Friday, February 5, 2010


Hi!  And welcome to scribal blog.  Mundanely, I'm known as Lisa Cotton, but in the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism), I'm known as Lady Lisabetta Medalia. 

In this blog, I'll documenting my various scrolls, illuminations and various non-SCA projects as well. 

I first came to learn about the SCA back in 1996 when I was in college.  I was in class, when someone walking down the hallway said "There's a bunch of knights in the gym, beating each other with sticks!"  It was near the end of the class for the day anyways, and some of us in my class were interested, so a few of us went to investigate.   Sure enough, the Ottawa group Caldrithig was there, and they had a part of the gym roped off so that fighters in armour were there, doing as the student had said - beating each other with sticks!

They had other things during their demo, one of them that really interested me was that they had a table with various medieval musical instruments, which back then, I was more into music then I was with visual art.  At one point, I was whisked away and talked into joining in on a dance, the Maltese braulle.  I wasn't sure about it, but once the dance got going, it turned out to be a lot of fun!  Unfortunately, just as soon as I got the hang of it, the song became too fast and we all had a good laugh because we couldn't keep up with it!

I remember bringing home a brochure, telling all about the SCA and the different things that you can do in it, but my parents weren't quite sure what to make of it, and I never became involved.

Fast forward ten years into the future: 2006.  I was married now, moved to Vermont, and had just become an American citizen.  My husband had some experience with the SCA much in the same manner as myself, and he had wanted to see if we could go to one of the gatherings at our local group: the Shire of Mountain Freehold.  I thin it was the start of something that we would both be addicted to!

For my persona, I went with 14th century Italian.  Lisabetta is, of course, an Italian variation of my own name, and by chance, it's also period.  "Medalia" is a variation of my maiden name "Medaglia".  I've been told that the period way to spell "Medaglia" was without the G.  At the moment, it's my name.  I'm currently waiting on my name submission, to see if it's approved or not.  I went with that name to pay homage to my Italian heritage.

Our first camping event was Panteria XII.  It was also the first time I'd ever attended court, as King Gryffith and Queen Aikaterine attended Panteria.  It was also the first time I was really introduced to scribal arts.  When they would announce an award and show the scroll to the audience, my jaw had dropped to the ground, and I remember saying to myself "I want to do THAT!"

Many of my Shire friends had also showed me the many scrolls that they've won over the years, and you basically had to pull me away from them, because I just couldn't look at it/study it enough!   I tried making my own illumination, didn't turn out all that great.  It wasn't until after I had talked to other scribes that I was introduced to online digital galleries of manuscripts, and I started studying them from there.

My first scroll was made in 2008, and it made a debut at Panteria XIII, one year after I had told myself that this is what I want to do.  It was featured in an A&S competition, and to my surprise, I won!  I still can't believe it to this day, because there were so many entrants, and all them were better than mine...or at least, I thought so.

Since then, I've become an official scribe of the East Kingdom.  Sometimes I'll do illuminations on my own, making blank scrolls, other times I'm assigned to make a scroll, which I'm more than happy to make.  I'm still learning how to do calligraphy, so at the moment, I'm just listed as an illuminator, until I get better and feel confident-enough to try my hand at both illumination and calligraphy.

And, here I am, nearly 2 years later after I made my first illumination, and I'm still going strong.  I've been loving it so far, and I hope that I can continue for many years to come!