Thirsty Hart

Prayer books

A friend of mine uses fancy notebooks for writing out favorite prayers. Notebooks that look like old books are popular gifts and perfect for this practice. Here are a couple typical ones:

Here is an even fancier handmade one from a trip to Florence:

But what really impressed me were the beautiful illustrations he had in his. He said he asked a friend who draws well to do them. The miraculous image of Our Lady of Confidence was blessed by a priest. Check out the lovely results. (Would that God one day grace me with such beautiful handwriting!!!)

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Opus Anglicanum

Screen Shot 2018-04-05 at 9.18.07 AMHere is a fascinating short article (pdf) about the history of fine embroidery in medieval England. English embroidery was admired throughout Europe for it’s quality and detail. Pieces such as wall hangings, priest’s vestments and Church ornaments took years to complete.

The website’s author, Jane Zimmerman, is a specialist in and teacher of fine needlework. The home page of the site is here.

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Apocalypse Manuscripts

A fun and interesting subset of old manuscripts are detailed illustrated books of the Book of Revelation. Many are very old, and have a simple style of painting that I love. Here are some examples:


Saint Michael fighting the dragon, from the Bamberg Apocalypse (9th century)

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Medieval Books

Screen Shot 2018-02-12 at 12.50.12 PMThere’s a super blog called Medieval Books written by Erik Kwakkel at the University of Leiden which has really interesting articles about obscure facets of medieval book-making, from the chains used to secure the books in libraries; to the advertising offered by bookmakers; to the how, why and where of fonts used; to the ways in which scribes fixed mistakes. It’s written for the public with wit and intelligence, and the comments sections tend to be interesting, too. Check it out!

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Arts and Crafts with Little Thérèse

The archives of the Carmel where Saint Thérèse of Lisieux lived and died hold quantities of items belonging to her and her parents and sisters. Included are many little decorated cards she made (shown here), poetry and songs she wrote, sketchbooks, paintings, doodles, letters and clothing.

Here’s the main index for her creative works.

Take a look at the oratory fresco of angels, here. I love the playful exuberance of her art works, very much in line with her spirituality.

Or here, where she and another nun decorated the priests altar missal. That’s a super idea for a craft project that had not occurred to me: to paint over or further ornament the chapter headings, drop caps or margins of an existing book.

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