Find all your DIY electronics in the MakerShed. 3D Printing, Kits, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Books & more!



This German art student, Benjamin Harff, decided, for his exam at the Academy of Arts, to do something only slightly ambitious — to hand-illuminate and bind a copy of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Silmarillion. It took him six months of work. In very 21st century elvish-monk style, he hand-illuminated the text which had been printed on his home Canon inkjet printer. He worked with a binder to assemble the resulting book.

I spent a year of my life, in my youth, fancying myself some sort of modern-day monastic scribe and doing this sort of Celtic knotwork-inspired illumination and calligraphy, so I am in awe of his talent. I know firsthand how hard this is to do well.

Interview with Benjamin Harff, upcoming Tolkien illustrator and creator of the Edel-Silmarillion

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.


Related

Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    I recommend this a here!   http://xua.me/8487444

  2. This typo is driving me insane. And the fact that people are retweeting it with “illuminates” instead of the obvious correct word “illustrates” is even crazier!

    1. You are insane :-)  “Illuminates” is the correct word here.  Look it up in a dictionary or on wikipedia. 

      “An illuminated manuscript is a manuscript in which the text is supplemented by the addition of decoration, such as decorated initials, borders (marginalia) and miniature illustrations.”

    2. Anonymous says:

      Seems like you’ve come down with internet-foot-in-mouth disorder. 

      1. Anonymous says:

        I’ve been deleting the rude comments about Nathan. He made a mistake. I’m sure he’s enlightened on the subject now. No need to make him feel worse.

        And please see our Community Guidelines. We have a “Be Nice” policy. No name calling, no personal attacks, no insults on your momma, etc. http://makezine.com/comments/

        1. Anonymous says:

          @facebook-1170654055:disqus I deleted your second insulting comment too. If you post another one, I will ban you from our commenting system.

        2. Anonymous says:

          @facebook-1170654055:disqus I deleted your second insulting comment too. If you post another one, I will ban you from our commenting system.

    3. Anonymous says:

      You are incorrect. What he is doing is referred to as ‘illuminating’ a manuscript. So you can stop going insane and just relax.

      1. ThinkTankTed says:

        I think this might be a “bit” i.e. Nathan is making a really obvious error in order poke a metaphorical stick into an even more metaphorical hornet’s nest and make some buzzing noise.  Or maybe, since “illuminating” texts pretty much started a gradual decline with the invention of the movable type press, and the fact that monks figured out that they can make more money selling beer to literate drunks than selling bibles to illiterate “royalty,” we can forgive Nathan with being unfamiliar with a practice that peaked before the industrial age.

    4. Matt Lucas says:

      You’re a moron.  Don’t reproduce!!

    5. Matt Lucas says:

      You’re a moron.  Don’t reproduce!!

    6. Matt Lucas says:

      You’re a moron.  Don’t reproduce!!

    7. Matt Lucas says:

      You’re still a moron… and Please don’t reproduce! 

  3. Peter Larson says:

    what a waste of time, he’s writing it in english! i believe it should be written in sindarin

  4. Anonymous says:

    I. Am. In. Awe.

    This ruined the rest of my day, as I will simply be looking at the few pictures posted for hours.

  5. Brendan Prout says:

    Ed’ i’ear ar’ elenea!  Great work!!

  6. Brendan Prout says:

    Ed’ i’ear ar’ elenea!  Great work!!

  7. Alex Lahoski says:

    Hard not to love this…

  8. Alex Lahoski says:

    Hard not to love this…

  9. Alex Lahoski says:

    Hard not to love this…

  10. deleonrikkie says:

    I wonder how long it would take him to hand-illuminate the Poem of the Man-God.

  11. Thanks for sharing this amazing work or art! I linked to you at aparadigmofcolors.wordpress.com

  12. Anonymous says:

    Hope he gets an “A+”

  13. Anonymous says:

    Hope he gets an “A+”

  14. Kelly Magill says:

    Michaela….. look at this!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Wow. Now that’s what I call dedication. Amazing.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Wow. Now that’s what I call dedication. Amazing.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Wow. Now that’s what I call dedication. Amazing.

  18. I bet this guy’s one of the Maiar. Of Aule, if I’m not mistaken.

    God, this guy’s awesome.

    1. That, or one of the proud Noldor craftsmen in Aule’s employ. I concur, this is amazing. 

  19. Leanne Veitch says:

    So…auction for charity?

  20. J N says:

    This is totally awesome!  He should seek consent from Tolkien’s foundation to allow this to be published.  There’s a lot of fans out there who’d pay good money for something like this, especially in a leather binding!

  21. J N says:

    This is totally awesome!  He should seek consent from Tolkien’s foundation to allow this to be published.  There’s a lot of fans out there who’d pay good money for something like this, especially in a leather binding!

    1. Kay says:

      I’m at the same acadamy and saw his exam (yes I was allowed to touch this stunning book *shiver*). If I remember it correctly he tried to get the permission to publish it, but the Tolkien Foundation forbade it. But I can give no guarantee on my words :)

  22. J N says:

    This is totally awesome!  He should seek consent from Tolkien’s foundation to allow this to be published.  There’s a lot of fans out there who’d pay good money for something like this, especially in a leather binding!

  23. I hope this guy shares this gift with the world.  It’s a shame that this is a lost art in the modern publishing world.

  24. I hope this guy shares this gift with the world.  It’s a shame that this is a lost art in the modern publishing world.

  25. I hope this guy shares this gift with the world.  It’s a shame that this is a lost art in the modern publishing world.

  26. *jaw drop* I feel like such a slacker now.

  27. *jaw drop* I feel like such a slacker now.

In the Maker Shed