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Messages - Tasmith

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Open Flourish | General Discussion / Re: Whatcha Working On?
« on: March 27, 2022, 03:20:38 PM »
@Tasmith - Chinese people use those mizuhiki knots too, but we call them 盤長 (pán cháng).  These days they tend to be purely decorative.  The different shapes of them have different meanings (signifying friendship, marriage, good luck, etc).  When I was young and my parents sent me to summer school in Taiwan to make sure I knew how to be Chinese, knot-tying was an important part of the curriculum, right alongside language, music, calligraphy, decorative paper-cutting, and martial arts classes.  I see that you're in the DC area!  You could stop by the Folger Shakespeare Library and see some of the beautiful historical documents they have on display - print and manuscript!

--yours truly, K
I'll have to check that out!  Thanks!

Several years ago visited the National Institute of Health's library with the Washington Calligrapher's Guild.  A true pleasure seeing so many beautiful European and Arabic medieval manuscripts.  I was able to schedule a return visit and spent several hours photographing manuscript pages.

Open Flourish | General Discussion / Re: Whatcha Working On?
« on: March 27, 2022, 11:08:33 AM »
Fascinating!  Thank you for sharing!

I remember seeing a few years ago about how the medieval Japanese instead of sealing wax, used cords with knots to seal their letters and packages called Mizuhiki.  The idea was that the knot was very intricate and if cut or untied and then retied (a retied knot would be obvious) the recipient could tell the letter or package was compromised.

The Mizuhiki is still used but for decorative or for special meaning.

Michael Sull, in the tradition of Spencerian instructors, had sent me a personal nameplate and “jotted off” a beautifully flourished handwritten note when I’d purchased some materials from him last year.  I’d noticed a faint baseline in the nameplate, but now noticed baselines in the note only after taking a picture, they were so invisible to my naked eye!

I’m eager to begin addressing the stash of postcards I’ve accumulated once I’ve come to the place of feeling more confident in my writing.
Questions about those baselines:
  • What do people use to make those fine and inconspicuous lines?
  • Do many calligraphers/penhumans make use of such in “finished products?”
  • Is it cheating?  Haha, crow forbid I’d accuse a master penman of this, but I’m curious about the practice. Postcards and other greeting cards don’t lend themselves to use of a lightbox, but should I be working towards nice horizontal baselines without use of a crutch?  My goal is to effect beautiful handwriting for regular correspondence, and it appears that historical examples of such do not make use of these guides.


When I was in Italy many years ago, I made it a point to look at the letters carved in stone to see if the Romans used guide lines.  Yes they did as you can still see very faint scribed guide lines in the stone.  You only notice them if you're looking for them.

I'm on a PC and had trouble downloading the PDF with links to his videos.  I remember contacting him and he gave me a link that worked with PC.  Here's the link to his YouTube channel:  To view the Copperplate lessons scroll to the bottom of the videos page.

Have you tried Washington Calligrapher's Guild?

I'm getting back into learning Copperplate.  I also have Eleanor Winters "Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy", but would recommend two other great books: "The Technique of Copperplate Calligraphy" by Gordon Turner and "Copperplate Calligraphy" by Dick Jackson. 

I bought a couple of Ziller  inks and have been struggling to get them to behave.  I have been meaning to try the home made ink reservoir, so I finally decided to give it a go.  It really seems to be helping the ink flow problems I have been having with the Zillers. I think the ink is flowing much more consistently, rather than dumping out in the first couple of strokes.  Thank you so much for sharing ...I was about ready to give up on my ink!
I just started using Ziller inks, Cardinal Red and thought the "dumping out" was my fault.  Have to write a few strokes on scratch paper after each dip to prevent this.  Will try the tape method.  Thanks!

Thank you Ken.  I'm just starting to learn Copperplate, but I will check out the "The Copperplate Special Interest Group."

Still use your excellent book "Italic Varants" as my go-to reference for Italic.  I reorganized my office recently and once I find where I put your Calligarphy DVD, I'll have another great reference for Copperplate.  Thank you again!

Just ordered this today from John Neal.

Thank you!

These will be most helpful as I just started learning Copperplate using Eleanore Winters' book "Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy", and Gordon Turner's book "The Technique of Copperplate Calligraphy.


Cold in the Philippines, are you in Baguio City?

Tools & Supplies / Re: Light box recommendations
« on: December 31, 2018, 10:55:53 PM »
Cricut Brightpad CLP7000.  Got it at JoAnn Fabrics for about $80.  Love it!  Very thin and dimmable.

I wonder if Ken Fraser was one of the calligraphers?

Workshops & Conference News / Washington Calligraphers Guild 2018 Workshops
« on: February 14, 2018, 09:42:06 AM »
Here's a link to the 2018 Washington Calligraphers Guild workshops:

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