Luton Calligraphy Workshops. Week 5

Link to week 4

It was good to see that PPP has obviously been partaken of over the last few days. If letters have not actually been made with pen and ink, or passages planned upon an actual page, then there must have been a great deal of making of letters and planning of pages taking place in the minds of our scribes in the making. Perhaps my theory of “Don’t count sheep. Make letters”, is bearing fruit. The pens are now beginning to work as they should, more ink on the page than on the fingers this week. Some nice work is beginning to emerge.

Due no doubt to my involvement with the Red Dot exhibition some of my plans for this class had to be put on hold, hopefully for another time. I had planned to bring along my collection of home made equipment, cola pens and the like, some vellum scraps and other interesting bits and pieces I have amassed over the years. I stupidly left them at home, along with the camera and lap-top. I did, however, have some hand cut quills, bamboo and reed pens for everyone to try. Everyone was so taken with the bamboo though, that we got no further down this road.

Hand made pens. Cola pens. img. jpg

Taken from Getting started in calligraphy.

My take on the Cola pen. The RED STRIPE Pen. To my mind, much more fun emptying the can.  A chisel cut pencil to dip.  A needlepoint and 6mm with film reservoir, bamboo, and a 2mm Reed.

Make sure mummy and daddy are supervising.  Heheh. We don’t want any cut fingers! With scissors, cut top and bottom from the can, making sure you have first downed the contents.  (Adults, it might be best to leave this stage ’til tomorrow, depending on the strength of the aforesaid). Carefully, (The cut tin can will be very sharp).  Open up and then fold down the length of the metal. Cut whatever shape you are looking for for the nib…then continue down the length,making sure to leave enough for the handle. These are rolled and then taped tightly. Perhaps strengthening by rolling the handle round a pencil. You could make a much prettier job by soldering.  Just make sure that all bare edges are covered or blunted.  ‘speriment and enjoy.
You might like to note that I have been experimenting with various materials to use as reservoirs. The best so far is old fashioned film or even negatives. Used flat it can be cut and pushed into a slit formed in the quill, reed, bamboo or whatever, or rolled into a spring and pushed into the aperture.
Some other examples…………..!/video/video.php?v=303620954270

Bamboo / Reed pen. Clarinet qalam. img. jpg

This one is made from bamboo and a clarinet reed with film reservoir.

We then had an impromptu discussion on the differences  in scripts over the years and how, due to the number of books being made, the speed of hand needed to produce them, and the scarcity of animal skins, there was a shift from the rounded forms of Uncial, Carolingian and Humanist, to the much more compressed angular forms of Blackletter or Gothic scripts.

Uncial & Blackletter script. img.jpg

The comparative roundness of Blackletter capitals enough to let in a little light to the page.

Blackletter Capitals.img. jpg.

And so, we regretfully started to wind up this final session of what to me has been a most rewarding five weeks of calligraphy workshops. I am hoping that from these humble beginnings of Roundhand and Roman scripts, all who have participated will now have the inclination to learn more, to hone their skills by way of practice, practice, practice, and go on to become the scribe that I always wished to be.

We all agreed it is a shame that the group should come to an end. I have written to my contact from “Luton Culture”, with a view to an extension, either at the museum or some other venue. It seems she is on leave until Wednesday May 8th. Once I have word, I shall update this blog and will be in touch.

UPDATE :- A new group has begun at Luton Irish Forum.  All Welcome.

Until then, my inky friends, I wish you all a fond farewell. By way of homework I refer you To Mr Reynolds’ little series.

Cheers.   Bill.

Keep watching this space.

5 responses to “Luton Calligraphy Workshops. Week 5

  1. Pingback: Luton Calligraphy Workshops. Week 4 | BILL'S SPACE

  2. Andrew Gush here……….please tell me if or when there is another
    lesson at Wardown House like the the last one, quill and parchment-
    I found it very interesting.
    email –
    Phone for text – 07411 137339


    • Hi Andrew.

      I am so pleased you enjoyed the demo. I shall be there for one more session on June 19th at 10.00am as part of
      Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service 800 years of history, 100 years of service. Centenary 2013.
      I will look forward to seeing you again. I shall bring your quote along.

      Cheers. Bill


  3. Hi thankss for posting this


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