This past Saturday, we had our first Creating an Oblique Nib Holder class, which I attended, and I am now in possession of my very own oblique nib holder!
The class was taught by Salman Khattak, who is a calligrapher, but who also makes and sells beautiful and ornate nib holders. We’re running another class on Saturday, April 2nd, from 2-6pm -you can register online here. We’re also hoping to strong-arm Salman into teaching a few calligraphy classes, so stay tuned for that as well.
I was a bit nervous going into it, especially because Salman wanted us all seated in a circle so he could make sure we were all doing okay. I’m more of sit in the back corner kind of student, so I don’t embarrass myself by breaking my nib holder in half or cutting off my thumb while carving the wood. It was a bit intense when we were picking up all the tools from Lee Valley and Home Depot and Canadian Tire, because the list involved utility knives and metal cutters and “round bastard files” – but once I was in the class, everything came together and made sense.
It was great. It was so much fun, especially because the other students were super easy going, and of course Salman is, as always, so disarming and funny. Even though everything he teaches he can do five times as fast, he really lays it all out so we can follow along and do as he does.
The class was originally scheduled for four hours, which I thought seemed like a long time, but we ended up running over! It was really great, though, to have Salman walk us through and show us exactly how to adjust things or tweak things or to help us make sure the flanges were all installed perfectly.
Here are a few pictures from the day:
Salman showed us some of the holders he’s carved, in different shapes and sizes, and explained how each design might work in someone’s hand.
We got to pick our own sizes of wood, and Salman walked us through our rough plans for our own designs, and how to use the knives and files to shape the wood. After sanding it down, we cut notches to install and adjust the flange to accommodate various nibs. It sounds pretty simple when I say it like that, but trust me when I say that there’s a lot that goes into making a custom oblique nib holder, and especially in fitting the flange.
Shaping the wood itself was maybe my favourite part of the class, but of course installing the flange to make it a complete nib holder was pretty exciting, since you really see it turn into an oblique nib holder. It was also the most complicated part, which Salman definitely had to walk us all through.
It was my first time attending a class in the new studio space, and I loved it! Our new studio space for classes is just down the hall from the shop, which is super convenient when we have to move furniture around or set up the coffee and tea for the day.
It was also great to have room to maneuver and stretch, especially because Caleb was in and out of the class, too. Since the class took place on a Saturday, which is typically our busiest day in the shop, Jon took care of Caleb for most of the afternoon, but dropped him off every now and again. In Jon’s words, Caleb was “getting a bit unruly for the shop.”
And here’s mine! I went for a simpler design, rather than something more ergonomic or complicated, mainly because I had no idea how it was going to go. It’s slightly ergonomic in that there’s a small dip near the front end for the fingers to grip into, as Salman advised, but nothing like some of the beautiful ones made by the other students in the class.
It still needs to be lacquered, so any ink splashes or spills don’t soak into the wood (which would only come out with sanding it off, which could affect the shape), but of course I couldn’t resist, and I’ve done just a bit of very careful doodling.
If you have any questions about the class, please let us know! You can see more details here, or you can leave a comment, or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In other news, Monday is our grocery shopping day, so this morning we headed off to T&T, which is an Asian supermarket down by the waterfront.
It’s great when Caleb’s sitting the shopping cart, since he just stares around as you push him up and down the aisles, but as soon as you have him out of the cart, he’s a disaster. He likes to grab things and then re-stock them in alternative locations, which I guess is part of what he does in the shop here. Barely acceptable in our shop, or at least barely tolerated, but in public…we’re working on it.
The sadness news of all is that my favourite potato snack is no longer being carried at T&T. Or rather, they’re only carrying the BBQ and spicy flavours of it. Jon has been trying to appease me by suggesting other snacks, but you know, life just isn’t the same when your snacks don’t hit the spot. Good thing I have a Nanaimo bar for dessert 🙂
(And in case you were worried that it seems like I’m basically just subsisting off unhealthy foods, I just ordered water bottles for the entire family. They’re very cute glass water bottles with silicone sleeves, and Caleb’s is a mini one with a straw. I may have spent 45 minutes of my life that I’ll never get back deciding which ones to get.)