Salman Khattak has made some of his beautiful and unique hand-carved oblique nib holders for us to sell in the shop, which is one of the most exciting new lines to introduce to the shop – these are all individually carved and finished, and of course, understated and gorgeous.
They are truly such an elegant and unique tool to have, for calligraphers especially, beginner or experienced, but also just for folks like me who enjoy playing with inks and words on a page.
You can see them online here, or come take a look in the shop.
These are just stunning – I am in love with the simplicity of the design and also the idea behind using a holder made by Salman, a Toronto calligrapher and woodworker.
If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know that I love things that come from natural materials, like paper and leather and wood, and things that are made by hand often speak volumes about the craftsmanship and thought that goes into the design and execution of it.
Salman is both an expert calligrapher as well as a woodworker – you can see some of his work on his Instagram, but as is so often the case with these sorts of things, pictures don’t always do it justice.
His experience, though, means that he’s designed these to be ergonomic and just right in the hand for writing calligraphy. They’re carved from cherry wood, sanded and polished, finished with several thin coats of clear seal before carefully fitted with a flange to accommodate calligraphy dip nibs at an oblique angle.
I attended Salman’s class on Carving an Oblique Nib Holder, and I was blown away by both the artistry involved in designing a nib holder to fit the shape of a human hand and the angle of writing, but also the physical nature of carving and sanding and polishing.
This is a beautiful and deceptively simple design that feels light and fits perfectly in the hand, and I especially love the idea that it’s been created by a Toronto artisan. It’s a good weight in the hand, not too long or back heavy that you feel fatigued by holding it, and its grip shape enables your fingers to hold it more loosely, so your fingers don’t have to expend a lot of energy holding it.
Due to the nature of hand carving and the natural wood material, each holder may have slightly different variations in the wood and the colour or tone of the wood, as well as slight variations in the carving, but they all will be the same model.
I’m sure these will go fast, as we just have one batch in now, but we will be carrying these regularly. With Christmas coming up, these would make such a wonderful gift for someone learning or practising calligraphy – a tool that comes with inspiration built in.
If we are sold out, you can always sign up for the in-stock notification so you can get an automatic email when we get more in, but more won’t come until after Christmas, for sure, as these take many weeks in advance to make.
I, of course, already have mine safely in hand, and I’ve already been flinging ink around. I’m sure you’ll be seeing more of it on my Instagram and on the blog, and it’s also great timing for Christmas cards. Sometimes I don’t go through ink as quickly as I should, and it’s left in my pens for longer than is safe without it starting to clog up – especially permanent inks. It’s nice to be able to just dip and address envelopes with a permanent ink.
This is a heart-warming addition to our shop because Salman is one of the nicest guys I know – he’s even shared surprise birthday cake at our shop, for one of our staff.
I know I say that a lot, and that’s partially because we, Jon and I, somehow landed ourselves in Toronto and in Canada, where the pen community is incredible and we have some of the friendliest and most supportive stationery nuts in the world, but Salman really is one of my favourite people. He is a fountain of knowledge when it comes to both calligraphy and letters and so open and passionate about sharing it.
We’re honoured and thrilled to be carrying Salman’s holders, and even more so as he has a waiting list for his custom holders three months long. He’s offering these holders at truly a very, very reasonable price considering all of the work and time each one takes, along with the experience and knowledge he has in making them.
Salman once came to our Letter Writing Club and did free envelope addressing, and I can only imagine the reaction of people receiving the letters in the mail, as though invited to tea with the queen (although I hope, in my case, that the recipients were not then disappointed by receiving the scribbles of the proletariat).
The part I liked best, though, was watching him pull out all his various inks and nibs and tools and goodies. I’m mostly just a lowly letter writer and journaler, and occasionally I make a mark on an invoice, usually just a doodle, so I can only dream of having all of these tools to make beautiful words with, and now of course, I have this gorgeous wooden nib holder.