Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

Just when I think I've seen it all...along comes a client who wants to present cutting boards and cheese stones to winners of a local tennis tournament! Four. Of each.

After practicing on scrap wood, I did the lettering on paper, then transferred it in chalk before taking the woodburning tool to it.

The first pass was a little funky. Although I had sanded and steel-wooled the area lightly, there was still some kind of wax or oil on the surface.

 After sanding and steel-wooling again, a second pass gave a little more definition.

The cheese stones were a little easier--and more forgiving. Slate is so soft I could just scratch off any errant blobs of paint and after wiping with a damp paper towel, it didn't show at all. Since the surface was rather uneven, I stuck with monoline and used a new-to-me Montana Acrylic marker (refillable!) with an extra-fine tip.

Certainly not perfect, but way more useful than trophies!

Generous Jo

One of the great things about the blogosphere, of course, is that we can virtually meet and get to know people who share our passions, however esoteric and obscure they may be (the passions, not the people).  Now I'm willing to bet there's a pretty small percentage of folks on the planet who even know what "dinky dips" are, let alone have figured out a way to make them more elegant and fun.  Enter the wonderful Jo Miller, calligrapher extraordinaire who recently surprised me with a gift of one of her ingenious creations.  "This holder is made from a piece of driftwood reclaimed from Lake Maurepas in southeast Louisiana," she says.  "It has a hand-rubbed finish which feels smooth as glass."  And, I might add, is so light that filling the dinky dip with ink probably doubles its weight.  Thank you, Jo!

Jo has made these available in her etsy shop, where she also has some darling ones made of reclaimed beadboard.  Dinky dips are a necessity for PPPs (Pointed Pen People)--so easy to see and control the amount of ink on the nib.  A wonderful gift for yourself or a calligraphy friend...and guaranteed to take your lettering up a notch!  At least that's what I'm hoping...

Everything Old is New Again

I was walking through West Elm on my way to somewhere else when I spotted these dishes and snapped some photos with my phone.  West Elm is a little too trendy for me, but if Offhand Flourishing is hip, I guess I'm cooler than I thought!  I haven't sleuthed it but the bird looks suspiciously like something out of E. A. Lupfer's  Ornate Pictorial Calligraphy.

The deer and the horse don't have the same graceful thicks and thins, but the idea is definitely there.

I didn't notice it in the store, but according to their website they also have a snowflake, mandala-like design:
 West Elm photo
So I guess it should come as no surprise that Pottery Barn, which is also owned by Williams-Sonoma, has also used calligraphy in their holiday bedding design.

Pottery Barn photo
In this case the flourishings are relegated to the background, but I think they really make the design:

Pottery Barn photo
Pottery Barn photo
And for the truly obsessed dedicated, you can complement the ensemble with scribbly sheets!  Couldn't name the hand, but it looks to be French.

Pottery Barn photo
Pottery Barn photo
So I wondered if this was a running theme in the corporation, and headed to the Williams-Sonoma website.  Sure enough.  Napkins, tablecloths, mugs, glasses, plates, and even a cookie jar with calligraphy--some recognizably Spencerian--woven in.  We're taking over!

Williams-Sonoma photo

Disclaimer:  West Elm, Pottery Barn, and Williams-Sonoma have no idea who I am;  just thought these were fun and wanted to pass them along.

Paperweight of the World

I'm always looking for little gifty ideas that involve calligraphy, and this was a pretty simple one. I purchased crystal dome paperweight blanks, which come with pre-glued felt ready to finish off the bottom. A few strokes of the pen with walnut and gold ink, a pretty coin from Buenos Aires, and I had a little keepsake to give a fellow traveler. The same company sells glass coaster blanks as well.