Envelope exchange – April

Envelope made for a year-long envelope exchange. Gouache and metal pens.

After a few years off, I'm enjoying the year-long envelope exchange that Wendy Cowley oversees. It's a once-a-month opportunity for a low-stakes bit of creativity. This was my April envelope, as you may have guessed. The name on the envelope grew out of playing around with changing colors in the nib on the fly, something I enjoy doing from time to time. The flowers are half-remembered from a long-ago week with Alice Koeth at Camp Cheerio.

I'm running behind for May, but I'll catch up today. The Built Up Capitals class is taking all my time these days.

Decorative exchange envelopes

After a hiatus of some years, I've rejoined an 11-months-long monthly decorative envelope exchange. I'm enjoying it. We aren't required to include anything calligraphic in the envelope -- although we do have to include something. I'm putting calligraphy in mine.

My February envelope, using that palette of leftover gouache (that just keeps on giving).for the card inside.
My March envelope. The blurring kind of obscures the design, but you get an idea, anyway. All done in pencil, which is what I've mostly been doing in my studio lately.

Some recent and in-progress work

2015-10-05-worktable-in-progress-itemsLots of projects going these days.

Today members of our local guild bound a test text block for the collaborative book we've been working on. We are making a standard case binding using the same paper on which the book will be printed. Today we got as far as applying the mull to the spine. I had brought supplies for this, and I was determined to unpack it all when I got back to my studio. This led eventually to trimming the text block and applying a headband. You can just see that text block underneath the top black square of paper. I did go ahead and cut out the cover and spine boards, but that's for another day, because I continued to work on ...

Addressing styles. I had the best time addressing some personal envelopes recently and discovered that I don't really need guidelines for certain styles. So I've been developing some more casual envelope address styles. Some of what I tried today is shown above: sumi ink, pigment ink, gold gel pen, and fine marker on white, black and shimmery gold stock.

Yesterday I got out two travel watercolor sets and made test cards using a water brush. At the tops of the cards are the pure colors. At the bottoms of the cards I've experimented with mixing and tints.


Addressing envelopes with a gold gel pen

Freely written address with Y&C Gel Xtreme GX100G pen, which is finally running out after about 120 addresses.
Freely written name and address with Y&C Gel Xtreme GX100G pen, which is finally running out after about 120 addresses.

I took these envelopes and a gel pen along with me on my trip to Florida recently, doing most of the work on the airplanes. The pen is just about out of ink now, but I eked this one out at the end. I had misspelled the name Rachel and so converted this one to a sample.

After all these years, I've got lots of "samples" in my studio.

As usual, click on the image for a closer look.

Red envelopes, gold ink

One of my favorite combinations. You know it's the holiday season.

This gold watercolor doesn't show up well in the photo, but it's nice and sparkly in real life.
2014-12-17 gold ink red envelopes

Envelope Exchange – August 2011

I've been busy on the book commission, but took a few minutes to do my envelope for the year-long 2011 Envelope Exchange. I've been spending a lot of time lately with my Epson wide-format new inkjet printer, and I carried that experimentation over to this envelope. (As usual, click on the image to see it at a larger size.)

These are the layers on this #10 Strathmore Laid envelope:

  1. Inkjet-print of a scan of some painting on Arches Text Wove.
  2. A layer of Utrecht Workable Spray Fixative.
  3. The name in Dr. Martin's Iridescent calligraphy gold ink, shaded in FW Antelope acrylic ink(#2½ Mitchell nib and Principality pointed nib).
  4. The address in the same FW Antelope, with #4 Mitchell nib.
  5. Flowers with #3½ and #4 nibs.
I chose the stamp after I did the envelope. I'm surprised at how well they go together.


Using Adirondack alcohol inks and Martha's blog posts as inspiration, I've just completed the last of the addresses in the annual envelope exchange ... with a few extra envelopes for future purposes.

The 2nd photo shows the envelopes before they were addresses, and the stencil I used. Actually, I hated the addressing job I did on the bottom envelope, so I trashed it, made another round of stenciled envelopes and started again.

Exchange envelopes: catching up

With all the chaos here, I had gotten behind in my exchange envelope commitments. Not anymore. I'm all caught up ... until July 1. In keeping with these hard economic times, the theme for these is Frugality. Recycled envelopes, a dried-up Zig calligraphy marker, and a re-purposed Zig Millennium mark cut to a chisel edge with an X-acto blade.

The envelopes frame a bit of doodling. I don't know what to do with it, so it just sits on the table reproaching me for my indecisiveness.

As usual, click on the image to get a closer look.

Black Tie Exchange

Finally ... something calligraphic!!

Here are the 4 envelopes I mailed yesterday for the Black Tie Exchange over at the Yahoo group, Calligraphy Exchange. The rules: Use a black envelope and either white or gold "ink" address in calligraphy.

I made my envelopes out of Strathmore Artagain black paper -- comes in a 9" x 12" pad. The two insert square are on Arches cover black, I think. I used my favorite gold ink -- Dr. Martin's Copper Plate Gold.

Names and addresses blurred to protect the innocent.

As usual, click on the image for a closer look.

Pointed Pen Sample

For K.,

A quick, cold, unretouched (except that I Photoshopped out the smudges made when I slapped it down on the scanner glass before it was dry) fake address in my current pointed pen script. My website is so out of date, even this quick one is a better sample.