I'm not really sure who reads my blog (hello to anyone having a look!) but I'm hoping there's some calligraphers who pass by - this one's for you!
For a long time I thought of ink sticks as complicated and something that only a very experienced calligrapher would use . Some of the articles written would strengthen the belief that it was complicated - so I avoided them.
But now I'm used to using them, I'd strongly suggest you give them a try.
Here's 10 thoughts on ink sticks:
1. I think you probably do need an ink stone - I've not tried with anything else, so can't really help there.
2. I usually put 4 drops of water into the well in the stone - unless I know I've a lot of writing coming up. (Could be distilled water, but I'm not precious).
3. I rub the ink stick in the water, keeping the whole of the end of the ink stick as flat against the stone as I can (not going up onto its edge or corners).
4. I think the pressure between ink stick and stone is so that if it was your finger nail on your skin it'd be a nice scratch, not painful!
5. If I'm listening to music, rubbing for the duration of 1 song is more than enough. If I've created gloopy ink I can always add another drop of water.
6. You can mix the ink to the colour/consistency that you want - from a watercolour see through effect to solid impenetrable colour.
7. Dry your stick (on a cloth or kitchen towel) once you're done, otherwise water will seep into in and flakes may fall off next time you use it.
8. Cheap ink sticks are not your friend! A cheap black stick may never give you black ink, only grey. Sadly there are a lot of cheap sticks made for the tourist industry. I use Boko-Undo sticks - they're expensive, but they last and last and LAST. (Cheap ink stones seem to be OK in my experience.)
9. My black ink stick smells lovely when it's being ground - the coloured ones are odourless.
10. Stick ink lettering is waterproof - useful if experimenting with layers of work, or simply if you don't want your writing on an envelope to run in the rain.
I hope there's something useful there - and that one person will be newly tempted to try using stick ink - if it's you, please leave me a comment and let me know how it went!
I perhaps should wait but it's very exciting....
On Easter Saturday it's the official opening of the Cemaes Time and Tide Bell - Cemaes is our nearest beach, just 10 mins away.
The bell base is already in place - in fact I think the bell may have even been installed in the last few days.
This is part of a project by Marcus Vergette, installing just 12 around the UK bells that will ring at high tide. Bell project
The event on April 19th includes a visit from the artist Marcus, plus the reciting of a poem written for the day by Wales' National Poet Gillian Clarke. I'm really hoping I'm going to get the opportunity to create a piece of calligraphy from the poem - it would be a thrill to have a little link to such a prestigious monument on our favourite beach.
I love helping people with those first steps in calligraphy and I think I can say I'm quite good at it....
Here's an extract from a lovely reference which makes me blush!
Janet is a wonderful teacher - passionate about the art (and science!) of calligraphy, patient, positive and encouraging. These attributes together with her expertise and experience as a professional calligrapher and a great sense of fun makes learning with her a joy. Whether teaching a group or an individual her genuine interest in her students means that she quickly builds rapport and is able to put even the most tentative of would-be calligraphers at their ease. Her enthusiastic feedback on a beginner's stumbling attempts spurs them on to greater confidence and achievement. If you are seeking tuition in the calligraphic arts or simply want a beautiful piece of calligraphy for your wall or as a gift then I would have no hesitation in recommending Oakleaf Calligraphy.
And then there's people who've done calligraphy before - with me or in other places - my brain is spilling over with new things to try, and I need you to come along and join me!!
There's a 5% discount for bookings made before the end of April - so don't ponder for too long!
I had an email in the last few days from a lady looking for a calligrapher, preferably in the Isle of Man.
Now I don't actually know any calligraphers in the Isle of Man, but I told her I could see it from my desk (which is true) and would that do?
She seemed happy with that!
Lovely news this week of an engagement of two people made for each other! Cathy had sent me a text 2 weeks ago suggesting I may like to buy a hat (one of her better "clues" for what's happening!), but the text never arrived. She must have thought me most odd (or rude) to not say anything at all at such splendid news.
So when we finally spoke and I learned what was happening, I sent off the card without delay.
It's pointed pen watercolour on a watercolour background - in shades of mauve and blue - always a winning combo!
I'm Janet Smith, a calligrapher who loves to experiment with lettering and calligraphy.