Fresh cobwebs coddle a pile of silk rags, shelves heave with sheafs of creamy stacks. Cold-pressed cotton blocks wait for the inky pots that glint and quiver in the drawers labeled in neat sure caps. Nibs rattle in pill boxes and a wave of swan quills sigh on a shelf. A shaft of dip pens sit in a clutch by the window and I'm delighted by the cornucopia of oil bars, crayons and Caran d’Ache. I gasp and coo. I run a brass zip down a leather pencil case and find a stubby eraser nestled with wire reading glasses. They are bound by a thin thread of glass beads, wound around to stow. Then an ancienty dark brass sharper in a tiny leather pouch that still snaps shut.
I have the extraordinary privilege of documenting the studio of an accomplished artist and calligrapher. Soon we will box up a lifetime of beautiful art books and horde the materials off to a new home. I did not have the privilege of knowing this artist, but I feel a growing stolen connection to her as I journey through the rainbows of worn waxy stubs, brush pots, ink stains, scraps of punctured paper and even a sag of plaster of paris. In the intimacy of creaking open a sketch pad, unsnapping a watercolour tray or unwinding a paintbrush roll I meet a fervent literary mind, busy hands and a rich creative life.