Home Highlight New oblique penholder for Barbara Calzolari

New oblique penholder for Barbara Calzolari

During 2019, Anna Ronchi (Handwritmic) and Barbara Calzolari started getting in contact more frequently. This led to various meetings, exchanges of opinions and memories about the beginnings of calligraphy in Italy in 1991 and a renewed collaboration around writing instruments.

working remotely with Barbara means receiving wonderful packages!

Barbara Calzolari, a well-known specialist of fine writing, a pupil of Michael Sull, introduced Spencerian and American handwriting in Italy and Europe.

Handwritmic, having already developed a particular know-how in the field of turning penholders in precious woods, wants to realize new projects. So, the idea of an oblique penholder made in Italy started, with a technically high-end but affordable product for most people. For some time now, we have felt the need to have a penholder that meets the requests of the many people who want to start writing in Spencerian.

Of course, we are talking about a penholder with metal flange, adjustable as you like, but already perfect for those who are not able to make special adjustments. The penholder must be suitable for the Nikko G (an excellent and very often used nib for Spencerian). It must have a flexible flange (but not too flexible) and the slant and angles compared to the center of the penholder must be defined perfectly. Finally, at the end of several test runs, the characteristic elements of this penholder are as follow:

  • Essential form without resorting to exaggerations typical of the American tradition.
  • Diameter and size slightly larger than usual, as Barbara prefers a stronger, more full-bodied penholder, without making it longer.
Barbara’s penholder compared with the Handwritmic Classic penholder
  • Cherry wood, a hard wood not too expensive and with a beautiful light honeyish color.

  • Absolutely natural varnishing thanks to new varnishes that Handwritmic develops with its suppliers (ecology is one of the strong points of our company).

  • A good brass flange, well inserted into the penholder’s wood, especially in an aesthetically pleasing way. On the market there are in fact penholders that are not well finished.

  • A small lateral margin of a few millimeters, suggested by Barbara, which can be tightened with pliers to stop a different nib (maybe a smaller one).

  • The white striped decorations give a recognizable sign to the penholder.

Barbara testing the penholder at a workshop in Bologna in January 2020

Once the production was finished, in January/February 2020, Barbara Calzolari was able to unveil the penholders for the first time in India (in Mumbay) where she taught Spencerian to about 60 people. The penholders were a must to study the Spencerian.

Barbara in India with Sanjana Chatlani (Bombaylettering)

This penholder currently mounts a Nikko G nib but it is also suitable for more flexible nibs recommended for copperplate and engrossers scripts, such as a Hunt 22, Leonardt EF Principal, Hunt 101 and the very fine Gillott 303 (this nib being shorter and smaller, it definitely needs a pinch at the end of the flange). Customers can specify in the notes which nib they want to use, and we will adapt the flange for them.

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