Author Topic: Calligraphy guilds disappearing  (Read 1993 times)

Offline jeanwilson

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Re: Calligraphy guilds disappearing
« Reply #30 on: December 03, 2017, 10:50:03 AM »
None of my comments are direct responses to anything that has already been written on this topic. I am simply sharing a perspective that might clarify a couple things.

20th and 21st century calligraphy guilds have never been and currently are not organizations that will give members the education or tools needed to build a serious career in calligraphy/lettering arts. Guilds are clubs to welcome newcomers and provide camaraderie for the intermediate and advanced scribes. Many volunteer hours are required to keep the guilds going. Guilds are not run by professional scribes. Top-notch professionals do not have time to run guilds.

It is not fair to blame the demise of guilds on contemporary trends or the failure to embrace contemporary trends. Some guilds die a natural death because the founders have moved on and the remaining members do not have enough intermediate and advanced scribes to keep things going. Guilds in large urban areas tend to have an easier time maintaining the group because of the larger population, but there are examples of very small guilds in remote areas that have been very successful for many years.

Each guild will decide on their own if they want to be more traditional or branch out into more contemporary trends. Contemporary trends are no threat to the traditional arts. They coexist peacefully. People are free to embrace one or the other - or both. IMHO, fretting about contemporary trends is a complete waste of time. Those who put in the hours to really master the traditional styles are simply people who choose to put in the hours. If you don't have the time, there is no crime in puttering around with the easy stuff. Ballet dancers do not look down their noses at the square dancers or line dancers. If you only have the time and skill to square dance or line dance - that is still better than just sitting on the couch with your beer and Cheetos in front of the TV.

Sites like Behance are filled with calligraphers/lettering artists who are doing just fine without guilds. If you aspire to be a professional and make a decent living, you will find the classes and mentors that will further your career. If you think a guild will give you all the education you need, you are most likely going to be very disappointed when you take a few local classes, build your website, and then wonder where the customers are.

This will sound harsh, but it is true. Artists are a dime a dozen. When I was a young graphic designer, right out of college, my first boss made that comment. I was in shock. I thought I was special. But he was right. By taking an objective look at my work compared to the work of the designers he hired to work on the big budget jobs, I could see that I was a *farm team* artist working on the little jobs for the clients with little budgets. It would have taken a lot of work for me to become a big-league artist.

That's how the world works. No matter how much you love what you do, there are a ton of other people who love the same activity. There will always be a lot of competition in the world of art and design. If you want to be top-dog in your chosen field, you will have to work very hard. Your local guild will not be your stepping stone to a successful career. The majority of people in guilds are hobbyists. Personally, I love the hobbyists and I am happy that the guild system is chugging along. Guilds offer so much to their communities - but they are not organizations created for professional scribes or to help those people who aspire to be professionals. The rigorous training required to be a professional would not be very welcoming to most of the beginners or those who simply want a club to support their hobby

Hopefully these comments do not ruffle any feathers. I've been observing these topics for 25+ years. Anything relating to art tends to generate strong opinions - but there is a lot of common ground if people want to look for it.

Offline AnasaziWrites

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Re: Calligraphy guilds disappearing
« Reply #31 on: December 05, 2017, 09:03:05 AM »

To further illustrate. I cannot hone a knife. I had a good friend who passed on . His name was George Yanagita. An exceptional guill cutter but more importantly he made the knives from tempered steel.  To have one was really an honor as he made a limited amount and was fussy as to whom he sold his knives to.  I had two of them. They currently retail for $ 225. and up in price , if you can find one !  George was world renown for the knives. That history is quite accurate.   I am enclosing a photo.
Beautiful quill knives. A well made knife is a treasure.

Offline AAAndrew

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Re: Calligraphy guilds disappearing
« Reply #32 on: December 05, 2017, 10:48:19 AM »
One piece of information for @sybillevz, the oblique pen and oblique holder were invented, and patented, by Sampson Mordan and William Brockeden in 1831 in Britain. Quills don't come in oblique, obviously, so these are purely the invention of the steel pen period.

https://thesteelpen.com/2017/10/27/origins-of-the-oblique-pen-and-oblique-holder/

Since we've also deveated off into quill knives, I'll go ahead and ask a question. All of the antique ones I've seen are flat-bladed, thin and long. There doesn't seem to be anything terribly special about them except for their general shape and the quality of the manufacture. Are the knives you're selling, Jerry, different? They seem to have a convex and a flat side. Is that true, or am I reading the picture wrong? I'm genuinely curious as I'm becoming interested in learning how to cut quills and the proper tool is one part of that skills.

Andrew
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Offline sybillevz

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Re: Calligraphy guilds disappearing
« Reply #33 on: December 05, 2017, 11:28:53 AM »
Thank you for the info @AAAndrew ! I remembered someone here saying that the oblique holder was a british invention, but couldn't find it anymore...

It's not surprising to me that this invention came after the shift to pointed pen (quill then steel) : in books about the teaching of handwriting, authors sometimes say that the pupil has to be forced to keep his paper fairly straight on the table because they naturally take and unsuitable position, turning their paper too much... Learning how to write involved training the body, arm and hand, to behave properly - that is still true today though.

As for the quill knife, I have seen it illustrated more often in French copybooks : it was often curved, as Jerry's knives are. But some books do show a smaller, and narrower blade. If I'm not mistaken, the curved blade helps carving the quill while the straight blade is better to cut the slit and make the final "nibbing". Not sure this is a correct explanation, I'm going to have to look into this ;)
« Last Edit: December 05, 2017, 11:36:36 AM by sybillevz »

Offline AAAndrew

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Re: Calligraphy guilds disappearing
« Reply #34 on: December 05, 2017, 12:07:41 PM »
This one looks like a very nice example.

http://www.vintagepens.com/quill_knife.shtml

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Offline JERRY TRESSER

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Re: quil cutting
« Reply #35 on: December 20, 2017, 06:29:57 AM »
From my own collection. A Victorian Quill Cutter from the 17th century. Elephant Ivory, with a small knife on the back to be used for scraping and possibly some touch up. Quills as well as reeds are a wonderful writing tool. its always the tool that dictates the form. Having the ability to shape a feather or reed to a specific cut is a wonderful opportunity for broad edged users when developing hands that have different angle requirements.   There is allot of information out there on quill cutting.  I prepared a small little photo example on how to prepare the quill if anyone is interested. I use it when teaching quill cutting.   JERRY

Offline AnasaziWrites

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Re: quil cutting
« Reply #36 on: December 20, 2017, 09:24:34 AM »
From my own collection. A Victorian Quill Cutter from the 17th century. Elephant Ivory, with a small knife on the back to be used for scraping and possibly some touch up. Quills as well as reeds are a wonderful writing tool. its always the tool that dictates the form. Having the ability to shape a feather or reed to a specific cut is a wonderful opportunity for broad edged users when developing hands that have different angle requirements.   There is allot of information out there on quill cutting.  I prepared a small little photo example on how to prepare the quill if anyone is interested. I use it when teaching quill cutting.   JERRY
@JERRY TRESSER
I went to your website (which is terrific by the way) but didn't see the quill cutting information. Would you post a link to it here?
Thanks very much.
Also, are quill cutting knives, like the elephant ivory one you show here, still being made, or does one have to look for a vintage one?

Offline JERRY TRESSER

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Re: Calligraphy guilds disappearing
« Reply #37 on: December 20, 2017, 09:52:35 AM »
Send me an email and i will put the photos together on the process for quill cutting.  I use it when i teach as a reference . It would not be on my website. This knife i believe is from 1865. Queen Victorias cutlery. I have had it in my possession for 50 years. I seriously doubt any kind is being made. Offered Yes !   

I recently met a former student who did purchase one of these cutters from Ebay..  They  do sell them.

 This little machine cuts the feathers  beautifully, makes the point,    puts in the split. For pointed pen work its ideal, the little knife in the back  allows the nib to be shaped and cut further if you want to make it into a broad edged nib.   

Allot of the people who i come into contact with always prefer the feather because of its uniqueness.   Have a safe holiday. JERRY

Offline AnasaziWrites

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Re: Calligraphy guilds disappearing
« Reply #38 on: December 20, 2017, 10:12:45 AM »
@JERRY TRESSER
Email Message sent.
M.

Offline JERRY TRESSER

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Re: Calligraphy guilds disappearing
« Reply #39 on: December 20, 2017, 01:08:47 PM »
For those interested, when i teach quill cutting, i use the knife below for beginners. Partilcipants are required to  also have a thumb guard which is not included in the photo.  Any questions, please dont hesitate to contact me directly.  I do also offer a step by step (13) photos from beginning to end on cutting and curing the feathers for use.  JERRY