To most people this image will probably look like a page of name doodles… but to me this is a little page of miracles. Here is why…
I usually attribute my crafty beginnings to being a bit bored and lonely during my first year at university way back when. But it probably went much further back than that. Way back to my DNA. You see my Grandpa was a very talented sign writer, some went so far as to say he was an artist (which I certainly agree with). He was known for his precision, refusing to get anything wrong in his work. If it went wrong he’d simply start again. He carried this in to the kitchen too, helping my Grandma make her famous chicken soup. The carrots and kneidlach had to be exactly the same shape and size… If not, it was not put into the soup.
I’d like to think that a little bit of his artistic side has rubbed off on me. I may not have the most precise style, or like a perfectly neat finish in the things I make or buy, but I too do not like to make mistakes. I will scrap something I’ve made if I don’t think it’s perfect and will often give up learning news skills if I don’t think I’m good enough to get it right.
Almost 18 years ago my beloved Grandpa Max passed away. Just after this my Grandmother (and legendary hoarder – definitely where I get my hoarding genes from!) moved out of her London West End home to live closer to us. In an attempt to help her declutter before the move, I was asked if I wanted to have my Grandpa’s old sign writing supplies. I obviously said yes and they were transferred from one hoarder, to me… the other hoarder.
Fast track those 18 years and these supplies were still sitting in a box on top of my cupboard at my parents house. As you’ll soon enough find out, my current craft du jour is calligraphy (more in that another time) and some distant memory said that my Grandpa’s supplies may have some calligraphy pens. So I dug them out to see if anything was usable. Amongst the lettering structure books and old felt tip pens from Woolworths I did find some treasures. There were some old and slightly rusty nibs and holders alongside some strange measuring contraptions that probably have a proper name. I also found a set of 12 Zig calligraphy pens that looked quite nice. I was instantly transported back to ‘the good ole days’ to the birthday cards my brother and I got that had been expertly written by our Grandpa’s hand. We could never quite believe that our Grandpa could write like that. Every year since, when I open my birthday cards I always think of his writing and miss him a little bit more.
Whilst I knew that I would never be able to write as well as Grandpa Max, I still wanted to see if any of the pens had any ink left in them. I opened them and in true Lauren style started doodling my name with the pink pen. Yep you guessed it… They worked! Not only did they work, but they wrote smoothly and clearly as if they were fresh out of the packet. They must have sat untouched for almost 19 or 20 years by this point and they have not nearly dried out. If that isn’t an indication of a top quality pen then I don’t know what is. Personally I think it’s a sign from Grandpa Max to get myself into gear and get onto a calligraphy course… More on that after my workshop at Quill in a few weeks time.
For now however I’m off to play with the magic pens!
It is genetic! I always was in awe of Uncle Max’s calligraphic skills. I even have a photo somewhere of one of his public displays….will look for it. I have been a calligrapher since my 20’s! Back then, I made a living at it. Lauren…..tis in your blood 💙