photo for a website about scribes. I do not ever work like this.
The set up always takes advantage of the natural light. I find it hard to work under lamp light, it changes how colours work and I don't usually work after Marcus ( le husband) comes home from his work anyway. So the desk is always set up to take use of natural light in the best possible way. Since, when it comes to art, I am right handed the light comes at me from my left side so I don't cast a shadow over my work.
It used to be that while working on scrolls I listened to CBC radio ( the morning show from St. John's to be exact) which was always weird due to the time difference but lately because we now have old computers to do this with I have a media station set up so I can watch/ listen to tv shows via online streaming. I like having something progressive in the background rather than music because I find the division of attention allows me better access to that part of my brain that does the art thing. It's the same for when I write, then I like to have music on, usually with headphones and then it's usually one song on repeat.Yes I am very weird, yes I know this, and no i don't care what other people think.
The last two pictures show scribing in the field, what some people call being a combat scribe which is a silly name but what ever. In this instance it was a table in the royal camp of Vitus and Ele. In the pictures you can see my portable scribe box (the wooden thing being used as a book holder.) A scribe can work anywhere with the right toys.
The only major addition to my standard setup has been a professional drafting table ( picture 5) It cost me 35, euros over Ebay. It's massive and heavy and the best thing for drawing out the lines on a scroll, as well as many many other uses including a fabric cutting table. It makes my life easier but I don't use it for the actual painting part because it's actually too big and too tall.
There is something wonderful about sitting a bright room, with natural light working on something lovely. There are moments when I am creating a scroll where I can understand the sacredness behind it all. The still beauty in creation, working on the words of God in a sacred space. Of course as scribes in the SCA God is not a factor but the sacred is, at least for me, because that is what art is. So these places that I make my own, pockets of time and space are sacred and I must admit I find a great deal of peace even if they look chaotic.