During the Middle Ages, the Book of Hours was such a common object, that some historians think that much of the burgeoning middle class, as well as the nobility in England, Ireland, France, Italy and the German city states, owned them. They were the Prada bag of the era. Of course, the most beautiful and extravagantly illustrated ones were usually commissioned by royalty. We know little about the artists, as the common culture emphasized the work of God over the individual. They almost never signed their work, and such distinctive artists as the Master of Anne of Cleves are known only by their patron’s name. And of course many of the religious works were made by monks in monasteries, who also remained anonymous. Sometimes as small as 3” x 5”, these books are filled with complex, brilliantly colored scenes from the life of Christ. There are also many examples of secular illuminations, and of course the wonderful Arabic books from Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Using authentic materials and methods, the students will create their own illuminated page. Participants will make their own ink, transfer their designs to vellum or animal skin, use a quill pen to outline their drawing, and mix their own colors using traditional powdered pigments and gum arabic. Using the traditional transfer method involving burnt umber pigment, the students will transfer their drawings onto either handmade paper and prepared calfskin or lambskin. There will be demonstrations on making oak gall ink, traditional gold leafing, and the process of mixing and blending pigments, which differs considerably from contemporary paint.
If you're interested in taking the class, email me and I will give you the details of cost and materials.