A few months ago I caught the tail end of a radio
program that asked the question, “Where do YOU find
peace in wild things?” I was intrigued by this question
and so I searched for the poem that inspired this
inquiry. The poem is by Wendell Berry and is entitled
The Peace of Wild Things. I thought it was a beautiful
poem with lovely visual images and a touching message,
perfect for a piece of calligraphy.
A little while later,
while avoiding the Brazilwood and vellum dying homework
assignment, I made various sheets of tea-dyed paper. Due
to rippling while wet, one of the pieces came out of the
dye that I felt suggested a marsh in hazy light.
Unfortunately, this piece measured only 6 x 12 inches.
Not nearly enough “real estate” to write the entire
poem. So I scanned the image, cropped and stretched it
so it could be printed on an 8.5 x 14 sheet of paper. I
printed the image with my LaserJet printer on a few
different kinds of paper. Diploma Parchment had the
least color distortion from the fixative (Blair) that I
applied after printing in preparation for writing on it.
I wrote with a “clipped” crow quill pen (tiny
broad-edge) with gouache using a combination of raw
umber and yellow ochre. The lettering style is one I
created based on a sample of an unidentified Carolingian
variation that was included in the handouts last year.
My intention was to have elongated ascenders and
descenders resemble marsh grasses blowing in the wind.
The illuminated “W” is 23k patent gold leaf with a gesso
base (2 layers) and Instacol size. The letter’s
background was painted with two different watercolors
from the 6-well palette of Fin-Tec gold. The silhouette
of the crane is the same gouache as the writing but with
a bit more raw umber to deepen the color. The outline
was made with a ball-pointed nib using gold pearl
Schmincke Calligraphy Gouache and the edge of a metal