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Location: California, United States

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

From Inkspell

- The Temptation of Christ, Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry

Couldn't post anything yesterday because I couldn't access my blog for some reason. Today things seem to be almost back to normal - I was able to get to the dashboard, but everything seems very very slow. Hope it keeps working!

Yesterday I'd planned to post this excerpt from a book I'm re-reading, Inkspell, in which Meggie leaves home and her father, a bookbinder named Mo, to be "read into" a fairy tale story. Here she's visiting the castle workshop of a manuscript illustrator within the fairy tale....


And there were the colors whose names Mo had repeated over and over to her. Tell me again! How often she had plagued Mo with that demand! She never tired of the sound of them: lapis lazuli, orpiment, violet, malachite green. What makes them still shine like that, Mo? she had asked. After all, they're so old! What are they made of? And Mo had told her -- told her how you made them, all those wonderful colors that shone even after hundreds of years as if they had been stolen from the rainbow, now protected from air and light between the pages of books. To make malachite green you pounded wild iris flowers and mixed them with yellow lead oxide; the red was made from murex shells and cochineal insects ... They had so often stood together looking at the pictures in one of the valuable manuscripts that Mo was to free from the grime of many years. Look at those delicate tendrils, he had said, can you imagine how fine the pens and brushes must be to paint something like that? He was always complaining that no one could make such implements anymore. And now she saw them with her own eyes, tiny pens as fine as hairs and brushes, whole sets of them standing in a glazed jug: brushes that could conjure up flowers and faces no bigger than a pinhead on parchment or paper. You moistened them with a little gum arabic to make the paint cling better. Her fingers itched to pick a brush out of the set and take it away with her for Mo ... He ought to have come just for this, she thought, to stand here in this room.



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