Author Archives: Margaret Connelly

About Margaret Connelly

In different lives, I have been an editor of a scientific journal and neurosurgical books, a creative director, in employee communications, advertising, public relations and educational technology in New York and Seattle.

Illuminate Yourself Now

For an exciting change of pace, put down your ipad and kindle and immerse yourself in the media of kings, bishops and naturalists!

Jewels are nice and chocolate’s a classic, but could anything be more exciting than a handmade gilded manuscript rich with gem-like paintings of flora, fauna, angels, castles and dragons. Painted with pigments ground from semi-precious stones, insects and predatory snails – who could resist this recipe?

Every picture tells a story, but illuminated art sings to the spirit and the senses. I am pretty sure that contemporary comic books are the democratic descendants of the illuminated codices. Don’t miss out on these highpoints of aesthetic history.

Wait a moment, my apologies. You will need that ipad to visit The Scriptorium.


Project Summary: The Scriptorium

I have decided to use the project as an exploration of a subject I am interested in as a way to follow the interest and gather information in one place. It is really a simple and personal blog which I don’t intend to be seen by the world, as I am not a scholar of the subject. I think it is a good exercise for me to learn to create/structure a blog.

So here is an outline for my project about illuminated manuscripts:


1. HOME:  title, picture of a scriptorium, menu, and blog
2.  ABOUT: statement about purpose of blog
• ABOUT ME: info about me
• Insular
• Byzantine
• Carolingian
• Ottonian
• Romanesque
• Gothic
• International
• Renaissance
• St. John’s Bible
• Illuminated Origins of the Species
• show work in progress
• link to website
• link to KickStarter video
• pictures of my drafting table, work materials
• gallery of my related work
• links to websites of interest for illuminated manuscripts
• links to sources for materials: kidskin, ground pigments, tempera materials, gold leaf, etc.
• museum website links

Artists and amateur aficionados interested in the methods and historical canon of illuminated manuscripts.

Editorial Calendar
While in any work-related situation I use and appreciate the structure of an editorial calendar, I don’t think I would really have a use for one here.

A blog without a purpose, not a pretty thing

As I will be using the new website as a sort of private doodle for a resume and possibly some portfolio, I am not really sure what I would blog about. I would certainly use it to update information about interesting free-lance projects I was working on if I had them, which I don’t. Since I am primarily using the website as a learning experience, I may blog about the news, my daughter, my dog and random areas of interest of mine, including, but not limited to:

  • butterflies and moths
  • bones
  • illuminated manuscripts
  • travels, past and future; real and imagined; mine or vicarious
  • color
  • the minds of dogs
  • memory, perception, the workings of the brain, the geography of the mind

Themes: a neverending journey

I got lost a lot in looking at the available themes and discovered that simplicity is probably the way to go for me, at this tenuous stage of the game.

I like this Zuki theme for its easily accessible categories. It seems like a good way to bring unity to what may be a blog with several possibly random themes, as mine will be.



Cocoa is a clean, uncluttered theme with good typography. It feels bright and fresh. The extensive use of white space makes me feel as though I have lots of room to breath. Many of the themes I looked at made me feel claustrophobic and like I didn’t know what to look at first. I find this theme leads me in a simple trail of breadcrumbs, easy to follow and I know where my my eyes need to go without effort.



This theme, Spun, is my favorite. I love it for its graphic simplicity and use of bold, round buttons. I would need to develop a set of graphic symbols or photographic representations to use with this. I would also probably want to use a text tag with each one, as I do not have a blog theme clear enough to navigate with just graphics.



I discovered an active market for templates in this vein. I find this online resume option very attractive for its simplicity, both visual and graph. This sample resume for a graphic designer offers a subtle gray/black and white format featuring identification, picture, brief text and contact information. Three bright circles bring up links for a resume, work examples and a skill-set list. This is a completely professional option, with no personal information, presented as a template for purchase on the Wix website.

This article from has some good tips for graphic designers about how to build your online portfolio. It includes several examples, more complicated, creative and exciting than the Wix template, and I plan to spend some more time with it. It discusses current options for showcasing work online, such as Behance, Coroflot, and Tumblr. has a relevant article, 27 Beautiful Portfolio Website Design Examples that will make you rethink your portfolio site. These portfolios include a broad view of many fields, including web design, painting, drawing and photography. It also has an interactive little feature called, “How to create a website in 3 easy steps,” which appeals to me as a beginner.

These are good options for me to explore, as I am quite new to this and need exposure to the basics.


Lexicon Valley Express

Lexicon Valley is an interesting blog about language housed within It seems to be a collection of pieces by different authors on subjects ranging from “How realistic is science fiction linguistics?” to “where do we get our ideas about pirate speech?”

Here is a random sampling of articles:

  • How to Call In Sick: 21 Complicated Terms for Minor Illnesses
  • 7 Ways to Fake-Pronounce Any Foreign Language
  • Why Does English Use “Iambic Pentameter” and Other Greek Poetic Terms?
  • What Can Linguistics Tell Us About Writing Better? An Interview with Steven Pinker

Continue reading