Category: Calligraphy

Joy and Sorrow

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Today I practiced some italic calligraphy. Truth be told, I struggle with anything that looks flow-y. It feels as unnatural to me as forcing myself to write with my left hand, and I often come out at the end of it feeling frustrated and tired. Not frustrated enough to quit, though. 🙂

The poem Joy and Sorrow is one of my favorite poems. I learned to read at a very young age, and since my mom is a voracious reader, I often putter about her bookshelves looking for things to read. I think I was in third grade when I first came across her collection of Khalil Gibran poems, and this particular one really caught my attention. The lyrical quality of the words and the way they painted a picture in my mind started a lifelong fascination with poetry.

On Joy and Sorrow
by Khalil Gibran

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, “Joy is greater thar sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

Pen: Nemosine Neutrino with 1.1mm nib
Ink: The pen is loaded with Diamine Amber, then I dip the tip of the nib in De Atramentis Thomas Alva Edison for the red variation.

Blending Inks in Calligraphy

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Since I’ve been playing with inks for my new journal refill, I thought I’d try something I often see many of my calligraphy friends do–blend inks. I admit I’m a bit finicky about this. I like to thoroughly clean my pens before changing inks because I don’t like the inks mixing. Deliberately mixing inks for calligraphy is pretty interesting, though. I put a teeny-tiny drop of ink in a palette, dip the tip of the nib (say that ten times, fast) in the ink and write. For the photo above, the ink in the pen is Kyoiro Soft Snow of Ohara, and I dipped it in Kyo No Oto Yamabukiiro. It’s even more fascinating to see the effect in person.

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For this page above, I used a pen loaded with Kyo No Oto Yamabukiiro, dipped in De Atramentis Thomas Alva Edison to give it that autumn-y feel. It’s actually quite fun to do, and the resulting calligraphic work looks colorful and vibrant.

Psalm 90:17

Here’s one of my favorite verses in uncial and Baybayin (ancient Philippine script). I think the words of the verse are beautiful. I love writing verses in uncial because I think the style matches the words very well. Also, I can’t write in beautiful, flowy script to save my life. ^_^

Psalm 90:17

Psalm 90:17

Pens and Inks used:

Franklin Christoph Model 02, 1.1mm stub – De Atramentis Thomas Alva Edison
Bexley Corona in Blueberry Cream, 1.1mm stub – Kyo Iro Soft Snow of Ohara

My First Calligraphy Spot Meet

Calligraphy Spot Meet (6-17-2017)

Last Saturday, my husband and I ventured out of the South to  brave the (infamous) EDSA traffic and attend a Calligraphy Spot meet. I’ve been an admin for this wonderful FB group for a while, but I have not been able to attend any of the meets until last Saturday. We made quite a happy mess at La Creperie Shangri La, spreading out our papers, writing implements, watercolors, and other fun art stuff over their tables, in between delicious bites of crepes, salads, and pasta.

It was a wonderful experience, hanging out with people who so obviously have fallen in love with the written word and all the different kinds of art forms that celebrate it. I conducted an informal sit-down class about Baybayin (oftentimes incorrectly referred to as Alibata), a pre-colonial way of writing from the Philippines. It was an interesting experience, teaching the basic principles, but the group was eager to learn, and so they were Baybayin-literate by the end of it. The basic principle is quite easy to learn. Recognizing the characters will come with time and practice.

What’s more interesting for me was how each person’s creativity shone through in any kind of calligraphy they do. After teaching them how to read and write in Baybayin, we each applied it through writing using our own styles and preferred tools. We used brush pens, quills, parallel pens, automatic pens, brush pens, watercolor brushes, and more.

After the class, we puttered around and talked about art. Some were doing watercolor paintings, sharing artworks to take home afterwards. I enjoyed looked at other people’s output. I especially enjoyed looking through one of the members’ visual journals. It’s an A6-sized Hobonichi that contains little drawings and paintings and small notes of what went on each day, including what meals he ate. It was so cute, and each page seems so alive and vibrant.

I’m usually quite shy in social situations, but in any meet that involves a common love for art and art tools (such as calligraphy meets, pen meets, artambays), I feel quite at home. You’re not pressured to be anybody you’re not. You can be as socially awkward as you are, nobody minds. The common love for artistic expression is like a supersized welcome mat that invites you in and makes you want to stay.

I’m hoping to join the next Calligraphy Spot meet, and I’m especially looking forward to a meet in the South area soon. 🙂

Why Calligraphy?

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I joined a group of calligraphy enthusiasts on FB, Calligraphy Spot. It’s a fun group. Everybody’s nice and accommodating, you learn a lot from the other members, and there are weekly calligraphy themes. This week’s theme is “Why Calligraphy?”, which made me wonder at my fascination with it, even if I have a love-hate relationship with it. My answer was because I love words. I like how stringing letters together make words, and stringing words together make up phrases and sentences that mean something. A physical manifestation of something as abstract as thoughts.

I really want to learn copperplate or Spencerian calligraphy, but I’m afraid that I’ve stopped and started this several times because I feel like it goes against my natural hand. I am more at ease with uncial calligraphy, block lettering, and the only kind of dikit-dikit calligraphy that I can manage through brush pens. In any case, I enjoy my attempts at calligraphy and I enjoy looking at other people’s works. I appreciate how people can make words aesthetically pleasing in many different ways using different tools.