Friday, October 30, 2015

Me and Strathmore

When I designed the Writing logo for Strathmore papers they were kind enough to send me one of everything in their Writing line!
What a treat! For a person with an already serious journal addiction, this was heaven!
Last week I had wonderful intentions to fill one of the blank journals with nothing but floral flourishes for my students to look through at an upcoming class called The Vintage Garden.
The class is designed around Victorian ornament that is inspired by their ornate curvilinear engravings. With our ink and pointed pens, we almost sculpt the dimensional flowers. I wanted the Strathmore paper because it is more ivory in colour and the pages are slightly heavier than my other journals. The black ink against the cream background reminded me of Toille fabric.
I thought that it would be an image rich journal for students to flip through. By page 2, my precious journal had met with a slight ink mishap! My McCaffery Black ink cap was not on quite right and the ensuing leak wiped out the edges of my new journal as well as 4 older ones!!!!!! So I have ink black edges on the journal. A few pages are less than pristine coming up, but I will continue to see what I can produce in the journal. More ornate designs coming as the curves meet lines!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Study, Practice, Reflect

It's been a little while since I touched on this theme but the emails I am receiving are calling me to comment. I am so thrilled at the enthusiasm and passion I see in the calligraphic world. I see young people who are becoming enthralled with pen and ink and passionately practicing. I get a lot of emails asking how to progress to the next step of their journey or how to "level jump" quickly. I would respond by recalling how one of my mentors responded to me in my penmanship journey. I credit Brian Walker as the penman who brought patience to my penmanship journey and gave me discerning eyes to really see my work. Practice is great. I believe in it whole heartedly. Early in my penmanship journey I often devoted 3 hours a day at least to practice. But the practice was not necessarily intelligent practice. I needed to step back from the practice time and really devote equal time to study. So the pen was put aside for equal time spent in truly observing letterforms. I made this a daily ritual until the letterforms were so clearly in my mind that I could see them before writing. After devoted time to study and practice, I would save time for reflection. I would look back over my daily and weekly practice papers and cast a critical eye over the work. Where did I need to improve? What was strong? What was weak? Were my forms consistent? It was through this three pronged approach that I finally saw improvement. There was no level jumping or quick progress that I could easily discern but there was steady progress. Occasionally I would hit a plateau and need to call in other eyes to look over my work. I can't recommend this process highly enough. It still helps me develop instincts and an eye for detail. As I continue to study new techniques, I never depart from what Brian instilled in me. Study, Practice, Reflect.  As autumn settles into my area of the world with its vibrant colours and cooler air, I am finding myself very reflective of changes that are happening in my work. I will keep you posted.