02 January 2011

I'm not sure it counts as fine craftsmanship, but--

After a bit of inspiration yesterday from this article, I decided to break out some of the crafty things I've been saving up. Over the summer, I got turned on to book arts by the inimitable Deborah Poe, and since then I've been gathering up interesting odds and ends with the intention of making some hand-made books.

I have, of course, done very little with them.

Today, though, I settled in with twelve open tabs in Chrome pertaining to Coptic Binding, a stack of art paper, and a very beautiful greeting card sent to me by my friend Laura.

This was the result:

This experiment confirmed several things: 1) greeting cards are an interesting and green source of potential cover materials 2) but they really need to be reinforced with something before being used 3) a proper cover-punch or something along those lines would make much nicer holes than my awl 4) Coptic binding is super easy when doing the signatures and it's a right bitch where the covers come in. 

I am generally pleased with this experiment, though, as this will make a useful jotter for lists and things and it should be fountain-pen friendly because of the paper weight. It's multi-media paper, and it's certainly not as smooth and precise as Clairefontaine or Rhodia, but it doesn't feather like mad and it is thick enough to not suffer bleed-through. 

Yesterday, too, I broke out the new inks and some Tolkien quotes. Please forgive my inability to make certain letters in consistent fashion (I seem to swap between t-forms a lot). Paper is a Rhodia No. 16 graph pad, and all of this was done with a Brause dip italic nib.

Iroshizuku Tsuki-Yo:

I'm as bad or worse photographer as calligrapher, and so I don't think the fantastic outlining really shows here. But the "Tolkien" at the end exhibits some really lovely dark, almost burnt-looking edges. The color is generally that saturated deep teal, but there's a warm quality to the ink that comes out where the lines are quite wet.

Iroshizuku Kiri-Same:
What really geeked me about this one is the range of color. It starts out as a very dense pewter and shades to a fairly ephemeral cloud-like grey. The lighter end is really washed out and so wouldn't be good for things like grading or professional use, but as a shade, it makes me ridiculously happy.

J. Herbin 1670 Rouge Hematite:
The fabled 1670. My photograph doesn't capture the range of color at all. The lighter areas are a very vibrant red-orange (there was a hibiscus flower at the Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park that was exactly that color), and the darkest areas are evocative of rust (in a really good way). There's also a gold fringe that appears where the line was quite wet (not feathering outside of the line, but inside of it), and I wish I'd had this for Christmas cards. It's magical.

I like magical.


  1. Lovely - love your calligraphy and the choice of quotes

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  3. Mad skills, woman. I can barely sign my name with my new writing implement, but I'm practicing like crazy! There will be no photos, for obvious reasons.