Above: Christine Osman demonstrated how to grind down ink from a Chinese ink stick. Here she is working with a quill pen and the ink she ground. She also showed how to load a metal nib with metallic gouache. (I didn't get the product name but I know the metallic gouache set at her side is available at Wet Paint.) Click on the image for an enlargement.
Local calligrapher Christine Osman gave a delightful presentation on calligraphy for the Collective last night. She brought in numerous books and periodicals as resources and started with an overview of the development of Western calligraphy and then demonstrated how to grind ink and use tools, before setting the group loose to try various quill, metal, and wood nibs.
Christine recommended a number of resources to us. She brought along her copy of Modern Mark Making by Lisa Engelbrecht. (You can read my review of Modern Mark Making in an earlier post.) She had on hand many issues of Letter Arts Review (available from John Neal Books). She also recommended Annie Cicale's The Art and Craft of Hand Lettering. Minnesota is home to the Colleagues of Calligraphy, and Christine recommended that people interested in calligraphy join. (The group meets 8 times a year.) Another valuable resource Christine pointed us to was Cynscribe which is a directory of resources and classes and galleries and guilds!
Amidst discussion of items of interest such as "o" being the letter form which will tell you the most about an alphabet, and how the quill (turkey or swan) is the best instrument to get thick and thin lines and control, and how Chinese inks give the best blacks because they focus on black whereas the Japanese create inks that will render shades of gray, there was much experimentation. And EVERYONE was eager to go home and make balsa wood flat-tipped "nibs" to attach to pencils or sticks. (I didn't take a photo, but after I make one I'll be sure to post it.)
This was a fantastic way to end our year as a group. Thank you Christine for sharing your time and enthusiasm with us!
Collective members and those interested in joining us—we will meet again starting in January. (We meet the third Monday of every month, except December and May, from 7 to 9 p.m., at MCBA.)
(Note: I'll post later this week on the other portion of our meeting: the wrap up of the Altered Book Journal Round Robin Exchange.)