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The Meisterstück 149 Calligraphy Appreciation Thread


fpupulin

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I was reading Jack Halberstam's excellent Queer Art of Failure (Duke, 2011) shortly after feeling (once again) the overwhelming sense that truly delicate and graceful calligraphy (such as the inspiring work you have all shared with us) will remain forever beyond reach. I would like to follow Halberstam's call to embrace failure's capacity to free up other ways of being in the world, but am apparently a failure even at that... ; ) And of course, I dare not try to pass the source of my limitations off as being political in nature, per the quote, which is referring to a different category of failures, the stakes of which are much higher. : )

 

Failure though this is--in addition to just needing a lot more practice, I struggle with producing any calligraphic text (as opposed to assorted scribblings on a page) as the stakes of failure seem to rise with each additional letter and word, leaving my hand and arm unproductively tense--I nevertheless enjoy this nib immensely, and even the tense and anxious process of writing.

 

Written with MB permanent blue on Life Noble paper. I tend to do most of my (non calligraphic) writing on Life Noble, but the coating (?) on the page seemed to make it more difficult to achieve hairlines. Well, that and my tense arm and hand.

 

(While I am to blame for misspelling irritable, my bickering cats have stepped hesitantly forward to acknowledge their small part in the botched 2011....).

20210930_132409.jpg

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10 minutes ago, seimodern said:

I was reading Jack Halberstam's excellent Queer Art of Failure (Duke, 2011) shortly after feeling (once again) the overwhelming sense that truly delicate and graceful calligraphy (such as the inspiring work you have all shared with us) will remain forever beyond reach. I would like to follow Halberstam's call to embrace failure's capacity to free up other ways of being in the world, but am apparently a failure even at that... ; ) And of course, I dare not try to pass the source of my limitations off as being political in nature, per the quote, which is referring to a different category of failures, the stakes of which are much higher. : )

 

Failure though this is--in addition to just needing a lot more practice, I struggle with producing any calligraphic text (as opposed to assorted scribblings on a page) as the stakes of failure seem to rise with each additional letter and word, leaving my hand and arm unproductively tense--I nevertheless enjoy this nib immensely, and even the tense and anxious process of writing.

 

Written with MB permanent blue on Life Noble paper. I tend to do most of my (non calligraphic) writing on Life Noble, but the coating (?) on the page seemed to make it more difficult to achieve hairlines. Well, that and my tense arm and hand.

 

(While I am to blame for misspelling irritable, my bickering cats have stepped hesitantly forward to acknowledge their small part in the botched 2011....).

20210930_132409.jpg

There does seem to be a lovely expressiveness that the pen achieves, and it seems fairly independent of the user or writing style.

 

Based on what I see in this thread, there are perhaps a lot of positive characteristics of the 149 Calligraphy.

 

Now if I can find one in a red gold finish…😃

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17 hours ago, seimodern said:

I was reading Jack Halberstam's excellent Queer Art of Failure (Duke, 2011) shortly after feeling (once again) the overwhelming sense that truly delicate and graceful calligraphy (such as the inspiring work you have all shared with us) will remain forever beyond reach. I would like to follow Halberstam's call to embrace failure's capacity to free up other ways of being in the world, but am apparently a failure even at that... ; ) And of course, I dare not try to pass the source of my limitations off as being political in nature, per the quote, which is referring to a different category of failures, the stakes of which are much higher. : )

 

Failure though this is--in addition to just needing a lot more practice, I struggle with producing any calligraphic text (as opposed to assorted scribblings on a page) as the stakes of failure seem to rise with each additional letter and word, leaving my hand and arm unproductively tense--I nevertheless enjoy this nib immensely, and even the tense and anxious process of writing.

 

Written with MB permanent blue on Life Noble paper. I tend to do most of my (non calligraphic) writing on Life Noble, but the coating (?) on the page seemed to make it more difficult to achieve hairlines. Well, that and my tense arm and hand.

 

(While I am to blame for misspelling irritable, my bickering cats have stepped hesitantly forward to acknowledge their small part in the botched 2011....).

20210930_132409.jpg


Dear seimodern, in your comment there are several things I would like to express my opinion on.

 

I could perhaps start with the most obvious, and it is to notice that your hand perfectly complies with the nib of the Calligraphy and it gives the writing that kind of measured variation that elsewhere I have called "con brio", and which makes personal writing interesting and lively.

 

Less obvious is the fact that not many pens, old and new, are capable of this subtle variation in the strokes of the handwritten letters, and of returning this vivid impression of handwriting seemingly effortlessly. Your writing is added to the many, which we have had the pleasure of sharing on these pages, which show the ductility of the Calligraphy nib in the most varied circumstances, and the grace of the variations that it made possible.


I find your writing very beautiful and neat, without being artificial. I suppose, but it is just a supposition, that what you have shown us is not your daily writing, but a more careful and elaborate version. There are, of course, some of the letters, especially the uppercase ones, which are inspired by properly calligraphic models, mixed with others that are instead more improvised and probably derive from your current, everyday writing.

 

So here I am at my last point. Accurate handwriting obviously differs from everyday writing, because it is more meditated, almost certainly slower, and in various cases "draws" the letters according to a ductus that is not instinctive, but based on the repetition and imitation of more recently learned models.

 

The actual calligraphic exercise is still considerably slower. Each letter, without exception, must be performed in parts, according to the elements of which it is composed and the way to execute them, including the inclination, the shapes and their correct size and the pressure changes on the nib.

 

Since truly calligraphic practice is so slow (and sometimes tedious), we all run the risk of stopping at the level of writing “con brio”, which certainly includes handwriting elements, but is not yet calligraphy.

 

I am saying this to express my opinion that calligraphy is not at all “beyond your reach”. You certainly have a passion for the subject, an obedient hand and excellent tools to perform it. The only thing still needed is to internalize the fact that calligraphy means something other than the embellishment of handwriting, and that this requires faithful reference to the models and a lot of slow exercise in their practice.

 

 

 

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A couple of things.

 

I do not own a Calligraphy (and doubt ever will be able to) but I am enjoying this thread since the beginning and wanted to say a big thank you.

 

As for practice. I guess most of us have become so "end-oriented" that we have forgotten the joy of life. Often, when one achieves what one wanted, one discovers that the joy quickly vanishes and it was funnier the process of getting there than actually being there. I saw this advice in a Sumi-e book recently, where the author said one should not approach it by aiming for perfection of reproduction, but trying to capture the spirit of subjects and that, for that, quality or beauty was secondary, so the advice was to just do your sketches and not worry about the looks but about the 'feeling' of your work.

 

I suspect the same can apply to anything else: do not put your sight on the final 'excellence'  you aim for. Just write. To me @seimodernhand is already very beautiful. Concentrate on the achievements. Then, identify the main defect and try to fix it. Enjoy the small achievement. Then the next. Enjoy the process of improvement itself. Before one realizes, one has become a master of whatever one started out to achieve. Think that if you ever achieve it, the fun will vanish.

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Thank you, txomsy, for your wise words.

 

I guess that nobody, among those who follow this thread, is a professional calligrapher. We all do learn and make our exercises for pleasure. And no doubts it is rewarding.

 

If we look back, at our handwriting of a couple years ago, and often of only a few months ago, we could surely appreciate how much our writings have improved in terms of grace, order, and expression, thanks to study, exercise, the knowledge of models, and the use of dedicated instruments.

 

The masterpieces of true calligraphers will likely remain forever out of reach for most of us, among other things because we use the wrong instruments (the fountain pens that we love, how much good they could be), and we can dedicate to the improvement of our handwriting an to calligraphy just a part, often a marginal part, of our free time.

 

The good results we achieve in this process must made us happy, even though we can measure the inconmensurable distance that still separate us from the perfection of some masterpieces.

 

When I look back, and I remember that I never seriously practiced Copperplate and Spencerian scripts before acquiring my 149 Calligraphy eighteen months ago, I can see a big improvement, not only in the "wannabe" pieces where I try to do real calligraphy, but also in the serene and more expressive shape of my daily writing.

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I may have said this before and, if so, don't mind repeating it. This thread continues to be a great learning experiences in more ways than one.

 

Thank you all!

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I hope it is OK to ask if anyone knows of an authorized retailer that has stock of these pens at the moment... I am looking to purchase. Thank you!

Cheers - Nicholas

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2 hours ago, Nick T said:

I hope it is OK to ask if anyone knows of an authorized retailer that has stock of these pens at the moment... I am looking to purchase. Thank you!

 

I do not know where are you based, but apparently Montblanc Italia has the pen available.

 

You may check at this page:

 

https://www.montblanc.com/Search/Index?textSearch=149+Calligraphy&siteCode=MONTBLANC_IT&langId=2

 

I followed to the point where I was requested to pay, so I guess the pen is truly in stock.

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This thread wanted to give me something more to celebrate. A few days ago I realized that these pages of ours dedicated to the appreciation of the Meisterstück 149 Calligraphy have been visited more than fifty thousand times!

 

This exorbitant number of visits, which translates into over 100 daily visits during the year and a half in which this thread has been active, is a clear testament to the great appreciation this pen enjoys in our community.

 

But, perhaps even more than this, these fifty thousand clicks are explained by the amount of passion, advice, tests and suggestions, and calligraphic examples and pages of daily writing, through which dozens of enthusiasts wanted to contribute to a better knowledge and a best use of this unique and amazing pen.

 

Thanks to all pen pals for making this incredible milestone possible. I celebrate it this way:

 

large.1809236015_FiftythousandproofsofloveforCalligraphyFP.jpg.79c30ba6eb686b16713db72e77984a33.jpg

 

As the Black Permanent ink was about to run out from my pen, I took the opportunity to first write the word "Calligraphy" in modern cursive. Then I thoroughly washed the pen and loaded it with Diamine's Ancient Copper ink, to write the rest of the text. The paper is Fabriano Ingrés 90 gsm in Gialletto color.

 

Shot with my trusty Hasselblad H5D 50.

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20 minutes ago, fpupulin said:

 

I do not know where are you based, but apparently Montblanc Italia has the pen available.

 

You may check at this page:

 

https://www.montblanc.com/Search/Index?textSearch=149+Calligraphy&siteCode=MONTBLANC_IT&langId=2

 

I followed to the point where I was requested to pay, so I guess the pen is truly in stock.

@fpupulin Thank you for the link! I am located in the US. I'm having some issue navigating the Italian but persevering. Thanks again!

Cheers - Nicholas

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Drat! After doing some translations the "purchase page" indicates that they will only ship to Italy from that site.

 

Got my heart racing for a moment:)

 

Thank you again @fpupulin I will keep looking!

Cheers - Nicholas

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2 hours ago, Nick T said:

Drat! After doing some translations the "purchase page" indicates that they will only ship to Italy from that site.

 

Got my heart racing for a moment:)

 

Thank you again @fpupulin I will keep looking!

 

I have just checked out the e-shop of Sanguineti In Genua. I never bought from them, but it is an historical shop in the town of Genua. They have the Calligraphy in stock and they ship worldwide for free for any 100+ Euro purchase. They also allow for PayPal payment.

Look here: https://www.sanguinetishoponline.it/it/penne/558-119699-stilo-149-calligraphy-flex-nib-4017941939340.html

 

Do not hesitate in contacting me via pm if you have any problem understanding Italian instructions.

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On 9/29/2021 at 6:43 PM, fpupulin said:

What a beautiful letter, my friend!

 

In your hand the Calligraphy shines with all her potential, and your control of fine and bold strokes is really enviable.

 

There are things that one can not do, of course, without the proper tools, but this thread has shown that when paper, ink, and nib perfectly work together, and a good hand guides the pen, the Calligraphy is truly a great instrument for writing pleasure.

 

Thank you for posting this, como

@fpupulin Thank you for your kind and encouraging words, Franco! I cleaned up and put away the Calligraphy pen for two days, and took it out again already 😀 It's just a must-have pen to have on my desk to play with! I can have other pens inked as well at the same time, but this one is very different and fun to write with.

 

On 9/30/2021 at 10:51 PM, seimodern said:

I was reading Jack Halberstam's excellent Queer Art of Failure (Duke, 2011) shortly after feeling (once again) the overwhelming sense that truly delicate and graceful calligraphy (such as the inspiring work you have all shared with us) will remain forever beyond reach. I would like to follow Halberstam's call to embrace failure's capacity to free up other ways of being in the world, but am apparently a failure even at that... ; ) And of course, I dare not try to pass the source of my limitations off as being political in nature, per the quote, which is referring to a different category of failures, the stakes of which are much higher. : )

 

Failure though this is--in addition to just needing a lot more practice, I struggle with producing any calligraphic text (as opposed to assorted scribblings on a page) as the stakes of failure seem to rise with each additional letter and word, leaving my hand and arm unproductively tense--I nevertheless enjoy this nib immensely, and even the tense and anxious process of writing.

 

Written with MB permanent blue on Life Noble paper. I tend to do most of my (non calligraphic) writing on Life Noble, but the coating (?) on the page seemed to make it more difficult to achieve hairlines. Well, that and my tense arm and hand.

 

(While I am to blame for misspelling irritable, my bickering cats have stepped hesitantly forward to acknowledge their small part in the botched 2011....).

20210930_132409.jpg

@seimodern You have very nice and consistent handwriting. My normal everyday handwriting is not so nice and quite inconsistent. Nevertheless, I've enjoyed starting to learn calligraphy. At the moment I don't hope that one day my normal writing will look anything like my deliberate calligraphy practice. In fact I think I will never achieve that. Nor will my calligraphy look anything like Franco's. But none of these points matters, as I am really enjoying writing with a cool pen. Along the process, I have also had fun with learning about history of calligraphy, different scripts, various types of paper, different pens and nibs suitable for different scripts and so on.

 

If I worried about not being good enough, or not good at all, I would not have posted anything here. The wonderful thing about this forum, about this thread, is that we can all learn and share our experiences without reservation, and enjoy doing so. Imagine that we are a bunch of people with levels from primary school to Ph.D. all in one room sharing and learning, and no one is getting laughed at or feeling embarrassed, now that's a superb learning environment! I am grateful for the generosity of the knowledgeable and kind members in this forum.

 

20 hours ago, Nick T said:

Drat! After doing some translations the "purchase page" indicates that they will only ship to Italy from that site.

 

Got my heart racing for a moment:)

 

Thank you again @fpupulin I will keep looking!

@Nick T Good luck with getting your Calligraphy soon. I learned some time ago that the Boutiques cannot send the pens overseas. Montblanc also does not know the inventory level of their authorised dealers, as dealers bought theirs and aren't connected to MB regarding inventory. While on MB site, there is a long list of countries that this pen is available at various boutique locations, it remains unavailable online and at the boutiques in the US. 

 

I would say that your best bet is to 1. call authorised MB dealers in US to see if they carry and are willing to ship; 2. Shop around in different dealers (in Europe for example, as mentioned in Franco's post, or Fontoplumo.nl or others. Some have for immediate shipment, while others state November shipment etc. In any case, I trust that you will find one. This pen is becoming much more available again than a few months ago.

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Here is another proof why it's a good idea to fill up the pen with clear water and soak the nib and feed for a while after having flushed the pen. The last ink in my Calligraphy was Diamine Oxford Blue, yet the ink coming out of this soak is a brown ink, maybe Leonardo Sepia or Caran d'Ache Organic Brown or some other brown ink I used a couple of fills ago. I recommend doing this every several fills. Afterwards, the pen is flushed a couple of more times and put in a cup nib down with paper towel padded in the bottom for a while, and put away. If you plan to use it again immediately, obviously no need to dry it in a cup with paper towel 🙂.

 

large.F40FE99D-EE1C-429F-94CE-0E870BDD10B0.jpeg.ffd2066b8512cf6375617af49e692143.jpeg

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19 minutes ago, como said:

 

 

@Nick T Good luck with getting your Calligraphy soon. I learned some time ago that the Boutiques cannot send the pens overseas. Montblanc also does not know the inventory level of their authorised dealers, as dealers bought theirs and aren't connected to MB regarding inventory. While on MB site, there is a long list of countries that this pen is available at various boutique locations, it remains unavailable online and at the boutiques in the US. 

 

I would say that your best bet is to 1. call authorised MB dealers in US to see if they carry and are willing to ship; 2. Shop around in different dealers (in Europe for example, as mentioned in Franco's post, or Fontoplumo.nl or others. Some have for immediate shipment, while others state November shipment etc. In any case, I trust that you will find one. This pen is becoming much more available again than a few months ago.

Thank you @comofor the observations. Ideally I'd like to "heft" one at a US dealer and maybe dip it in some ink and see how it writes before buying. I am very close to the MB dealer in Boston, MA. I'll be patient.

Thank you again and hope you enjoy your Sunday.

Cheers - Nicholas

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19 minutes ago, Nick T said:

Thank you @comofor the observations. Ideally I'd like to "heft" one at a US dealer and maybe dip it in some ink and see how it writes before buying. I am very close to the MB dealer in Boston, MA. I'll be patient.

Thank you again and hope you enjoy your Sunday.

@Nick T As the nib is the deciding factor in this pen, if you can have the luxury to try it in person, it would be ideal. Good luck!

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21 hours ago, como said:

I would say that your best bet is to 1. call authorised MB dealers in US to see if they carry and are willing to ship; 2. Shop around in different dealers (in Europe for example, as mentioned in Franco's post, or Fontoplumo.nl or others. Some have for immediate shipment, while others state November shipment etc. In any case, I trust that you will find one. This pen is becoming much more available again than a few months ago.

I would add that there are a number of corporate MB boutique stores in the US (typically in larger cities), and they do sometimes (at least they used to) trade inventory amongst themselves. I obtained a [at that time, 2013] difficult to find Thomas Mann WE from a boutique that had it shipped from another boutique MB store. During the order process, I talked with the manager a bit about how they source out-or-stock items. If the above suggestions don't work out, asking in a corporate boutique store might be another possibility to try. Good luck in your search.

 

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To me it sounds like nitpicking. As the article says, the problem is one of design and easy to solve by choosing an appropriate letter form and weight.


If one insists in using the incorrect tool for a job, it's not the fault of the tool. Maybe they should reconsider redesigning their typeface to suit their needs. That some people, when filling in the empty boxes lack ability to adjust properly the dimensions does not justify the argument either. There are many manuscripts where many capitals show similar problems because the writer didn't correctly consider proportions, and many illuminated manuscripts where the Q or J have no issue either.

 

The thing is that in manuscripts one may write the capital first and then adapt the rest of the text as needed. When we use computers we try to reproduce manual processes. So, should one want, text might justify accordingly. Or, rather, if the shape is not correct and they know the issue they have, they could adapt the shape to suit their needs. One can also find many examples of Q and J letters that fit in a box without need for extending below or to the right of it.

 

Not to mention that one can find aesthetic ways to have letters that somewhat overwrite/intersect each other (as in many flourishes). Just use a different design. Think Zapfino to mention a well-known type.

 

Or change spacing to allow the required space demanded by their design if they must absolutely use it.

 

But that's my opinion. I can understand, on the other hand, that they like the aesthetics of their font and do not want to change it, but -in my humble opinion- that is no justification for complaining either.

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