Sunday, January 7, 2018

Why I Write with a Fountain Pen

Every morning I sit down to write my three morning pages, as suggested in The Artist's Way.  What I actually write is not important at all,  It's simply the very act of writing that clears my head, dumps all the trivia tumbling around in my brain, and clears the path for my creative juices to flow.  But I don't use just any pen.  I have a collection of fountain pens, gathered over the years, that sound their siren call and invite me to sit down, with the fire going, a cup of tea, and a kitty on my lap, to write my meandering thoughts.
Watching the pen flow across the page, the nib leaving a smooth trail of ink, is mesmerizing all in itself.
Yes, I've posted before about my personal and arguably old-fashioned predilection to fountain pens.  But if my posting of this encourages even one person to try it, I will be happy.
My favorite pens?  Not the most expensive nor the most gorgeous.  I'm interested in how the nib hits the page.  Pilot has an awesome selection of inexpensive fountain pens.  My current favorites are the Pilot Prera and Pilot Nimiki Retractable, both with a fine nib - they fit my hand beautifully, balance is excellent, and the nib is of their usual superb workmanship.
The advantages of using a fountain pen include:
- they are less disposable

- there is a plethora of ink colors from which to choose
- your handwriting will improve
- using less pressure to write heals issues with carpal tunnel
- they are more economical and environmentally friendly
- fountain pens are more personal and more expressive
- they offer a smoother writing experience
- they feel good in your hand
- and let's face it, they are pretty cool.
And I'm not alone in my preference.  Not surprisingly (and just like almost anything else in this day and age) there are many societies, groups, and associations dedicated to the use, collection and love of fountain pens.

I suppose that, for me, the reason that I use a fountain pen is because life is very, very busy and very, very short so I want it to be filled with very, very beautiful handwriting. 

More sensual - There's something about writing with a fountain pen that enters the realm of sensuality. Maybe it's the sight of the ink forming letters and words beneath the nib. Maybe it's the buttery smoothness or if you prefer a different feel, "bite" of pen against paper. Whichever pen, ink, and paper combination you prefer, writing with a fountain pen will be a noticeably sensual experience compared to writing with a ballpoint or rollerball or gel pen.

With a pen, I feel fully immersed, me, my thoughts, and my thoughts communicated through colorful characters flowing from a pen.

The Pilot Prera: 
The Pilot Nimiki Retractable: 

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Bringing in 2018

My word last year, in place of numerous resolutions, was "Authentic".  Living with that word was pretty challenging, but also surprising.  I had to strip away all of the "shoulds" and dig deeper into what I really wanted with my life, who I really was.  Okay, it's still in process, but I'm more quickly recognizing my issues and those areas that tend to stay hidden from being my authentic self.

For 2018, my word is "Focus".  My goal is to be focused in each moment, on the person I am with, on the task at hand.  And I want to focus on some accomplishments, so to do that, I need to focus on the steps or mini-goals along the way.  This is not to focus to the exclusion of my family and friends, or of the rest of my responsibilities.  It is to remind myself that to accomplish anything, some focus is needed.

But I will also give myself the usual caveat:  if this word at some point doesn't feel right, I can change it.  This doesn't mean that I can toss it out if the going gets tough.  It just means that if it doesn't fit with who I want to become, I give myself permission to pick a better word for the right now.  Huh....sounds like that authentic thing just might have sunk in??

So I'm anticipating being focused to set aside the time to write every day.  I want to be focused when I am in my studio weaving and not wishing I were someplace else.  I hope to stay focused on my friends as we meet for tea.  I will consciously stay focused during each phone call or conference call. And I know innumerable more instances will arise throughout each day.  Sort of sounds like living in the moment, but with planning and scheduling in the mix.  Exactly how I will pull myself back from the brink of being unfocused I'm not exactly sure.  I do know that first I need to recognize the fact that I'm off the track.  Then I am hoping I will find ways to gently guide myself back.

Might I say that my main focus is to remain focused??

Saturday, December 9, 2017

A Great Book About Words

Am in the midst of reading  “Word By Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries” by Kory Stamper.  What a delightful book! With an entire chapter on “irregardless”,  a discussion of the terminal preposition, and historical perspectives on grammar to punctuation, it just might change your relationship with the English language forever. 
What an entertaining and intelligent read!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

What Am I Reading??

Have been asked numerous times what I'm currently reading. Interesting question, since I'm usually reading several books at one time....that is, more than one book going during any certain period of time.  Here is the list for the next couple of weeks:

-  For my Island Salon group:
             The Sunne in Splendour: A Novel of Richard III  by Sharon Kay Penman
        Comment:  well written, interesting topic of which I was almost ignorant, but not for the faint of  heart at almost 1,000 pages

-  For my island book group:
            A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
         Comment:  just starting it, but read his Rules of Civility which was great

-  For a women's study group:
          Codependent No More by Melody Beattie (25th anniversary edition)
        Comment:  always good to review those codependent behaviors!!

-  For another study group:
           Leaves of the Twin Divine Trees by Baharieh Rouhani Ma'ani
      Comment:  fascinating and in-depth study of the lives of the women closely related to the founders of the Baha'i Faith; interesting commentary on how women have been forgotten in history

-  For myself:
          The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron
       Comment:  this is probably my third time through the book, working the activities and chapters; it always helps to jump-start my creativity

Don't even bother to ask what might be next on the list - this will keep me busy for awhile!!

Sunday, September 24, 2017


This is my official posting, not to be confused with a previous unauthorized photo taken without my permission, of my latest piece:  Aurora.

First I wove the base basket with dyed reed and waxed linen, in lattice twined technique, trying to make it as symmetrical as possible.

Then 169 working hours later, using 28,500 delica beads, Aurora emerged.  I'll just let her speak for herself, as well as some pertinent details at the bottom of this post.

Height: 4.5
Width: 6.5
Depth: 6.5
Statement: The overall design of Aurora was inspired from nine pointed star mandalas and the desire to merge basketry with beading in a contemporary manner. This creation is the culmination of overcoming some interesting challenges, including weaving a basket in as close to a perfect sphere as possible, with a smooth finish, without the use of a mold and maintaining bead pattern and design while conforming closely to the basket, with the necessary increases and decreases requisite within the technique.
Techniques: Lattice twined basket covered in peyote stitched beading
Materials: Dyed rattan, waxed linen, Delica beads, fireline
Year Completed: 2017

Monday, September 11, 2017

A New Housemate - Tigger

Hadn't realized the empty space in my life until my newly adopted kitty - Tigger - joined the household.  Sitting once again with a kitty on my lap or at least nearby keeping me company while I have my first cup of tea and write my morning pages by the fireplace (albeit electric) has an amazing comfort to it. (Yes, I know, not all of you are cat-enthusiasts, so please bear with me.)

Tigger's previous owner passed away resulting in Tigger's homelessness.  Enter ole soft-touch here, and the rest is history.  Or history in the making:  we just got through a pretty rough first night adjusting to the new owner (moi) and surroundings, after a long drive back to the island.  Neither of us got much sleep last night, so I'm thinking a nap might be in order.

He's also finding some pretty unique hiding places, but luckily doesn't stay hidden very long.  Did learn, though, that getting stuck behind the washing machine and needing assistance getting out probably wasn't the best move.  Oh, and THIS household doesn't permit kitties on the tables.  There definitely is a learning curve here - for both of us.  My current challenge is finding something he will eat.

Tigger on his first trip traveling to the island. 

Island bird-watching is quite distracting and entertaining.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Fresh Starts and Tea Cup Candles

It's September, and at least here in the Salish Sea there is that subtle little nip in the air that tells us autumn is here, or at the very least, fast approaching.  Autumn is also the start of the new school year, which even after all this time brings a smile to my face.  I loved the new notebooks, new pens and pencils, gathering supplies and getting organized, looking forward to new classes. Which begs the questions of relating the season of dying back and readying for winter with new beginnings, but there you have it.

So one my own fresh starts will be renewing my weekly blogs.

In keeping with my Year of Exploration and Discovery (quickly moving into "years" so may need a new title), my plan is to share some of my adventures along this path. I'm having so much fun, I just may need to embrace it for the the remainder of my life.  Giving myself permission to experiment with a variety of crafts is one of the greatest gifts I've ever given myself.  Who knew?

 One of the first things I tried was making tea cup candles.  (You can learn how to do almost anything on the internet!)  I didn't go crazy over buying the "proper" supplies, but learned that soy wax was the way to go for these smaller container candles.  I definitely enjoyed the process, and loved the results (almost all are already given away as gifts), but for any of you reading this who make candles for a living, you have nothing to worry about from this quarter.  I enjoyed it.  But it didn't "grab" me.  However, I will be making a few more for hostess gifts, considering the number of teacups that I own.  It's a lovely way to share them with others.