One of our homework
assignments from Reggie’s second session was to make a
small book incorporating vellum pages.
The vellum offcuts I
purchased from Reggie were each about 5 X 7 inches. I
wanted to write a moderately lengthy text and chose the
Stabat Mater, a 13th C. Latin hymn attributed to a
Franciscan friar, that I first became familiar with many
years ago through the music composed by Giovanni
Battista Pergolesi (1710-1736) at the end of his short
Scored for soprano and alto soloists, violin, viola,
cello, and organ, the duets are some of the most
touchingly beautiful music I’ve listened to.
The hymn comprises 20 three-line stanzas. My first
attempt was to write it in 1.5 mm x-height with a
Mitchell 6 nib, but even with my trusty Optivisor, I
found it too difficult; so I increased the guidelines to
3 mm and wrote with a Mitchell 5 without a reservoir.
Although challenging, I found the entire process to be
meditative: I listened to Pergolesi’s music repeatedly
while writing, gilding, preparing the book covers, and
assembling the book using a single sheet coptic binding