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September 8, 2009 07:32 - Good to be Back

As I come back, my mind is still in August and summertime. Our heat wave has broken a little, showing a promise of Autumn to come. The drought is still here, with only a few small showers of no consequence.

First, thanks to those who emailed wishing me a good break. The time was put to good use - some of it with idle reading, lots working with my husband's bonsai, and a little bit of needlework.

For the first time as an adult, I entered some of my beaded jewelry, a felted purse, and a knitted scarf in the local county fair. I did well enough I may send them on to the state fair. My husband displayed some of his bonsai, did some demonstrations, and created interest in a local bonsai club. So our work with his bonsai was worth it.

Among my readings was a text book entitled A Perfect Red, telling the history of cochineal dye which is derived from a scale insect growing on nopalito cactus in Oaxaca, Mexico. Oaxaca is one of the most southern states. You may be thinking "so what?"

From the time the Spanish learned of the dye until synthetic dyes were developed in the mid 1800's, this was the red of kings and princes because of its staying ability and its price.

The British Redcoats of officers, worn in the American War of Independence, were such a bright red due to the cochineal dye. This red was also used for the Russian Imperial Guards and the Papal Cardinals. Though not mentioned, I suspect the Canadian Mounties beautiful red coats were also from cochineal dye.

But for me, most exciting was to find that the Highland weavers used it to achieve beautiful, bright reds in their tartans!

My other great find was a crochet pattern for a thistle. I'm just finishing it up with some surface beading to emphasize the cross-hatch pattern of the needle-like bracts at the base of the flower. Once completed, I'll photograph it, along with some suggestions for its use.

Til tomorrow then, and have a good day.

September 9, 2009 07:34 - Bad Flower! Bad, Bad Flower!

It's sad but true, some flowers have been bad. If you're superstitious, you might not want to use them in your wedding theme. But, then again, if you're one who doesn't mind flaunting tradition, the bad, bad flowers can still be used. Especially if they have a more intimate meaning for you.

Those bad, bad flowers, along with their negative connotation are

  • Christmas Rose ~ it's scandalous
  • Fig ~ idleness
    Beware, it might show its figgy idleness
  • Foxglove ~ insincerity
    How foxy and sly
  • Larkspur ~ infidelity
  • Lavender ~ distrust
    I'd never distrust a lavender. Ever. I simply couldn't.
  • Marigold ~ grief
    Good grief! They drive bad bugs out of the garden
  • Mulberry ~ I shall not survive you
    How Victorian!
  • Raspberry ~ remorse
    Only if I prick my finger on a thorn or eat too many and get a tummy ache
  • Red Carnation ~ alas for my poor heart
  • Red Poppy ~ consolation
  • Rhododendron ~ danger
  • Striped Carnation ~ refusal
    I might, mind you, just might, refuse to use a striped carnation for my wedding. Way back in my high school days there was a song about being all dressed up for the dance in a white sport coat and a pink carnation. Can you imagine snuggling up against your date while dancing to a white sport coat and a striped carnation?
  • White Poppy ~ sleep
  • Yellow Carnation ~ disdain
  • Yellow Chrysanthemum ~ slighted love
  • Yellow Lily ~ falsehood
  • Yellow Rose ~ jealousy
    As a Texan I simply cannot fault a yellow rose. For that matter, the yellows seem to have gotten a really bum wrap here. But, going back to the rhyme about wedding dress colors, if you wear yellow, you're ashamed of your fellow, yellow just seems to be thought of as a distrustful, shameful color. Too bad about sunshine, joy, and happiness.

    Until tomorrow, I'm going to go flog a red poppy or two. That might give me some consolation.

September 10, 2009 07:37 - A Flapper Wedding Dress With Style & Panache

By the way, yesterday I couldn't find any red poppies to flog, so instead I got impatient with some red impatiens.

Considering a 'Flapper' style wedding? Long Ago patterns has a chic 1920's dress pattern that was popular with the 'Flappers'. Both the tunic top and skirt have handkerchief hems, with the top a sheer fabric.

Monte Carlo 1920's pattern courtesy Long Ago patterns

This style could be worn not only by the bride, but by her attendants ~ in different fabrics and with different trims. If sewn of silk, soy silk, or even cotton organdy or handkerchief linen, the color choices are limitless.

The middle gown could be done in white for the bride, with embroidered or needle felted motifs along the tunic and skirt hemlines. This could be thistles, Celtic knots, rampant lions, or any of the Scottish or heraldic designs.

The tassels could be in white, or picking up the colors of tartan used elsewhere. The tunic could be edged with a decorative stitch or a narrow trim with a silk or fine woolen tartan, along the neckline, sleeve hems, the diagonal front, and the hemline.

The Lady de Creke gown from 1325 illustrates a decorative stitch generously applied on all seams.

Lady de Creke 1325 from The Book of Costume Design

The darker gown on our right, could be adapted as a bridesmaid dress, again using a solid color, with bigger thistles displayed across the tunic. A narrow tartan collar and lace trim on the edge of the sleeves could soften the bolder thistle motif. Or the attendants could wear a tartan, softly gathered and ruffled, as in the dress on our left.

Any of these gowns would also be a really great one for displaying a pair of tartan shoes, such as those featured by Scotland Shop. Other sources are also listed on Scottish Wedding Dreams Tartan Shoe Sources page.

The pattern is available from Long Ago Patterns.

Coming tomorrow, the Fortingall Yew…

September 11, 2009 07:40 - The Fortingall Yew

After the unfavorable flowers discussed Wednesday and another project I'm working on involving herbs and plants, I'm writing about the Fortingall Yew today.

This ancient yew, or Taxus baccata stands in the churchyard in Fortingall, Perthshire, Scotland.

Fortingall Yew courtesy Wikipedia

Tree researchers estimate the tree is between 2,000 and 5,000 years old, though recently they're leaning toward the 2,000 figure. Either way, it's still the oldest 'known' tree in Europe. The tree was a massive 52 feet in girth when measure in 1769. It has split into several trunks which were thought to be several smaller trees. But they all come out of one base and root system.

In the 1800's, visitors would cut out pieces for souvenirs. These wounded and weakened the tree. Add to this the natural decay of the heartwood over the years, and you have a trunk whose center is reduced to ground level.

Beyond this the tree is in good health and expected to live for many years. A low wall now protects the tree, but you can see the tree over the wall.

Other prehistoric pieces of archaeology are nearby, including Carn na Marbh, which is a bronze age tumulus.

Local folklore claims the Pontius Pilate was born and played beneath the tree. That's a real stretch of the imagination…both Pilate being anywhere near the tree and his ever being a child who played!

Anyway, the tree is a wonderful part of Scottish history, even world history.

That's it for this week, see you Monday.

September 14, 2009 07:42 - September Highland Games & Festivals

September is another busy month for Highland Games. Unfortunately, with my hiatus, it's half over and many games have passed. But if they're in your area, note them for next September.

If you're planning a Scottish Theme Wedding ~ or would just plain like a good dose of Scottishness ~ get to one of these Highland Games. At most of the events, you can find local bagpipers to hire, browse tartan sample books, learn more about your clan, and sample some Scottish foods.

Plus all that, it's just fun to watch the people and their attire. Some folks come dressed everyday, others arrive all 'duded out'. The participants are young and old ~

Wee Laddie On Parade image
property Scottish Wedding Dreams

Older Gentleman image
property Scottish Wedding Dreams

Clan tents have information on your clan's history, while others offer Scottish foods. Traditions abound, like the Cromach Walking Sticks featured in the February 18, 2009 blog.

Canes and Walking Sticks image property Scottish Wedding Dreams

And now, for the September games (or what's left of them after my hiatus)…

  • September 3 to 6, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania ~ The Welsh National Gymanfa Ganu [a four part harmony hymn-signing festival dating back more than 150 years]
  • September 4 to 6, Kansas City, Missouri ~ Kansas City Irish Fest
  • September 4 to 6, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada ~ Quebec City Celtic Festival/Festival Celtique de Quebec
  • September 4 to 7, Estes Park, Colorado ~ Long's Peak Scottish/Irish Highland Festival
  • September 4 to 7, Heber Valley, Utah ~ Soldier Hollow Classic Sheepdog Championship and Country Festival
  • September 5, Braemar, Scotland ~ The Braemar Gathering
  • September 5, Calgary, Alberta, Canada ~ Calgary Highland Games
  • September 5, Carlisle, Pennsylvania ~ McLain Highland Festival
  • September 5, Wijhe, The Netherlands ~ Celtic Festival
  • September 5 to 6, Alexandria, Virginia ~ Virginia Scottish Games
  • September 5 to 6, Altamont, New York ~ Capital District Scottish Games
  • September 5 to 6, Chickamauga, Georgia ~ Appalachian Celtic Festival
  • September 5 to 6, Pleasanton, California ~ Caledonian Club of San Francisco Highland Games
  • September 5 to 7, Green Lane, Pennsylvania ~ Scottish Irish Festival & Highland Games
  • September 5 to 7, Newport, Rhode Island ~ Newport Waterfront Irish Festival
  • September 5 to 7, Waukesha, Wisconsin ~ Wisconsin Highland Games
  • September 6, Blairgowrie, Scotland ~ Blairgowrie & Rattray Highland Games
  • September 6, Canmore, Alberta, Canada ~ Canmore Highland Games
  • September 6, Kingston, New York ~ Hooley on the Hudson
  • September 6, Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania ~ Brittingham's Irish Festival
  • September 9, Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina ~ Charleston Scottish Games & Highland Games
  • September 10 to 12, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ~ Festival of Traditional Irish Music and Dancing
  • September 10 to 13, Estes Park, Colorado ~ Long's Peak Scottish/Irish Highland Festival
  • September 11 to 12, Buffalo, Missouri ~ Southwest Missouri Celtic Heritage Festival and Highland Games
  • September 11 to 12, New Orleans, Louisiana ~ Commodore John Barry Festival
  • September 11 to 12, Syracuse, New York ~ Syracuse Irish Festival
  • September 11 to 13, Danbury, Connecticut ~ The Greater Danbury Irish Festival
  • September 11 to 13, Elizabethton, Tennessee ~ Sycamore Shoals Celtic Festival
  • September 11 to 13, Jackson, Mississippi ~ CelticFest Mississippi
  • September 11 to 13, Lingonier, Pennsylvania ~ Lingonier Highland Games
  • September 11 to 13, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania ~ Pittsburgh Irish Festival
  • September 11 to 13, Tulla, County Claire, Ireland ~ Tulla Traditional Music Festival
  • September 11 to 13, West Dundee, Illinois ~ Fox Valley Irish Fest
  • September 12, Denton, Texas ~ Denton Celtic Festival
  • September 12, Pitlochry, Scotland ~ Pitlochry Highland Games
  • September 12, Buffalo, New York ~ South Buffalo Irish Festival
  • September 12 to 13, Chicago, Illinois ~ Chicago Celtic Festival
  • September 12 to 13, Columbus, Indiana ~ Columbus Scottish Festival & Highland Games
  • September 12 to 13, Kelso, Washington ~ Kelso Highlander Festival
  • September 12 to 13, Ship Bottom, New Jersey ~ Ship Bottom Irish Festival
  • September 12 to 13, Toronto, Ontario, Canada ~ The Beach Celtic Festival
  • September 12 to 14, Kapunda, South Australia, Australia ~ Kapunda Celtic Festival
  • September 12 to 14, Murray, Kentucky ~ Western Kentucky Highland Festival & Ceilidh
  • September 12 to 14, Trenton, Ontario, Canada ~ Trenton Scottish/Irish Festival
  • September 13, Augusta, New Jersey ~ Annual Irish Feis
  • September 13, Andrews, North Carolina ~ Appalachian Highland Games & Scottish Festival
  • September 13, Madera, California ~ Fresno Scottish Festival & Highland Games
  • September 13, Peebles, Scotland ~ Peebles Highland Games
  • September 13 to 14, Columbus, Ohio ~ Columbus Scottish Festival
  • September 13 to 14, Delaplane, Virginia ~ Virginia Scottish Games and Gathering of the Clans
  • September 18 to 20, Altamont, New York ~ Irish 2000 Music and Arts Festival
  • September 18 to 20, Lincoln, New Hampshire ~ New Hampshire Highland Games
  • September 18 to 20, Muskegon, Michigan ~ Michigan Irish Music Festival
  • September 18 to 20, Indianapolis, Indiana ~ Indianapolis Irish Festival
  • September 18 to 20, St. Charles, Missouri ~ Missouri River Irish Fest
  • September 18 to 20, Tulsa, Oklahoma ~ Oklahoma Scottish Games & Gathering
  • September 19, Dunedin, Florida ~ HalfWay to St. Patrick's Day
  • September 19, Greeley, Nebraska ~ Greeley Irish Festival
  • September 19, Gloucester City, New Jersey ~ Gloucester City Shamrock Festival
  • September 19, Madera County, California ~ The Fresno Scottish Festival and Highland Games
  • September 19, Milford, Connecticut ~ Milford Irish Festival
  • September 19, Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina ~ Charleston Scottish Games & Highland Games
  • September 19, Nelson Bay, New South Wales, Australia ~ Clans of the Coast Festival
  • September 19, Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada ~ Owen Sound Celtic Festival
  • September 19, Sea Girt, New Jersey, Irish Festival at the Jersey Shore
  • September 19 to 20, Annapolis, Maryland ~ Maryland Renaissance Festival - Irish Weekend
  • September 19 to 20, Olcott Beach, New York ~ Niagara Celtic Heritage Festival and Highland Games
  • September 19 to 20, Aberdeen, South Dakota ~ NESD Celtic Faire and Games
  • September 19 to 20, Coney Island, New York ~ The Great Irish Fair of New York
  • September 19 to 20, Rockville Center, New York ~ Nassau County Ancient Order of Hibernians Feis
  • September 24 to 28, Wildwood, New Jersey ~ Irish Weekend
  • September 25 to 26, Kalamazoo, Michigan ~ Irish Fest
  • September 25 to 27, Gardner, Walsenburg, and La Veta, Colorado ~ Spanish Peaks International Celtic Music Festival
  • September 25 to 27, Mineral Point, Wisconsin ~ Cornish Festival and Celtic Celebration
  • September 25 to 27, Sebastopol, California ~ Sebastopol Celtic Music Festival
  • September 25 to 27, Memphis, Tennessee ~ Evergreen Clanjamfry & Scottish Heritage Celebration
  • September 25 to 27, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania ~ Celtic Classic Highland Games & Festival
  • September 25 to October 4, Kilkenny, Ireland ~ Kilkenny Celtic Festival
  • September 26, Cedar Rapids, Iowa ~ All Things Scottish Celtic Fest
  • September 26, Dandridge, Tennessee ~ Dandridge Scots-Irish Heritage Festival
  • September 26, Fredericksburg, Virginia ~ Fredericksburg Welsh Festival
  • September 26, Hartford, Connecticut ~ Pipes in the Valley
  • September 26, Boise, Idaho ~ Treasure Valley Highland Games and Celtic Festival
  • September 26 to 27, Louisville, Kentucky ~ Louisville Irish Festival
  • September 26 to 27, McPherson, Kansas ~ McPherson Scottish Festival and Highland Games
  • September 26 to 27, Eminence, Kentucky ~ Celtic Fest

For more detailed information about the listed events, go to

Coming tomorrow, Autumn in Scotland…

September 15, 2009 07:43 - Autumn in Scotland

This morning it was only 71 degrees, here in Central Texas. For most of you that doesn't sound cool. For me it's a harbinger of autumn. The nights are cooler and the hours of daylight have become noticeably shorter. So my mind wanders into the Fall season and the promise of Winter.

For some, there are a myriad of colors to enjoy, for others, only a few trees display fall colors, while still other folks have no fall colors at all. Imagine my joy when I stumbled on to Rampant Scotland's pages displaying Autumn color in Scotland.

The pages aren't polished, there's no overload of text extolling Autumn, just photos. Some are natives, others are plants that were imported, no different than other places in the Western world.

But when you consider that some of the best horticulturists and botanical explorers were Scottish, it should come as no surprise. A few examples are ~

  • William Forsyth, Royal Head Gardener and founding member of the Royal Horticultural Society. The forsythia bears his name.

  • David Douglas, who explored the Scottish Highlands, the Pacific Northwest, and Hawaii. The Douglas Fir bears his name. He introduced over 240 species of plants to the British Isles.

  • John Fraser, who traveled extensively in Newfoundland and the Appalachian Mountains. Plants bearing his name are the Fraser Fir, Abies fraseri, and the Fraser Magnolia Magnolia fraseri.

Coming tomorrow, a Scottish toast…

September 16, 2009 07:47 - Wedding Toasts ~ Part I

Some time ago, a writer asked about a wedding toast for her daughter. I found a few that are short and to the point ~

Gun cuireadh do chupa thairis le slainte agus sonas,
which translated means
"May your cup overflow with health and happiness."
Slàinte, sonas agus beartas,
translated "Health, wealth and happiness."
A h-uile là sona dhuibh 's gun là idir dona dhuib,
translated "May all your days be happy ones".

The Scots Online Dictionary gives pronunciations for these words, but you will have to look up each word individually.
Another Scottish Blessing I found ~

If there is righteousness in the heart,
There will be beauty in the character.
If there is beauty in the character,
There will be harmony in the home.
If there is harmony in the home,
There will be order in the nation.
If there is order in the nation,
There will be peace in the world.
So let it be

While watching the movie Under the Lighthouse Dancing some years ago, I heard another blessing which I tracked down. By the way, this movie has a wonderful reception that's highly reminiscent of a Medieval fair or a high-class circus.

Deep peace of the flowing air to you,
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you,
Deep peace of the shining stars to you,
Deep peace of the Son of Peace to you.

Tomorrow, more about Scottish Toasts…

September 17, 2009 08:10 - Scottish Wedding Toasts ~ Part II

As discussed yesterday, this is the longer, older, more traditional blessing ~

Deep peace I breathe into you
Oh weariness here, O ache, here!
Deep peace, a soft white dove to you;
Deep peace, a quiet rain to you;
Deep peace, an ebbing wave to you!

Deep peace, red wind of the east from you;
Deep peace, gray wind of the west to you;
Deep peace, dark wind of the north from you;
Deep peace, blue wind of the south to you!

Deep peace, pure red of the flame to you;
Deep peace, pure white of the moon to you;
Deep peace, pure green of the grass to you;
Deep peace, pure brown of the living earth to you;
Deep peace, pure gray of the dew to you;
Deep peace, pure blue of the sky to you!

Deep peace of the running wave to you,
Deep peace of the flowing air to you,
Deep peace of the quiet Earth to you,
Deep peace of the sleeping stones to you,
Deep peace of the yellow shepherd to you,
Deep peace of the wandering shepherdess to you,
Deep peace of the Flock of Stars to You.

Deep Peace of the Son of Peace to You.
Deep peace, Deep Peace.

Whether you're looking for a wedding blessing, or just about any other purpose, this, with its ancient and contemporary meanings, fits just about any circumstance…so blessings of peace!

Coming tomorrow, a pictorial view of Scotland…

September 18, 2009 07:55 - A Pictorial View of Scotland

I've been fighting a respiratory grunge all week and simply have no energy left. So I'm coping out and sending you on to Rampant Scotland's Pictorial View of Scotland. ~ do enjoy and I'll be back on Monday...

September 21, 2009 07:56 - Celtic Studio's Clan Seal Rings

Celtic Studio, located in North Vancouver, British Columbia, has a large selection of Celtic, Scottish and Irish goods.

Their Scottish line with clan crests includes clothing, jewelry, wooden boxes, weaponry, and many others. You can start browsing at their home page .

The most exciting thing for me is their Clan Seal Rings for both men and ladies.

With just your name, they will, or already have, research to create a seal ring with your clan's historic information. There are several examples of clans they have already produced, though any clan is available.

These rings could be very unique, individual wedding rings. Or just a remarkable ring for anyone wishing to display their Scottish roots. With their knowledge of heraldic law, you can be assured about the correctness of your clan seal.

All the rings are high quality hand engraved

The graphics on their garments are well done with some humor also displayed. As well as the baby jumpers, they have Tee-shirts for adults and children, aprons, sweatshirts, and caps.

Another specialty is their clan flags, which could be used in your ceremony processional and recessional, displayed at your reception, possibly decorating the front of a table ~ bridal couple, gift, cake, or buffet line. Then maintained in your home for years to come.

Tomorrow, more information about seals…

September 22, 2009 07:58 - Seals I History ~ Part I

The clan seal rings from yesterday have a long history, going back to the Greek Empire and the Latin word signum, meaning sign, as in signet rings. Most documents needed a seal as the distinctive personal signature was not developed or recognized…thus a seal that could be easily recognized.

The signet ring continued down through the ages and societies throughout Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Caring on a traditional brought from Spain, the descendants of the Criollo aristocratic families still wear their signet rings.

Signet rings include class rings that bear the coat-of-arms or crest of the school.

In modern times, a signet ring is made by intaglio engraving in metal or a semi-precious stone. Agates, like carnelian and sardonyx are popular choices. Metal cast signet rings are less expensive, but are weaker and not as long lasting.

A seal ring is used to impress a figure in wax or embossed into a paper document.

Image courtesy Celtic Studio

The purpose of either wax or embossing is to add authenticity to the document. The seal is a mold that makes a mirror image in counter-relief

Image courtesy Celtic Studio

Again, the Celtic Studio URL for Clan Seal Rings.

If the imprint is made in relief, it remains the same color as the paper and is called a dry seal. When a liquid, such as wax or ink, is used, the seal is usually a color differing from the paper.

The Declaration of Arbroath, a very important document in Scottish history, displays the wax seals of the signers.

Image courtesy Stock Exchange

The Declaration of Arbroath was blogged on April 3, 2008, in preparation for the U.S. National Tartan Day.

Rubber stamps, when used for legal purposes, are also a type of seal. Clan stamps are a popular item, for stationery and for wedding purposes, as seen in the August 6, 2008 blog.

Tomorrow, more about seals and their uses…

September 23, 2009 07:59 - Seals in History ~ Part II

The official name for the study of seals attached to documents as a source of historical information is call sigillography. Primarily it's a study of the legal and social meaning of seals, but sigillogists also study the evolution of the look of seals.

In this last respect, this study is closely related to heraldry. You can read more about heraldry in the blogs August 18, 2008 through August 28, 2008. Scottish Wedding Dreams also has a section about Heraldry.

Own through history, seals have been used to authenticate documents. Some are applied directly to the face of the document, others are attached by cords or ribbons. These are often in the livery colors of the owner. You will also see a narrow strip of the document sliced and folded down like a tail with the seal attached on the tail. Again, the photo of the Declaration of Arbroath from yesterday, shows this style of applying the seals.

People being what they are, the owner of the document and seal had to prevent his seal being reused without his knowledge. The various methods of applying the seals was to prevent their removal and reuse. With the cord or ribbon, a forger ripped the cords from the paper, when he tried to attach it to another document, the seal would self-destruct, as the cord had knots tied inside the wax seal.

So the seals, when applied to letters or parcels, would show if the item had been tampered with. The seal would also offer proof that the letter or parcel was actually from the owner of the seal and not a forgery.

Even in modern times, in Central Europe, Eastern Europe, and Eastern Asia, businesses, managers, bookkeepers, and other employees have personalized seals. These must be attached to documents, which, along with the signature, authenticate the document's source. In Europe, plastic self-inking stamps are used for sealing documents.

Tomorrow, the History of Seals continues…

September 24, 2009 08:01 - Seals in History ~ Part III

In the computer age a new form of communication has requied a new type of seal. For computer generated and FAX documents, a digital certificate has evolved. This is owned by the professional person generating the document and is attached to a security protected computer file. This type of seal determines legal responsibility for errors, omissions, and corrections.

Going from the latest to the oldest. Archaeologists have found the use of seals in many ancient cultures. In ancient Mesopotamia, these were engraved cylinders which could be rolled to make a clay impression. They were used to label trade goods on consignment. Trade good seals have also been found in India

In ancient Egypt signet rings belonging to pharaohs have been found. Others have been found in the Middle East, such as this ring stone found in Yemen, showing a torah shrine.

Image courtesy Wikipedia

The ancient Minoans formed seals in soft stone and ivory, then moved on to harder stone. Next they used a lens shaped seal and seal rings, then pictorial engraved gems. In the Middle East the used of engraved gems continued until the 19th century.

Tomorrow, the history of seals continues in the Far East…

September 25, 2009 08:02 - History of Seals ~ Part IV

Yesterday the seals of the Middle East were discussed. Today we travel on to the Far East and their ink seals.

Ink seals have been used in the Far East since they first had writing.

Image courtesy Wikipedia

This name seal reads up to down, right to left, stating it is the seal of Ye Haomin. Ink seals are still used in lieu of handwritten signatures to authenticate documents and financial transactions. Some of these bear poems, astrological signs, or a personal motto. Foreigners who frequently conduct business in the Far East often have a personal seal engraved.

These Eastern seals are carved of wood, soapstone, sea-glass, and jade. They are considered a form of calligraphy with several styles of engraving. Some antique seals have become valuable as artwork and as historical artifacts. These seals are also the predecessors of block printing and our current craze of ink stamping.

Coming Monday, bullae and Papal seals…

September 28, 2009 08:03 - History of Seals ~ Part V

Important church officials also adopted the habit of seals. St. Augustine used a seal; bishops and cardinals have their own seal, as does the Pope.

Lead seals, called bullae, which is Latin for lead, were used by the church in the Middle Ages. These came to be calls bulls, as in the Golden Bulls issued by Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor. These fixed the constitutional structure of the Holy Roman Empire for over 400 years.

Image courtesy Wikipedia

There are also the Papal bulls which bear an image of Saints Peter and Paul on one side and the issuing Pope's name on the other side. The bulla was attached with either a hemp cord, signifying justice, or by red and yellow silk cords, signifying grace. In the late 1700's a red ink stamp replaced the lead bulla, except for very important letters which still receive a lead bulla.

Image courtesy Wikipedia

This is a bull of Pope Urban VIII, from 1637 with the lead seal attached to the cord.

Biblically, bullae have been identified with King Hezekiah, Jehucal in the book of Jeremiah, and Shaphan from the reign of Jehoiakim,

The lead bullae were gradually replaced with wax impressions. The earliest wax seals in the British Isles are from the Norman Invasion, c. 1000.

The blacksmith's touchmark, a stamp used on hot metal, is a similar practice. These were also destroyed when the blacksmith died.

The current hobby of stamping also evolved from seals, which we'll take a look at tomorrow….

September 29, 2009 08:05 - Rubber Stamping ~ Part I

The history of rubber stamping, like many things involving discovery and invention, has multiple claims to fame.

In the Americas, Spanish explorers found the Maya Indians using a form of rubber stamps to tattoo images on themselves. Other natives burned rubber, then used the ash for tattooing.

Though overlooked and often forgotten, the Spaniards also found Central American natives playing games with solid rubber balls. But this substance would rot and become evil-smelling whenever the temperature changed.

In 1736, the French scientist, Charles Marie de la Condamine, sent a piece of what came to be "India" rubber to the Institute de France.

In 1770, the scientist Joseph Priestly remarked about a substance that wiped lead pencil marks from paper. In typical British style, this wiping led to "rubbing out", which in turn evolved into "rubber". Prior to this, bread crumbs were used to erase pencil marks.

The next step in the evolution of rubber started when a hardware store owner gave up everything to work on the curing of rubber. After bankruptcy and arrest for non-payment of debts, in 1839, Charles Goodyear discovered how to use heat to cure rubber, calling the process vulcanization.

Today, the Goodyear blimps evoke a mixture of awe and the blasé wherever they appear.

Spirit of America Goodyear Blimp courtesy Wikipedia

Shortly after Goodyear's discovery, dentists began using vulcanized rubber for denture bases, formed in plaster moulds, called dental pots.

And just to show that somethings do come full circle, here's some Goodyear Blimp erasers being given away at a trade show.

Goodyear Blimp erasers courtesy Wikipedia

Tomorrow, more about the first rubber stamps, who designed them, and how they used them…

September 30, 2009 08:06 - Rubber Stamping History ~ Part II

The next stage in the development of rubber stamping becomes a bit hazy, with several men claiming to be the first to use a rubber stamp.

  • L.F. Witherell claims to have applied a stamp with rubber letters to wooden pumps in Galesburg, Illinois in 1866.

  • Between 1864 and 1866, James Woodruff of Auburn, New York, saw washtubs being labeled with information, using a curved wooden block with rubber letters mounted on the surface. Woodruff thought that by using a vulcanizer mould, the letters could be stabilized with vulcanization. Success seemed imminent, with orders pouring in, until it was discovered the oil-based inks then available ate the rubber.

  • Henry Leland of Lee, Massachusetts, is also credited with the first rubber stamp. He started by wrapping the rubber letters around a broom handle, then proceeded to work toward a successful vulcanization process using the kitchen stove. A cousin and some other shysters conned him out of his patent, so he went on the road making and selling rubber initial stamp.

Many of the original rubber stamp companies are still in business today.

Tomorrow, October Highland Games & Events, then back to Rubber Stamping on Friday…

August 2009 «  » October 2009


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