Saturday, 20 August 2011

On the subject of writing...

Now we bloggers rely on a computer keypad to communicate with each other and I must admit I am so glad that I was taught to touch type way back in the olden days - that is before computers were in every home. I even learned mainly on a manual typewriter although the college did have a few electric ones but they weren't commonplace then. Who remembers the font being on daisy wheels and golf balls?  The ink was on ribbons and no typist could be without her Tippex to correct the dreaded mistakes, but no more than 3 mistakes could be made on a letter before you had to start again!  Oh the joy when carbon ribbons came in as with them there was another ribbon, a bit like sellotape, that removed the mistakes.  The time they saved was immense.  I bet the typewriters I learnt on must have seemed very modern to people using early ones like this.

I popped into the local museum this week as they have an exhibition of writing.

I was surprised to find that the work was by a local group 'Northampton Scribes'. I had never heard of them before and yet they were formed in 1996.  There were all sorts of examples on the walls including this alphabet piece that had been worked by the whole group.  I like the way the cat's head sticks out, but not sure you can see it clearly in the photo.

This envelope was beautifully addressed, unfortunately in a glass display case so the photo doesn't do it full justice. Wouldn't it be lovely to receive post like this? I do try and decorate envelopes I send a little bit but perhaps I should be working on my calligraphy skills.  Have to admit that I cheat a bit with italic felt pens!

My favourite exhibit was this one by Erica Burt.  The use of different pens and the repetition of appropriate words to make up the surfaces must have taken hours of work.  

The exhibition reminded me to show you some of the lovely shop window displays in Venice.  They make you want to go back to old fashioned writing!

Look at these wonderful ink bottles.

There were whole shops devoted to the art of writing.

How about a glass pen? I think I would almost be afraid to use it in case it got broken.
Having had a little trip down the memory lane of writing, I have to say at least with a pen in your hand you choose your style of writing, unlike the typewriters that only had one font and Blogger that seems to make decisions for me! I do get rather exasperated with it at times!


  1. What a great exhibition! Thanks for sharing that with us. A few years ago I took part in a blog swap with a difference - it was just to exchange a hand-written letter with your swap partner. That was inspired by the things you suggest - the organiser was reflecting on how handwriting letters has a special quality that computers can't emulate.

  2. I learned to touch type on a manual typewriter too, and remember daisy wheels and golfballs - which were the bees knees in their day!

    Pomona x

  3. i love old typewriters and those glass pens- how amazingly wonderful x

    your lovely parcel for sophia arrived today- Thank you!!!!! she is so excited she is sat adding stickers to each page of the Brambley Hedge book.
    while wearing pretty headbands and loving her sparkly butterfly bag!!!! awwww your such a sweet hearted soul...
    i now have your addressy id like to send a little gift in the post for you xxxx

  4. What a great looking museum. Yes, I totally relate - too funny. I started earning holiday money at Uni after Mum "forced" me to learn how to type. Best thing that happened as it was much cooler than working in MacDo's :-) And yes, I started on a golf ball machine - then on one that you could see what you were typing in a tiny single screen above the keyboard (now THAT was something!) Nothing like computers today - and yet it's not THAT long ago, was it? :-))