I got something nice from Swirls and Strokes today! I was pretty excited to get these in the mail, but a bit of a backstory first. I got interested in pointed pen calligraphy last year when I first joined Fountain Pen Network Philippines. There are a lot of talented calligraphers in the group, and though I’ve always found drawing letters to be quite interesting, I never really gave serious thought to learning it myself. Encouraged by the group’s many talented calligraphers, I set out to buy myself a starter kit for copperplate calligraphy (a heavy, stainless steel holder, a small bottle of ink, a guide book, and a notebook for practicing). I happily delved right in, only to find that the exercises were extremely painful on my hand. The cramps were unbearable (that should be the first clue that I was probably doing something wrong), the constant dip-dip-dipping was annoying, and I wasn’t happy with my progress. Long story short, I quit before I even got letter D right.
Fast forward to several months after, I joined a small pen meet with a few good pen friends. My friend Dean taught me how to properly prep a new nib (moment of clarity–so that’s why my nib wrote funny). He also let me use his different oblique holders and inkwell. It gave me an idea about what I was doing wrong and set me on the right path to learning. My first realization, I had insufficient tools. Second, I insisted on not asking for help. So, I thought I’d start again and bought a nice inkwell with two jar holders, and my very first oblique holder made by The Curious Artisan.
The inkwell is by Eureka Moments, and it’s pretty convenient because it holds the jar securely and at the same time tilts them forward so you can easily reach into the jar, like so…
The tilted stand also makes it easier to dip into the jar even when the ink level is running low. Coincidentally, the wood of the inkwell stand matches the wood of the carrot holder.
Here’s a closer look at the oblique holder that I picked. This carrot is made of Bayur wood with a fixed brass flange.
This is a simple carrot oblique holder which tilts the nib at a certain angle to make writing a lot easier. I wasn’t looking for something expensive, I just wanted something simple, usable, but beautiful. The Curious Artisan’s holders are works of art by themselves (check out the catalog on his site), and I promised myself that I would get one when I have devoted more time to this hobby. Even if the holder I chose was a simple wooden carrot, I am happy with it. It feels balanced, light, and it’s really just the right girth for me. It didn’t feel too light, it wasn’t unwieldy. It was just right. 🙂 Also, the pouch that came with it is cute, eh?
starting from the top
So I started practicing again, while still waiting for the ruled calligraphy pads that I ordered to arrive. This time, I’m pretty confident I can go beyond the letter D. There’s still much to learn, as I’m learning from the calligraphy classes I’ve started to attend online, but I’m just enjoying my very slow progress. 🙂