Friday, March 02, 2007

Letters of Art

Hand lettered envelopes and invitations bring a sense of time, age, and formality like no other craft that I know of.

This week, I began hand lettering addresses for a harp dealer who is announcing the grand opening of a new showroom. Those invited are prominent harp makers from around the world. I addressed the letters bound for Europe, today.

y pen nib is made of a very thin metal. It has a split running from the tip to the middle of the nip where there is a hole cut out that holds the ink allowing for multiple words to be written before another dip into the ink is needed. The split allows the ink to run down to the tip and onto the paper. The split also creates the opportunity for thick and thin lines. If I press just slightly, the tips spread and the ink spreads with it creating a thick line of ink. If I ease up on the pressure, the tips come back together giving me a hairline of ink.

Sometimes the needle-like tip catches on the texture of the paper and flecks of ink are splattered about. This inevitably happens on the last word of the address. Often tiny fragments of paper get trapped in the tip and eventually drag and spread the tip - making it impossible to get a fine line. The nib must be cleaned often.

Using a mixture of Copperplate script and Spencerian Script for my lettering, I pick and choose from each alphabet which letter versions I will use.

I am by no means a professional calligrapher, however I find great enjoyment and a calming effect as the slow graceful lines are drawn. One must not rush, one must not fret - even though this may be the last envelope in possession, and everything rests on getting this word right.

I fight the shaky hands and pounding heart as I hold my breath to begin the name. My pen nib is dipped into the ink, and I begin. No loud sounds, please. Oh, let the phone not ring in the middle of this curve. No stray thoughts, only thick and thin lines, subtle and strong curves.


d. chedwick bryant said...

Beautiful. I've always been pen-obsessed but talentless.

(the doorbell always startles me the most)

Rebecca Finch said...

Thank you for stopping by, Chedwick. Don't worry about being low on talent, much of art can be a learned skill - keep at it if you enjoy it so much!!

Jo Castillo said...

These look like a beautiful painting. Thanks for sharing, good story as well.

Rebecca Finch said...

Thank you, Jo. Yes, it's a little different, but it's still art, so I figured it was okay to share. However,I will draw the line and spare you - even though I categorize cooking as a form of art, I won't be posting my kitchen adventures here.

Anonymous said...

These are so beautiful. Have you ever thought of turning this into a font? (stamp designer begs and pleads)lol!