This weekend I taught my Notes for the New Year course online. I had so much fun sharing the my insights into Victorian Scraps and I see so many beautiful letters of correspondence being creating. I am overjoyed to see the work. To see how a student will interpret what I teach and transform that idea with their own vision is just so inspiring. Dear students, keep up the wonderful work as you share your notes with others around the world. I have enjoyed the process of sending a few more cards and notes than I usually manage to send.
Thursday, January 14, 2021
Saturday, January 2, 2021
Welcome 2021!!! The word on my mind this year is Hope.
Let's Hope together for a bight year ahead, I learned years ago, that I am not good at making or keeping resolutions. It seems that yearly goals are not good for me, but I do try to plan things on a weekly basis. I don't set huge goals, but continue to take small steps forward in the right direction. I realize that I am very methodical about certain things. I always use the same weekly diary to plan my days, weeks and months. I use a Moleskine Pro Weekly Diary. It has enough space for me to write in each day and has a two blank pages in between each week where I can add extra notes or keep track of ideas. I have been using this style of planner for about 6 years I think. The fountain pen I use in this diary is always the same as well. I use the Platinum Plasir Fine tip Fountain Pen. This was a very inexpensive fountain pen but it has been a workhorse for me since 2015. I use it daily, and the tip of the pen has been wonderful. ! I always use the same pink cartridge refills in it to match the body of the pen. I try to be methodical about this daily ritual. However, there are times when I just ignore the diary/planner in a sort of rebellious way and have days where I can let things just happen without being overly planned. This results in blank spaces in the journal which I also have to ignore without being stressed about it. Not every day will be productive. I will have days that I can't keep up to my tasks, but no matter what happens, I can turn the page and set up tasks for the next week with that same attitude of Hope.
He has been such a blessing with his videos on YouTube and his social media posts. He is pascribe on Instagram if you have not discovered his work. I love watching his script variations videos. His note was written on Strathmore Foldover Note cards.
I designed this logo for Strathmore several years ago. Strathmore blessed me with a few boxes of the notecards and I am rapidly going through them. The paper is wonderful to write on and I found that I could apply watercolour washes as well as gold leaf.
Happy New Year my dear friends. Please continue to keep in touch with me. You can email me at email@example.com. I will be releasing a few new courses this yea and I am continuing to book private students throughout the year. I will keep the blog updated. Hugs all around!
Wednesday, December 23, 2020
As we approach the last days of December in a year like no other, the word that is in my head and heart is Wonder.
I wonder at the year we have had and wonder what 2021 will be like. Despite the challenges this year I have felt so grateful for friends old and new, my dear family and my wonderful group of students. I am so thankful for being able to keep in touch through email, social media, Zoom, the telephone and snail mail. You have shared photos with me from your gardens, sent me magazine articles to read and shared pieces of your story with me. I am so grateful to you. Whatever your traditions are at this time of year, I hope you have a peaceful and blessed Christmas season. One of my usual Christmas traditions is to create a YouTube video to share with you.
I have posted it on my channel. I am filled with wonder and hope for 2021. Sending hugs to you all. Merry Christmas dear friends.
Monday, December 14, 2020
Here we are half way through December. Time continues to fly by and I wanted to greet you before things get too busy as I complete this month. I hope you are finding lots of time to pursue the things that make you happy. Currently, I am seeing an explosion of courses available to study online and that is both wonderful and overwhelming at the same time. We can get inundated with ideas and want to take every course but not get the chance to really digest what we have learned. I do this all the time and realize that it takes me time to really understand and apply what has been presented in a course. With that thought in mind, I feel somewhat hesitant to let you know about the next course I will have available early January. I will be releasing a new course through the European Pointed Pen Collective.
The course is called Notes for the New Year. This class is designed to give you a peaceful approach to correspondence through the ornamental designs of Victorian Scraps. It involves slowing down and adding small areas of ornament to a note or card. It is a short course but hopefully one you will refer back to for years to come.
This year as I have completely stopped my travel, I have expanded the time I allow for studies with private students. I have had several students take long term courses with me and I have been so thrilled to see their progress. Working with private students has been my preferred way to teach as I feel like I have not only been able to teach and really watch skill levels bloom, I have also been able to forge some real friendships. If you are interested in any private studies in the New Year, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be expanding course content from The Alphabet Garden this year for students who want to take a deeper look at illuminated letters and refine their skills. I will be introducing this throughout 2021. Lots to come!!!
All of that being said, I want to reinforce that we all are so unique and have different study approaches. Online courses are not for everyone and neither is private instruction. If you feel like you do your best work through private study and research, I will be cheering you on. There are many times where I feel inspired and instructed by doing some research or reading through what is on my bookshelf. Whatever approach you take to your studies, your hobbies or your relaxation, I hope you fill your life with things that bring you joy and delight. I have loved spending time with you this year. Thank you for your support, encouragement and friendship. Hugs all around!
Tuesday, December 1, 2020
This morning my walk to the post office was especially quiet and mindful. There was a little bit of slushy snow on the road and the tree branches were white and fluffy. Each season brings different bird songs in the yard but this morning I couldn't hear the delightful chickadee or the nuthatch. The feeders were all empty so I took some time to fill them. The snow came before we had a chance to heat the birdbath so it was frozen solid. As soon as I filled the feeders and placed some peanuts around the yard I heard fluttering wings and could see the pine branches start to bounce. I noticed a large crow in the branches. His beak was dusted with snow and he was so majestic against the branches.
I watched other birds and squirrels for a few minutes this morning. St Francis looks like he is wearing a winter cape and hat.
Nature is filled with wonder and awe. I feel blessed to be able to pause and acknowledge December. This has been a year like no other we have ever known and has brought such challenges. In times like this, I welcome the pause, the time to notice and the time to reflect. Wherever you are this first day of December,I hope there is something nearby that can bring you a moment of pause and joy. Sending December hugs!
Tuesday, November 24, 2020
This month I have been so busy getting ready for my online class through Acorn Arts Classroom. I will be teaching Festive Offhand Flourishing techniques and I am looking forward to sharing all that I know with the group of students who have registered for the course.
Info is online if you have the time or the inclination to take the class. I would love to meet you there. As I have been busy preparing the course notes as well as lecturing at the Atlanta Friends of The Alphabet Guild I have been reminded about the importance of the flourish. The word flourish has many meanings. One of its meanings is "to bloom." I have found that the key to my passion for the pointed pen has been from my roots in offhand flourishing.
I love scripts and calligraphic hands as well as the process of developing skills in penmanship. But offhand flourishing is free. It builds skills and confidence rapidly. It allows you to have a mistake on the page, and then just move on from it. Because of its "detachment" from being forced into a particular letter shape, it is more of a direct process of thinking on paper. There is definitely a meditative quality to it where you will begin to "think without thinking." As you practice these simple strokes, your skills will definitely bloom.
Although I find it difficult to put into words, I always find myself feeling refreshed and at peace when I take time to play with the pointed pen. 2020 has been such a stressful year for so many of us. We need to find more peaceful pursuits and engage in things that generate this state of well being.Whether you draw with a pencil, knit, paint, sculpt or put puzzles together, I encourage you to dive into the things you are passionate about and bring you peace. Find that feeling of well being! Sending you all hugs around the world!!!
Monday, November 2, 2020
Yesterday our clocks turned back for an hour. I said goodbye to October and welcomed November.
I am always noticing how different the light looks when we reach November. It just seems to reflect a bit differently against the trees or the cardinals on the branches. The sounds are different in the garden as well. The blue jays seem to be the loudest voices and every morning I can hear the nuthatches and their quiet little beep of a chirp. Simple delights to notice in my day.
The icicle pansies are still blooming even though they were greeted with snow today.
I have lots going on this month and well into the holiday season. Yesterday, registration opened for my online presentation of The Holiday Festive Flourish that will be hosted through my dear friend Harvest at Acorn Arts online. I am looking forward to sharing it with you and hopefully launch many of you into the peaceful world of offhand flourishing. I will share all I can throughout the two session format. Flourishing has qualities that are almost meditative and I find it so restorative to work in this gentle way with ink on paper.
Private sessions for students will continue to be available in the new year. I am also starting to host small groups online for those of you who have a few friends that you want to study with. I will share more info about that as well in the new year. Guild workshops are also moving to Zoom meetings for the foreseeable future for me. I am happy to talk to your guild about this possibility.
I want to thank the people who have been messaging me on Instagram, Facebook or sending email notes and even beautiful snail mail! You have been such a blessing as you share your thoughts and personal journey with me. I feel so grateful to share my work with you and I hope that you continue to find joy and peace in all of your artistic pursuits. This has been one stressful and anxious year for so many of us. Finding that sanctuary of peace can be so difficult.
Wherever you are in this world, I am sending hugs your way and encouraging you on your artistic journey. Continue to share the beauty of what you do with others. I believe that even small things make a huge difference in someone's life. You have all been such a blessing to me and I am so grateful to you.
Sunday, October 4, 2020
I am currently sitting at my partially cluttered studio desk as I prepare this blog post. I am used to a pretty meticulous routine of washing down the studio desk every Saturday and then dusting and vacuuming the studio. You would think with all of my time at home that I would be able to keep up with this routine. Even though our pace of life and our experiences this year are vastly different that previous years, I am finding myself overwhelmed at times. This same feeling of being overwhelmed is coming through in emails from students, friends and colleagues. Generally speaking, I try hard to include a time to pause and reflect each day. Take some slower, deeper breaths, gather my thoughts and count my blessings. These past few weeks I feel like I have missed that routine several times. I have taken several online courses including sign writing, calligraphy, and botanical illustration. There is just so much being offered and I want to continue to learn. I have noticed though, that as much as I want to continue to study, there is a limit to how much I can absorb. I honestly let some amazing courses pass by because I knew I could not keep up with the study and the homework. That feeling of being overwhelmed and having too many oars in the water at once is helping me to focus on things that are really important right now.
Wednesday, September 2, 2020
It seems I start most of blog posts marvelling that another calendar page has turned.
2020 is a remarkably strange year but in its own unique way has brought things that I am so grateful for. Summers are usually my busiest time. This summer, I have been home and not far from my studio and garden. I have seen the garden grow, watched bunnies eat my beets and roses and enjoyed all kinds of sparrows splashing in the bird bath. The slow and mindful mornings have been a welcome pace. I feel as if I have really experienced the season and that is such a blessing.
Here in my studio, I have been able to write to people as their letters arrive in the post. I have received beautiful envelopes and notes. The words from friends are so cherished as I know it might be quite some time before our paths cross again in person.
I have been working on commissions, pens, private tutorials for students and soon will launch some larger courses online. One of the first courses I will be presenting online is through the European Pointed Pen Collective. I will be presenting Italian Hand. I will update info here on the blog when the registration opens up. I look forward to sharing this beautiful hand with you! You can hear some of my thoughts about Italian Hand on a recent episode of the Calligraphy Podcast.
Whatever you are up to this September, I hope you are finding joy in the journey. Even though these are indeed strange times, I know you will be able to uncover some of the hidden blessings. Thank you all for your notes of encouragement and precious emails that you send. Your support as my students and as my friends means so much to me.