Friday, January 23, 2015

January 23rd.....National Handwriting Day!!!!

The letters are sealed and on their way!!! A joy to write with the pen! I have attached samples from my Palomino Blackwing Journal of my normal everyday handwriting in its pure form and unaltered form.
It has mistakes. It has letters that are not perfect or uniform. Some words are less legible than others. It does not conform to any system of writing. It is written at my natural pace. It captures my thoughts with ease. I do not try to change it to make it conform to Palmer or Spencer. It is uniquely mine. Just like the sound of a voice or your fingerprint, your handwriting is uniquely yours!!! My favourite handwriting surface is a gridded journal. I am partial to the Leuchturrm1917 and the Palomino Blackwing. I am never without pen, pencil and paper. It is always with me. A constant friend. A comfort to return to. My favourite pens are pictured here.
A Viscontil Rembrandt Fountain pen, a slicci pen and a Plaisir Platinum Fountain pen. They all fit my hand well and I love to use them. Capture your thoughts, share your words with a friend, send a letter to someone who is not expecting it and preserve the love of writing. Conform to no one. Let your style be your own. It's handwriting!!! Whether you lean toward cursive or italic styles, block printing, or stick letters, be yourself and enjoy the writing you produce on the page. There is a time and a place for striving for perfect forms, for striving for perfect lettering. I am a firm believer in taking steps to improve legibility in handwriting, but I have never believed in forcing a system of writing on anyone. When I teach handwriting classes, I spend the first class with students showing them how to befriend their current writing. Find the charm in your own writing!! It is there!!!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Oblique VS. Straight Holder

I have been inundated with questions lately about the straight holder vs. the oblique holder. I post quite a few pictures on Instagram and many picturers display a straight holder. I love both types of pen holders and switch between the two quite often.
I encourage students to try both for the lettering and flourishing and see what they prefer. There are unique qualites for each tool and more than anything else, I believe the decision should be based on which is more comfortable in the hand of each student. Based on my own experiences, the look of my work is more slender and refined if a straight holder is used. But if I want more dramatic swells in the shades, I will use an oblique holder. My recommendation for students is to put the same type of nib in a straight and oblique holder and experiment with the shaded strokes. I have a less extreme angle on my paper when I work with a straight holder. See what you prefer and have fun experimenting with both.
In response to questions about the holders that my husband and I make, you can contact us through We make custom oblique and straight holders in exotic or hand dyed woods. I also hand paint floral style and flourished holders as well. Happy writing!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Thoughts from my Day

I had an interesting day today. I had an opportunity to see some gorgeous fair trade artwork. I loved seeing hand woven purses,scarves and soapstone carvings. I thought of the artisans in Thailand and Kenya who had produced the work. What was their struggle? How can charging so little for this piece of artwork possibly help the artisan? The work was so intricate and detailed. Far from perfect yet it all had such a charm about it. I felt connected to the artist. I wanted to take it all! I came home to an email from a student who wanted some thoughts about her work. As soon as I saw her work, I felt instantly connected to her process and joy as she produced something she was proud of. I could see the rhythm and the movement of her work. No signs of struggle in the pieces that conveyed so much beauty. I was honoured to look at it and share my thoughts. As a teacher, I feel like I have such a sacred trust with my students. They are so precious to me. They are my peers and my friends. I learn from their process as much as they learn from mine. I am grateful for that opportunity. Beyond anything I do as an artist, I learn and grow from seeing the work of others. If you have crossed my path as a student, I want to thank you for what you have given me.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Snail Mail Sunday

I have caught up on correspondence almost every Sunday for the past several years. It is wonderful to relax and put aside the time to write to dear friends. Lately, I have dedicated a lot of time to edge pen projects. As I completed one project it was such a joy to pick up my beloved pointed pen!! A delight to write with! Although I love my fountain pens and edge pens, there is nothing quite the same for me personally as the beloved pointed pen. Happy Writing!!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Victorian Pen Workshop

Working hard on teaching pieces and notes for The Victorian Pen workshop. With each piece I do, I learn new techniques while refining old. This art form will never cease to amaze me with the lessons it has to teach. I am enjoying this research and design phase as I continue to construct notes.
There is so much to study and learn. The Victorian Pen technique relies on underdrawing and undershading techniques.
I will keep you updated!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Believe for 2015

Welcoming all good things for 2015! This is a designed flourish and part of The Victorian Pen workshop which picks up where the Artful Flourish leaves off! Walnut ink, pastel and coloured pencil on Strathmore 400 series drawing paper. Happy New Year dear friends. May 2015 be full of creative ideas.