As it turned out everybody quickly became involved in the workshop. Alison and all the people already at the workshop were very welcoming and Alison very quickly had us all involved in quill and bamboo pen making.
Alison demonstrated the process of making pens out of the flight feathers of pheasants. Her instructions were very clear so even novices like us were able to achieve success in quill making.
The quills had already been soaked for about 24 hours. The next step was to clear out the membrane before pushing the quill tip into hot sand. When the quill was nearly transparent it was time to shape it into a pen and ready for use. Alison also showed us how to make a reservoir out of a strip cut from aluminium cans.
We then had a go at making pens out of bamboo. Mike and Brian really enjoyed this and ended up making quite a number.
It was a very pleasant and rewarding morning. We ended up taking home quite a number of quills and pens that we had made. Even though some of these quills included some left handed quills (the feather should angle away from the calligrapher’s ear) and despite Allison’s assurances that left handers can be successful calligraphers Brian still thinks that he’ll leave that to me.
Lunch at Roses Café was very pleasant with good company.