I've taken a break from carving to begin designing an alphabet stone. Progress, meet wall. Trial brush-lettered layouts were beyond miserable, I just could not get the letters to flow. I took a walk to clear my head, read an inspiring essay by Robert Bringhurst and returned to the shop, only to struggle anew. But I kept at it and eventually finished the day with a skeletal alphabet on scraps of paper torn off of layouts I used in sudden games of trashketball. It wasn't much, but it would carry me into the overlay stage, tracing the skeletals, adding serifs and adjusting the letterspacing. Altogether a humbling business, especially within a hundred mile radius of a Benson. But I should mention here that Nick's deft touch as a teacher has made an enormous difference. What could have been a day lost to despair was salvaged with a reminder that lettering is a lifelong process of failing to achieve perfection. Get used to it. The work is hard. Do the work.
Since I'm a far better balancer of stone than I am a calligrapher, I've decided to play to my strengths here. Pictures from last weekend of a happier place in a fine storm, where an anonymous visitor has contributed a new slant to the conversation.