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Topics - AnasaziWrites

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Open Flourish | General Discussion / Merry Christmas Everyone
« on: December 21, 2014, 06:10:20 PM »
I just finished having coffee with the morning paper and was thinking how wonderful it is to have so many nice people on this forum to write to and share the joy of beautiful writing.

Have a lovely Christmas. everyone.


Spencerian Script / For Your Viewing Pleasure
« on: December 03, 2014, 10:22:12 AM »
(note:  I'm not sure this is the correct place on the Forum to place this post, so Erica, feel free to move it. It has many elements of roundhand, as most of the miniscules are shaded, but the shape of some letters, particularly the o's, looks Spencerian).

While visiting relatives in Maryland, the eastern shore of the Chesapeake, I visited an antique/flea market, ever on the lookout for the elusive sealed box of Principality #1's or the undiscovered copy of the Declaration of Independence. No luck so far, but ran across a bunch of letters and other written material from a long time family of Talbot county, a member of which recently died, hence, probably, the appearance of this material in one little shop.

This piece, a copy of an auditor's report concerning an estate settlement, was penned by a clerk in 1874. I find it very pleasing to the eye, and particularly interesting in that this was not the fine work of a master penman suitable for presentation, but rather the every day work of a clerk, a Mr. Frank Turner, who made several copies for the concerned parties as a product of his every day work.

In particular, I was curious as to how he made his thins so very, very fine. I'm not sure if the scan can pick them up, but I've never seen thins this thin with one exception, a card by A. R. Dunton I have. The loops on his ascenders and descenders are so narrow, yet distinct, even the shaded f's, and such $ signs.

I wonder if this might have been done by a quill. If not, what kind of point might make this kind of thins? Any thoughts? I've tried a lot of vintage points, including the dream points, but can't get thins like this, even with walnut ink (of course, this may be the result of my skill level). This appears to be an iron gall ink--very black.
What do you think of this?  How was it done?

Tools & Supplies / Nibs
« on: October 31, 2014, 09:17:29 AM »
I know, the number of days depends on how much per day you use the nib, so, assume you use it for one hour per day. So, if you use it more or less than that, convert the number of days to the equivalent of one hour per day. I'm pretty sure a similar poll has been run in the past, but with so many new forum members, it would be interesting to see current results. And make this for your most commonly used nib. Comments regarding differences among nibs and ink and paper used are welcome.

Word of the Day / Secret Commotion - Word Challenge
« on: October 16, 2014, 09:04:02 AM »
Anyone want to practise ascenders/descenders (not limited to pointed pen)?
Try these. I've always found double letters the most challenging, as they both have to look good--one mistake in one really standing out. As you see, I certainly need the practice (Yes, these are real 12 letter words I ran across in a NY Times puzzle years ago).

From time to time, I run across articles in the newspaper about penmanship, letter writing, cursive, and topics related to our passion for the pen which I'd like to share. Feel free to comment and/or add your own submissions. I'll start with this short article from The Wall street Journal, May 18-19, 2012. It certainly caught my attention.

Tools & Supplies / Global US Postage Stamps
« on: September 08, 2014, 11:13:55 AM »
Hi Everyone,

In the Postal Bloopers thread, the lament was made that only Christmas related Global stamps (US) were now available at the USPS site. That is true, but the USPS is still selling uncut sheets of two previous issues of global postage forever stamps on eBay. Not sure why they don't offer these on the website itself, but they are available on eBay at face value (currently $1.15 each) right along side other listings for these stamps at a premium. You do have to buy the whole, uncut sheet, which means several standard sheets on one page, either 80 or 50 for these stamps, but hey, with all the international people participating in the letter exchanges, we're going to need these over time anyway. And they are pretty.
And for those who don't know, the term "die-cut" refers to the perferations that allow individual stamps to be taken off the sheet easily. Don't get the uncut ones (different listings) which would require you to individually cut out the stamps.

The stamps are here:

Tools & Supplies / Inkwells Anyone?
« on: August 08, 2014, 01:42:02 PM »
I must confess to being a sucker for a pretty face inkwell. They can be so much more than just an ink holder. Anyone else like these bits of desk candy? If so, post a picture or three here--it would be fun to see.

My current favorite:

Tools & Supplies / Bullock Holder vs. the Hourglass
« on: July 21, 2014, 10:06:40 AM »
A few of you have noticed in some other of my posts a Bullock Oblique Penholder and wanted a closer look. Here it is, along with an Hourglass holder for comparison:

The Bullock Oblique Penholder, with the paper sleeve it came in:

Open Flourish | General Discussion / Lookin' Good and Movin' Fast
« on: July 16, 2014, 06:44:12 PM »
Having received a number of beautifully calligraphed letters (via the Summer Letter Exchange), some the worse for wear, some delayed (the record--17 days), and some perhaps lost for good, I'll pass along a few tips to insure, or at least improve the odds of, a speedy and good looking delivery. After all, you spent time making it look good, right?

1.  The most obvious--get the address and zip code right. A wrong house number, and it comes back with ugly stickers or writing saying it can not be delivered or NSA--no such address. A wrong zip code and at best it's returned to the mail center and redelivered after a week or two with multiple cancellations (ugly). At worst, it just disappears.

2.  Have it hand cancelled. This may eliminate those ugly barcodes at the bottom and a scrawling cancellation at the top. Maybe. Some of my hand cancelled envelopes have been put through the sorting machine anyway, resulting in two overlapping cancellations and the barcode--really ugly, so

3.  Make the hand cancelled envelope nonmachinable (thus no barcode and machine cancellation). The PO says a letter is unmachinable if it is either too thick--greater than 1/4 inch), or lumpy (non-uniform thickness), or has rounded corners, or is stiff or contains a non-bendable object (like a pen) (can't run around in the machine), or has a clasp or other closure device (like a wax seal), or is a square greater than 5 x 5 inches, or if the address is parallel to the shorter side of a rectangle, or is non-rectangular, or the length divided by the height of the rectangle is less than 1.3 or greater than 2.5. Phwew!
Note:  if the letter is nonmachinable, there is a surcharge of 21 cents added to the regular postage.. the price of beauty. I've used all these things to avoid the machine, the most reliable and easiest is to make the envelope stiff--I enclose a piece of corrugated cardboard the size of the interior of the envelope.

4.  If the envelope is machinable, keep the return address away from the center of the envelope, whether on the back or front. The machine may read the return address as the recipient's address, and off it goes on a wild goose chase when the wrong barcode is applied. Eventually, a human may intervene and get it to the correct address. The last one thus addressed took 17 days to arrive (and this was from an address a couple of miles away).

5.  If the ink you're using is not waterproof (or at least water resistant), spray it with a sealer.

I'll add more hints as I think of them. Please add yours to this thread if you will. Let's keep those beautiful letters coming.

Spencerian Script / A little Duntonian Anyone?
« on: July 10, 2014, 06:44:21 PM »
Hi everyone,

I always found it interesting that what we call Spencerian today might well be called Duntonian, were it not for the vigorous marketing efforts of Platt Rogers Spencer's sons in spreading their father's method of writing across the country. Although A. R. Dunton was a contemporary of Spencer and outlived him by decades, was a superior penman, and also wrote teaching manuals and taught as well, and published his method of writing well before P. R. Spencer, Dunton remains much less known and the credit for "inventing" this style of writing is given to Spencer. Oh, the power of marketing.

For those who may not know A. R. Dunton, I'm attaching a bio from Vol. 1 of Michael Sull's superb book Spencerian Script and Ornamental Penmanship (do get a copy if you can find one).

Following the bio, I'm attaching a scan of one of Dunton's business cards (I was lucky to buy on eBay about 10 years ago). The card is about 4 1/2 by 2 inches. This is not engraved--to say it was engraved would probably make Dunton whirl in his grave--but rather done with a pen, probably a quill he sharpened himself. The x-height on the smallest words--Summer and Residence--is about 1/32nd of an inch, and his hairlines the finest I've ever seen. Just incredible.
(If anyone has another original example, please post a scan of it here, if you will, I'd love to see more of his work)

20+ years ago, I dabbled a bit with Roundhand, or copperplate as it was generally called at that time.
This particular piece was my favorite, my inspiration.
Do you recognize the writer?

Introductions / Warm Greetings from Atlanta
« on: June 16, 2014, 05:13:07 PM »
Hi Everyone,

Being naturally reticent to post on the internet (I may be the only one without a Facebook or Twitter account), I've been gently encouraged by one of the forum's wonderful participants to join in the fun here. I've had an interest in hand written letters for most of my life, and studied roundhand a bit in 1991(?) after I saw someone in a department store writing Christmas cards for gifts bought in the store. My inspiration was Bickham's Universal Penman. Such beautiful writing. After a few lessons from the Christmas card writer, I pretty much concentrated on copperplate for a year or two and pretty much put aside pen and ink when things got busy, as life can.  I'd address my Christmas cards, and ultimately my own wedding invitations (in 1999) but not much skill remained. Still it was fun. My other hobbies, particularly photography and running, took up most of my spare time. About 10 years ago, I began admiring examples of Spencerian done by the masters. Oh, what skill and beauty. I collected a few books, some original examples, looked into Iampeth and all they had to offer. Not being too quick to pull the trigger, I decided to take a stab at Spencerian myself in 2012. What's to lose? With a little encouragement from Michael Sull (and an exemplar from him), I bought all of his books and proceeded to massacre paper with a pointed pen. I'm still very much of a beginner, a slow learner, and legions of trees still give their lives to support my addiction (writing Spencerian). Today's deadline for the Summer letter exchange prompted my delurking at this point in time today. Nothing delights me more than a hand written letter in the mail. Let's have some fun.


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