We are almost there, as we’ve been unpacking, cleaning, and coordinating renovations here in our new space. It’s looking a little crazy back here, but if you’ve been in our 906 Dundas West shop, you know we’re used to squeezing past boxes everywhere.
Jon and I used to joke that because our 906 Dundas W space was so small and we didn’t have space to display everything, the true pen nut customers were the ones who browsed through the website and could come in and ask for things that weren’t on display. And, every once in a while, someone would ask for something that wasn’t on display or on the website, and we actually could rummage in the back and find it! (This was pretty rare, most of the time when someone asks for something that’s not on the website, it’s because we don’t have it…)
One of the very, very few advantages of packing up your entire shop is that you’re forced to take a look at all the nooks and crannies of the shop, and you discover things that you once ordered, but never put up online, and therefore have completely forgotten about.
We discovered a pile of these wonderful calligraphy handbooks! Actually, we’ve been planning on expanding our calligraphy supplies, including new calligraphy inks, nibs, nib holders, and especially some calligraphy books. Our timeline is “sometime after we get the shop settled,” but I have my eye on a few things already, so stay tuned!
I actually have a copy of this book that’s a bit bent and dog-eared (don’t tell my librarian!), but I’m too embarrassed to show you my calligraphy skills just yet. Jon laughed at me because someone on posted a photo online of a quick note I wrote on his order, and he had to put a “translation” of what I wrote, in case people couldn’t read it 🙂 HAHA.
Italic Calligraphy & Handwriting, Exercises & Text is by Lloyd J. Reynolds, and is a great book for beginners as well as those looking for a refresher. It’s an instructional manual on the basic strokes and shapes, giving very specific guidance on the order and direction of strokes. It also has some information on spacing, rhythm, size and overall presentation on the page.
With calligraphy, lettering, graphic design or even handwriting, you can really take inspiration from different examples and hands, so having the texts in front of you to try to emulate or follow can be really helpful.
The book is a series of “lessons” with some written instructions and suggestions, followed by the examples, usually with stroke indications, etc.
In addition to having basic instructions, this book also offers some different fonts, as well as different “finishing strokes,” swashes, flourishes, etc. These are great for practising, and then you can use your judgement based on the words or context of your writing.
While you can definitely use a regular fountain pen, or even a “regular” pen or pencil, you might find some good success using an italic nib, which is a nib that has a bit more of straight cut to it, rather than a rounded tip, as in indicated in the writing of the book.
You can purchase a fountain pen with an italic nib, although sometimes it’s an extra cost to upgrade the nib to an italic (for example, the Lamy Safari, or the TWSBI 580). You can also purchase just a nib alone to swap out on a fountain pen you already have. Additionally, there are pens like the Pilot Parallel pens, which are super for calligraphy and lettering.
Italic nibs typically come in either 1.1 mm or 1.5 mm, although some pens you can also get a 1.9 mm or 2.3 mm. If you’re using the pen for some handwriting practise as well as for everyday work, you may prefer the 1.1 mm nib. It will give you a bit of “character” to your handwriting, as well as still having some line variation for intentional practice of calligraphy. The wider the nib, the more variation you will see, but also the larger the writing will have to be to remain legible.
And keep in mind that here in our new space, we’ve got some calligraphy classes on the calendar! We’re pretty excited that we’ve got enough space to offer these classes comfortably, and of course we’ll have coffee, tea and treats.
Our new space is looking …well… not quite ready yet, but it’s getting there! We’re going to have more photos of the progress, but as well, I hope that you’ll come visit us when we open. We had a few visitors this past Saturday, as we originally had hoped to open May 16th, and it was great to say hi even though the shop wasn’t quite ready. I’m sure they enjoyed catching us off guard, with sawdust in my hair and the baby on my back, staring out at them! But we’re going to be ready for the real go-live in just a few days.
Our grand re-opening event is now set to this Saturday, May 23rd, and this time, we’re pretty sure of it. The last few pieces that need to fall in place are just a bit of painting, re-organizing, and lighting, so what can go wrong, right?? 🙂