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Topics - Estefa

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Open Flourish | General Discussion / Female scribes through history
« on: February 23, 2019, 07:07:06 AM »
Dear flourishers, I've started a bit of research regarding female scribes / calligraphers in the past. In premodern times most female scribes in Europe were to be found in convents – they also needed scribes, and men were not allowed, so some nuns (mostly those coming from nobler families, but also craftsmen's or merchant's daughters, as far as my research tells me) learnt not only reading but also writing and illumination.

I'd be delighted for more names – feel free to post more links! Sorry, some of my finds are only available in German. For some scribes there is very little information, if someone is able to dig out more, I'd find it very interesting!

For a start, look at that cheerful nun! This is a page from a book written and illuminated (probably) by Elsbeth Stagel around 1440. It is from a »Schwesternbuch« (= book of sisters), describing religious experiences of devine grace from the sisters in the convent of Tφss (Switzerland). They were Dominican sisters. Elsbeth carries the typical tools with that also male scribes were usually shown – quill and pen knife:

Elsbeth Stagel (Switzerland, 14. Century)

More about sister-books in general:

Sister-books (Germany, Switzerland, Middle Ages)

And some other scribes:

Regula von Lichtenthal (Germany, 15. Century)

Dorothea Schermann (Germany, 16. Century)

Ida of Nivelles (Belgium, 13. Century – according to the German Wikipedia entry, she was also a scribe and illuminator)

Nuns from the scriptorium of the Klarissenkloster Sankt Clara (Germany, 14. Century)

Just a mention in a list of graves:

Irtyu (Egypt, 600 to 300 before Christ)

The old Egyptians also had a goddess of writing:

Sehat, Old Egypt

In this (German) article about one of Mohamed's wifes, Hafsa bint Umar, a female scribe is mentioned that teached Hafsa writing and reading:

Schifāʾ bint ʿAbdallāh al-ʿAdawīya (Saudi Arabia, 7. Century)

Christine de Pizan, one of the earliest known female authors, was also a skilled scribe:
Christine de Pizan (France, 15. Century)

She worked with another female artist, who must have been an outstanding illuminator:
Anastasia (France, 15. Century)

Sorry, bit of a not so pretty picture, but this is evidence of another female illuminator from medieval times – the evidence being teeth with dental plaque containing lapislazuli pigments: she must have licked her brush (I got that link from the newsletter of British master calligrapher Patricia Lovett):
Unknown artist (Germany, around the year 1000)

Then Maria Strick, a Dutch scribe, teacher and head mistress – her husband actually engraved her work! Thanks to @sybillevz for telling me about her:
Maria Strick (Netherlands, 17. Century) and a bit about her life.

I'm sure there are more and I'll keep digging if I have time … would be interested also about women writers in Asia – maybe also in monastery settings? … Also I think I read somewhere about a famous female Turkish calligrapher (Arabic calligraphy), but I couldn't find her name with a quick search. There was also another Swiss scribe, who was not a nun, and who was nearly publishing a copy book, but then had to look after a sick family member and apparently nothing came from the plans. She must have been very talented, but it seems I forgot to bookmark the link and can't find out more now.

Have a nice weekend everyone!

Digital Design / Download all your Instagram data
« on: October 12, 2018, 02:37:33 AM »
That's probably old news for many of you, but I found it very useful – not that I'm planning to leave IG, but I thinks it's useful to have a copy of all my stuff there. You just have to go to the settings, select privacy & security and can request there a copy of your data. They will send you an e-mail with a link to the download (which can take up to 48 hours).

For anyone interested in medieval illumination and gilding, this article by Patricia Lovett is hopefully interesting – she does not only outline the separate steps of copying an illuminated page from a psalter, but also how long each part of the work took her! You can click on each picture and study in very high resolution how she completed each stage of the process.

This article describes quite nicely what I've been vaguely feeling in the past months … anyone else having the same feeling?

Hi all, I am planning to offer online classes – probably in German, but since I had requests from English speakers (blush) I decided to think about it at least.

To find out more about what people might be interested in, I prepared a survey – I'd be glad if people who are seriously interested would participate.

As incentive there is a calligraphy starter set to win: it includes my two workbooks for Copperplate, many nibs, walnut ink and some other goodies). To find out more, please follow this link:

And in German:

@ericamcphee I hope this is the right section in the forum, if not feel free to move it ;)!

I am going to teach Basic Copperplate on June 2 and 3 in Bremen and on July 1 and 8 in Potsdam. More information on my website :). The workshops are usually held in German, but if there are English speaking participants (as is the case sometimes) I'll teach in English too ;).

Workshops & Conference News / Yukimi Annand – Text and Textures
« on: April 06, 2017, 02:13:24 AM »
There are two four-day classes with Yukimi Annand in Germany in July. For details check this website: The class will be held in English even if the description is in German ;). Classes are limited to 16 persons. »Text and textures. Calligraphic signs and nature.«" It's an advanced class.

I want to create a custom wax seal for my niece. It involves a stylised (heraldic-like) rose and the letter R in the center. I'd say it's more complex than a normal, just letter seal, but by far not as complex as some flourished versions I've seen.

I got a quote that seems relatively expensive to me (about 4 times more than a standard seal costs). Does anyone have experience ordering custom wax seals?

And do you know if they are usually done mechanically – by hand, I mean – or rather by some sort of digital means (laser engraving?)?

Open Flourish | General Discussion / Crazy new ink made from polluted air!
« on: February 21, 2017, 01:47:30 PM »

Just available as markers and for screen printing by now, still very interesting I thought!

A very interesting article about work in president Obama's mail room – very moving also. If it's in the wrong forum section, sorry Erica!! I wasn't sure where to post it.


(You've probably all seen that already, but my husband and me laughed so hard ;D)

I remember popping up now and then questions about how designing calligraphic pieces. Here is a very nice and practical description by one of my favourite calligraphers, Patricia Lovett:

I love how she explains how her idea, skills, intuition, experience and also some chance and luck came together to create this design ;).

Her site is worth exploring for a lot of interesting stuff!

Tools & Supplies / Writing on suede, any hints?
« on: September 05, 2016, 03:09:53 PM »
I've been asked to do some lettering / pointed pen calligraphy on suede. Does anyone have a tip what kind of ink works best, has someone tried writing with a nib? I will start by testing acrylic paint thinned with water, using a round pointed brush – I'll keep you updated, but will also be very happy about any experiences or input!

Hi guys, I wonder if anyone had this trouble too: I used the above ink for a rather big batch of (luckily private) envelope addressing. I know it's not waterproof, but what is really strange: a sheet I used for warm-up with this ink still is sort of wet :-\ (and that was before Christmas)! It sticks to other sheets and is also sticky to the touch.

Does anyone know if I got a bad batch (it also developed mold at some stage, which I just threw away and ignored)?? Or is that normal? I just ask because I am really hesitant now to use it, for example for place cards. The thought that they arrive at a client all sticking together!!

Any insight would be great – thanks already!

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