This is a reproduction wax tablet from some museum. Back when each sheet of paper had to be individually hand made, wax tablets were used to take notes. A sharp instrument scratched words/numbers in the wax, and the surrounding wooden case could be closed to keep the notes safe. When you were finished, you just let the wax warm up in the sun for a few minutes, and rub away the notes. These tablets are the origin of our phrases a clean slate and tabula rasa. Here are several different tablets:
On this ancient tablet, the lettering has scratched right through to the wood:
This next picture shows a painting from 500 BCE, by the Greek painter Douris. One of the men is scratching on his wax tablet. Some people see paintings like these and say "Look! They had laptop computers!" Some people are idiots.
Here are more images of people with wax tablets. I really wanted to use the woman in the center in my design, and spent hours photoshopping her. Couldn't make it happen.
I put together my design, figured out my wording, and spent a few hours playing with my overlapping font:
The painted dyes looked good, I began sewing..... and I stopped sewing. For many months. Why? Well, the first few tablets that I printed out -the Flood Tablet, and the Scribes Tablet, and this one - all have a lot of wording. And I sewed all that wording in what's called a padded satin stitch. It does look good. It takes forever. After these tablets, I switched to outlining each white letter in a heavy wrapped stitch. Still takes forever, but not quite so tedious. Here's the new letter style on top, and the padded satin stitch on the bottom:
Eventually, I forced myself to finish the stitching on this one - it's the only sewing I brought on a trip! Here's the (finally) finished tablet:
Why are some parts of the sewing such great fun and others almost drudgery? I don't know. It's all sewing. And I'd still rather be sewing the parts I don't like than doing just about anything else. But.....sewing letters is mindlessly repetitious. There's no problems to solve with the stitching, no wondering 'how can I make this section stand out?' or "what can I do to make this part extra lush?'
Next week, you'll see some really interesting bits that didn't quite make it into tablets - my outtakes.