The Cambridge dictionary defines calligraphy as "the art of producing beautiful writing, often created with a special pen or brush". People who practice calligraphy would likely add that it uses specific, basic strokes.
- A Rhodia Dotpad is the perfect place to practice your calligraphy. This Rhodia notepad is staple bound and folds over very cleanly; there are horizontal fold lines embossed into the front cover. Dot grid, 80 fountain-pen friendly acid-free micro-perforated sheets for easy removal.
- Dingbats* Ātopen brush markers work beautifully for calligraphy practice. Each marker pen is double-ended. One end has a tapered brush that is ideal for calligraphy and the other end is fine-tipped. Therefore, it's like having 12 pens that only take up the space of six in your pencil case!
Whether you chose to write in cursive or try your hand at calligraphy, one thing you'll need for sure is ink. There's a whole world of ink out there! More to discover next week, in our sixth and final newsletter in our six week special series on writing instruments.
If you enjoy the feel of ink flowing smoothly while writing, you'll enjoy using a fountain pen. Although they've been around for a long time, the exact date and place when the first one was created are unknown. Historical references to writing instruments made with ink reservoirs date back to 974 AD in Arab Egypt, and during the Renaissance by Leonardo da Vinci.
Each fountain pen is made up of a barrel (the casing for the body of the pen), a grip section, a feed which connects the ink reservoir with the nib, the nib, a cap, and a converter or ink reservoir. A small slit in the nib is what allows ink to flow through it and onto the writing surface. This flow of ink occurs in part due to gravity, but mainly by a process called capillary action, which means that liquid will flow into narrow spaces, even if it's counter to gravity. It's similar, in effect, to the concept of wicking. This also explains why many refer to fountain pens as a "controlled leak".
Nibs are usually made of stainless steel, but some more expensive ones may use gold or palladium. The tip, which makes contact with the paper, is much harder than steel or gold. It's usually made of iridium, a very hard metal. Iridium can be ground into different sizes to make varied line widths, called nib sizes. Common ones include Extra-Fine (EF), Fine (F), Medium (M), and Broad (B).
Extra-fine nibs are good for tiny handwriting, razor sharp lines, and use less ink than broader nibs. However, they may feel less smooth and show less shading and the shimmer effect of specialty inks.
Fine nibs are comparable to most ballpoint and gel pen tips. It's the most popular nib size and since it doesn't use too much ink, the writing dries relatively quickly.
Medium nibs are a great option for beginner fountain pen users since there is less scratchiness than finer nibs; this size tends to write buttery smooth, akin to a gel pen.
Broad nibs are great for specialty inks to show them to their full effect. However, it uses more ink, which takes longer to dry. Also, such nibs may require high quality paper because feathering and bleed-through can result on papers not made for fountain pens.
Fountain pens are considered environmentally friendly since they're refillable. Most use pre-packaged cartridges or converters, which means you can use bottled ink. Some models are made with the ink reservoir built-in, so you can feed ink into the pen directly, without using a converter.
Fountain pens write very smoothly, which is enjoyable and makes for faster writing than a ballpoint pen. Also, using one requires less pressure, so it's more ergonomic and comfortable for long writing sessions and for anyone with a hand, wrist or forearm ailment. One of the reasons for the resurgence in the fountain pen's popularity is how personal it can be. There are an assortment of models, nib sizes, inks, etc. so writers and artists can express their personal style through their choices.
Here are two of our favourite fountain pens available at Figg Street Co. Browse our fountain pen collection to find YOUR favourite!
- Kaweco Brass Sport Fountain Pen - The Kaweco Sport fountain pen dates back to 1911. The brand created a fountain pen that was compact when its cap was on, making it pocket-friendly. It was targeted to specific customers, including sports people, which is where it gets its name.
- Ferris Wheel Press Duck Duck Goose Brush Fountain Pen - Each fountain pen is handmade from copper, brass, and stainless steel for a well balanced yet substantial writing experience. Each intricate detail of the grip is now engraved to enhance the tactility and feedback of a design that is bold as brass.
Fountain pens are one of the most personal writing instruments out there. Their nibs make some of us think of calligraphy, especially when we're new to them. How do calligraphy pens differ from fountain pens? Find out next week!
Now, since you know ballpoint pens are the most commonly purchased pens world-wide, you might be wondering, why would I want to use a rollerball? Moreover, what exactly is a rollerball pen?
Here are just two of the fantastic rollerball pens available at Figg Street Co.
- Lamy Al-Star Rollerball Azure - The casing of this rollerball pen has a distinctive transparent and ergonomic plastic grip for comfortable writing sessions. It also comes with a spring-action chrome plated metal clip. Available in an assortment of colours.
- Lamy Swift White Rollerball Pen -The LAMY swift rollerball pen needs no cap at all (rare among quality rollerball pens). The metal casing has a perforated grip area, which helps you to hold on, and simultaneously gives the pen a stylish look. It has a push-button retractable clip in a classic style that demonstrates the basis of Bauhaus design: form follows function.
Do you enjoy the smooth feel of flowing ink? If you do, you'll want to join us next week when we look at a classic pen with many loyal users and a resurgence in popularity: the fountain pen!
Sometime after you learned how to print and draw with a pencil, you likely moved on to using a pen. And chances are, you used the world's most popular type of pen, the ballpoint.
This week we are featuring some of our favourite ballpoint and marker pens. Which one is your favourite?
- Dingbats* Ātopen 6-Pack Dual Tip Fineliner/Brush Pens - Available in Primary or Pastel - Atopen is a versatile marker pen with two different tips. You can use them to write, draw, for all kinds of arts projects, and for calligraphy. These archival quality marker pens are made with water-based, fade proof, waterproof, and lightfast ink. Xylene-free and odourless, too!
- Stabilo Pen 68 Metallic - Wallet of 6 -STABILO Pen 68 is a colour-intensive premium fibre-tip pen for strong lines and large areas. The metallic effects are particularly vibrant on black backgrounds. Accidental blots or annoying pumping? Not with this pen!
- Anterique Brass Ballpoint Pen 0.5 - Luxury solid brass shavings for optimum weight and balance. Equipped with an ultra-low viscosity oil-based "Mach Ball Ink" for an impressive smooth writing experience.
Have you ever wondered what all the different pencil types - HB, 6H, F, represent? Or what all the fuss is about Blackwing pencils? Today's the day you're going to find out.
Please tell us you've also bought your dad soap-on-a-rope. We can't be the only ones who've tried to find a cool, impressive, unique gift for dad only to end up with a tie. Dads can be tricky to shop for. How many grilling accessories, fishing gear items, or golf balls does a guy need?
- Leather Rustic Book Photo Album ~ For the dad who loves to reminisce... preserve all his favourite family memories in Claire Magnolia's handcrafted Leather Rustic Album. Made of soft top-grain distressed leather, this rustic album features a wrap tie closure. It is bound with glassine tissue interweaving between thick ivory cardstock pages for preservation and protection.
- Audubon Birds Puzzle 1000 Pieces ~ For the dad who loves puzzles... this delightful 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle is perfect for bird enthusiasts. The image comes from the vintage archives of Cavallini Papers & Co. The puzzle is packaged in a 10 inch long cardboard tube, with puzzle pieces safely stored in a muslin bag inside.
- HAM Fine China Mug ~ For the dad who loves to cycle... the perfect mug for his morning coffee or tea. HAM fine china mugs are hand decorated in Stoke-On-Trent. Each holds 300ml, comes in a HAM gift box and is dishwasher and microwave safe.
Mom isn't the only one who'd love to receive a handwritten letter. Many dads go without praise for long stretches of time, and we suspect he'll be touched to hear a few words of gratitude. Share with him what he's done that's meant the most to you. Remind him of some meaningful or humorous memories. Mostly, just appreciate him while he's here. It's too easy to let the years slip away without expressing your thoughts and feelings. Celebrate him this Father's Day on Sunday, June 20th.
p.s. Next week we'll kick-off a special six week series on writing instruments. Ever wonder what the difference is between different types of pens and ink? Why people are so passionate about fountain pens? Sign up for Tuesday's Tonic so you don't miss an issue. To subscribe, and receive treasured notes to your inbox each Tuesday morning, scroll allllll the way down to the bottom of our website and enter your email next to the button that says "SIGN UP"
When I heard JK Rowling say in an interview that she couldn't recall a single word from the commencement speech at her graduation, I laughed. The experience was mutual. Can you remember anything from the speech at your ceremony?
- LAMY Aion Rollerball Special Edition ~ The smooth deep-drawn aluminium body components are the first of their kind and give the series a unique, harmonious appearance. Made in Germany.
- Katie Leamon Luxury Personal Organizer ~ A beautiful keepsake gift for the new graduate. This luxury leather personal organizer is clean in its design, which lets the beautiful hide colour and texture speak for itself. Proudly made in England.
- Pilot MR1 Metropolitan Rollerball Pen ~ A smooth bodied pen, great for everyday use. It has a metal barrel, tip and clip and smooth plastic grip. Comes with a black gift box. Refillable and more environmentally-friendly than a disposable pen.
If you or your loved one is graduating this spring, we say, caps off! Congratulations on your achievement! We wish you a joyful, prosperous, and fulfilling future!
This week we are featuring our gorgeous new collection of Paperblanks notebooks.
- Joyous Springtime Dot Grid ~ Mila Marquis’s ethereal artwork combines sparkling emotion and unashamedly sweet depictions of fairies and flowers.
- Floralia Lined Softcover ~ The eternal appeal of a classic floral design is captured in the work of Irish illustrator William Kilburn (1745–1818).
- Dharma Dragon Lined Softcover ~ Ancient spiritual practices meet modern digital art in a kaleidoscopic reproduction of an original Android Jones artwork.
- Madame Butterfly Blank Softcover ~ French author and illustrator Benjamin Lacombe lends his unique spirit to our collection with this lively Madame Butterfly design.
- Violet Lined Hardcover ~ This captivating image comes from the first edition of Scottish poet and anthropologist Andrew Lang’s The Olive Fairy Book.
- Blue Velvet Blank Hardcover ~ Inspired by a piece of a 15th-century velvet dalmatic on blue velvet, decorated in brocaded gilt metal thread.
Have you noticed Japanese papers in the shop? Maybe you've thought they're beautiful, but felt a bit intimidated, uncertain about how to use them. Or maybe you're already as smitten as us and want to know some new things you can do with them. If this is the case, this week's topic is for you.
Iris folding is the method of folding strips of paper (usually coloured) to create an effect that looks like an iris - the diaphragm of a camera lens. These designs can be used to make greeting cards, album covers, or beautiful framed wall art.
Chigiri-e is a type of paper collage made with washi. 'Chigiri' means to tear or shred in Japanese, and 'e' means picture. You use a template to tear off a piece of paper in the shape you want and then glue it to a thicker paper used as the canvas.
- Chiyogami Mosaics ~ Six colour co-coordinated sheets of larger and smaller sizes plus over 20 pieces of Chiyogami paper in surprise patterns, colours, and sizes.
- Floral Collection ~ A package of Chiyogami papers measuring 8.5 x 11" (21.6 x 27.9 cm) each. Includes five sheets with Japanese floral patterns.
- Japanese Traditional ~ Includes five colour co-ordinated 8.5 x 11" (21.6 x 27.9 cm) sheets of Chiyogami paper with traditional Japanese motif patterns.
- Chiyogami Buffet ~ Package of 45 Chiyogami sheets in a "buffet" of assorted patterns and sizes.
- Emergency Pocket Pack ~ Mix of 3 x 3" (7.6 x 7.6 cm) Chiyogami sheets in 24 patterns. For art emergencies!
- Kimono Squares ~ 6 hand-printed squares of Japanese papers, each 8.5 x 8.5 " (21.6 x 21.6 cm).
Inspired? We hope so. Using Japanese paper is a great way to develop your creativity and learn a little bit about Japanese culture. There's a reason these papers and crafts have remained popular for hundreds of years.
If you try iris folding, chigiri-e, or find another use for your chiyogami sheets, let us know!
On these rainy, grey days, it's easy to complain, but we're lucky. Most of us have such cozy shelters to nestle into with a myriad of modern day conveniences that would be the envy of our great, great grandparents.
We hope this week's featured products will inspire your creativity!
- Epsilon Premium Sketchbooks ~ Pens and markers glide on it beautifully.
- Blackwing Matte Black Pencil ~ Single pencil in soft graphite. Ideal for the artist.
- A Surprise Bundle of Ephemera ~ Assembled with love by Niagara's Harry & Ida.
It's easy to get lost in your creative pursuits and discover the afternoon whizzing by. Take a cue from your pet: stop and take in the moment and just gaze out the window. Through the comfort of the indoors, you can listen and watch the rain, which is soothing in itself. Just thinking about this makes us wonder... do you hear the music?
So, you wake up, get showered, dressed... you're out the door feeling put together and ready to face the day. Then, before you can say, "wet blanket", a car roars by through a large puddle and now you're the blanket. Familiar? We know that feeling of being soaked down to our wet socks a little too well.
No wedding or baby shower going on within your circle this rainy month? Consider curling up with a good book, a warm beverage, a movie or show.
We've got you covered with ideas on how to spend these rainy days indoors - more on that next week.
Last week we delved into letter writing. Who's one person you can bet would cherish a letter from you? Mum! You dads out there may want to step in for your little one here for the first time or new mother of your child.
This time of year also makes us muse: have you ever asked your mother about her childhood? Your mother's mother? How well do you really know your mom? So many people go through life without really knowing much about their background. Consider using Mother's Day as an opportunity to connect with your mom and learn more about her as a way of honouring the woman who, quite literally, ushered you into this world.
We wish you all a wonderful, healthy, loving Mother's Day!
And before those May flowers arrive, we'll discuss April showers... next week!