From a different era – Letter writing

Before I got my first computer in 1988, I used to spend hours writing letters to family and friends. During those times, I loved using different pens, inks and beautiful papers. I suppose that is why I still have lots of different paper – it is coming in handy these days with doing collage. Now that I’m doing calligraphy, my interest in my glass and fountain pens has also been renewed.

My favourite pens were always my glass ones (see picture above). The only problem was their fragility. When my son was a toddler, I accidentally left one out and he tried it. He pressed down on the paper and the nib snapped off. Yet again, I learned not to leave fragile items anywhere within his reach. He was as agile and speedy in finding forbidden items as is Lytton, our dog, in locating any food left on the kitchen counter.

I used to always have ink-stained fingers depending on what colour of ink happened to be my current favourite. Here is a picture of some of my inks. While I love using email and the internet, sometimes I wish that I still wrote letters by hand. Then I could use up all those postage stamps that I collected in the 1980s and have the added bonus of receiving handwritten letters in return.

15 thoughts on “From a different era – Letter writing

  1. jodi says:

    In school, even in college, I used a fountain pen–and turquoise blue ink. That in itself isn’t remarkable, but I’m left handed…and consequently had a peacok-blue hand most of the time. But I have terrible penmanship, and it’s gotten even worse with the advent of the computer. I now type faster than I can write by hand, too. So I rather admire and envy your calligraphy skills!

  2. teeni says:

    Oh,Kate! I am so in agreement with you about handwriting letters and notes to friends. It is so much nicer to get a handwritten note or letter than an email just forwarded along. They are just so much more personal and sentimental, and sadly, all too rare. Good for you for keeping up the handwriting and calligraphy. Like Jodi, I can now type faster than I can write by hand and my handwriting is atrocious. It actually used to be nice once upon a time. I still make a point of handwriting certain notes and letters but sometimes I do print them from the computer using a handwriting font simply because I can’t even read my own writing!

  3. Laura says:

    i cannot believe you just wrote about glass pens!! i love them and just went out to get one last week but the only place around i knew to find one was temporarily out! i do love writing with them but was getting one to do fine details in my watercolor paintings. i worked at a great stationery store in new orleans for a couple years and i really miss all the inks and wonderful papers and exquisite fountain pens-i never managed to get a nice one for myself, one of these days… long live letter writing!!

  4. kris says:

    Hi KateI just caught up on your blog – with your posts every day, I’m way behind!! I love reading your posts though – very cool that you’re writing daily.I loved the pressed pansy – and I agree that it is so fun to open a book and find a pressed flower – especially in the middle of winter!The collage you showed in your Sunday post is so pretty – so delicate looking – I love it.The photo of Lytton is totally cute. I loved the story of him hiding his rawhides in plain view. Kobie hides himself in plain view – he’ll stand behind a tree or lawn chair – and watch me walk up through the yard. As I get close to him, he’ll jump out and run to me. I’m sure he thinks I can’t see him until he jumps out. It is too funny to see.I adore your glass fountain pens. I too wish I still spent time writing notes and letters in longhand instead of relying on the computer so much.I wanted to thank you for the note on the paint stix. I looked around and found them at another art store online for an even better price – so thinking that will be something on my xmas list this year!Last Friday, I went to a performance by a local symphony and thought of you. It was so much fun to listen to the lovely music for a few hours.I checked out the Created Wor(l)d site – fantastic! You are all very talented writers. I can’t wait to read more!!(sorry this is so long – but I’ve missed visiting with you here!!)Hope you’re feeling better!

  5. Rowan says:

    There’s quite a lot in blogland about letter-writing at the moment, I’m one of those people who still writes a lot of letters, I correspond regularly with at least a dozen friends and relatives. One of my favourite things is a new pen and a fresh, brand new stack of writing paper. Lovely photo of Lytton in your last post, he sounds very sweet with his rawhide bones:

  6. Barbara says:

    I also like to write letters (with a fountain pen and turquoise ink!)…still now, having the computer and writing faster than my handwriting is. I’ve never seen glas pens, they are nice! I even don’t know whether we can buy them here. For calligraphy we have special pens too!

  7. Reflection Through The Seasons says:

    Hello Kate….I’m a little late in coming back to you, but thank you, I appreciated the comment you left for me about my granny squares. Its also great to meet a new fellow blogger.What an interesting post this is and what exquisite glass pens, of which I’ve never seen the likes of before. Yes, I agree, there is something special about handwriting and using bottled ink. Oh! I remember so well those ink stained fingers and that little ‘writers lump’ (as I called it) on my middle finger from holding my pen.I’m an avid diarist and still keep a certain pen for writing my daily entries – old habits die-hard. Marion

  8. Ingrid says:

    Why don’t you still do some writing by hand? I do, I also try to stick to writing handwritten letters and cards, it is so much better than an email.I love your pens!

  9. Rurality says:

    I used to write tons of letters to penpals all over the world. Nothing quite like the thrill of exotic postmarks in your mailbox! But gradually I let them all slip away — now I wish I hadn’t.My handwriting was never quite good enough for calligraphy, though I did love fountain pens!

  10. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I too have a glass pen but never became adept at using it. I used a fountain pen for years. THen the advent of computer into my life. Well, I still write thank yous and cards. My preference in pens now days is the Pilot precise extrafine roller ball. It comes in colors and I snatch up any new colors they come up with to suit my moods. 🙂

  11. A wildlife gardener says:

    Email definitely loses out in some ways. A handwritten letter is often kept in a safe place- eg. a special box – whereas emails are mostly deleted.I last saw your glass pens in Venice. As I use inks in my watercolours, I fancied buying a few. But, my hubbie thought they would most likely be broken in our luggage. So I resisted buying them.

  12. Kerri says:

    Thanks for stopping by Kate, and for the Thanksgiving and get well wishes. You must’ve seen my whining about my cold in a comment somewhere? 🙂 Happily, I’m on the mend. This has been a doozie of a cold. I hope you didn’t end up coming down with one and are feeling more energetic lately. This cold really zapped my energy!Like you I love pens and ink and have dabbled in calligraphy. Yes, I too miss writing and receiving letters. It’s a real treat to get one these days!Your pooch is funny…wanting his picture taken 🙂 A lovely boy he is!That’s such a pretty Christmas card created by Linda..she’s talented.So are you with all your crafty projects!

  13. Annie in Austin says:

    What a beautiful photo, Kate – I didn’t even know what a glass pen was until I read your post. When Philo and I were first married we lived 1000 miles from our parents and siblings and had no telephone for nearly 3 years. During those years I wrote many letters to many people – but never on such lovely paper and all I had were cheap ballpoint pens. I seldom write a letter now – and my handwriting has degenerated. Kate, with so many people trying to make daily posts right now I’m having a hard time keeping up – please know that even if I can’t comment, I’m enjoying your writing!Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  14. Pam says:

    I LOVE glass pens. A few Christmases ago I gave one to my husband’s aunt, one of clear glass.

  15. Mary says:

    Kate, I recently took a one-hour calligraphy class and loved it! I did very well and have one pen in the color of blue.I too, miss handwritten letters and receiving mail. Electronic communications has sort of erased the personal part of written communications.My one calligraphy pen might address my Christmas cards this year…if I have time for it and enough envelopes to toss for screw-ups.

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