A selection of topics I’m passionate about, and love to teach.

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For a list of where I’ve taught in the past and where I’m teaching in the future, check out this page.

11th century Qur’an in Floriated “New Style” script


Modern graphic designers have various techniques to ensure their designs are clear, communicate what they intend, and serve their needed function.

But few of these techniques are modern. Scribes and illuminators in our period may not have thought about them in the same terms, but they certainly employed them.

Come along and learn a handful of basic design principles, see period examples, and learn to see where period creators made choices that our modern eyes also appreciate.

Regardless whether you are reproducing existing pages or interpreting a style to create something new, weaving these techniques into your design will help you produce effective and beautiful scrollwork. [Bibliography and ms list]

header for Building Scrolls class
Angels page, f2r of Moralia in Job


You won’t find a 100% perfect baronial service scroll in a 14th century manuscript. Moreover, not all places and times had the sort of manuscript culture that easily lends itself to an SCA scroll. Every single exemplar requires some adjustment.

In this talk I will describe ways in which example pages can be used to construct a scroll, suggest methods for using period pieces to create nontraditional scrolls, and explore a few approaches for leveling up your scroll-building by using more than a single exemplar in a considered, educated, historically-informed way.

By the end, I hope you’ll come away with new confidence and inspiration, as we demystify the process of building scrolls. [ms list]

carpet page from the Irish Gospels of St Gall


When people think about Insular manuscripts, most know Kells, and many know Lindisfarne. But while these books are definitely lush, there are so many other options out there for us to use in our scrollwork.

In this class we’ll dive into a handful of other Insular manuscripts, discuss achievable design for scribes of varying experience levels, explore the little details that make each manuscript interesting, and see examples of scroll layouts created from extant pages.

By the end of the class I hope you’ll feel more prepared to tackle these early-period projects, and eager to embrace a broader world of Insular art within your own scrollwork.

So join me, and step further into the gorgeous world of Insular manuscripts…beyond Kells. [Bibliography and ms list]

Luke’s page from the Royal Prayerbook


Unlike the story too often told, the art of Early Medieval England was truly that of a multiculture formed by migration, assimilation, and synthesis.

In this class we’ll begin to explore regional differences across the kingdoms; trace its evolution as local styles were influenced by and combined with art from Europe (and beyond!); and delve into a few of the myriad ways that religion, politics, and culture impacted their art.

By the end, I hope you’ll have a finer understanding of Early English art, as well as the kaleidoscope the period represents, so that when the time comes to create an early-period English scroll, you’ll be ready. [Bibliography and ms list]

Theodosia mosaic at San Vitale


When we say a piece of art is “Byzantine”, what does that mean? The empire had an incredibly broad reach, and lasted for well over a millennium, so covering everything would be too much for a short class. Instead, we’ll filter its art through the lens of a scribe.

By narrowing our scope, we can identify distinctive—and useful—features, witness those how those features are picked up elsewhere, and trace how various distinguishing elements evolve over time.

At the end of the class, you’ll have the tools to improve your scrollwork by better understanding what you’re seeing—not only the features of Byzantine art itself, but also how it grew into later styles in the future, and how it evolved from styles which had come before.


The phrase “The Silk Road” may conjure romantic images of silk from China being carted by a single intrepid merchant across the wilds of Eurasia to end up in an Italian nobleman’s coat. But the reality of premodern trade is even more dynamic, rich, and interesting than you might think.

Through art and archaeology, we’ll use the modern research of diverse specialists and scholars to talk about the trading networks of raw materials, manufactured items, and culture which opened up and knitted together the world—the effects of which are even applicable to the present day.

The globalism of the premodern era was vast and deep. Join us to broaden your view. [Learn more at my Applied Art History website.]


Painting bodies with woad is an art. Let my decades of experience help you expand your artistic toolbox and demystify the process.

In this class we’ll talk about historical designs, particularly the art of the early Britons, looking for ideas and context. We’ll talk a little bit about how to visually break down what we’re seeing. Then we’ll talk about some best practices for placing that artwork upon your subject.

Come prepared with something to art with OR body paint and a someone to paint on, along with some printouts I’ll send as we get closer to the date, and we can put what we’ve learned into action.

By the end of the class, I hope you’ll feel more prepared to face the daunting stare of the blank canvas, feel able to enjoy the alchemy of turning flat reference into 3D art, and—most of all—feel ready to decorate your community with beautiful, celebratory woad. [Handout and bibliography]


A look at Christian Ethiopian painting: both manuscript and mural, figurative and abstract.

See how these art styles shifted over time, develop a sense of the global connection by looking at how those styles related to those across the broader world, and gain some practical tools to use this knowledge in your scrollwork.

Come center Ethiopian art on your drawing board. [Learn more at my Applied Art History website.]