Friday, July 15, 2011

A medieval perspective

In contemporary medieval paintings and woodcuts there wasn't a great emphasis on what we see as 'proper' perspective. However, in the picture above, and looking at many other illustrations, it seems consistent that fireplaces were not deep, and mantelpieces were often very high. Controlling the smoke must have been difficult!

I've attempted this look in the fireplace of my weaver's house - and to be honest, it just looks odd!! It's probably to do with the relative height and size of the room, or something like that. I've thought about changing it, but I'm getting used to it, and anyway it's already glued in! We'll just have to see what difference some furniture makes to the room. . .

I admit to having a liking for books for 'young adults' (teenagers) both for non-fiction and for fiction. They're usually simply honest, straightforward and uncluttered.

Here are the two which I use a lot for when I make medieval stuff.
The first is in the Eyewitness Guides section of Dorling Kindersley - 'Medieval Life'. The photos and text are clear and simple - including everyday objects from all types of activities.
The second book is a Dover reproduction of a 1931 book on how to create medieval costume and accessories. It seems to have been aimed at people who wanted to dress up for costume parties, which were a popular home entertainment in simpler times. The details are probably not quite historically accurate, but it's enough for me when I'm making miniatures :) The book includes contemporary medieval illustrations, suggestions for costumes and accessories (not actual patterns but easy enough to make up), and quite good text to fill out the details.

And a general rant about reading
As for my liking for young adult fiction? Faves from my childhood are too many to list, but Rosemary Sutcliff has always been the absolute best for me. I tend towards British authors, probably because when I was young in New Zealand, Britain was still regarded as 'home' for us colonials, even though my family had been here since the 1840s! The strange thing is that when I visited Britain, it did feel as if it I was home. Family history? Tribal memories? Reincarnation? Who knows?

Authors I've found later in life and loved are Eva Ibbotson (reading her is like drinking champagne!), Susan Cooper (The Dark is Rising), Philip Pullman, Philip Reeve, Terry Pratchett (brilliant!!!), Ursula le Guin, JRR Tolkien . . . to name a few.
I do love reading! Science fiction, history, non-fiction . . . bring it on!!


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Making haste slowly

I've spent two days trying to make a quarter scale cauldron. Do not try this at home. Aaaaagh!! Having come to the point of whimpering 'life's too short for this . . .' I got out some 1:48 kits and relaxed by putting this furniture together.
They're next to a 1:12 scale chair :) It's surprising how quickly you get used to working with smaller scale - it was a real shock to hold the huge 1:12 chair, lol.

The gothic chair is from Karen Cary's Miniatures. I stained it with a mix of two parts raw umber and one part raw sienna acrylic paint. This was diluted with two parts water, painted on and then wiped off with a rag. The dilution means that you can repeat the application if you want to change the depth of colour. I used a piece of leather for the cushion.

The bench kit is from The Quarter Source. It's stained with a mix of one part raw umber to two parts raw sienna, applied in the same way, to look like newer oak wood.

Both kits are great - good instructions and fun to make :)
And here is the kitchen so far. I've aged the floor a bit, and added soot stains to the wall. The ash pile on the stove top is made of a mix of coarse texture gel, PVA glue, pale grey paint, and a few bits of larger texture (I used dried chopped rosehips - smells nice too!). After making the little pile, I grated chalk onto the wet mix and let it dry. It helps to mask the rest of the room when you do this to stop the chalk accidentally being rubbed in anywhere. When it's dry, rub the chalk into the pile and shake the rest off

More things I'm learning about quarter scale -
* don't cut your fingernails too short, you'll need all the help you can get, to pick things up!
* don't drink too much coffee!!! Even a little jitter is horribly magnified
* get the very best tweezers you can find, and keep them thoroughly clean
* keep all bits in a container - they get lost very easily
* anything wrong with a mini will definitely show up in a photo - I just enlarged the pic of the chairs, and the leather cushion looks like a slice of cheesecake, lol :D

Still enjoying it!