Wild pen

Wild pen

One of the foundation stones of building a new website is the choice of fonts.  As with colour selection, I look for a double whammy: a font (or colour) that has the visual impact echoing the character of the site, and a name to match.  Choosing for meaningful names...
Spirit of Dance

Spirit of Dance

In developing a companion website dedicated to love of life and the joys of sharing it, I sifted thousands of script fonts to find one with the dancing kinetic energy I wanted.  Spirit of Dance by Vera Holera won by a mile, and I have used it for the header text at...
Roughing out poems

Roughing out poems

Hand-written notes and journals have a magic to them. Durrell is a favourite poet and his house in Greece was as close to the coast as you can be without getting your feet wet.  Were these spatterings the voice of the sea telling him when he had a fine turn of phrase,...
Keats on hand-writing

Keats on hand-writing

Keats’ letters are treasures – he is every bit as fine a correspondent as he is a poet.  Here he chides a friend for visually attractive but sprawlingly illegible hand-writing. ‘You must improve in your penmanship; your writing is like the speaking...
Of berries and wine

Of berries and wine

Having a love of ink, the variety of its hues and the names people give them, and the chunky inventive shapes of ink bottles, I was enchanted by this notion of making your own ink from berries and wine.  I imagine blueberries, blackcurrants or elderberries would be...
Heroic journals

Heroic journals

All laud to Labaume, going to such heroic lengths to write his journal. I will have to introduce this makeshift front-line writing into a story I’m concocting: gunpowder mixed with melted snow in the hollow of your hand, and your raven’s quill cut with the...
The loss of a journal

The loss of a journal

How many notebooks, journals or letters have been swept away by circumstance, carrying the minutiae of memory with them? Leigh Fermor used his to reconstruct his travels in his books and he clearly never got over this loss. Elsewhere he mentions a journal having been...
Well, well, well – dragons amid clouds

Well, well, well – dragons amid clouds

On a joyous day walking around the Art Institute in Chicago, I spotted this beautiful, pristine celadon writing box with three ink wells and an underglaze moulded decoration of dragons amid clouds. An ever unfurling surprise to me is the simplicity and timelessness of...
Steady as she goes

Steady as she goes

When I created a category dedicated to the accoutrements of writing and drawing, I had in mind pens and their ilk and the ink or carbon they deploy.  I never thought of a bracelet until I saw this short video about two young women, one a graphic designer, the other an...
Shaping words and forming letters

Shaping words and forming letters

It’s unusual to read such a detailed comment on the act of writing by hand.  But once you have the paper chosen and the pen filled, it’s an absorbing motion.  And such care taken by someone who is writing letters he never sends. ‘He cleared his bench and began...
Handwriting as clothing

Handwriting as clothing

Those were the days, when you could flaunt and vaunt through the thrill of the quill. The investment of time and effort was huge, however.  Having learned you would have to stop every few lines to re-sharpen the nib, an action that echoes in ‘pen-knife’, I have new...
Handwriting as clothing II

Handwriting as clothing II

Stansted Park is an elegant house set in 1,700 acres of park and woodland in the south of England. Built in 1688, it burned down in 1900 and was reconstructed three years later.   It has a beautiful arboretum, perfect for warm afternoon reading or thinking (or both),...

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