Why Calligraphy?


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I joined a group of calligraphy enthusiasts on FB, Calligraphy Spot. It’s a fun group. Everybody’s nice and accommodating, you learn a lot from the other members, and there are weekly calligraphy themes. This week’s theme is “Why Calligraphy?”, which made me wonder at my fascination with it, even if I have a love-hate relationship with it. My answer was because I love words. I like how stringing letters together make words, and stringing words together make up phrases and sentences that mean something. A physical manifestation of something as abstract as thoughts.

I really want to learn copperplate or Spencerian calligraphy, but I’m afraid that I’ve stopped and started this several times because I feel like it goes against my natural hand. I am more at ease with uncial calligraphy, block lettering, and the only kind of dikit-dikit calligraphy that I can manage through brush pens. In any case, I enjoy my attempts at calligraphy and I enjoy looking at other people’s works. I appreciate how people can make words aesthetically pleasing in many different ways using different tools.

Same old show.


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I really thought that all the hate and poo-slinging will slow down and grind to a halt after the elections. I was wrong. It looks like it will be noisy for a while. Actually, I’m coming to terms with the possibility that this is  the new normal. To care about the sanctity of human life, to care about due process and how the loss of it is a reckless way to go about a “crusade” that has good intentions, to have a balanced view instead of an idol-worshiping attitude for the new president… all that has become very unpopular. All of a sudden, we’re surrounded with people who “want change” and are less bothered by loss of human lives. Like sharks driven crazy by the smell of blood. All of a sudden we’re surrounded  by family and friends who feel strongly about rallying around the ideal. I sometimes wonder if these people shout louder and are more offensive and boisterous about their newfound “cause” because deep in their bones they know something’s wrong about all this.

I’m not one for debates, and I think it’s foolish and self-destructive to alienate my family and friends for the sake of pushing your brand of politics (of all things) in such an aggressive and offensive way. I’ve resorted to not looking through my Facebook feed (which, with my decidedly introverted personality, was once a favorite way of keeping tabs on family and friends) because of all the ugliness in it. It’s not just the news that is ugly, it’s the attitude of people. Somehow, things have grown much worse. Filipinos have become even more divided. Many of us have lost our civility and it’s like we don’t know how to balance our views and emotions anymore. There’s a reason the terms “Dutertard” and “Yellowtard” and all the other -tards were coined (makes me cringe to even read it now), and the evidence for that is all over social media.

In the narrow-mindedness that is prevailing these days, there’s no room for reason. If addicts and pushers are brutally killed, then they got justice. If one is given due process, it means justice was not done. If you’re anti-Marcos, then you’re automatically pro-LP. If you’re not red, you’re yellow. If you’re critical of Duterte, then you’re anti-Duterte and you and your family need to die violent, inhuman deaths. If you’re against the all-out-war on drugs, then you’re in cahoots with these druggies. If you clamor for due process for these druggies, then you’re condoning the violence they have done or will do in the future. If you want some checks and balances to be placed to keep the government from exploiting their power, then you’re against the drug war. If this…then that. The one with the loudest mouth, the one who can scoop up the biggest mound of shit and sling it around without care or second thought is the winner. Winner of what, exactly? No one knows.

At the end of the day, people have pulled so violently on the already tense connections that we have with each other, and boy, it’s exhausting. Humanity is exhausting. I’m all peopled-out, honestly.

Over the Misty Mountains Cold


Over the Misty Mountains Cold

Here’s a page of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Over the Misty Mountains Cold which I did in uncial calligraphy. The pen is Bexley Corona (in Blueberry Cream) and the ink is Diamine Bilberry. It was a lot of fun to write because it’s very long, and the style fits right into the theme of the song.

As much as I really, really want to learn other kinds of scripts, this is really a more natural fit to my regular hand.

Meeting the Water Brush


I’ve always been curious about water brushes since I was able to try one at a pen meet last year. My friend uses it for pen and ink washes, though. I always see other calligraphers using it for brush calligraphy and I got curious so I bought one.

Waterbrush Calligraphy

I didn’t realize how much fun it is to use until now. I used watercolor for the letters and washes. I’m still finding my way around it as a calligraphy tool, it’s pretty hard to control watercolor and I guess that’s what makes it beautiful. It pools around in places and goes wherever it wants to. It’s a little unpredictable. Also…Bulbasaaauuuurrr! Rawr!

Waterbrush Calligraphy

It just goes to show that you won’t know if you like something unless you try it. I see myself using this tool and exploring it more in the coming days.

Last week was incredibly hectic. I consider myself very blessed to find the time to collect my thoughts and do something with my hands that isn’t related to work. Here’s hoping this coming week is a bit more forgiving.

Blaze Wu Handmade Calligraphy Inks


Everything Calligraphy was kind enough to send me some samples of the recent addition to their product line–Blaze Wu handmade calligraphy inks. I truly enjoy testing these inks out. The colors are great, and the ink is nicely viscous so that it plays very well with the c3 nib I bought to try these inks out.

Here’s a short (well, as short as I can manage with 8 different colors) rundown and description of each ink.

Murky Clouds Obscure the Sun
What a very long name. This one’s dark grey with sparkly silver sheen. Look at that sparkle! Kinda reminds me of stormy grey but the sparkly bits are finer and more pronounced here. A friendly tip, don’t forget to stir well as you dip so that the glittery particles will be evenly distributed.

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This really reminds me of silver linings around clouds. I like the base color of grey. Here’s a closer look at this ink:


Victoria’s Velvety Skirt

This one’s a nice rose color. It’s bright and happy, and does look a bit velvety. This soft, old-rose base has a gold sheen to it.

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It’s a very pleasant, soft-looking color. A few close ups of the writing sample:

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The Second Time Around


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.

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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…

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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.

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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?

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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. 🙂

Today’s Calligraphy Practice


For today’s calligraphy practice, I wrote down Psalm 92 on loose Tomoe River paper as part of my letter-writing project. I used Diamine Wagner and oh, isn’t that color lovely?

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It reminds me of pistachio nuts. It’s a harmonious mixture of green and yellow. It’s so calming and mellow and just…happy! Here are a few close ups to show you the crazy gorgeous shading of this ink.

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