A Paper Crown

One of my fab friends, Jenny, does traditional printing of all sorts, along with book making and pewter work.  Check out her Etsy shop if you have a second: Notta Pixie Press.  She has been helping me learn a new thing: lino and woodcut printing!

The Wood-engraver by Jost Amman, 1568.

The Wood-engraver by Jost Amman, 1568.

I started with lino blocks rather than wood, mostly because my local art supply store only had lino, but having tried wood since then, I am glad I started with the lino.  It is so much easier to cut than wood!  Wood has a directional grain, and gets all cranky if you try to cut it against/cross the grain.  Lino is short for linoleum, which can be used instead of wood as a relief cutting surface.  Exactly the same cutting and printing process, just a little easier :D

Linocut carving and printing on MorganDonner.com

Using a Speedball lino cut tool kit (one handle with several different cutters inside), I started practicing on a couple little square blocks and inked them with some plain green stamp pad ink I had on hand.  Looks like my printing technique needs some work, but at least I have cute stamps now!

Now on to the big print project I have been wanting to do for a while: in Pieter Aertsen’s Peasants by the Hearth (1556), a young boy sits by the fire. He is tending to the food, and wears a colorful printed crown with fold marks on his hat.

Pieter Aertsen's Peasants by the Hearth (1556), a young boy sits by the fire. He is tending to the food, and wears a colorful printed crown with fold marks on his hat.  Reproduction paper crown post at MorganDonner.com

Isn’t that crown super cute!?

While it could be completely unique illustrated crown, I think it is more likely that it is a print.  That is certainly the more affordable option.  Woodcuts were still quite popular in the mid 16th century, although it could just as easily be a copper engraving at this point.  I am going the ‘wood’cut route for this project.

Paper Crown on Morgandonner.com

The detail on the Aertsen image is not great, so I could not easily make an exact copy.  Instead, I used the shapes and proportions I could make out from Aertsen, and paintings of other crowns from 1400-1600 to get details that would feel at home in the design.  After sketching a bit, I picked the parts I liked best and drew them on the lino block.

I must remember to take a picture of the finished crown block! At least there are some small ones below :)

Paper Crown post at Morgandonner.com

With the block completed, we were ready to print!  Jenny helped me bunches with this part.  It might be more accurate to say she did the printing part for me and I tried to be as helpful as possible.  Above, she is using this huge paper cutting machine to make a bunch of crown sized papers to print on.

Paper Crown post at Morgandonner.com

Next we inked up the machine.  The black circle at the top is covered with a thin layer of black ink, and the machine does this fancy rolling and flipping motion to ink the block (visible in the middle), and then presses the paper to the block, which is not quite in the right position yet in the lower left.

Paper Crown post at Morgandonner.com

The block is only big enough to do part of the crown in one pass.  We did one pass on all of the paper, printing just on the left side of the paper.  Then we re-positioned the block and paper set up so we could print the middle part of the crown, then a third time for the right end of the paper.

A 16th century style Paper Crown for 12th night celebrations, post at Morgandonner.com

Ta-da!  Crowns are printed!  Some of the papers were shorter than others, so they only got two prints, but that will work nicely with how the crown was worn in the inspiration image by Aertsen.  I watercolored the print, trying to mimic the original, although I think I should have used a less saturated green!

A 16th century style Paper Crown for 12th night celebrations, post at Morgandonner.com

Super cute, no?  This is one of the short ones.

A 16th century style Paper Crown for 12th night celebrations, post at Morgandonner.com

I borrowed my husband’s Brueghel style coat and the hat I bought him from 5adayknits on Etsy.  I need to get my Antwerp gown finished and take some pictures with that!

A 16th century style Paper Crown for 12th night celebrations, post at Morgandonner.com

For fun, I also cut one of the crowns out around the edges, which is somewhat similar to the 17th century Twelth Night paintings.

Twelfth Night or The king drinks, 1634-1640, by David Teniers II (1610-1690).

Twelfth Night or The king drinks, 1634-1640, by David Teniers II (1610-1690). Click for the whole picture!

Peasants Celebrating Twelfth Night, 1635 David Teniers the Younger (artist) Flemish, 1610 - 1690

Peasants Celebrating Twelfth Night, 1635 David Teniers the Younger (artist) Flemish, 1610 – 1690

Twelfth Night, Painted around 1660/1665, by Jan Miense Molenaer. c. 1610 - 1668, Haarlem.

Twelfth Night, Painted around 1660/1665, by Jan Miense Molenaer. c. 1610 – 1668, Haarlem.

Twelth Night, 1665 by Jan Steen (1626 - 1679), Leiden.

Twelth Night, 1665 by Jan Steen (1626 – 1679), Leiden.

Haarlem School, 17th Century THE KING DRINKS! oil on canvas 106 by 134.8 cm.; 41 3/4 by 53 in.

Haarlem School, 17th Century THE KING DRINKS! oil on canvas 106 by 134.8 cm.; 41 3/4 by 53 in.

The King Drinks, 1636-37. Jan Miense Molenaer, Oil on panel, 42 x 55 cm, Liechtenstein Museum, Vienna.

The King Drinks, 1636-37. Jan Miense Molenaer, Oil on panel, 42 x 55 cm, Liechtenstein Museum, Vienna.

Lots of happy party kings in the mid 17th century!  It seems to be associated with 12th Night, where they had King Cake celebrations, which continue to be used today in the United States during Mardi Gras.  These sound like a great idea for a party at a recreation/reenactment event!

17th Century style paper crown, block printed and hand cut, post at MorganDonner.com

Since we printed a bunch of them and I only need a few, the extra were put up on Etsy here.

After learning bunches about block printing from Jenny, we went on to create a 16th century style playing card deck.  If you like the printing stuff, check it out here: Part 1 and Part 2.

 

Posted in Not Clothes, Pre-1600's Tagged with: ,

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