A great weekend was had by all the participants in Olive Bull's workshop on ruling and folding pens. Olive is repeating the workshop today and tomorrow! What a dynamo!
Day one saw us using ruling pens exclusively. Learning how to use the pen correctly was an interesting exercise for more than one of us. Olive very generously allowed us to use her very special pens including the gold plated Brody pen. Many envious calligraphers would have like to take it home with them.
Day two of the weekend workshop saw us exploring Folded Pens. Olive had very generously made four pens for each of us, donating Frank Bull’s bamboo garden stakes for one of them. Thanks Frank!
Many of the participants’ heads were still buzzing from the Ruling Pen’s workshop of the previous day where most of us had learnt many new skills. Surely, we thought, Olive would agree that we had all worked very hard and allow us a quiet, easy day. But NO! This day was just as full on, with Olive cajoling, encouraging and spurring us on. Thank you, Olive, for being so generous with your time, resources and equipment including the very precious Brody pen.
We started the day making marks with the four pens Olive had made us. These included a bottle top pen, a clarinet reed pen and two pens that rival the Luthis pens. There was a general agreement that the best marks were made on the layout paper and couldn’t be reproduced on ‘proper” paper. Isn’t that always the way?
Next was using our folding pen of choice and scribing a word (taken from a quote) in large letters in the middle of a page. This word was then surrounded by the rest of the quote in smaller letters. This David and Goliath layout was very effective for showcasing expressive folded pen lettering.
We moved on to developing our very own alphabet. This is a challenging exercise and I think that I unintentionally ‘made up’ an alphabet that looked suspiciously like some other alphabets I have seen. We then used these letters to write a quote of our choice to see how the letters fitted together or if some adjustments needed to be made to the letterforms.
Just when I thought we might have a lull we were actively encouraged to experiment with either the ruling pens or the folded pens or both together to produce pieces and patterns with or without colour.
Then it was “clear the decks!” and time to turn all these examples into a Japanese style book.
To Olive’s credit all but one person finished their book for the final display. What an achievement! And how lovely to have a resource that can be used and referred to as well as potentially being added to in the future.
Thank you, Olive, for another memorable workshop.
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