Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Calligraphy update -- writing brut

One of the sources that I keep returning to for calligraphy inspiration is a book by Denise Lach.  She includes several gorgeous compositions written with a pipette or a coke-can pen, writing instruments that deliberately sacrifice control for serendipity.  I love that kind of art, so I've been trying to get something good with my own crude implements.

I have a coke-can pen, made with a curved piece of a coke can wrapped around a tongue depresser.  The necks of my ink bottles are too narrow to let me dip this pen, so I fill it with the eye droppers.  When the pen goes in certain directions it sputters and produces the most beautiful irregular lines, but in other directions the line has no character at all.  Also the pen runs out of ink too fast, so I'm always having to refill it, after which I get a long passage of too-fat, too-black writing.

coke-can pen
I've been using this pen a lot, hoping that I'll figure out how to use it better, but that doesn't seem to be happening.

I have been using a small coffee-stirrer straw as my pipette substitute, dipping it into the ink and holding a finger on top of the straw to keep it from all running out in a huge blob.  As with the coke-can pen, I can sometimes get beautiful stuttery lines, but they are outnumbered and overpowered by the just plain blah, too-black letters.

coffee stirrer
Don't know if I want to keep trying, or maybe make a new pen, or find a new pipette-type tube, or just stop.  So beautiful when Denise does it, so mediocre when I do.

coke-can pen