Making an Illuminated Manuscript 

For the past year and a half I have found myself increasingly invested into the research of early modern printing in Europe. To add to this, I have frequently enrolled in an advanced printmaking class, making linoleum prints in the style of 15th to 17th century woodblock prints.  Somewhere down the line I decided to make a book. My printshop does not have a letter press, so I am handwriting the whole thing in Gothic script. Since working on this book for the last few months, I have discovered a few things:

1) Supplies are damn expensive. Good paper alone could cost you as much as $75 for 20 sheets. But if it’s archival quality and acid free, like any of Arches paper, it’s worth it. Other stuff like binding materials are also going to set you back some. 

2) I hate the letters E, A, X, and most of all S. What’s worse is if I have to write a word with two E’s or S’s in a row. Gothic lowercase letters are pretty much made the same way, but these guys are awkward. I don’t even know where to start with S. Every time I write one it’s either super tall or floating in midair. Ugh. 

3) Spring break is a life saver. When life is also throwing you research papers for a politics class or you have to read documents from the Cuban Revolution, it’s hard to find time for artistic writing. All of spring break is nothing but writing and making plates for this book. It makes a sizable dent in your workload. People have time to ski and party on the beach with MTV? LOL who gets that luxury??

4) I am slowly becoming a Benedictine monk. I know that sounds silly but carefully crafting each word into gothic script makes you feel like a monk in the scriptorium. I found a Gregorian chant station on Pandora radio and put it on. My God……it all made sense! I wasn’t even born Catholic and I felt the need to grab a rosary!

5) A team effort can be helpful. I don’t like the look of calligraphy pens (yeah, I’m kinda picky), so I write each letter as my mom/bestie colors it in. It saves me a bit of time, while we can gossip about people and mutually complain about the letter S. 

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