The Scriptorium is my work journal; a place for show and tell.


Clay tablets, Cuneiform script, and Coffee

Seen in the morning newspaper over my morning coffee:

The Greek philosopher Plato revealed the fears some Egyptians expressed when he wrote of the Egyptian myth that the god Thoth invented writing and then boasted to the chief god, Amun, that it was an "elixir of memory and wisdom."

In reply, Amun predicted trouble for readers and writers.

He said it would cause forgetfulness in writers because they would not use their memory. Moreover, he predicted, readers would give only the appearance of knowing things while remaining "ignorant and hard to get along with, since they are not wise but only appear wise."

Earliest Writings, Chicago Tribune, September 25

I think I better share this on Facebook.  Then maybe someone will TWEET it.


My Favorite Things: Ultrasonic cleaner

Here's how I set up my ultrasonic cleaner:  I put a small, glass jar of cleaning solution in the water bath.  Today I am using sumi ink, so the solution is 1/2 Simple Green, 1/2 water.  When I'm using acrylic inks, I use a cleaning solution with ammonia.  Sometimes, I use both in which case I have two little glass jars in the water bath.

To clean, I wipe the nib free of excess ink, remove it from the pen staff, plop it in the solution and let it go for 90 seconds or more.  Then I take the nibs out and run them under running water, dry it off and it's ready to go!  No scrubbing with toothbrushes, which can effect the tines.  No need to clean under the reservoir which can bend it.

I only use the ultrasonic cleaner for broad nibs; pointed nibs are easy enough to clean without it. 

Since I've been using the ultrasonic cleaner, my broad nibs are lasting a lot longer.  If the phone rings or someone comes to the door, it's a simple matter of plopping the nib into the cleaning solution and giving it an ultrasonic 'spin!'

How about you?  Do you use an ultrasonic cleaner?


My Favorite Things: Walnut Ink

Of all my most favorite-est things, walnut ink is one of my most favorite-est!  I love the warm, rich color, the fine hairlines, the waterbased ease of clean up; the way it lays down on paper.  I am partial to earth tones and walnut ink is the most lovely brown earthy color.

Last year, I participated in a weekly challenge on WetCanvas.  When it was my turn to challenge the group, I chose a list of musical terminology.  We were to choose a word or words to interpret.  I did several, but my favorite was:

Klangfarbenmelodie (Ger): "tone-color-melody", distribution of pitch or melody among instruments, varying timbre

I rendered it in walnut ink because I knew that walnut ink has varied properties depending upon what kind of nib is used to lay it down.  The ink is distributed in a variety of ways, but in the same 'tone-color-melody among instruments':

Walnut Ink CalligraphyThe large gothic hand was laid down using a 3.8 Pilot parallel pen, the copperplate script with a Brause 66 EF pointed nib and the upright italic using a Osmiroid fine nib dipped in walnut ink.

Walnut Ink Calligraphy

Here's a close up:

Walnut Ink Calligraphy

The image above is an extreme clost up so you can see how the walnut ink gathers along the edge of the stroke.  So pretty.

Here's one more done in walnut ink for the same challenge:

dolcissimo: very sweetly

I frequently use walnut ink for preparatory lettering because it is so easy to clean up. 


Teeny, tiny

I'm working on a commissioned piece; lots and lots of words.  Copperplate with an x-height of one tenth of an inch.

Teeny, tiny.  Stiff sore fingers.  Tired eyes.  Stiff shoulders.

Hot shower.  Early to bed.





I can't wait!  I'm getting a paper shipment from John Neal soon.  Hopefully, tomorrow!

I can never decide whether I love new paper or new nibs more.  Or new ink.

I think I love paper best.  Unless it ink.  Or nibs.

What about you?  What is your favorite?


Just Add Water

I wore out another ultrasonic cleaner and had to order a new one.  This new one cracks me up!  I know it will make me smile every time I use it!


My Favorite Things: Photo Light Box

Here's an easy project:  make your very own photo light box.  I've been wanting one of these for some time so I did a quick internet search and found instructions here.  What could be cheaper (and easier!)

Ok, so it's not great looking but it really is a handy little tool!

And here you see another of my favorite things:  this cute little glass pencil sharpener.


My Favorite Things: Happy Brides

I've been working on a seating chart for a very special bride.  The lettering is all done and today I've been sketching in leaves and vines onto an overlay of tracing paper and painting some test leaves on scrap paper.  My sweet bride and her fiance' stopped to peek before I start inking and painting and they loved it!  They were so excited and so happy!  So was I.

I love this job.  I get to do what I love and make people smile.  And that makes ME happy!


Livescribe Echo

The wave of the future?

Knowing my affinity for writing instruments, my husband showed me an article about pens in his Bloomberg Businessweek magazine, entitled No Country for Old Pens.  The title intrigued me but upon reading the article, I thought the title writer must have experienced a bit of disconnect from the article itself, which was about the newest digital writing tools and applications.  From the article:

To save your handwritten pages, the Echo requires paper with a faint pattern of powder-blue dots—a technology developed by Anoto, a Livescribe partner. (The tiny camera below the nib uses those dots as reference points.) Livescribe offers on its site. . .special notebooks and Moleskine-style bound journals. . .

At $199 a crack, I'm not likely to be the owner of a Livescribe Echo anytime soon, but reading about it did make me think about the possible applications for 'live scribes' AKA calligraphers.


My Favorite Things: My "Eraser Station"

Here's my 'erase and correct' station.  I thought I'd share a picture while it is still neat and tidy after yesterday's spill clean-up.

This is one of my favorite banker's wells.  It's got great nooks and crannies for supplies.  As you can see, I've got quite an assortment of erasers at hand--some erasers work better on some papers than others, don't you think?  I also have an exacto knife--some papers will allow a gently scraping to remove ink, a tiny little brush for sweeping away the erasure crumbs, and a water filled brush.  Sometimes scraping and erasing can lift the fibers of some papers, and I've found that gently brushing over the spot with a damp brush and then laying another piece of paper over it while it's still damp and pressing down will lay those fibers right down.  Well, sometimes it works.  

Did you notice that I used the words 'some' and 'sometimes' a lot?  That's because nothing works every time.

Do you have any tricks for correcting mistakes and erasing errors?  If so, I'd love to hear about your techniques.