New Product: Anathem Illuminated First Page

For anyone who read Neal Stephenson's Anathem and though "I'd love to go live in a math," "I wish I had the opportunity to meet people from other universes in the polycosm," or just "Wow, that was a great book," our new art print is for you.

Art print featuring the definition of "Anathem" that opens the book of the same name written in English Caroline Miniscule one what appears to be a leaf. Print is matted with a white mat.

Created with the permission of Neal Stephenson (eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Ariela and Terri are both huge fans), we are proud to bring you a manuscript page produced in the Cartasian mathic style.

Written on a yellowing "leaf of a page tree" with delicate veining showing throughout, the body text is written in a delicate brown-black ink with the title in red. A directed acyclic graph makes up the initial letter 'A' in a nod to the polycosm.

This is a limited edition run of just 100 art prints. Each print is matted on a white, archival-safe mat and comes ready to hang or to put in an 11”x14” frame. Ships flat.  $55 each.

Scheduling Note:

While we normally do product releases on Wednesdays and blog posts on Mondays hereabouts, Jewish holidays are about to start, rendering any hopes of "normal schedule" utterly borked. We will be taking a short hiatus for Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. The "Making Of" blog posts for this piece will be posted on Wednesday, September 26 and Wednesday, October 3.

New Product: "Penric's Demon" Illuminated First Page Art Print

We are thrilled to announce our first licensed product:

Penric's Demon Illuminated First Page

"Penric's Demon" Illuminated First Page - Art Print by Geek Calligraphy, Licensed by Lois McMaster Bujold

Lois McMaster Bujold has been one of Ariela's favorite authors since a friend introduced her to the Vorkosigan Saga in 2010. When she began considering the possibility of illuminating published works, she thought it was a long shot to ask permission to play with Lois' latest works (which just so happen to feature a scribe as their main character, eeeee!), but figured it was worth asking. To her utter joy, Lois said yes!

Thus Ariela has calligraphed, illustrated, and illuminated the opening passage of the novella "Penric's Demon."

The layout of the page is inspired by two manuscripts in the British Library collection: Harley MS 4482 and Royal MS 20 D I. The text is written in the Fraktur alphabet, which is part of the Gothic Script family (Ye Olde English font).

The illumination at the bottom of the page shows Penric and Gans leaving Jurald Court on their way, so they think, to Penric's betrothal ceremony. A crow in the right margin hints at the path that actually lies in store.

Next Monday we will publish the first of three blog posts on the research and artistic choices that went into making an illuminated manuscript from the World of the Five Gods.

This is a limited edition run of just 100 art prints. Each print is matted on a white, archival-safe mat and comes ready to hang or to put in an 11”x14” frame. Ships flat.  $55 each.

Manuscript Ketubah: The Research Behind the Design

by Ariela

I have a serious aversion to including design elements that mean nothing just to look cool. Whenever I put binary in a piece, it actually says something. I have done a custom piece with live Javascript forming the roots of a tree and two different ketubot with musical notation for the cantillation of the clients' favorite verses from the Song of Songs. 

When I started working on the Mansucript ketubah art, I knew that there would be research involved. Illuminations have extensive symbolism and iconography associated with them, and I would no more pick and choose images for this design at random than I would include garbage code in a piece about programming - aside from pinching my own sensibilities, it would likely be most irritating to the target audience. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of experience with the study of illuminated manuscripts. Sure, I look at them more frequently than the average person on the street, I'm a calligrapher. But beyond recognizing certain alphabets (what we now call "fonts") and artistic styles as being typical of certain eras and places, I don't actually know much. I certainly don't know enough about the symbolism to avoid accidentally putting something utterly inappropriate in the design. To the research-mobile!

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New Product: Manuscript Ketubah

by Terri

Did you meet your future spouse at an event sponsored by the Society for the Creative Anachronism? Is one of you a medieval historian? Do you think having traditional Judaic iconography in your artwork is important? Then this is the ketubah for you!


Available in 4 texts.

Available in 4 texts.

Manuscript Ketubah with Tradiditional Ashkenazi Text

How it Came to Be:

Ariela originally conceived this design to serve the Renfaire crowd. In our initial Google Doc (dating back to 2012), this design is listed as follows:

Book of Kells-inspired illuminated manuscript (dual-listed to fantasy)
look up really old ketubot and something properly medieval (Matthew* says “documentation”)

Once Ariela put pencil to paper for even the most preliminary sketches, she realized she needed to do some serious research. In addition, she realized that she also needed to change the time period of the art she was looking at to later than the Book of Kells. Especially because we wanted the potential audience to be as wide as possible, from any Fantasy geek couple looking for something that would be at home in $_EuropeanFantasyland all the way to historians without being an actual reproduction. After all, there is nothing for an historian quite like having a well-meaning loved one say "I got you this Olde Timey thing!" and to have it be tooth-gnashingly inaccurate.**

The all-English design and any design containing Hebrew are mirror images of one another. This is actually easy to do if you have scanned the artwork in first. We do not force Ariela to paint an entirely separate design for something like this. That would be cruel and unusual punishment. 

The Manuscript Ketubah is available with personalization in our 4 standard texts for $375.

*Matthew is my husband, and many of our early ideas (SA's Oath, some of the greeting cards, some stuff you haven't seen yet) were run by him in the initial planning stages.

**For the same reason, any binary code you see on this website actually says something.

Amateur's Adventures in Illuminated Manuscript-land

by Ariela

I'm working on a project based on Medieval and Renaissance manuscript illuminations right now. To get a more thorough and instinctive feel for the aesthetic, I spent an afternoon at the Harold Washington Library branch of the Chicago Public Library looking at non-circulating books.

In particular, I went through all the image plates in Lilian M.C. Randall's Images In The Margins Of The Gothic Manuscripts, all 739 of them (they were numbered). It was...a bit of a culture shock. I'm passingly familiar with Medieval illumination, but this was a whole new level.

Tropes of Medieval Illuminations: Let Me Show You Them

To put it mildly, there are a lot of tropes of illuminations. Everything I am about to recount is probably old hat to someone who knows their stuff. I knew some of them going in, but I was totally not prepared for what I found. Be forewarned, the following is not particularly safe for work.

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