I've always loved writing.
Not writing, like poetry, or a writer. I've given it a go at times but I'm terrible at it. My poetry is trite and saccharine, or miserable and clunky. My prose is nothing more than bad Mary-Sue-ing that I've never been able to move past.
No, I mean handwriting. The verb *and* the noun. I remember borrowing books on calligraphy and flourishing and embellishment as early as year 7 in high school, and when I went to get fitted for braces, the orthodontist asked if I had a doctor's light in my pocket, but it turned out to be my beloved calligraphy pen, which I carried everywhere. Just in case, you know.
I taught myself basic calligraphy the same way I'd taught myself fair isle, crochet, embroidery and so many other skills: by poring over as many books as I could get my little hands on .
Then, at about 19, I enrolled into a calligraphy course at Newcastle TAFE with the wonderfully talented and sweet Kaye Frost, whose books are sadly out of print. This allowed me to really grow and expand on something that I was naturally good at, despite my everyday handwriting being hideous.
I spent a few years doing small jobs - Kaye would get me to do simple work like certificates/awards as a stand in for her when she was on holidays, which I considered a great honour, and made me feel like a Real Artist. I did wedding invitations and barely broke even, but did it because I loved writing.
It didn't take me long, however, to realise that working with brides and their mothers on a daily basis was going to drive me completely mental. I did a few commissioned pieces but these were an enormous amount of work, and before the internet and digital photography came along, involved multiple meetings and prep/progress drawings, and after a customer refused to pay me for a final piece because it wasn't what she'd imagined, I decided to just let it go.
I did the occasional piece as a gift, sometimes even for myself, dabbled in bookmaking for a while, did things like the pretty covers for our choir's 125th anniversary songbooks in black and gold foil. I did a couple of evening classes just for the motivation and social contact when I moved to Canberra, but didn't gel with the group of older, privileged women.
For the past few months I've been thinking of ways to incorporate text into my quilts. I have bought quite a few text fabrics but they're not really what I want. I finally decided last night to just starch up a piece of scrap fabric and copy out a poem on it. No planning, just... write. No worries about outcome, just playing.
Turned out pretty ok ;) in fact, despite a few layout issues which could easily be tweaked with a bit of planning, I'm happy with it. I moved on to a bigger piece and scrawled up my favourite sonnet with a bit of randomness on the edges.
I'm using two different types of pen - one is the fabricolor twin, which has a 2mm round end and a brush end, the other is the Pigma Micron01 0.25mm. I tried the Nikko marker but it has dried out already and is all but useless, having hardly been used.
I've ironed up the first piece (I'm still adding to the 2nd) and it's now in the wash. Hopefully the writing will still be there when I pull it out... ;)