Working with handmade typography and historical illustrations Project Scriptorium is created by Søren Bie, born in 1964. I’m originally educated as a graphic designer and I work with many different types of illustrative design. These include web design, illustrations, logo design, typography, colorization, cartoonist and even mural paintings and just about anything in between. I live in Copenhagen where I work as self-employed graphical designer. It is possible to find more information about me and the creative world I live in on my website www.soren-bie.dk
Why do I work with this? Partly to pay homage to an almost died-out handicraft and partly because of a passion for working with something so full of dignity and soul as these artworks are. I have always found interpretations of culture and art history to be incredibly interesting and for which I have created web projects like Jeanne-darc.info
Working with handmade typography and historical illustrations give me a contrast to today’s digitalized, rectified and oversimplified conformity where e-mails and cell phones have almost completely erased the handwritten art of calligraphy.
By recreating the original scriptures and illustrations, Scriptorium’s artworks can be used as a contribution to the development and understanding of both Danish and international historical research.
The art of historical book-craft, illustrated miniatures and typography
Scriptorium was created in 2006, partly from my own studies of French medieval art and partly via direct further development of the online project www.jeanne-darc.info, which was five years under development, and which is today, one of the world’s largest websites with the most intrinsic wealth of information on Jeanne d’Arc.
In my studies and my search for material about the life of Jeanne d’Arc and the times she lived in (1412 – 1431), I got gradually more and more enchanted by the Middle Ages and it’s art. Especially the period 1350 – 1450 fascinated me.
During my years as an illustrator and graphic designer, I have digged deep and long to find out, where my craft originated from, like the making the paper that is used for the illustrations, learning to paint with quill and blending the colours that are used from the ground. The more I studied the art of book-craft with the sometimes funny and naïve illustrations which has little or no sense of perspective and often crafted with materials which originate directly from the nature surrounding the artist, the more I came to realize that both have been and still are a huge part of my life and my everyday. I am passionate about my artwork.
I have collected a lot of books about the handwritten texts and my analysis of how they were made and I started to experiment with anything within the craft, from guilding to writing with ink and quill. As a result of this passion I have taught myself and recreated the lost art of historical book-craft, illustrated miniatures and scriptures. Later I discovered that today it is a craft that only very few actually work with or master. I have succeeded in finding like-minded colleagues in Denmark, who are also fascinated by this unique field of work, both painters and writers of historical scripts.