Around the end of November 2016 I decided I wanted a factitious horn as a practice tool for my cornetto. So I assembled the instrument shown here: an 1.5 foot nicely conical funnel and 11.5 feet of plastic tube, this assemblage being about the same length of tubing as a true horn. I also got a generic cheap trumpet mouthpiece.
At first, I didn’t consider this as an especially useful instrument but as my embouchure got better, I began to appreciate it as a natural horn independent of its use as a practice supplement for my cornetto. So, now I have a goal to get good enough on it to be able to play it outdoors on astronomy trips and sound beautiful fanfares and calls that echo across the hills and dales. In order to give a more authentic mellow sound that is less objectionable to my astronomy buddies, I recently bought a decent horn mouthpiece which I should be getting in a few days. update: I got it on March 6.
These mouthpieces are silver plated and thus subject to tarnishing. Happily, I found this method which works well to keep them bright, without removing any silver as polishing would. Even so, to make sure tarnish is scarcely allowed to build up, I’ll keep my mouthpieces sealed in plastic bags when not in use.
It’s official: I plan to have a piece in the 2018 Friends of Calligraphy summer show. Although it’s admittedly another 17 months before the piece is due, I expect its complexity and difficulty shall have merited an early start. The piece will be a relief-printed woodcut featuring the 7 Factors of Enlightenment, in Pāli, and heavily flourished. In the next couple months, work on a preliminary test block will be done to study feasibility, complexity, and to select the style of calligraphy to be used.
In late-June 2016 I started learning to play the cornetto. So there’s a new page on my web site (‘Music‘) where you can follow my slow learning in my online journal. So my printmaking hobby has kind of shifted to the background for now. more cornetto info
One forthcoming piece of Buddhist calligraphy will be Dhammapada 204 printed from a true woodcut. The Dhammapada is part of the Pāli Canon & is a collection of verses on various themes. It’s full of pithy material and many verses have a quirky, cranky quality. Each verse is 2-4 lines.
I’ll be carving it on this nice oblong piece of plywood, measuring 7.5cm wide by 63cm long.
The text will be in Pāli in rotunda gothic, which is a departure from my usual pointed pen writing. I’ve always liked that style, and its bold blocky letters won’t be dinimished by the presence of the striations and strong grain in this bit of wood.
The past couple days I carved a small sample woodcut (from birch plywood). It was not difficult, just time-consuming at approx. 40 minutes per rotunda gothic letter.
I was pleasantly surprised to learn that thin curved lines are actually not so difficult to do with woodcut, but maybe not thin enough for Spencerian. This makes me think a bit beyond my earlier plan and consider baroque italic. The wood grain interferes with fine carving less than expected.
Query thru the contact page if you’re curious to see images.
Lately I’ve started to consider doing another Buddhist calligraphy print. Inspired by some of the very impressive work of the 15th century woodblock carvers, the idea of doing it as a true woodblock has great appeal! This seems especially appropriate since the earliest dated printed book was a Chinese print of the Diamond Sutra done from woodblocks.
Not feeling quite up to the challenge of doing a woodcut relief print in a pointed-pen style, the plan is to use one of the broad-edge pen hands.
Being a first attempt at wood carving, the content will probably be something pretty simple, maybe the 7 factors of awakening, or 8-fold path items, or a bit from the Dhammapada. I do want to include at least a little flourish- or scroll-work however. Much as I like Latin, this one seems better suited to Pāli.
As with all my Buddhist calligraphy pieces, this work will be for free distribution.
I’ve scheduled the next pointed pen club ‘office hour’ for Thursday, April 9, from 6:30pm – 8pm.
I’ll be at the Jebena coffee shop, 990 Polk St. (at Geary). The best way to get there is to take the 38 bus (west/east along Geary/O’farrell) or the 19 bus (north/south along Polk).
Look for the “Calligraphy Club Office Hour” sign