I would love to visit Pigment Tokyo! An artist dream of color. The scale is dizzying, and the design intimidatingly slick. They claim to carry over 4,200 pigment colors, more than 200 antique ink sticks, and 50 animal glues.
And the brushes …!
When I visit New York City, I try to get by to Kremer Pigments. It’s more like an apothecary of color, and I love it.
Last month, I was amused to read this Slate article by Rachel Adler, entitled, “The 19th Century Moral Panic Over … Paper Technology”. The subtitle is this: “Before Snapchat and Instagram ruined young people, there was cheap paper.”
The article states that a 500-folio page could sell for 30 florins in 1422, but that by the 1470s that price could be 10 florins. I wondered what this meant in terms of purchasing power. A little unsubstantiated googling seems to indicate that a gold florin (equivalent to a ducat in Venice) was worth 117 soldi. Only big purchases employed florins, and you can see why: manual laborers were paid only 8 soldi per yer, and mason were paid 15 soldi per year. that architect of the Florence cathedral made 100 florins per year, and that city houses ranged in price from 200 to 3500 florins.
But in the 19th century, the price went down some more, thanks to major developments in print and paper technologies. Rachel Adler writes:
Books remained, however, far outside the range of the common man or woman, until the price plummeted once again in the 19th century. No longer was literacy necessarily a signifier of wealth, class, and status. This abrupt change created a moral panic as members of the traditional reading classes argued over who had the right to information—and what kind of information ought to be available at all.
It’s an interesting read.
Today’s blog post brought to you by the letter D.
On the plane rides back to Montana from Cuba, I whiled away the hours in my pencil journal. Here’s one of the results:
Sometimes I find myself keeping a browser tab open because I want to look at it one more time. In the interest of tab tidiness and also sharing, here are some interesting things I’ve read on the internet lately:
Toiling Toward Mastery – an essay about the “lifelong exercise in patience, and paring design elements down to their most essential forms”.
Susie Short for Daniel Smith on working with a split-primary color palette.
An introduction to “the ancestors of the Book of Kells”, four 5th/6th-century Irish manuscripts that have been repaired and digitized. I wanted a better look, so I went looking. Trinity College Dublin has more information, specifically here and here.
Big data! These days, I tells ya – you can stumble across the most interesting collections of information.
Trismegistos , an organization dedicated to the study of ancient texts from the ancient world, has created a searchable database of nearly 220,000 documents. You can click on a map or type in a name or location. I haven’t examined the rest of the site, but you can find collections of texts, people, and places in antiquity as well. Amazing.
I came across a drawer full of these next to bone folders, awls, and other bookbinding tools. Does anybody know what this is?
Update: I posted this question to the Book-Arts-L and immediately got the answer: it’s a scalpel handle. So now I know. I just happen to have a scalpel blade.
That was the name of the two-day workshop that Amity Parks taught to Big Sky Scribes weekend before last in Great Falls. Focused on pen techniques, it was a jam-packed but easily digestible workshop.
I came home inspired to start a pencil journal similar to the ones that Amity showed us. Here are the first few pages of mine:
The eight books that were due on Valentine’s Day were actually completed in time to arrive by the deadline. Yay! I’ll make two more for a series of 10. Usually I do an “edition” of manuscript books (if there is such a thing), but this time I’ve done a series instead. To my mind, the difference is that I didn’t try to make these books closer to identical. The painted pages are all different. But the text, which consists 8 haiku, are all the same.