When delivering for clients, of course it's about getting everything finished beautifully, just as the customer would want it. So it's nice when I'm not doing client work, to just play.
One of my favourite things I did last year was to write the whole of The Velveteen Rabbit (which I love) on large A2 pages, in hands that I just enjoyed forming on the page. No matter that I don't know what I'm going to do with it, or that the reader might get lost where 2 sets of writing coexist on the page, or even that the pencil lines are still there, or that some letters are wobbly - it was just for the pleasure of writing.
(I owe Amity Parks for the idea - she published some pictures of her practice pages which set me off on this mission. All her work is wonderful, but I'd happily just look at her practice!)
I've got a new challenge with my calligraphy - and thought I'd share!
With a lot of calligraphy (especially such as family trees) there's a lot of white paper in the finished piece, and it's really important that this is pristine. I'm very careful not to bruise paper, or to mark it in any way. (I am slightly obsessive about it, I guess - my poor customers get an email from me instructing them on how to unroll their work when it arrives - really Janet!!)
In this lovely sunny weather the warm stones and window frames outside seem to be a good home for these little beasts - called clover mites, I believe. They're tiny - maybe 1mm including their legs.
I've learnt this the hard way by seeing one on a fine art print and going to "dust" it off - unsuccessfully! After that I've been more careful, but there was one on the underside of my guard sheet when I was working on a customer piece - it got squashed and left its signature red splat on the work - aargh!
(It was toward the very edge of the piece so I've painted it out, but I'm not thrilled about it)
I'm sure this is a very British problem - I know in hotter climates there are creatures that eat the paper and glue, as well as bite the calligrapher, so I'm keeping it in perspective - just thought I'd share!
(If anyone's any tips for removing ex-clover mites from paper I'd be most grateful!)
The sun shone, porpoises swam by (well - they were quite a long way away) and a great group of people gathered for a weekend of calligraphy at the Trecastell Hotel in Bull Bay.
In two days we moved from scribbled lines in pencil to everyone having at least on piece, with a touch of decoration, ready for showing off to friends and family.
Everyone tried a selection of pens and inks, and learnt or reacquainted themselves with italic - I'm particularly pleased that the person who had learnt italic and thought she disliked it ended up having a real aptitude for the hand, and more importantly - enjoying it!
I've been sent many lovely comments about the course, and there were some great quotes over the weekend too, including "this hotel makes the best chips in the world"!
Before I rush off to polish my halo, time to confess.... the one thing that didn't go to plan was that I forgot to take lots of photos, and the few I did take, I had my camera on a setting that makes it look like they were taken on a 1970s polaroid! So I'm asking my readers to imagine the views and the wonderful creations, with a promise that I'll do MUCH better taking photos at the next course which is in September (or you could come along and see it for real...)
To demonstrate my camera stupidy - here's the same view taken before and after I realised I'd got some strange setting on my camera!
I'm Janet Smith, a calligrapher who loves to experiment with lettering and calligraphy.