Saturday, April 21, 2012


I'm taking a short break, to rest my hand, while I write this. I never seem to actually take breaks, though, what I do is switch activities, one motion for another. It seems to work. I can only write for about a half hour at a time now, before my arm and hand start to tell me I'd better take a break. So, in between work sessions I update my web page, do laundry or whatever else needs doing, then I go back to working on the project I took a "break" from. It's nice being my own boss and just being able to take frequent breaks, to take care of myself and not push too hard and get injured. I learned the hard way not to push myself too far (that Jeep job cost me use of my arm for over a year, ouch!).

The job I'm doing today is a basic one: address wedding invitation envelopes in black ink, with the Copperplate script I've been doing for 33 years. The paper isn't the smoothest, which makes me work a bit harder, it's more tiring on my shoulder since I have to go a LOT slower so as not to snag the nib on the paper's fibers and splatter ink all over and ruin the envelope. It's very tedious, but most envelopes are like that, I get lucky once in a while and someone will give me high quality paper that's a joy to write on, but it's rare. I'm going to try to add some guar gum to the ink to thin it out and see if that helps it flow better so I can use even less pressure - that will help me out quite a bit. You wouldn't think it, but I have to really grip the pen to make sure I'm just barely touching the surface, my muscles get fatigued after a while of that - it's your basic writer's cramp, plus some shoulder fatigue, all part of the job I guess. My set up isn't the most ergonomic, the table is higher than it should be, so my arm is up higher than is comfortable, but it works for the job well, so I just keep doing it. Once of these days I'll see about some other arrangement, but for now it's what I've got to work with. I make about $20 an hour doing calligraphy, not bad, but I do work for it! I almost wish I had more of it, but then I rememember how hard it is on my hand and shoulder, so it's good that I dont' get that much call for it, I'd probably get crippled if I did! I was sore all over yesterday, like I'd gone running, from holding my arm up, and from leaning over to put the finished placecards on the floor about a hundred and fifty times in a row (I spread them out to dry, the floor is nice and big, it holds a few hundred of whatever I'm working on while they dry, especially if the paper is coated and glossy, the ink can take a day to dry sometimes depending on humidity and temperature). It's like doing push ups almost, a great workout! I can really feel it today, and I dont' mind the "excercise", I can use it, it's good for me since I don't get much otherwise.

I know this isn't the most exciting blog, but some days are just kind of ho-hum, work-wise. Today is one of those days. Well, I guess it's back to work for me now!

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