Tag Archives: Art


Reasons Why I Blog – Guest Post

Reasons Why I Blog

By Sue Gordon aka Mistress Jehanne Bening

Thank you, Holly (Aidan Cocrinn) for asking me to guest post on your relaunched blog. I hope to bring the same quest and curiosity to my post that you have shown on your blog and as a scribe in the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA).

Lilies War

A Gathering at the War of the Lilies. Photo by Mistress Jehanne Bening. © Sue Gordon

While Holly kindly refers to me here as Sue Gordon, artist and scribe, we know each other by SCA “nicknames.” Mine is Jehanne Bening. And yes, at times, I seem to have a split personality.

I’m excited to have Holly as a scribal blogging cohort. There aren’t that many in the blogosphere. Holly’s focus will broaden the field for interested artists and SCA scribes.



Gouache Paint- Our Medium of Choice Most of the Time. Photo by Mistress Jehanne Gordon. © Sue Gordon

Teaching calligraphy and illumination is a craving I found a year ago because Holly presented a workshop to my local group. The attendance and interest she inspired led to Rolf Hobart and me to hold regular recurring scribal classes. I enjoyed sharing scribal information and blogging is a way to reach out to more people. Somewhere along the way, I focused my blog more on scribal subjects.


Aidan Teaching

Aidan Teaching Intro to Scribe Stuff at the Barony of Lonely Tower. Photo by Mistress Jehanne Bening.© Sue Gordon

I learned by refining my blog.  Blogging is now a passion.

I love blogging. Writing for my blog connects me to you and others.  It helps me learn, improves my scribal and writing skills, and organizes my thoughts. It’s a self-development tool. It also gives me a purpose to fulfill.

Blogging is a way for me to help others. A way for me to give back to the hobby and people I love, especially those in the SCA, a group that has given so much to me.


Beautiful Award Scroll done by Mistress Jehanne. Gouache and ink on Paper.
photo by Mistress Jehanne Bening © Sue Gordon

There are many how-to calligraphy bloggers, but few blogs include illumination or the artist creation process. I hope Holly and I rectify that.

I blog because I have something to share. I’ve been in the SCA since 1991 and learned calligraphy and illumination through it. Being an SCA scribe is unique. It takes a love of learning, research, art history,  and skill development in detailed techniques. I hope to help others with similar passions to be able to grow.


Freelance Writer

Relaunch and What it’s all About

What does it mean to be a Freelancer?

And the relaunch of Intellectuallypromiscuous.com

Freelancing and the Gig Economy

Today’s gig economy means a lot of people are working piece work – picking up commissions and “gigs” as they can, rather than working traditional full-time jobs. It isn’t easy. There are no company-paid benefits like health insurance and paid time off, no life insurance, and certainly no job security. There are a lot of benefits, though.

You work when you want, and you are free to NOT work when you don’t want to or can’t work due to other commitments. You are also free to turn down jobs that don’t appeal to you. That is, if you can afford to turn down work.

do not want

Speaks for itself

That’s the kicker. As a freelancer, you have to have enough income coming in to be able to turn away work. Not many freelancers have that luxury. Most of us scrabble for every crumb of work, taking on jobs that we would otherwise pass. We live on COBRA or ACA health insurance and pray every day those don’t go away. It makes politics very personal.

Eventually we hope to have our work seen enough so that we can increase our rates, get more offers of jobs and get more money coming in – and thus increase our opportunities for growth. It happens in some cases. In others, we give up and try to find full time work again.

Unfortunately, traditional employers see periods of freelance work essentially as unemployment. While untrue, freelancing is not seen as “real work” in the business community. Through some trial and error, I’ve found that putting “Contract Writer for XYZ Company” on my resume gets a more positive response from traditional employers, rather than the more generic “Freelance Author and Artist.” Employers are more responsive when they have a name attached to the work, even though the list of “Contract writer for ___” includes six or seven companies at the same time.


Textbroker – Each Word Counts

What about Freelance Artist?

As a freelance artist at the same time, this is trickier. I cannot list every person for whom I have done a private commission or an SCA scroll as a customer. For this, I do list myself as “Artist” and describe the work I do.

I create custom artwork for private clients, including researching their requirements, historical basis for the artwork, creating historical pigments if necessary. I also include the fact that I teach methods of creating historically-based artwork to groups at local, regional, national and international workshops.

KWHSS 2017

Aidan (me) teaching at Known World Herald and Scribe Symposium, Knoxville TN 2017.

This is true, after all. I teach within my local Shire, the nearby Barony, throughout the Kingdom, and I recently taught at the Known World Herald and Scribe Symposium. I expect I will again, given the chance.

I’ve been creating pigments

I have also begun creating my own pigments over the last year and a half, starting with the least toxic ones – mostly blues, greens and earth tones such as the ochers. I would like to find ways to make reds, yellows and oranges, but those tend to involve cooking lead. That is inherently dangerous and I am not sure I’m ready for that. Yet. Greens like verdigris are almost TOO easy – dunk some copper wire from the hardware store into some vinegar, add a little salt and wait.


Verdigris still on the copper wire and ground, mixed with gum Arabic in a shell as pigment

I even experimented with period Brasilwood recipes, using Purple heart wood sawdust. The two trees are of the same family, and I happened to have access to the purple heart sawdust. I got some nice reddish-brown pigment out of it, but not a true red. The experiments, based off the recipes in Ceninni, involved lye. Lye is also toxic, but it is a workable toxic, meaning use gloves and common sense.

Purpleheart and Verdigris

Purpleheart pigment and verdigris pigment

I also got a very nice celadon green out of the purple heart when I used a mixture of the lye and some of the used vinegar from the verdigris experiments. After a number of uses, the verdigris vinegar turns blue from the copper dissolving a little in it. I poured some of this over the purple heart sawdust “mash” in addition to the lye. The result was eventually the celadon.

surprise celadon

Surprise! Celadon pigment from purpleheart decantation mix of lye and verdigris used vinegar. No one expected green.

Relaunching iamintellectuallypromiscuous.com

I’ll be publishing some of these pigment experiments here as part of the relaunch of Intellectually Promiscuous, as well as some more “Scroll Stuff,” and the sciency side of scribe stuff. I will also be focusing more on the freelancing aspect of life, whether writing or art.



There will still be the occasional jaunt into other rabbit holes. After all, I’m still “intellectually promiscuous.” Things catch my eye and they are interesting. They will get published – possibly as briefs with links to outside sources. Expect a stronger focus on the art and writing, though.

I have a guest blogger lined up, so look for a post soon from Sue Gordon, fellow artist and scribe! http://www.createme365.com/

I hope you enjoy the refocus and relaunch of Iamintellectuallypromiscuous.com  Oh, and some new categories, including “Oh Bother, said Pooh as he chambered another round,” where I’ll write about stuff that bothers us. Be sure to send me ideas!


Oh Bother, said Pooh, as he chambered another round.