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Pelican Scroll for Sara van Eerde

Awarded Holiday Faire AS LVII

Mistress Sara has a Japanese persona, from the Momoyama era (c. 1573 - 1615). As I have no background in either Japanese language or art, other than as a casual admirer, I set about looking for art styles that I could do, and came across the gorgeous byobu, or wind screens, and decided to try my hand at that.  As I was describing what I wanted to do, my wonderful husband Don (Lord Dunstan Stonehill) offered to use his woodworking skills to make the wooden frame. I found a poem by a sixteenth-century Japanese woman, and altered the text a bit to fit a Pelican scroll. After using an online engine to  translate the words into kanji, katakana and hiragana, I sent the translation to my daughter Katt, who corrected some of the words, and also wrote out all of the names in katakana. 

The scroll measures 11" x 36" x 1/4", and consists of six panels. (The exemplar is about 5' by 11') Each panel is framed with seven pieces of 1/4" square poplar, and has three layers of paper, plus paper hinges. The bottom layer of paper for each panel on both sides is gyampi, cut to 6" x 11" to fit the panel, and more gyampi strips of 4" x 2 3/4" make the hinges to hold the six panels together. The second layer is rough mulberry paper, cut to 12" x 11" or 6" x 11", and the top layer of the front is finer mulberry paper. The top layer of the back of the scroll is black unryu paper with gold-colored leaf in a flower circle pattern.

The scroll is painted gold with mica-based watercolor, and the colors are a combination of hand-prepared gouache and a commercially-prepared palette of Japanese colors. The ink for the text is hand-ground sumi ink, applied with a bamboo brush, and there is a silk taffeta frame around the scroll, stiffened with gum arabic. A black frame, cut to fit each piece, finished the scroll. 

The process of making the scroll

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