Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Last January my flatmates got me a beautiful calligraphy set for my birthday, along with a book for practising in and an instruction book. It's probably my mother's fault that I like calligraphy, but it's my flatmates' fault that I'm now a little more skilled at it.

Writing lecture notes in a range of hands with different nibs and inks is always fun. It also means you end up producing a set of notes that you don't hate looking at. Oh, and because it takes so freakin' long you've basically learned everything you've written down by the time you're done. I'm at a speed now where I can write notes in calligraphy during the lecture - provided it's not a lecture where the whole time is spent writing.

I've learned a range of hands - from the relatively basic and pretty such as French Ronde to the complex and and elegant (if somewhat illegible) Black Letter. I've wasted many a happy hour carefully pencilling out guide-lines until I get the hang of sizing letters with a new pen and carefully removing them afterwards so no one can tell. Adding squiggly, curly, dotty designs and colouring things in is also entertaining.

I am a kind and giving person, so I'd love it if my skills could help others. Up until now though, I haven't had the confidence in myself to share them. What if I offered and then it all went wrong? I should be mortified.

Imagine then my glee when Harry volunteered me for making posters for the uni's Red Cross group. Not just any posters either - these are for the world AIDs day call to action event. It's a band night. They just want fairly basic things, some slogans written on card. I've been practising, and I don't actually think it should give me any trouble. (Plus I get to use my poster pen, which is very exciting).

I'm just slightly unsure. Do I really want this to be the first public display of my work, as it were? After all, the slogans are... well, see for yourself.

  • "Wrap it before you tap it."
  • "No balloon? No party!"
  • "Listen to your granny, protect your fanny."
  • "Condomise then womanise... or sodomise."
  • "Protect your winkle before you sprinkle."
Somehow I don't think that a hand that is based upon the lettering commissioned by Emperor Trajan in Rome in around A.D.114 is quite appropriate. Maybe bubble letters? Perhaps graffiti-style text? No? Well, they're having none of it either.

I don't think I'll be signing them...

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