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Work from the Fall

Here are a couple of images of work that I completed at the end of the fall semester. They are painted copper forms.

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Schmuck 2012

This year all of the New Paltz Metal graduate students as well as Myra and Jamie are planning on going to Schmuck exhibition in Munich – an international jewelry competition. Interestingly, I heard that they didn't accept any Americans this year.

A few of us (including myself) bought our tickets the other day and made lodging reservations. I've never been to Germany before unless you count a layover at the airport, so I'm pretty excited.

was zahlt/what counts at studio gabi green, gollierstrasse 17

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Copperplate Practice

I've started my Copperplate calligraphy practice. I printed out these sheets on a laser printer with laser printer paper, and I'm using my new Noodler's Ahab pen with the Noodler's Blue-Black ink. I plan on binding these sheets together to create a practice book, but haven't yet. 

I love, love, love this ink color. It even looks nice smeared all over my hands, which is a frequent occurrence with this pen. Next I'd like to get the "Black Swan in English Roses" ink from Noodler's.

I know I'm suppose to use a dip Copperplate pen, but part of my reason to learn Copperplate is to improve my everyday handwriting, and I'm not going to use a dip pen out in the world. I did read on the Fountain Pen Network forum that someone altered the Noodler pen with a Copperplate nib. I might buy another pen and try that. Sounds like it has potential. 

I did get a few great tips from Debi Sementelli, and the one that I keep repeating to myself while I'm practicing is,  "Go slow and think about each letter form. It's very zen like and part of the art of lettering to be appreciated." Very helpful. Thanks Debi!

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Some yummy colors of polymer that I just mixed up. The yellow looks to me like butter and I want to eat it. Maybe it's time for dinner.

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Sheaffer vs. Noodler

I want to learn to write like this:

Maybe I need a Sheaffer Snorkel FF3 Flex Nib fountain pen. I just ordered a Noodlers Flex Nib pen, and I really love the ethics of this company, so I hope that I like the pen. I've read some mixed reviews about it though.

I did find this video on using the pen. Seems a bit advanced for me, but I'm wiling to give it a try. 

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Calligraphy Pages

Today I created these printable Copperplate practice sheets based on the measurements in Eleanor Winters' Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy: A Step-by-Step Manual. There are two sheet that you can print out and use. One that is a full size 8.5 x 11" portrait, and the other is a landscape with two practice pages. The latter is meant to be double side printed and folded in half to make a practice book for those bookbinder/calligraphers out there. Yes I know, the grain will run perpendicular to the fold, but I'm a rule breaker like that.

You can download the .pdf for the portrait file or the landscape file.

Please let me know what you think. I would also welcome feedback from you pros. Do these seem like good practice layout sheets?

Wait, here's a disclaimer on that – I welcome feedback unless it's some weird picky thing like, "When I print it on my printer at home it doesn't print right, but on my work printer it's fine," because I can't help you with that one. I have to put these disclaimers out there because, having come of age in the punk rock/diy scene, the parochial school crowd often times balks at my "get 'er done" methodology.

Otherwise, download and enjoy. If I'm off on my layout, let me know.

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Calligraphy – the art of artistic, stylized, or elegant handwriting or lettering.

I found out that Monday January 23rd was National Handwriting Day, so in honor of that I thought I'd write about my new obsession with handwriting.

In my quest to know how to make everything, and my normal style of seeing something and thinking, "I want to learn how to do that." I have this new obsession with handwriting. This interest started on Saturday January 21st when I came across this custom stamp:

Stamp by Besotted Brand
Calligraphy by Debi Sementelli

Debi Sementelli is a very talented calligrapher, who does the lettering for the stamps at Besotted Brand, and also designer of this fantastic and very versatile Belluccia font, done in the Copperplate style.

Seeing this font turned me onto Copperplate calligraphy, which is a style of writing that was very popular during the 19th century. Copperplate calligraphy uses a pointed metal nib that, when pressure is applied, opens up to allow for a wider stroke. Hence the varied line with.

I have dysgraphia, so I have never enjoyed writing by hand, and being able to type on a computer was a godsend for me. Because of the frequent mistakes, when writing by hand, I always tended to do my handwriting with a pencil. I also stopped writing in script when it was no longer required of me (ninth grade). So all of this would pose an even greater challenge in trying to learn calligraphy, especially the beautiful and elegant Copperplate.

But this stamp, and this font, got me thinking about the value of the handmade (wait, I'm in grad school for craft, so aren't I always thinking of the value of the handmade), and more to the point the value of the handwritten in our computer age. Although Belluccia has many variations so that it can have that handwritten look, I prefer the look of the stamp above. Not the perfectly beautiful, but the beautiful because of its imperfection. I appreciate the raw irregular quality of it. It's also interesting to me that in a time when even my two-year-old niece can type, although she can spell or write, that we need to pay someone else to sign our name for us. (that said, I'm totally going to buy the thank you stamp)

So, I'm going to give it a go – the craft of writing by hand. The art of artistic or stylized lettering. I made a journal (with one of my first attempts on the cover) to practice my handwriting in, and acquired a few fountain pens, ink, pointed tip nibs and holders. We will see how it goes. I'm open to any tips and suggestions that people have for this.

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Great way to remember

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Christmas Presents

As anyone who knows me, knows that I love a container. All sorts of containers, but the best are containers within containers. So, Dan got me this fantastic watchmaker's container for Christmas.

He also got me this fantastic engineer's tool box and this vintage butane torch. 

For Dan, I raised this little silver shot glass.

And, here is a sweet little flip book video that my friend Adam Whitney made, illustrating the raising process.