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Pin Pricks



Beth -
        I was intrigued by your new method of illumation on the matt of your
work. I've come across pin pricks as a method of transfer used in the
middle ages and by the Renaissance painters, but never as a form of
design itself. The only example I can think of where it is employed as
design is in certain Japanese papers. You might find this passage
interesting. It is from Medieval Illuminators and Their Methods of Work
by Jonathan J.G. Alexander (Yale University Press, 1992):

"The techniques of transferring a smaller design to a large wall were
solved by monumental painters in various ways, some of which, for
example pouncing, might also have been used by illuminators. The
earliest known surviving use of pouncing from pricked cartoons is of the
1340's in the Orcagnesque frescoes in Sta maria Novella, Florence, but
here, as in other early examples, the technique is used for the
repetition of decorative forms, for example framing designs, not for the
transfer of composition. On folio 51 of the Nikolaus of Dinkelsbuhl
manuscript discussed earlier, the heads of the Apostles are outlined
with little dots which may suggest a pricked pattern. Some surviving
pattern books are pricked. Where actual miniatures are pricked, it is
usually impossible to be sure when this was done, however. A number of
the known examples of pricked miniatures occur in Bestiaries, or are of
animals in other contexts, and in many cases the pricking may have been
done in the post-medieval period when the miniatures were less valued,
since animal motifs were common in Tudor and Stuart embroidery, for
example. Animals were, of course, also used in the Middle Ages as
decorative adjuncts in many other media besides book illumination, in
embroidery and textiles, in wall paintings, stained glass, and
metalwork, for example. Some leaves of a late fourteenth-century pattern
book, used probably in a Venetian silk-weaver's shop, survive and some
of the drawings of animals there are pricked."
(pp.50-51)

All the best.

Ted Labow
tlabow@Home.com
www.ketubahworkshop.com


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