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WELCOME TO SCRIBAL STYLES
THOMAS KEYES’ BLOG FOR CELTIC NATIONS MAGAZINE
Thomas Keyes grew up in Northern Ireland learning letter art as an active participant in Belfast’s graﬃti subculture from the late 1990s onwards. After studying art at Newcastle he moved to the Black Isle in the Scottish Highlands in 2009 to focus on a more nature-based creative practice. He learned to create materials, such as parchment and pigments, from the local environment using traditional medieval methods which in turn led him back to calligraphy and the artistry of insular manuscripts.
He now creates insular manuscripts both as art and for research, inspired both by traditional practice and graﬃti innovations. His art work has been featured in such institutions as the National Library of Scotland, An Lanntair, Groam House Museum, Moray Art Centre, and The Glasgow School of Art. As a member of the Dark Mountain collective he led the design team on ‘Sanctum’, an issue on the nature of the sacred designed as an insular manuscript. Recently the importance of the Gaelic language to his craft has become apparent and he is now making that a focus of his eﬀorts along with reviving culturally specific production techniques such as the lost Tarbat method of parchment making revealed by archeological excavations at Portmahomack, just one peninsula across from his parchmanerie in Cromarty. His work can be found at www.scribalstyles.net