During our studies of Medieval art, middle school artists designed and painted letters inspired by the illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages. Before the development of the printing press in the mid-15th century by Johannes Gutenberg, books were painstakingly and meticulously crafted by hand. Each and every letter was written in precise and neat detail made with a quill pen and handmade ink. Parchmenters (parchment makers), scribes (calligraphers), and illuminators (paintings and embellishments) all played an important role in the creation of these gilded and ornamental texts.
Students observed examples of these texts and designed the first letter of their first name in that style. They incorporated botanical imagery and learned the process of applying gold leaf to accent and illuminate their letter.