[Scriptoris] Reeds & feathers ; - )

Elaine eshc at earthlink.net
Mon Sep 27 12:43:09 PDT 2010

Just for fun:
Reed pens are handled differently from quill pens, 180 degrees  

Quill pens can't stand to be in ink for long. The cells absorb the  
ink, and the tip starts to splay. That's why a "secretary" in the  
days of quills didn't begin to take dictation unless 50 0r 60 nibs  
had been prepared and carved for the day's work.

Reed pens are just the opposite. You WANT them to suck up the ink so  
you can write longer without going back to the ink all the time. The  
tip won't splay like quills.

I have made and written with both, including George Yanagita's method  
of "dutching" a nib prior to scribing with it. You have to make your  
own tool to do that. Not enough demand for it to be manufactured.

In addition, only the first five feathers were used---off the bird's  
left wing if the scribe was right'-handed and vice versa. All the  
barbs are stripped off and the rib cut to a max of, say, 8 inches.  
The curve of the rib fits more nicely if you choose a primary flight  
feather from the correct wing.

The leaving of the barbs on the feather is strictly Hollywood and no  
more resembles the real thing than the bump-and-jiggle of Hollywood  
belly dancing or the 1/2 hour sword fights of the swash bucklers.  
(I've seen the finals of our rapier guys, and the fight didn't last  
20 seconds until someone would have taken a mortal wound!)

Plus, unlike Hollywood scribes, no one used tail feathers. Somehow,  
the pheasant tail gets used a lot in movies. How do they keep their  
noses from being tickled or their eye from being swiped with one of  
those six foot  things? Leave the pheasant tailfeather for the  
banquet's cooked bird which has had its feathered skin draped on the  
dish!  ; - )

Leaping down from my "high horse," I remain


Lete B.

On Sep 26, 2010, at 5:33 PM, Vickie wrote:

> I am trying to get started doing calligraphy and was wonder what  
> kind of pen you
> recommend using.  I currently have a cartridge style calligraphy  
> pen right now
> but I am having problems with the ink flow being steady.  Not sure  
> if that means
> I am doing something wrong or not.  I was wondering if the pens you  
> dip in the
> ink are a better option?
> I am try Arabic calligraphy and I know that it is normally done  
> with a reed pen,
> but I was thinking that using a normal pen to while I was learning  
> might be
> easier.
> Any help or direction you can give me would be greatly appreciated.
> Mistress Asiya (formerly Arastya)
> Vickie Bratcher
> www.kingdom-kreations.com
> _______________________________________________
> Scriptoris mailing list
> Scriptoris at lists.ansteorra.org
> http://lists.ansteorra.org/listinfo.cgi/scriptoris-ansteorra.org

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