In 1979, a few months after I’d turned seven, I moved up into the Juniors. There were strange new things there: ring binders, a teacher who wore green crimplene and fountain pens. We were required to master both the pens and cursive writing pretty sharpish if I remember. I loved making little loopy lines to join the letters and writing whole words with a single stroke. I had been so keen to learn cursive writing that I had made up my own version in the months prior to moving into class 4. It was squiggly, nonsensical and a little embarrassing. I seem to remember I was told off for writing jibberish.
So began my passion for both ink pens and lettering. I love the idea of the ink itself, stored in a little detachable pot inside the pen and the links with quills and copperplate. I was fascinated by the pens owned by some of the other children in the that class. Their pens had squeezy bulbs and needed to be filled up from squat pots of Quink. Even then this seemed like rather exciting ancient technology. I remember having an urge to make a quill out of a magpie feather and burgle a bit of Quink to test it out.
I have eyed vintage pens in the past. My knowledge is scant but there’s no doubt they are beautiful. I worry about breakdowns and repairs though. I want to be able to write (and to draw). I have just bought a new pen. A Parker. It’s shiny and beautiful and writes so smoothly that it’s a joy just signing a cheque. The timing is good – I’ve just been asked to illustrate some fossils as part of an education project at the Sedgwick Museum. I’m utterly THRILLED about this and the ink pen and I have been limbering up. The fossil Megalodon shark’s tooth is quite something.
It’s fairly rare that we write anything by hand nowadays. Bar the odd shopping list, form or cheque most text is typed. I used to have a clear style of writing but regardless of the pen I’m using my hand has become unsure. I’m determined to remedy that by breaking out my fountain pen more often.
Note: Apologies for the lack of posts around here recently. Life overtook us here a little which also meant I was unable to attend Nicky Grace's Pop Up Shop. Huge apologies to anyone who went along hoping to say hello. As ever massive thanks for every comment left here. They're so cheering x