Category Archives: caligrafía

A Student Scribe and the Collar Challenge

i-is-for-ida [Note: This blog does have spanking content. However, it is buried in a great deal of non-spanking content. If you need a quick fix you may want to surf on by.]

After a week spent cleaning and moving, I’ve finally gotten back into practicing calligraphy (the fact my dad was staying out of town this weekend is likely connected to my returned focus as well as some spanking play). For the past couple of days I’ve both had stuff I’ve wanted to blog here (and on caligráfica) while also doing lettering practice. What’s happened is that I’ve done the calligraphy and left the blogging to now, just keeping the practice album up-to-date. Soo, here’s some thoughts.

[Something you may have noticed when looking at the most recent Tinies is the addition of rather shaky Gothic capitals. At my class last Monday, in addition to going over our recent homework, taking us down from a 5mm to 2 1/2mm nib, and discussing the coming illumination project, my teacher also introduced capitals. I’m struggling with them, but just trusting that practice will eventually make them better and all that. On the “K is for Kate” I’m experimenting with using a reddish brown ink for the “K” and “Kate” but as the ink is thinner than the black, I’m not sure how it works out. Like most of my lettering practice, it looks a lot better photographed than it does in person.]

k-is-for-kateRipple effects

Our apartment seems to be getting re-organized and cleaned room by room. It’s amazing the amount of weird stuff we were saving for reasons lost in time and space. These included included random cardboard boxes and odd bits of outmoded technology. Purging things is hard for me, but once I start it feels so good I don’t want to stop.

Here’s an odd fact though — my motivation to get the house organized seems connected to practicing calligraphy. Further, the cleaning and organizing has moved outward from my calligraphy “studio” (as a friend pleases me by calling it) into the rest of the apartment. I’ve organized and now try and keep tidy our entire bedroom (which means keeping up on laundry since otherwise it takes over the floor). My dad’s moving in prompted me/us to re-organize the guest room and bathroom. This weekend we worked on the box room / technology closet. Having things organized has me feel a bit more centered – a Good Thing).

Collars and Shopping: The Challenge Begins

collar-closeupGetting organized required a bit of shopping, meaning Saturday dawned with plans for a trip to Costco and Dick Blick’s (both for a paper storage portfolio and also supplies for the coming illumination project). We also planned to go out for breakfast (at lunch time).

The night before, Paul, who has something of a fetish in this area, told me I’d be wearing a collar and tie all day Saturday. I reminded him we would not be at home and was told that was the point. After moaning a bit about having to be “in uniform” on a Saturday, I went to sleep, excited about the next day.

The next morning, after Paul had a bit of a lie-in and I spent happy hours consuming coffee and surfing friends’ blogs in my pjs, Paul told me it was time to get dressed. He picked out the shirt (one of the ones he had custom made so while it fits perfectly everywhere else, the collar is just a tiny bit too small). I got to choose the tie based on the other things I was wearing, but Paul added a pair of knickers to the “Items to Be Worn” list. This meant I couldn’t really wear my jeans because if you’ve ever worn heavy school knickers, you’ll know they give a new meaning to the term “visible panty line.” I decided on a slightly-too-short-for-someone-my-age black pleated skirt, striped tights, black docs and a black sweater with white trim. The tie (as you can see) is a burgundy and grey striped one.

I took a while getting dressed since I was also tweeting and consulting travel websites, but finally I was dressed and the game began. The game? Yes, game. Or rather, challenge. You see, as things exist in our world, the collar on these shirts belongs to Paul, not me. I was informed that on Saturday I wasn’t to tug at, fiddle with or even touch it at all. Period. The penalty for each infraction while we were out: 12 smacks with the heavy hairbrush when we got home. (This was in addition to the base of 12 at which I was apparently starting.)


Those of you who know me know I have rather nasty eczema and an annoying habit of fidgeting, rubbing and scratching, though of course I shouldn’t. One of my eczema spots is my neck. Within minutes of buttoning it, the skin under the snug collar began to itch.

I complained. Paul reminded me that I could always ask him to slide his fingers under the collar to relieve the skin (or pull it tighter though he didn’t say that). But no touching for me.

Great. My collar had rarely felt snugger.

Twitter Tells the Tale

On the way to breakfast I discovered that by using my iPhone constantly I could keep my hands busy enough and away from my neck. My tweeting was sky high, with the result that I ended up logging each failure and its location.

First tweet was a picture of my collar and tie

2:58PM Damn! Made it thro breakfast but forgot &pulled on tie in cashier line. HB count now at 24 + I was scolded in parking lot. Sulking.

From breakfast we went to Dick Blick’s (art store). My focused shopping and full hands kept me safe there. (I even ended up buying my first paper tube for use holding paper.) But then we left…

3:55 PM Ack. Not thinking & fiddling w/ collar again. Must keep hands busy. HB count now at 36. =8-0

Sensing a pattern? As soon as my hands are free, they seem to head for my collar. Feh!

5:53 PM Due to Costco stress & distraction, HB total now at 48.

The Costco trip was a success. We got an amazing deal on a great set of chrome storage shelves (for the closet) at Costco for less than $28. They’re amazing because despite the low price they don’t suck and each shelf can supposedly hold 350 lbs. Nonetheless, Paul and I have not tried sitting one one together in order to test this claim. It does seem to be doing a great job holding stuff.

But that’s not so interesting, right?

Payment Made

ebony-hairbrushOkay, about the hairbrush and me. On the way home I whined that all the stress of shopping and crowds had left me feeling tired. Paul very kindly said my hairbrushing could be postponed until later. I’m always happy with spankings being “later” especially since they sometimes end up not happening. However, in this case, the count would continue to rise with each slip of my hand until after I got out of the collar. Which meant until after the hairbrushing. After an hour of stalling, I finally literally asked for it. As much as I wasn’t looking forward to 48 whacks, 60 would have been worse.

The chair was put in the empty space in our room — a space generally only used for the chair. Paul bared me, put me over his lap, told me not to put my hands back and started whacking me with the brush. The whacks weren’t super hard, I know he’s capable of much harder ones, but without a warm up they hurt. I was in no sense of the word brave. I didn’t put my hands back, but only because Paul said there’d be an extra 12 each time I did it. Instead I tightened my grip on the chair, whined, kicked and finally howled.

I lost track of the count at 12 and begged to know what it was. Paul wouldn’t tell me, but just continued to whack me. Not knowing the count heightened feeling of being out of control, of being trapped. I protested that he might just keep going forever then. Fortunately it wasn’t long before the spanking reached a climax and was over. I’m sure he didn’t give me extra and am equally sure it took less than five minutes. But felt it like an eternity.

Afterwards he put together the new shelves while I cooed over organized my new art supplies.

[This entry’s non-kinky content is cross-blogged at caligrafica. Guest modeling by Carrots and Small Bear.]

Hooray for research

quills No of course this isn’t about my dissertation (though no doubt that’s what I should be doing rather than writing to you, faithful and much neglected Reader). It’s about my first research love — which would be anything related to corporal punishment.

Last week I wrote about the startle in Marc Drogin’s book about medieval calligraphy, which included the mention of “palmers” described as “sticks with round, flattened heads with which to slap students palms.” This interested me enough that I became obsessed with finding a picture of a palmer. I knew I needed to see one to make sure my scribe fantasies were accurate.
ferule1 Sadly, googling “palmer” revealed that “Palmer” is an insanely common author last name.  Too common even when adding “medieval” or “middle ages” or “scribe.”  I’m sure you, Dear Reader, have experienced this frustration — not enough specificity and you get 1,000,000 results, add too many words and you get none at all. After several fruitless hours I had to accept my defeat.


As Paul would no doubt tell you, I am not easily thwarted.

So I posted to soc.sexuality.spanking, both to tell about the startle and to ask if anyone knew where an image for a “palmer” might be found.  Usenet being usenet, of course someone knew.  A “palmer” is, according to the expert response, another word for “ferule” (an implement had previously only seen as a weighted leather strap (see London Tanner’s “Convent Strap for an example). The poster included a link to this image of a ferule described as the”Ferule of mason’s guild, 1721″ housed at the Vysoké Mýto Museum in the Czech Republic (thoughts for a  Lupus film now run riot).
ferule2As the newsgroup discussion progressed and after I had expressed my thrilled excitement at the picture, Tony Elka mentioned that this one “it doesn’t really look like a spanking implement.” Given the text, I think this one may have been a symbol of guild office. But armed with my new knowledge of the wooden ferule, I began searching Google afresh, this time with more success.

palmetaOn this obviously fascinating page (which I hadn’t visited before), dedicated to listing and defining instruments of flagellation, I found an image of a “palmeta” (Spanish), described as “A short flat slab of wood used for punish children by beating them in their hands” which fitted quite nicely with the image of a “palmer” I now had in my head, though the word can also be used to mean pretty much any paddle shaped object or even a flyswatter.

Do you think they’re the sort of thing the good Abelard might have used on his teenaged student Heloise? He certainly does in my version of the tale.
boy-getting-feruleThese images generally aren’t the greatest (and seem to have been passed around the web for years and years with no mention of their origins) but are the best I’ve been able to find. Their very sketchiness is evocative for me. Hope they are for some of you too. Meanwhile, back to my apprentice scribe imaginings and my “real” scribe practicing.

10 February 2010: A late addition.  The lovely Haron over at Spanking Writers wrote about the palmer only to have a reader respond with a link to a seventeenth century painting The Village School by artist Jan Steen (on display at the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin. According to the artist notes, in this scene Steen used his three children, Catherina, Cornelis and Johannes, as models for the little girl, the boy being punished and the boy holding a paper. I’m rather pleased to see the palmer used in the painting being smaller (perhaps because it was being used on children?) than the ones depicted in photographs. / CC BY 2.0

It’s not just in my head

birching It’s not just in my head (or those of my pervy friends) that calligraphy and spanking meet. This evening as I was reading through Marc Drogin’s Calligraphy of the Middle Ages, one paragraph on page 20 rather leapt out.

The Teaching of Writing

The Teacher was absolute ruler in his domain, and students who misbehaved or fell below expectations were often punished swiftly, harshly and in full view of the class as a warning to others. Some teachers wielded “palmers,” sticks with round, flattened heads with which to slap students palms. More common, as seen in Plate 3* within the capital letter C, was the whipping of a student with birch branches. This birching scene is from an English manuscript of the mid-fourteenth century, at which time monasteries had long ceased to be the major source of elementary education.

As I sat next to Paul reading this, I felt my face flush a bit as I read the passage, especially the line “students who misbehaved or fell below expectations were often punished swiftly, harshly and in full view of the class as a warning to others.”  Surely Mr. Drogin couldn’t have written that with the expectation of it having such an effect on me.

It’s almost enough to make me ask for a smacking.  Except I’m still sore from a severe caning last Sunday and expect another tomorrow so have a bit of trepidation about the state of my bottom.  (These are Regulars — I’m not being punished for anything.)


I’ve started a new blog, caligráfica, specifically about studying calligraphy.  While I like the idea of posting everything in one place (here), I’d like my teacher to be able to read what I write about practicing but suspect giving her this URL would inhibit me in writing about kink.  That’s not something I want to happen.  That said, I’m not keeping the connection to this blog too secret — I’ve linked back and forth from here to there. Please feel free to comment on caligráfica posts with your usual identities.

I am still going to write about calligraphy here too.  Your comments and thoughts have been embarrassingly kind and mean a great deal.


Paul and I went and saw Terry Gilliam’s film, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, which I absolutely loved.  It may be my favorite movie of his ever, certainly since Time Bandits.  It’s lush, fantasy filled and truly a visual feast. Highly recommended.

*Sadly the reproduction is too muddy to make out even in the book so there was no point in scanning it.  

A cozy little space

The Christmas holidays ended with much merriness, fun and mess.  Specifically, our apartment was a mess and I had to head back to school and work.  My plan to clean and put everything Christmas away the weekend before was foiled when the cold (the one everyone else had already caught) laid me low.

I panicked a bit. Not about the mess (though that does make me anxious) but because my first calligraphy course was meeting Monday and on Saturday I was too sick to do much more than move between the bed and sofa.

cozy-spaceWith much urging from Paul, I stayed in bed, slept and created piles of tissue trash. On Sunday, before going to bed at 8PM, I put together a little box of calligraphy supplies.  By Monday, after taking a good dose of drugs and I felt well enough to head out to class.  As I wrote last week, the class was wonderful and I came back filled with energy for my new work.

But where to work?

I did my first practice at the kitchen table, but it was clear even then that this was not a good space.  The light is great in the daytime, but the windows are cold and drafty and the light at night is terrible.  The fact was I’d made a little calligraphy space in the corner of our bedroom two years ago . Unfortunately it had become a messy stack of discarded clothing, books and papers.  I cleared it up the best I could, only to realize that my small desk (a repurposed $20 dressing table from Out of the Closet) couldn’t contain all my supplies and there was no space for any calligraphy books.

Inspired by the having purchased numerous online Christmas presents, I ordered a bookcase from ($1 delivery charge!) and waited impatiently –Overstock is not as fast as Amazon) for it to arrive.  It did and I assembled it (with some help from Paul) this past weekend and filled it with my calligraphy books and supplies (and an American Girl doll named Mariana). The bookcase definitely made the space. Paul declared it “a cozy corner” while a friend (after seeing the picture on Twitter) referred to it as my “studio.” (A calligraphy studio of my own — I love it!)

Having all my materials in one space has made it much easier to settle down and practice in the evenings. I’m not sure there’s much improvement yet.  You can judge for yourself by following pictures of practice sheets.  They’re here and in the album over in the right sidebar. They’re not the only work I’m doing, just the best sheet each day. My plan is to work through all of the lines of the Gashlycrumb Tinies as the poem seems appropriately gothic, though of course what I’ve done and am doing isn’t a patch on Edward Gorey’s gorgeous and distinctive lettering style.

There was no class this week due to the MLK holiday, but I’m looking forward to Monday.  How often do you hear that?

New Year. New Hobby?

Welcome to 2010. It was a great Christmas and thus far a great new year.

Despite the fact I should really be working on my dissertation all day, every day in every bit of available free time for the next six months, I’ve decided to celebrate this year by taking a calligraphy class, something I’ve been wanting to do for at least the last twelve year.. Yesterday was the first of a series of seven calligraphy classes (three hours each).

gothic-texturaThe class isn’t ideal starting point as it’s on the Gothic Textura (14th-15th century) hand. Gothic Textura is a very angular, formal hand that’s difficult to read and slow to write. It’s lovely when done properly, but pretty unforgiving of errors in style or spacing. Had I been choosing, I would probably have opted for a pointed pen (copperplate) class. But this class is on the right day, at the right time and in a location I can easily reach by bus.

While any Gothic hand isn’t an ideal starting point, I do have some background in chisel nib, specifically Italic, lettering. After buying a cartridge-style lettering kit when I was 13, I practiced for hours and hours, took at least one course and got pretty good. My interested in lettering complemented an undergraduate focus on medieval history and literature and I spent days and hours quietly writing and copying in at the old Getty and Huntington. Unfortunately, I made a totally amateur mistake and decided to letter all the envelopes (inner and outer) for my first wedding. They looked lovely and people were impressed. However, there were more than two-hundred envelopes to letter. I wasn’t really fast enough to take on that sort of project and in order to finish them in time, I had to work six hours a night, every night for a month. What had been a fun and rewarding hobby became the worst grind of my life. For about five years after, I wanted nothing to do with lettering, even giving my pens and books away.

This changed in 1999, the first summer I spent with Paul in Edinburgh. There were a number of reasons for it, but the short version is Paul was working all day, I was spending a lot of time at the (alas now closed) James Thins, the Museum of Scotland and keeping a daily, sketch-filled journal. On a whim I bought a new calligraphy pen, a lovely Rotring ArtPen I still sometimes use, and started practicing Italic lettering again. At the same time, Paul and I visited the Museum of Scottish Education in Glasgow and I bought a basic dip pen.

copperplate1What I learned was that as much as I had learned to use a chiseled cartridge pen, I had no idea how to use a dip pen effectively, certainly not to do anything like 19th or early 20th century Copperplate script. In 2008, with the help of some library books, I taught myself how to use a dip pen for some basic Italic and Copperplate hands. Again, nothing very impressive but it was enough to realize that if I was ever going to get any better I needed some formal classes. (I’ve got samples of all of these, but the idea of posting it doesn’t really appeal much — maybe another time).

Enter yesterday and the Gothic Textura class. We spent the first half hour or so going over materials (dip pens only, C-0 nibs, inkwells, paper, drawing boards, rulers and the like). We’re all supposed to use identical materials, at least to start, including making a little paper sleeve to use to keep our rulers on our drawing board.

copperplate2Yesterday the instructor had us use walnut ink (lovely color — too bad I’d need to order it in crystal form in order to make more) because it’s transparent enough to show every stroke. For the next two hours I filled a giant sheet of paper with lines made at 0, 90, 45 and finally 30 degrees. It was amazingly engrossing.

Finally, in the last half hour of class I was allowed to move onto the basic strokes and letters. Normally we wouldn’t have done the alphabet so soon, but as next Monday is the MLK holiday, we’ll be practicing on our own for two weeks.

Did I mention I’m loving this? I suspect that’s coming through, at least a bit.