Living in Vancouver, BC, I split my time between teaching and making a podcast called Human Circus: Journeys in the Medieval World. Through the podcast, I follow medieval travellers, whether they be friars, soldiers, merchants, or ambassadors, and I tell their stories and talk about the history around them.
That's what led me to this project. When you look through a medieval manuscript, the art is incredibly striking. It ranges from beautiful to bizarre. It can be funny or grotesque. It can be thoroughly alien or totally relatable. I want to share some of that art here with you.
The cards have been designed, local printers have been costed out, shipping has been planned for, and a timeline has been set. Everything's ready for you to give your friends, family members, or other acquaintances a very medieval Christmas! But I need your help in getting this off the ground, and that's why I've launched this Kickstarter to cover printing costs. If the Kickstarter reaches its goal, I'll have the files with the printers before the campaign has finished, and the cards will be shipped in the first half of November.
All cards feature art drawn from medieval manuscripts. There will be no text inside, so you can make them say whatever you want. The back will include information about the art's source and a small medieval image.
Design #1: A Lady Hunting
I particularly loved this image of the lady and her dogs out hunting. On the original page, it curls beneath the text, the deer on the right seeming to look up curiously at the lettering. Here, I think it turned out really well beneath the moon that Dante and Beatrice had flown towards in a quite different book.
Design #2: Merry Medieval Christmas
With this one, I wanted to showcase some of the intriguing characters who populate the medieval page, and a bit of the humour too, though I opted to crop out what was happening behind the trumpeting man as what the bird was doing to him somewhat distracted from the festive message.
The striking fellow front and center and his curious, bearded friend are both from Additional 42130 f. 62v, and the hatted creature to the bottom right is from Yates Thompson 43 f. 100. The trumpeting figure and his rabbit friend are from Royal 14 E III f. 89. The star is from Sloane 361 f. 12v, and the background is a blank folio from Additional 27210 f. 56.
Design #3: Merry Blemmyae
Perhaps my favourite figures of medieval texts are the Blemmyae, the headless men who wandered through the pages of the Romance of Alexander and various travel narratives. Here, they wish you well from their wintery surroundings. Or you wish them well. It's hard to say.
Design #4: Winter Dog
Once part of a page illustrating the month of January, this medieval doggo tromps through the snow with its human in tow. You could be joining it.
Design #5: Winter is Here
This is clearly no dire wolf, and its cringing face makes quite the contrast with the absurdly knowing looks on the other side of the fence. I find it hilarious.
*Note that I have made some slight changes to this card. You can see the new design below.
Risks and challenges
This project is already most of the way to completion. The design work is finished, and there's a printer selected and a backup plan. That said, because these are Christmas cards, it is a time-sensitive project, so the major risk is that of late delivery. I've taken steps to address that by researching printing options in advance and by getting the help of someone with expertise in publishing and print, but if delays do occur, I'll contact backers with updates immediately.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (25 days)