This is Virginia Abbott.
Virginia is a nationally recognized sculptor whose current work addresses a variety of environmental issues. She is a member of the prestigious National Sculpture Society and a fellow resident artist at the Banana Factory in Bethlehem, PA. You may recognize Virginia from a previous post where she’d combined some of our Decopatch papers with some of her cast paper sculptures. (Want to watch Virginia demo the cast paper process at our local PBS station?)
Virginia had stopped by my studio not long ago to show me the results of some sketches that she’d drawn in a Rhodia LeCarre notepad. These pendants of sterling silver, brass and bronze were created using the lost wax casting method, a labor intensive process which begins by her carving the three dimensional design model from a block of wax.
The casting process continues by placing the wax model on a base, which is then covered by a flask. The flask is then filled with a wet plaster, (known as ceramic investment) and placed in a vacuum to remove air bubbles. Once the investment has been allowed to dry, the base and flask are removed and the piece placed in an oven to burn out the wax – hence the name, “lost wax”. It is at this point where molten metal is forced into the investment mold by centrifuge. To remove the cast item, the mold is destroyed and the resulting metal piece is cleaned up by filing and polishing.
If you want to make multiple pieces from a carved model, you have to send the finished metal piece back to the foundry to have a mold made – otherwise, it’s a one of a kind.
These are a few images of the original design sketches.
When I asked Virginia “Why trees?” It was a treat to learn the response.
At this point, it might be helpful to know that deer, trees, and irony happen to be a recurring theme in Virginia’s work. Did I mention that she also happens to be a clown?
Virginia also created the deer pendant shown above, which in its antlers, is holding a taxidermists glass deer eye. (I’m totally not making that up)
Looking at the reverse of the pendant, you can see how Virginia used the cast tree design as a “gallery” which is a decorative element used behind a stone in place of a solid mount. The tree pendants shown in the photos at the top of this post are a smart secondary usage of the original design.
We received a recent letter from Michael Marchesan asking us to develop an fountain pen friendly engineer’s pad. When Karen Doherty asked why engineers couldn’t use the standard grid, Michael responded as follows:
I used to do all of my math/science on graph paper for years until I began engineering study and realized the beauty of engineering paper.
Engineering paper has it’s grid on the backside, which you do not actually write on. The grid shows through to the front of the paper which is blank, so you can have the benefits of writing on gridded paper, without actually writing on a grid.
When you tear your sheet off the glued-top-bound pad, it appears as if though you wrote in perfectly straight lines and did all your calculations, figures and measurements with incredible precision on a blank sheet without the distraction of a grid on your work.
The other benefit to this is that the grid does not show up when your work is photocopied from engineering paper.
Each grid on engineering paper is 0.2″x0.2″, with bold grid-lines forming 1″x1″ squares every 5 grids–great for scaling and doing precise engineering calculations and figures.
So who else out there would like to see Rhodia produce a fountain pen friendly version of this specialized paper? Spread the word and tell people to comment on this post.
Boulder Colorado based online retailer European Paper Company is now stocking the Ltd. Edition Rhodia ICE products and is offering a coupon for $5 off an $85 purchase by using the coupon code ICE5 before 10/15.
Five sizes are available in this special edition of a customer favorite:
Claudia McGill is one of my favorite contemporary artists because it was her colorful and whimsical art that first inspired me to take risks in my own art. She works with a variety of mixed media; including acrylic paint, collage and clay. Something I didn’t know about Claudia is that she uses Rhodia tablets. When she first learned that I worked for Rhodia, she told me about a zine she had been working on which included a short story about a train ride to Pittsburgh and how the story was based on notes she’d taken in a small Rhodia pad during her trip.
To read the story, click on the first image and then keep clicking to move from one page to the next.
Charles – could this be one of your old graph pads?
Last week, Charles Barilleaux voiced his preference for our dot paper stating, “The grid doesn’t work for me, as I wind up spending meetings filling in the squares.”
Anyone else enjoy coloring in the squares like this?
(This image actually belongs to kaiser5081 on Instagram.)
“7 year old AJ writing with a pen that was manufactured when her grandparents were children. Esterbrook J series.”
In a time where children are bombarded with a billion different distractions every day, it warms my heart to see this young girl patiently putting nib to paper.
Did you know that the famous Disney artist Carl Barks was an enthusiastic user of Esterbrook pens? He particularly used a Nº 356 model to ink and letter his famous Donald Duck comic-book pages. (Per Wiki)
“…I drew direct onto the drawing paper with a Scripto light blue pencil, and inked with a 356 Esterbrook pen. My wife inked the dialogue with an A-5 or B-6 Speedball, and blacked the solid areas with a #2 sable brush.”
Interested in Esterbrook fountain pens? Check this out: Esterbrook.net
Image courtesy of BookBoy on Instagram
Do you think it’s the pen, the hand, or a combination of the two that results in the tiniest handwriting?
Is your handwriting this small, or smaller?
Image courtesy of thatsraddude on Instagram
Our reporter style Rhodia dotGrid Webnotepads can easily be used vertically or horizontally. Which way are you using yours?
- Hard-back Italian leatherette covers in orange or black
- Luxury 90g ivory vellum paper, super smooth, acid-free, pH neutral
- Light grey dot grid with 5mm intervals
- 96 micro perforated sheets
- Matching elastic closure holds pad secure
- Two sizes: pocket or palm A6 – 3 ½ ” x 5 ½ ” (9.0 x 14.0 cm) and A7 – 3 ” x 4 ¾ ” (7.5 x 12.0 cm)
What is your favorite Rhodia ruling? Is it graph, lined, dot or blank, and how do you use them? My ultimate favorite is blank – perfect for writing or doodles. 2nd favorite is the dot grid – also for writing/doodles.
Favor? Help us share this question with your friends.
Image courtesy of jiminellie on Instagram.
There are always lots of goodies to be found within the French Clairefontaine Catalog and the good folks at Exaclair (The North American distributors of Clairefontaine, Rhodia, J. Herbin, etc.) have their work cut out for them when deciding which products to import from France. I find it almost painful to flip through page after page of what I refer to as “The Big Book” screaming like a young Veruca Salt “I want that! and that! and THAT! I want that and I want it NOW!”
*Ahem.* (Taking a moment to calm my composure.) So what do you think of these new Clairefontaine ‘Graf it’ Pads? Would you buy them?
Translated from the French Clairefontaine catalogue:
Graph It Dot Grid stapled pad is the perfect companion! Simple, modern & very practical. 80 sheets of white drawing 90gmm PEFC paper with pre-printed lilac light dots. The light geometric dot matrix is used as a skillful guide for your sketches, technical drawings or note taking. This subtle matrix will become almost invisible at scan, or on photocopy to reveal only your sketch.
160 pages / 80 sheets
90gsm / 41lb white paper
Available in A4 & A5
”Thinking about a workplace transformation” Image courtesy of ac3y on Instagram.
I have a large #38 dotPad that I think I will use to design my new garden beds. Have you used a #38′s or any of our dotPads to lay out a new workspace? Any tips to offer?
8 out of the 10 Best Selling Rhodia products in 2012 were graph ruled, including the #1 Best Seller, the 6×8 1/4″ top staple bound (#16) notepad. So what else made the list? See below.
1. Rhodia Classic Notepad Top Staple bound Graph 6 x 8 ¼ – Orange (#16)
2. Rhodia Classic Notepads Top Staple bound Graph 3 3/8 x 4 ¾ – Orange (#12)
3. Rhodia Classic Notepads Top Staple bound Graph 3 x 4 – Orange (#11)
4. Rhodia Classic Meeting Book Lined 6 ½ x 8 ¼ – Black
5. Rhodia Classic Notepads Top Staple bound Dot Grid 6 x 8 ¼ – Black (#16)
6. Rhodia Classic Notepads Top Staple bound Graph 3 x 8 ¼ – Orange (#8)
7. Rhodia Classic Notebooks Side Staple bound Graph 3 x 4 ¾ – Black
8. Rhodia Boutique Mouse Pad 7 ½ x 9 Graph – Orange
9. Rhodia Classic Notepads Top Staple bound Graph 4 3/8 x 6 3/8 – Orange (#13)
10. Rhodia Classic Notebooks Side Staple bound 3 x 4 ¾ Graph – Orange
Are your favorites on this list? (I am very happy to see a dotPad at #5, though I think I’m in the minority of people who prefer the blank pads.)
“If you do not have any ideas worth committing to writing, think up some now, then buy this notebook…I just took my wife to the store today to get her own Rhodia notebooks!”
Well Keith, we certainly appreciate your kind words about our products and hope your wife is enjoying them as well!
Have you tried one of the Unlimited books yet? Very portable with an elastic closure, the Unlimited is a 3 1/2 x 5 1/2″ pocket sized notebook containing 60 sheets (120 pages) of our fountain pen friendly 80g white Rhodia paper in a lined or graph format. Covers available in black or orange.
Image and quotes courtesy of Keith – keithgb on Instagram.
Image courtesy of Jonathan Gilmour, whose girlfriend made this totally sweet Rhodia inspired iPad case. Check out the grid patterned fabric on the back!
We most certainly appreciate the folks who love our products so much that they create tribute items such as this – great big thanks to you!
You can follow Jonathan as jonogilmour and his girlfriend bunniesinblazers on Instagram.
Working out some rough ideas for custom vector symbols, Petr uses the Rhodia dotPad as a daily tool.
We’ve seen many people using the dotPad for sketching and doodling – practicing calligraphy and such. I myself have been known to use the dotPad or the occasional mandala doodle.
What do think it is about the dot grid that makes it so popular for drawing and doodling?