Isabel del Okes, Barony of Carolingia
I was asked to make a vigil book for Caelia’s elevation to the Order of the Pelican. The pelican in her piety is the symbol of the Order and of all the order symbols, it is the most detailed, with lines and divots all through the motif, plus there are little birdies and their beaks to sculpt! These details were a challenge to sculpt in clay, but once I dove into it, it really came together rather quickly. I did decide to cut the baby birds from three to two because I found the third bird cluttered the space and made all the babies hard to read even before the leather was pressed down. In the end, I believe that was a good choice as the two little birds fit nicely under the body of the mother.
As always with my vigil books, this one is a mixed bag of techniques from different periods. The raised motif technique can be found on the cover St. Cuthbert’s Gospel, dating from around 690 CE. St. Cuthbert’s Gospel is bound with a Coptic stitch but my book is sewn on cords, which is a more medieval technique. I chose to use the sewn on cords technique because I felt the aesthetic fit the formal occasion the book was being used for. I am still working on headbands and the woodworking needed to thread them into the covers so they are not threaded into the boards as they would be in a period book. I also use modern materials (manufactured paper, PVA glue, etc.), so these books are more an attempt at art instead of an attempt at pure period replication.
This book has twenty quires (signatures) of four folded sheets of paper. The paper is Mohawk Superfine Text Weight 8.5 x 11 (short grain). I used twine for the cords and for the core of the head bands. The text block was sewn on using waxed linen thread. The head bands are wrapped with black and red No. 8 cotton yarn. The book boards are birch craft plywood that were hand cut. I hand drilled the cord holes (using a screw) and hand sanded the boards. The motifs are paper clay and cotton cord. The cover is white leather (from my stash so I am unsure of the details on it) hand painted with Angelus Leather paint. The end pages are from my stash of handmade paper made in Thailand. I used PVA glue throughout the process.
Link to blog post with more pictures documenting the making this book: https://failagainfailbetter.blogspot.com/2020/03/caelias-vigil-book.html