The next in our series of Æthelmearc Artisan Profiles, from Meesteres Odriana vander Brugghe: Lord Angellino the Bookmaker.
For this month’s Artisan Profile, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lord Angellino the Bookmaker. During his years in the SCA, Angellino has done a little bit of everything: Fighting, marshaling, archery, thrown weapons, shopping, dancing (at least once), bardic arts, and the scribal arts. Despite his diverse experiences, his focus is on the scribal arts and running the Inter-Kingdom Scribal Guild (INKS Guild) with Lady Ylaire Sainte Claire and THL Ursula of Rouen.
What is your background? Specifically, did you attend school to learn your art or did you come to your art through the SCA or some combination of the two?
I mostly scribbled with pen and pencil back in high school in favor of actually applying myself. (don’t just stay in school kids but pay attention, it’s worth it). I had all but left art that behind in my adult life prior to joining the SCA. I had gone to a couple of scriptorium events in the Shire of Sylvan Glen when Marija Kotok mentioned that AE was always looking for new blank templates and I thought “I can do that”. I owe being a scribe entirely to her because she was the person who set me on the path. My first tentative steps were quaint, looking back. Each time I’d finish a template, like it or not, I’d paint it anyway (just to prove it could be turned into a scroll) then think “I can do better than that.” The process still holds to this day.
Can you tell me a little bit about the INKS Guild?
This is a group that I had the idea of creating and my wife, Lady Ylaire, supported me in creating. THL Ursula is the administrator for the guild and is an essential part in its success. It’s a collective of scribes from 3+ Kingdoms that do scroll blanks for whatever Kingdom needs them. We use a facebook group to coordinate with each other.
Currently we’re finishing up a package for Atlantia but instead of blanks we’re doing 10 backlogs for Atlantian kids.
What inspires you?
All kinds of stuff. I comb through art both modern and historic. It’s surprising sometimes what I pick up and think “I can use that.” Sometimes it’s just the way they turned a small line, added a brush stroke, two colors sitting next to each other or even how they went from nose curvature to eyebrow on a face. It’s all about breaking down what I’m looking at, how they layered the paint, spatial relations, shading or not, blending, any and all combinations of everything on the canvas. Taking it as a whole then drilling down and examining the pieces.
What work do you most enjoy doing?
All of it. Creating something from nothing scratches a very special itch for me that nothing else can compare. I know we’re a historical re-creation based society but I’m in it for the art part WAY more than I’m in it for the historical part.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
For the most part, I don’t get a lot of feedback/responses to my work and I kind of like it that way. I like my art to speak for itself and I’m not doing this for recognition. All I ever want to hear about a scroll going out is if the recipient liked it and I can usually get that from a friend who was in court when it was given out.
I will say though, as part of the INKS guild, I had a scroll end up being awarded to a lady in The East Kingdom (Connecticut). I’d never had a scroll go so far before and she sought me out (with no real connection between us) through the web to ask if I would blazon her AoA and paint her device on it. She’d been in the SCA for quite some time and had never gotten her AoA [scroll]. She was excited and pleased with my work and wanted me to complete the scroll so she sent it back to me to put her device on it. It was like having a pen pal in another country! (which I guess it was when you think about it)
What research do you do?
I’m more obsessed with the art part than the historical part. I comb over picture after picture looking for new and unusual things to make something different for the recipient. Rarely a day goes by that I don’t squirrel something away in a folder on my computer with a thought of “I think I can take that style and make something new out of it”.
How have your work practices changed over time?
I’m a structured planner sort of person. So, when I first started, I sat down and logically thought out how best to take something digital and move it to a finished state on paper. My general process has changed little since I’ve started; mostly what I change is style, pushing myself to draw stuff I’m not good at drawing (people and animals!) and try to put something new into every piece I do.
Who inspires you (either inside or outside of the SCA)?
Everything and everyone. I’m always looking through what other people are doing (both in and out of the SCA scribal circles). Deconstructing, trying to see what someone did to create an end piece. Everyone comes at scribal differently, everyone has something to bring to the table.
What is your dream project?
My next project, definitely. Have I shown you pictures? I’ve got this crazy idea and I’ll get it done in two weeks!!! Honestly, I drive everyone around me nuts talking about “my next big thing” that will never live up to the expectations in my head but darnit, in my head at least, it’s gonna be the freakin’ Mona Lisa! Only to mope at every errant brush stroke or every paint mix that didn’t dry to the color I wanted or didn’t have the right shading but that’s ok cause have I told you about my next project? It’s going to be 3-D and have unicorns and one hundred and seventy different colors.
If you would like to see Lord Angellino’s work, please visit his Deviant Art page.
If you would like to participate with the INKS Guild or learn more about it, please visit their Facebook page.