Every time you feel in God's creatures something pleasing and attractive, do not let your attention be arrested by them alone, but, passing them by, transfer your thought to God and say: "O my God, if Thy creations are so full of beauty, delight and joy, how infinitely more full of beauty, delight and joy art Thou Thyself, Creator of all!
- Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain

You can’t get to joy by making everything perfect. You can only get there by seeing in every imperfection all that’s joy.
-Ann Voscamp

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Thanks, Turkey Durk! (or, Making a Quill Pen)

We recently finished up an ancient history course, and began a new course on the middle ages. We'll be studying the period of history from roughly 400 AD and about 1600 AD. We began with the division of Rome into two kingdoms and will end with the Spanish Armada and an overview of the world at the end of the 16th century. What young boy wouldn't love it? Gladiators, knights, castles, King Arthur, Robin Hood...
Here's where Turkey Durk comes in. I wanted to make quill pens with the kids, and asked a dear friend if she had any large feathers I could have. She had butchered a large tom by the name of Turkey Durk shortly before I asked, and donated some of his tail feathers to our homeschool. It worked out really well. I SO need a camera! It would have been fun to take some pictures of our project. It was actually quite easy to do. Here's the process:

What you will need
some feathers about 10 inches long
a straight pin
a sharp craft knife
a cutting board
some sturdy paper (drawing paper works well)
some India Ink
a piece of felt (or paper toweling)

1. Soak the feathers in warm, soapy water for about 10 minutes.

2. Use the craft knife to remove a couple inches of feathers from the quill (or remove all of them, if you wish. They were used both ways.)

3. Cut the tip off the quill shaft at an angle using the craft knife. The very tip of the angle is the portion you will write with. Cut a tiny slit at the tip, parallel to the shaft. This tiny slit helps the ink to flow properly. (It would be so much more clear with a picture. I do apologize for my camera. It worked for about 15 seconds tonight. Just as I was snapping a picture of this process, it went berserk again!)

4. Use the straight pin to clean out the quill shaft.

To use the quill pen, dip it in the ink (about 1/2 inch) blotting the excess on the felt (or paper towel). Hold the quill at an angle with the "open" portion of the angle you cut facing up. You want that tiny slit you made facing the paper. Experiment to find the right angle and pressure. When we first tried it , I was using it "upside down". It was very hard to control the flow of ink and it was used up almost immediately. Just keep trying, and I'm sure you'll figure it out quickly.

Happy writing!

1 comment: