Snorri’s Hammer Scroll, or how to pick your battles

This is actually a project from last year (December!) that I’ve finally got some time to blog about now.

I got a scroll assignment from the Royal Scribe for Damien and Issabell and I was immediately inspired to Do Something Cool.

Plan 1: do a runestone.
I should preface this with I was on furlough from my job, so I had some time that I could have devoted to learning some new skills and building some muscle in my arms.  I was even looking at rocks on the side of the road while on the way to and from an event to use for the runestone.

Life had other plans.

Plan 2: do a Norse weathervane.
Still on furlough, I realised that I still had to do a few things for getting ready to go visit my lord in Canada.  And that’s when the idea of doing a Norse weathervane seemed far easier and faster to accomplish.  After all, at this point, I had three weeks to get it done.  So, I went down to my local home improvement store and picked up a brass kickplate (which, by the way, is a relatively cheap way to source brass for projects – if you’re okay with working around pre-drilled holes).

Sawing it out took forever.  Using my beloved Dremel helped, but then created some additional problems when cutting out the design.

Well, crap.

Plan 3: all right, that’s all failed – time for a traditional scroll!
So, by this point, it was literally a week before Kris Kinder, when Snorri was going to be getting his Hammer, I had to go into very high gear.  Thankfully, this is an artform I wasn’t learning on the fly and could take some shortcuts.  With him having a Norse persona, I totally did some Facebook stalking (sorry, Snorri!) to figure out how to bring in the personal touches into his scroll.  Chiara di Paxiti wrote an incredible scroll text, and I got a pretty good visual in my head of what I wanted to do. (Which conveniently tied into the scroll text “This was done at the thing in Forgotten Sea held on the 9th day of December, being the fifth month of the Reign and the fifty-second year of the Society, when the King and Queen did give to Snorri a quantity of glass, such that he would always have enough.“)


It was then time to go back to Plan 1.  Or at least, tap into some of the inspiration from Plan 1, which consisted of Norse picture stones, St. Patrick’s Bell Shrine, and one of the Sutton Hoo eagles (which he uses to mark his stuff).  The main shape of the art was inspired by the Bell Shrine, the monochromatic red and white and the decorative rope-look was inspired by the picture stones, and the eagles on either side of the main picture were the Sutton Hoo eagle.  I did modify the kingdom badge for the Order a bit to look a bit more like a Mjölnir I had seen for sale.

The calligraphy was my standard uncial in a combination of inks: Noodler’s Antietam (which is the most perfect blood red I’ve seen in an ink) and Liquitex’s Ink! in Vivid Red.  I went with the combination because the Vivid Red was far too vibrant, and the Antietam was a bit too dark.  In concert, the colour was perfect for matching the Royal Talens Vermillion gouache that was the main colour of the piece.  In hindsight, I probably should have used Long Branch runes, but, part of the point of the scroll is also to be able to read it.

The Sutton Hoo eagles were done using Finetec’s gold pans, which give a beautiful depth of colour, and are affordable, and better yet, replaceable when used up.  The scene of Damien and Issabell presenting Snorri glass in his workshop (which would have been a part of the runestone!) was drawn and ready for paint – I wanted to make it look a bit like carved stone, complete with subtle shadows and highlights.  Here’s where I tied in the bit from the scroll text, too.

By this point, after screwing up on the calligraphy enough (three sheets later), and determination set in, it was five days before the event, and I was full-on hatecrafting.  (Yes, it’s a thing.  Don’t judge me.)  Sometimes, bull-dogging through a project is the only way the project gets done.  I don’t recommend this for a permanent way of crafting, as it’s a way to set up for burnout.

The calligraphy was down, and all I had to do from here was fill in the rest of my pencil work.  Half a day later, the scroll was completely done.  Not counting the various mis-steps or reworking, the scroll took four days.  Counting the reworking, it took almost my allotted month.  For project management, this was not my finest work.

By the time that Kris Kinder rolled around, I’d mostly recovered from hatecrafting, and was quite a bit more bouncy, because I’m a court junkie and I love seeing my friends get recognized for the cool things they do.  And nothing is more rewarding than seeing your friend be absolutely gobsmacked, thus making the adventures in crafting more fun.

Things learned (we think)
Ambitious projects are great, but not when the turn-around time is less than a month away.
Even if the project goes horribly pear-shaped, people are appreciative of the things you make.
Hold onto your documentation for all your projects – you may still be able to use the ideas, just in a different medium.


One thought on “Snorri’s Hammer Scroll, or how to pick your battles

  1. Pingback: Stretching Scribal Boundaries | konstantia kaloethina

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