quills and serendipity

LittlehamptonI stay in Littlehampton when I show at West Dean. I love being being by the sea, and it’s away from the over-pricing due to Goodwood, a couple of miles south of West Dean.
Swan quillsLast year, the day I picked up a swan feather on the jetty was my best day. Lucky! This year, I looked, superstitiously, for another, and found something better: big swan quills, and a lot of them. I had to pick my way through the slime on the jetty, but it was definitely worth it.
Swan quillsYou can see in the picture my sorry collection of quill pens. The biggest quills I’ve found so far have been black-headed seagull feathers, on the beach at Tywyn in mid-Wales. I need big quills for large-scale calligraphy – I really can’t write well with big-nib pens. So I can’t wait to try out the swan feather. I’ll be able to do 120cm square poems! Currently my biggest has been 80x80cm.
InMyCraftThere’s something wonderfully flexible about the quill, and it holds to much ink too. Do we write like we do because of the quill, I wonder? Runes are the shape they are so they can be cut with a knife, after all…
West Dean I’m still looking at roses. West Dean had plenty of climbers, many lovely, but fewer shrubs. The habit makes a big difference, I think, but is hard to see in digital images. My own climber, ‘A Shropshire Lad’ (David Austen of course), has the characteristic sprays of flowers. I’m really coming round the that style.

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