Inventas vitam iuvat excoluisse per artes ~ Virgil.
“Let us improve life through science and art,” said the immortal poet Virgil.
Our Tyger Scribes have taken this quite literally in their recent art auction, Tyger Scribes in Trying Times, to supply masks to medical professionals. The original, one-of-a-kind works created by the Tyger Scribes raised nearly $1,300 to help MasksOn.org provide more than 25 high-quality full-face snorkel-style mask kits to be delivered to hospitals, LTACs, nursing homes, clinics, dentists, and other organizations in need. MasksOn.org is a non-profit effort to mass-produce reusable, sanitizable Emergency Use face shields for medical purposes and distribute them to the clinicians who do not have access to FDA cleared equipment.
Thyra Eriksdottir spoke on behalf of the auction organization team. “It was conceived early in the quarantine,” she said, “in the hopes that we could raise funds for a badly-needed resource, and also provide a meaningful artistic outlet for people who were fretting at home. We hoped folks would think about the projects they love but that don’t fit the scroll model. And we hoped folks would take the opportunity to collaborate with someone new.”
Not only were these goals handily met, but a stretch goal was achieved as well – bringing new scribes to the drafting table!
Artist Liadan ingen Chineada was one such person who decided that this was the time to try the scribal arts, “When I saw there was going to be an art auction, I was like ‘That’s awesome. I want to help. Scribes are the best.’ So I decided it was time to do an art,” she said. She highly praised the scribal community for its warmth and encouragement. “Every single one of you who has talked to me about your art, and what you did, and why you did it. It was talking to me about paint, and paper, and weather, and setups, and SHINY, and everything. I have gleaned SO MUCH information from you from being a Loud Herald, and I honestly wouldn’t have had the confidence to do this if it wasn’t for you.”
Artists from Delaware to Maine contributed 19 works of art, purchased by people across the known world. And every piece of work was well-received and supported: no bid was less than 150% of the minimum requested price. Even the auction site Better World donated its services in support of the effort.
“The people at MasksOn.org (http://maskson.org), the Fab Foundation (https://fabfoundation.org/about/#donations-grants), and Better World (hhttps://betterworld.org/home) all volunteered time to help us make the auction happen. They didn’t have to do that, and we didn’t promise them anything in return other than that we would do our best to raise funds,” said Thyra. “Everyone we talked to was impressed that we could have so much original art to donate to this auction, and was committed to making it happen.”
The original art showcased a wide variety of styles, time periods, and themes.
Some were inspired by extant texts, like the beautiful memento mori in the gothic style by Malys MacGregor. Ajir Tsagaan produced a castle chapel scene that could have been in a book of hours.
Some of the works were based on historic examples that are often seen but not often reproduced in scroll text. For example, there are many historic images of women filling baskets with the strange fruit of the phallus trees. However, there’s not much call for that in the scribal arts, so this was an ideal opportunity for Fionnghuala the Volatile to play with historic images for the piece “Nuns at Harvest” to the delight of Aesa feilinn Jossursdottir. “I was secretly hoping that someone would pick that source, no pun intended,” she quipped. Fionnghuala described the work as, “A faithful representation of an infamous medieval manuscript illumination, with a traditional story opening in gothic script.” Violette Hughes provided the calligraphy.
Others included nods to modern fandom, like Shoshana Gryffyth’s homage to Star Wars featuring Kylo Ren and Rey above members of the cantina band, and Niccolo da Palermo’s clever illumination of the famous rabbit standoff from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
A few included original texts, such as the collaboration between Mairi Crawford, Lada Monguligin and Catelin Straquhin — a Tyger poem inspired by a “poem of legend”, which reads in part, “One Tyger to bring them all and in gladness twine them.”
Niccolo produced several pieces with short sayings and an illuminated initial letter, as was common in many illuminated manuscripts over the ages. And the team of Emma Makilmone and
Faolán an Screcain even created an illuminated recipe in collaboration!
Working in total freedom, several artists focused wholly on illumination, filling the page with rich pigments and gold leaf. Liadan Ingen Chineada’s ornate letter E, based on a breviary from 1153; Aaradyn Ghyoot’s gorgeous capital B(east); Camille des Jardins’s later-period page of violets and butterflies; and Lada Monguligin’s elegant 15th-century Chinese painting of the rare white tiger Tsou-Yu—each fills the page with sumptuous illumination. Marian Kirkpatrick, Ellesbeth Donofrey, and Audrye Beneyt brought the bling with swaths of gold plus delicate details, in play with bold, deep colors.
The artists who contributed to this effort are:
- Mairi Crawford
- Emma Makilmone
- Faolán an Screcain
- Ellesbeth Donofrey
- Lada Monguligin
- Ajir Tsagaan
- Shoshana Gryffyth
- Aaradyn Ghyoot
- Niccolo da Palermo
- Camille des Jardins
- Malys MacGregor
- Fionnghuala the Volatile
- Audrye Beneyt
- Marian Kirkpatrick
- Liadan ingen Chineada
The auction organization team consisted of Eva Woderose, Aesa Feilinn Jossursdottir, Marieta Charay, Gun∂ormr Dengir, Mariette de Bretagne, Thyra Eiriksdottir, and Aneleda Falconbridge.
The Tyger Scribes have shown the might of pen and brush in the face of foes great and microscopic. We are all fortunate to have such talented and caring artists in our communities.
Eva Woderose, who led the organization team, said of this project, “One of the joys of my SCA life is seeing all the beautiful and creative ways the Scribes of the East incorporate historical inspiration into their art. I was so excited to see this non-scroll framework spark creativity in different directions and, as always, I was impressed with the skill and generosity of our community.
If you missed the auction but would like to contribute directly to the organizations the Tyger Scribes partnered with, you may give online. Thank you for your support!
- MasksOn.org : https://www.gofundme.com/f/maskson?utm_source=website
- Fab Foundation : https://fabfoundation.org/about/#donations-grants
And while the auction is complete, you can see the works at https://scribes.betterworld.org/auctions/tyger-scribes-trying-times.