Thursday, March 18, 2010

Work In Progress

Art is a contact sport, and like any sport, it requires a warm-up period. I warm up by sharpening my pen. Think of cutting paper with scissors and after a bit, the scissors are dull. Same thing happens with steel nibs dragged across paper. To sharpen the nib, I can use an Arkansas stone (on the left) or a piece of crocus cloth. The stone is similar to a honing stone or whetstone for sharpening blades and is a very fine grit. The crocus cloth is a very fine grit sandpaper and can be used wet or dry. I like to lightly drag the pen up and down on the crocus cloth about a dozen times. Then dipping the pen in ink or plain water, I'll make a few "i" strokes.

I will test the sharpness of the pen by writing a few marks and letters on grid or scrap paper. This helps to warm muscles and also provides a center. For some reason, there's a bit of fear associated with making the first mark on paper. Maybe it has something to do with marring the pristine surface.

When you begin a project or a novel, are you worried by that first mark, stitch, or word?


  1. Yes. I count, recount and measure before I start a piece. And then it's much easier from there.

  2. Yes! Starting to get things down on paper (or on the computer screen) is hard. All my ideas sound great in my head, but it's getting them out of my head that is the hard part.

  3. Interesting, CJ. Did you teach yourself all this?

    As for novel writing, I occasionally get a case of WADS--Word Attachment Disorder, which means that once I finally write something, I loathe deleting it :D

  4. Like a lot of calligraphers, Georgiana, I started out as a teen fooling around with fountain pens and copying the letters from calligraphy books. As a new mom, after being told I had beautiful penmanship after I addressed invitations for my parents' 50th wedding anniversary, I looked into calligraphy classes. That's when my education began as I had to unlearn all the bad habits I had picked up and learn the proper tools to use. :-D I've been formally studying calligraphy for 17 years and still have a lot to learn. I've attended 2 calligraphy conferences, 2 conventions and have taken specialty classes in illumination.