Pilgrim’s Hat (Way of St. James)

Some years ago we and some of our friends decided to hike along the Way of St. James in stages. It was not our goal to go on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, we simply like hiking. Now, such a thing as “the” Way of St. James doesn’t actually exist. If someone wanted to see the grave of St. James in the Middle Ages, he began his journey at the door of his home and ended near Santiago de Compostela. Today, a european nomenclature denotes only the last section (Puente la Reina to Santiago) in the north of Spain as Way of St. James, all others are now called “Ways of the pilgrims of St. James”. That said we took one “way of the pingrims of St. James” – even only a short part of it, between Christgarten and Neresheim. A really lovely church (St. Sola Church) can be found in Kösingen. The priest even showed us the rooms behind the altar, the sacristy, which at that time was not accessible for the public. On 08/21/2013 they had an article in the local press called SchwäPo. Unfortunately the article is only available for subscribers.

ScallopWhen hiking in europe, you can often find a stylized scallop by the side of the road. The icon (often in conjunction with a yellow arrow showing the direction) blazes the right trail. But why the scallop? Each pilgrim finishing his pilgrimage, was handed out such a sea shell. He pinned it onto his pilgrim’s hat, his pilgrim’s bag or his pilgrim’s pole. It acted as identification tag, so pilgrims and non-pilgrims knew, who took the cumbersome way to the grave of St. James.
Numerous statues and paintings of the Middle Ages [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] show St. James and pilgrims with wide-brimmed hats with these shells pinned onto. These hats were typically felted like nearly every medieval hat. The material (water, stale urine and sheeps’ wool) was cheap, there were no other resources needed for the production (contrary to other handcrafts) and even better the result was water proof and nearly fire proof.

In 2005, when my wife discovered felting, the most interesting felting objects were hats of the Middle Ages. It wasn’t a long time coming until she felted her first pilgrim’s hat. In the meantime she has created several handfelted pilgrim’s hats. I am really looking forward to see the film “Die Pilgerin” (The Female Pilgrim), where some of her hats will be seen. The film is currently in production. Here are some selected photos of her hats. Anyone who wants to go on a pilgrimage himself/herself and needs a pilgrim’s equipment, may find a handfelted hat to buy on her felting homepage Zauberreigen (magic round dance).

Old Artist-Homepage

After several years I updated my homepage and decided to remove the design of my old artist homepage. As I liked the design, I loaded up an image where you can see how it looked like. Well, it looked nice but was not very easy to maintain if I wanted to add new images…
Here’s the old layout:

The old version of the page remains online until I decide to remove it… it is located here: Old artist pages

Djembe

A djembe is a west-african drum made of hardwood and covered with goatskin. The instrument nowadays is very popular even in germany, as it has a wide variety of sound repertoir. The djembe got my attention from my wife’s bellydance music, from my hobby in the medievals and from my participation at the Musisches Zentrum at Ulm University. The band Angaheym, good friends of us, used the instrument for their bagpipe music, as it is loud enough to stand the volume of the bagpipes.

djembeSoon I wanted to have my own djembe. I asked my friends who already had djembes which qualities I had to pay attention to. In Ulm I got my “personal” djembe which now serves me well for over ten years. Even a performance with children during my alternative civilian service in an integrated kindergarten was no problem for the instrument.

Those who like african or oriental rhythms will be very happy with a djembe. Originally the drums were used as solo instruments or in an ensemble with other djembes. Nowadays, they are often used as accompaniment. Especially those pseudo-medieval music groups use the djembe in their percussion.

My Wife’s Felting Page

In 2007 my wife Inés and I  made a dream come true: participate to a medieval fair. Inés had gained much experience in felting, so she wantet to felt with children at the market. At castle Katzenstein (engl: cat stone) the spectaculum took place. We were overwhelmed by the mass of children that wanted to felt with us. We rarely had time to get something to eat or drink. But we had so much fun we decided to do that again.

For the presentation of the felt works of my wife I built a homepage. Inés felted some pieces especially for the design of the homepage. We should renew some part of the page. But for treasuring all those felted blooms, hats and bags the page perfectly serves our needs.

http://www.zauberreigen.de

Here you can view the (german) page:
Zauberreigen

Fairies

For my mother-in-law I made a fairybook in 2001 with their grandchildren, our nieces. They were so cute it was fun to build some aquarel-painted pictures with little stories around them.

Bohnanza fan game

There was a art contest for the fan edition of a card game called Bohnanza in 2007. Every participant was allowed to send in three self-painted beans. I sent in “Blaue Bohne” (blue bean), “Brechbohne” (string bean – but “brechen” also has the meaning “break”) and “Feuerbohne” (scarlet runner – but “Feuer” can be translated to fire) and all three were selected for usage in the edition. As a little bonus, I painted a fourth one only for fun: “Rote Bohne” (kidney bean – but “rot” also means red).

Flash Graphics for Marune

Adobe Flash (formerly Macromedia Flash) is excellently suitable for either internet navigation sites or internet games although HTML5 now has gained a lot of functionality to do better. In 2002 I was freelancer and illustrated some games for marune.The Flash-games to the pictures presented here may be viewed on their pages.

First, I have some animated flash files (swf):
Egypt Quiz Intro
Winterquiz Graphics

Second, here are some of the other game maps:

Digital Artwork

For nearly every digital art I do, I use Adobe Photoshop. It is such a fascinating software. Although I own a graphic tablet, I mostly painted with the mouse ever since. I guess this will stop when I start using a touchscreen…

My old artist’s homepage was purely painted with Photoshop. But normally I do some sketches on paper, scan them and then use these as a starting point. Certainly I also use Photoshop for retouching and manipulating photos (see Photomanipulation).

Fonts

I like fonts. I really like fonts. Typography is a really interesting thing. With the right font you can emphasize the meaning of your text so heavily.

As my wife and I love nostalgic things, we often go to flea markets. Once we found a real treasure: An old, handwritten doctoral thesis. I like old handwriting and so I started to build a handwriting font.

18th Century Handwriting Font Example

You can see and download the font called handwriting1800 (TTF) at my deviantart stock account page, and many free font pages also have listed it by now (although the newest version can be found on my deviantart page always).

I hope you like it. If you use it, I would love to see what you did with it (send me an email or a note on deviantart).