Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Quill Pen Compositions

Last year during our big Boston trip, Matt's parents took all of us for a day at Plimoth Plantation. Honestly, Plimoth itself was not my favorite tourist spot--it's one of those recreated villages, and I am just not comfortable walking up to a stranger minding her own business grinding corn and being all, "Hello, who are you? What are you doing? How long will that corn last? What's your preferred method for making corn pone?" like you were supposed to do.

Mostly I tooled around and took in the kitchen gardens, and snuck into people's huts to stare after they had walked out of them, and the Wampanoag village was actually pretty awesome, but I did do some damage in the gift shop. I bought the girls little porcelain Pilgrim dolls (and I wish now that I'd bought Sydney the big ones, too), and a cornhusk doll-making kit, and seeds to grow a Three Sisters garden, and lots of postcards for scrapbooks, and a quill pen making and writing kit.

When I buy stuff that's on big sale, or stuff that's unique in that way, I throw it all into my Magic Craft Cupboard, and whenever the time is right it comes back out again.

Let's see...the girls still play with the Pilgrim dolls, we made the cornhusk dolls back in the winter, we didn't end up doing the Three Sisters garden this summer because the Tom Thumb popcorn looked more exciting in the seed packet than the Plimoth Plantation corn did (but I think the seeds will keep for another year, so def a Three Sisters garden next year), the postcards will probably come out again this fall when we'll study pilgrims again, and that quill pen kit just happened to look mighty tasty just recently when Sydney and I were reading some book or other about the Declaration of Independence (Independence Day has been an area of interest lately, obviously), and she said that she wished that she could write with the pretty feather, too.

You do, huh? Well, let's take a trip to the Magic Craft Cupboard and see what we find!

I used my x-acto knife in dangerous ways to cut each girl's quill at an angle, carve it into a nib, angle the nib, then slit it up the middle a little, while the girls used eye droppers to drip water into their powdered ink to rehydrate it. Then I handed each girl her quill and a giant piece of textured artist's paper, attempted to demonstrate how to properly hold the quill (they weren't such good listeners, sigh), and let them go:
I did ask each girl to write her name with the quill pen--we'll crop them later and put them in their Independence Day scrapbooks:
Ignore the fact that they both keep holding their quills backwards--my theory is that kids these days only ever use writing instruments with rotational symmetry, and thus the concept of one specific pen grip is too foreign to get right away.

Writing all kinds of words was fun--
--but Willow, especially, got really into the artistry of pen and ink, and covered a whole huge page just beautifully, in my opinion:
Everybody loved using the quill pens, but all I can tell you is that after using quill pens as one's sole writing instrument, the using for the first time an ink pen that didn't require pausing to dip it into ink every few letters must have felt AMAZING.

Ink pens just aren't this pretty, however:

Here are some other Declaration of Independence resources that we've been enjoying this month:

Google images and Western Writing Implements: In the Age of the Quill Pen for quill pen pics

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