Teensy Weensy Writing - Workshop Report

Dear Members and Followers,

20th February 2016     Sylvania Community Hall
 We were privileged to once again have Julie-Ann as our tutor for some specialised VERY small writing layouts and ideas, using any or all of our favourite and/or interesting scripts, and using a 1561-62 “Model Book of Calligraphy” by Croatian (Hungarian) scribe, Georg Bocskay as inspiration.  This pre-eminent scribe used a vast selection of contemporary and historical scripts to display his mastery of the range of styles known to him.  The book was later enhanced by an artist, Joris Hoefnagel, with illuminations and other additions.
Julie-Ann demonstrated and described many tips for media to use for such fine writing, including the usual pencils, pens, nibs, quills, inks and ink-sticks and how to use them, plus other quirky methods of decoration using found objects etc.
How to sharpen the nibs with an Arkansas stone was important, and to clean the encrusted ink off nibs, toothpaste was suggested as the finest and least aggressive cleaner (scrape the gunge off with a scalpel); it keeps the nib clean and sharp for the finest writing.  Rule lines with a Very Sharp Pencil.
Pre-treating the paper with an extra external size can help stop any bleeding, also the paper needs to be treated with a pounce of gum sandarac before writing.  The gum needs to be finely pounded in a mortar and pestle, and stored in a silk pouch, plus kept as free from contamination as possible.
Using good quality A5 pieces of paper, we worked on some pieces of writing using varying ideas, layouts, and media.  For the 12 of us there, it was a busy and interesting day – in fact more time would have been nice, but we kept the 6 hours so fully occupied, that I was exhausted by the time we went home.  Julie-Ann was flat out all day and we were all appreciative of the effort put in to construction of the workshop and the amount of information imparted.
It was a wonderful day, and our thanks to Julie-Ann for all of her efforts.
Kath McEwen

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