Airy Plumeflights (the title derives from Finnegans wake) is an enchanting and practical introduction to lettering and decorating in the Celtic style by one of Ireland's best-known calligraphers.
Part one tells the story of Daniel, an apprentice scribe from a Celtic monastery in the ninth-century, and is set against the background of daily life there. He relates how he is introduced to the ancient arts of cleaning animal hides for vellum, of mixing inks and preparing parchment and quills, before working with master scribes and illuminators on transcribing Gospels in the scriptorium.
Part two, a step-by-step explanation of Celtic-style writing, takes its components, letter by letter, and illustrates the process of graphic composition and the intricacies of spirals and interlace. It also explains the basic principles of ruling and page layout, finishing with examples of bookbinding and covering.
In this lucid and beguiling book about the ancient art of the scribe, Tim O'Neill has found the perfect way to celebrate, the hallowed traditions of penmanship.
Airy Plumeflights sweeps the reader into a pristine world of quills and inks and vellums: it is an instruction manual but it is also a revelation of both the demands and the rewards of an artistic discipline. The master pretends, to be an apprentice, the scholar, pretends to be a learner, but there is no pretence about the love and knowledge that in form the whole project
1st edition, 1994, 42p, many illustrations, 19.4 x 22 cm