Uckfield FM interview

Interviewed on Uckfield FM again on 6 July 2015 about my work as a commissioned calligrapher and involvement with the Uckfield Art Trail!

Alphabition @ Memorabilia Exhibition

Very excited to be submitting one of my "cola nib" alphabets to the Memorabilia Exhibition  - curated by the very talented Carne Griffiths .

100% of the proceeds from the sale of my work will go to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).

A very special thank you to Tim Benians at Uckfield Framing Company for sponsoring the framing of this artwork. We both agree it's a very worthwhile cause.

Do come along to have a look at over 150 works of art with the chance to buy originals and prints at very competitive prices!

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Calligraphy through the Looking Glass!

Not quite Alice through the .... but when I start folk off in calligraphy (or any new hand for that matter) we always work BIG. It doesn't necessarily feel natural but there's a method in this madness!

Working big (eg a size 0 down to 1.5 William Mitchell broad edge nib) is a bit like looking in one of those magnified make-up mirrors that show every blemish and pore! A tad scary to start off with but the idea is that all the flaws will be highlighted and these are so important to see if progress is to be made.

Working too small will disguise any areas that are not quite working - especially the relationship between thins and thicks, where oval shapes meet a down stroke, the neatness of a flag serif, the continuity of serifs and ligatures, the adherence to x-height and base line (more of that soon) - I could go on but you get the idea.

Working big also allows me to more easily guide the eye to the left and right side of the nib to help meet up with a committed stroke. I talk about "white or counter space" - training the eye to look at the white space the pen strokes are leaving and not just the actual pen stroke itself. It's all too tempting to start working with a smaller nib as this is more tempting for the pieces most folk will want to scribe as finished artwork.

 

Be patient - you'll get there and believe me it's worth it. When you've worked small for a while and go back to a big nib it's so satisfying to see it working- really working! Like all new skills - learn to walk before you run. Keep calm and keep practising your calligraphy! 

Ooops! What happens when you make a mistake?

Always a popular question along with "Do you have to start all over again?". At some point every calligrapher makes one - a MISTAKE! Yikes! So what to do?

I try my level best to avoid them. I am very fortunate in that the majority of my commissioned work is on manuscript calfskin vellum which is much easier to correct mistakes on than paper. It should be possible to make a correction on vellum so well that the naked eye will not see the correction. Paper is a bit trickier as the fibres can be worked loose (raising the nap too much) and the ink may then go on to bleed even after treatment.

I really do make very few mistakes - time is money - but I did make a mistake recently. I left a painted letter out of a word which was painted in Scarlet Lake - and all reds have a propensity to smudge. Fortunately I had sourced some fabulous erasers from an American company some years ago called SicPress. I have 3  which range from coarse, medium to fine and they are the best I have found yet. Working with a scalpel and ink rubber can be quite vicious whereas these erasers work like a dream - not only removing the paint but they don't "raise the nap" too much. After the paint or ink has been completely removed a light burnish with a bone folder over some crystal parchment followed by a small application of powdered gum sandrac and Bob's your Uncle! The result on paper will never be as satisfactory so I really am lucky I mainly work on vellum!

For the love of letters!

Just back from my morning workshop - passing on my love of letters A-Z! Today we worked on "mark making" - the initial patterns the broad edged pen produces so beautifully! How exciting to see the progress onto the first few letters of the alphabet - we got to "F" and then all too soon it was time to pack up. Looking forward to next week's calligraphy workshop in Uckfield .....

Je suis ici!

Welcome to my new web site! For many years I have worked under my maiden name of Smith. This has become slightly confusing for folk so I am now known to all as Tina Warren! I hope you enjoy the images of my work and I'll post more as the ink dries!