New Greeting Card: Pardon My Depression

Normally this is the space for pithy copy and quips. This card, while inspired by what may have been a joke, is entirely serious. Sometimes you need to tell your friends why you've been hiding from the world. We hope that this card may help you.

GC-201704-Depression_outside.png

How It Came To Be:

Normally every time Twitter "updates" their app, it adds a feature no one wanted or needed. Every now and again, however, those "features" can combine to produce something useful. In this case, Twitter's "helpful" new feature actually did its job and resulted in Terri seeing the following:

Tweet reads: "is there a greeting card for "sorry i isolated myself for a month, i was having a depressive episode, and it'll definitely happen again"". Apparently a number of people whom Terri follows had liked this tweet. She replied "Not yet, but we at @GeekCalligraphy might have to think about it." Since Ariela also thought it was a good idea, we went forward. 

The card shows Spoon Dragon hiding under a blanket, all of their spoons lying on the floor. Some of them are bent or broken. The outside text reads: "Sorry about my absence of late. I've been having an overwhelming depressive episode. And it's likely to happen again." The inside is available either with no text or with the following: "It's no reflection on you. I've missed you and value your friendship so much. Thank you for bearing with me."

As with all our cards, it is available singly for $4 or in packs. Unlike many of our other cards, we are selling this card in packs of 6 cards for $20 and 10 cards for $30. 

We hope that this card helps you take care of yourself and keep lines of communication open when you find that the world is too overwhelming.

We're Back!

Tishrei, aka The Jewish Month With Far Too Many Holidays, ends at the end of this week. Saturday is the start of Cheshvan, aka The Jewish Month With No Holidays and We Love It For That.

We have 16 Artist Proofs left of our Cheshvan special product from last year, as well as the original for sale. It makes a lovely gift for clergy who have just completed the most grueling month of their professional lives.

Mishenichnas Marcheshvan Artist's Proof
50.00
Quantity:
Add To Cart

Signing Off For Tishrei

by Terri

Image shows chibi Ariela with swirly eyes under a large weight with 'Jewish Holiday Calendar' written on the side together with a calendar showing many days blocked off.

Image shows chibi Ariela with swirly eyes under a large weight with 'Jewish Holiday Calendar' written on the side together with a calendar showing many days blocked off.

Wednesday night begins the cycle of fall Jewish Holidays that we blogged about in our post "Tishrei Is Coming." Both Ariela and I are observant of the restrictions imposed by these holidays, which means that regular blogging and frankly much work becomes difficult over the next four weeks.

So while you may see Tweets and the occasional Facebook post when we feel something needs to be shared, this blog is going to be quiet. While we will be taking orders for prints and greeting cards, they may be slower to ship than usual. We probably* will not be taking ketubah orders for the next few weeks. 

If you are observant of these holidays, we hope that you have a joyous and meaningful holiday season and a good & sweet new year.

.תחיו ותזכו ותעריכו ימים. חג שמח, ושנה טובה ומטוקה

 

 

 

 

*Obviously emergency ketubah situations do happen and we will make our best effort (with applicable rush charges) to meet your needs in that case.

New Judaica Product: Steampunk Pomegranates

Looking for something that seamlessly blends classic Judaic imagery with outstanding steampunk art? Perhaps something seasonally appropriate? Look no further than this print!

Normally we wouldn't be releasing a product this early in the month, but next Wednesday is the day before Rosh HaShana. At that point, we will be taking our usual 4 week break for the fall Jewish holidays.

J-201702E-SPPomegrantes.png
J-201702-SPPomegranates.png

how it came to Be:

For some reason, Ariela seems to like doing religious steampunk art, even she is not sure why. Maybe it's the result of working for an art nouveau ketubah artist for several years. 

While staring at a wall hanging of some rather poorly embroidered pomegranates in synagogue, it occurred to her to depict a pomegranate full of gears instead of seeds. All it needed was a textual tie-in, because we are a calligraphy outfit, and we don't generally put out art without text.*

Ariela thought of one of her favorite pieces in the Yom Kippur liturgy, a piyyut** known by its first line, Ki Hinei KaChomer. This poem refers to God in a variety of creative and skilled roles, rhyming virtues of God with the destructive aspect of each role. Below is the full English*** and Hebrew text of that poem:

Like clay in the potter’s hands –
Expanded or contracted at will –
So are we in Your hand, Guardian of loving-kindness;
Look to the covenant, and disregard our inclination.

Like a stone in the stonecutter’s hands –
Held fast or smashed at will –
So are we in Your hand, Source of life and death;
Look to the covenant, and disregard our inclination.

Like an axe-head in the blacksmith’s hands –
Held to the flame or distanced from it at will –
So are we in Your hand, Supporter of the poor and destitute;
Look to the covenant, and disregard our inclination.

Like the helm in the sea captain’s hands –
Held fast or released at will –
So are we in Your hand, beneficent and forgiving God
Look to the covenant, and disregard our inclination.

Like glass in the glassblower’s hands –
Shaped or dissolved at will –
So are we in Your hand, Forgiver of willful and inadvertent sins;
Look to the covenant, and disregard our inclination.

Like cloth in the weaver’s hands –
Straightened or twisted at will –
So are we in Your hand, jealous and avenging God;
Look to the covenant, and disregard our inclination.

Like silver in the silversmith’s hands –
Adulterated or purified at will –
So are we in Your hand, Provider of healing to the sick;
Look to the covenant, and disregard our inclination.

כִּי הִנֵּה כַּחֹמֶר בְּיַד הַיּוֹצֵר
בִּרְצוֹתוֹ מַרְחִיב וּבִרְצוֹתוֹ מְקַצֵּר
כֵּן אֲנַחְנוּ בְיָדְךָ חֶסֶד נוֹצֵר
לַבְּרִית הַבֵּט וְאַל תֵּפֶן לַיֵּצֶר

כִּי הִנֵּה כָּאֶבֶן בְּיַד הַמְסַתֵּת
בִּרְצוֹתוֹ אוֹחֵז וּבִרְצוֹתוֹ מְכַתֵּת
כֵּן אֲנַחְנוּ בְיָדְךָ מְחַיֶּה וּמְמוֹתֵת
לַבְּרִית הַבֵּט וְאַל תֵּפֶן לַיֵּצֶר

כִּי הִנֵּה כַּגַּרְזֶן בְּיַד הֶחָרָשׁ
בִּרְצוֹתוֹ דִּבֵּק לָאוּר וּבִרְצוֹתוֹ פֵּרַשׁ
כֵּן אֲנַחְנוּ בְיָדְךָ תּוֹמֵךְ עָנִי וָרָשׁ
לַבְּרִית הַבֵּט וְאַל תֵּפֶן לַיֵּצֶר

כִּי הִנֵּה כַּהֶגֶה בְּיַד הַמַּלָּח
בִּרְצוֹתוֹ אוֹחֵז וּבִרְצוֹתוֹ שִׁלַּח
כֵּן אֲנַחְנוּ בְיָדְךָ אֵל טוֹב וְסַלָּח
לַבְּרִית הַבֵּט וְאַל תֵּפֶן לַיֵּצֶר

כִּי הִנֵּה כִּזְכוּכִית בְּיַד הַמְזַגֵּג
בִּרְצוֹתוֹ חוֹגֵג וּבִרְצוֹתוֹ מְמוֹגֵג
כֵּן אֲנַחְנוּ בְיָדְךָ מַעֲבִיר זָדוֹן וְשֶׁגֶג
לַבְּרִית הַבֵּט וְאַל תֵּפֶן לַיֵּצֶר

כִּי הִנֵּה כַּיְרִיעָה בְּיַד הַרוֹקֵם
בִּרְצוֹתוֹ מְיַשֵּׁר וּבִרְצוֹתוֹ מְעַקֵּם
כֵּן אֲנַחְנוּ בְיָדְךָ אֵל קַנֹּא וְנוֹקֵם
לַבְּרִית הַבֵּט וְאַל תֵּפֶן לַיֵּצֶר

כּי הִנֵּה כַּכֶּֽסֶף בְּיַד הַצּוֹרֵף
בִּרְצוֹתוֹ מְסַגְסֵג וּבִרְצוֹתוֹ מְצָרֵף
כֵּן אֲנַחְנוּ בְּיָדְךָ מַמְצִיא לְמָזוֹר תֶּֽרֶף
לַבְּרִית הַבֵּט וְאַל תֵּפֶן לַיֵּצֶר

 

For obvious reasons, this poem has always resonated with Ariela as an artist. The stanza of the poem that she felt fit this image best is the third one, which references a blacksmith shaping an iron axe-head. Steampunk, after all, is full of iron. So the Hebrew version of this print has the lines "כִּי הִנֵּה כַּגַּרְזֶן בְּיַד הֶחָרָשׁ / בִּרְצוֹתוֹ דִּבֵּק לָאוּר וּבִרְצוֹתוֹ פֵּרַשׁ / כֵּן אֲנַחְנוּ בְיָדְךָ" and the English version has "Like iron in the hand of the metalworker, / Who welds or separates at will; / So, are we in your hands, O Lord." The English has been modified somewhat from the standard translations to be more appropriate for the setting.

The Hebrew font was picked by surveys on Twitter and Facebook, with a confirmation that the choice was a good when when Ariela saw it in some older printed books. The English is a nice older typeface. Both texts are intentionally aged and distressed. 

Steampunk Pomegranates in both English and Hebrew are available in an 8"x10" matted print, for $30.

 

 

*Sometimes the art is only text, but hey, calligraphy outfit

**Medieval liturgical poem

***Translation comes courtesy of the Koren Yom Kippur Machzor

Why You Shouldn't Wear Tefillin with Wet Hair

By Terri

As part of her scribal apprenticeship, Ariela is learning how to repair tefillin. The only English word that exists for these ritual objects is phylacteries. And you guessed it, that's not English!* Jews are commanded to bind certain words of the Torah "on their arms and between their eyes." The traditional** way to fulfill this commandment is to write the specific words on teeny tiny parchments and put them into square rawhide boxes, which are then attached to leather straps. The straps are how the words are bound to one's arm and between one's eyes.*** And when I say square, it really means square. We make every edge flat and every corner a 90 degree angle. 

Rawhide being shaped into tefillin.  [Image shows large sheets of ivory colored rawhide with vague and then more precise box shaped protrusions in one end. In the front are unpainted tefillin boxes]

Rawhide being shaped into tefillin.  [Image shows large sheets of ivory colored rawhide with vague and then more precise box shaped protrusions in one end. In the front are unpainted tefillin boxes]

How do you transform rawhide into neat square boxes? You wet it and either mold it over a wooden block in the correct shape, or you put it into a special metal press which squishes the soaked rawhide into the correct shape. Tefillin are worn during morning prayer.**** If you're running late, that sometimes means that your hair doesn't have time to dry properly between getting out of the shower and donning your tefillin. What do you think happens when that same shaped rawhide is put on wet hair?

 

 

 

An example of healthy tefillin. [Image shows a very angular black tefilah***** for the arm. It is comprised of a cube on top of a stitched regtangular base, with black leather straps running through it.]

An example of healthy tefillin. [Image shows a very angular black tefilah***** for the arm. It is comprised of a cube on top of a stitched regtangular base, with black leather straps running through it.]

And so we present the visual essay of why leather boxes on wet hair is a supremely bad idea. 

Upright side view of a damaged tefilah shel rosh (the one for the head). The black paint is worn away in many places and the bottom is no longer flat - though it is resting on a cutting mat, the bottom layer of the base is actually curled.

Upright side view of a damaged tefilah shel rosh (the one for the head). The black paint is worn away in many places and the bottom is no longer flat - though it is resting on a cutting mat, the bottom layer of the base is actually curled.

Upside down front view of the same tefilah shel rosh. The bottom is so warped that it is almost entirely convex. In addition, much of the black paint is worn away.

Upside down front view of the same tefilah shel rosh. The bottom is so warped that it is almost entirely convex. In addition, much of the black paint is worn away.

These are sad tefillin. Please don't wear your tefillin on wet hair and makes yours sad like them. It won't happen instantly, but it will happen over time.

The good news is that this sort of problem can be fixed! You can take them to a scribe, or some other person who knows about both leatherworking and the laws of tefillin and they can re-mold them. However, this is not an excuse to be lax about drying your hair.

This is the same tefilah shel rosh pictured above after Ariela finished its rehab job.

Side view of the upright repaired tefilah shel rosh. The straps have been replaced and are now shiny, all of the tefilah is properly black, and the bottom is now resting flat on the cutting mat.

Side view of the upright repaired tefilah shel rosh. The straps have been replaced and are now shiny, all of the tefilah is properly black, and the bottom is now resting flat on the cutting mat.

Overhead view of the upside down repaired tefilah shel rosh. The bottom is now entirely flat, and the stitching holding the entire object together has been replaced.

Overhead view of the upside down repaired tefilah shel rosh. The bottom is now entirely flat, and the stitching holding the entire object together has been replaced.

 

*Though it pleases me to refer to a large workshop for making tefillin as a "phylactery factory." 

**The tradition in question is the rabbinic tradition.

***"Between your eyes" doesn't actually mean what it sounds like. The tefillin worn on the head are centered between the eyes, but the bottom edge should be flush with the hairline (or the original location of the hairline, if it has receded).

****Mostly. Tefillin are mostly worn during morning prayer. There are exceptions.

*****Tefilah is the singular of tefillin.

Art Theft Is Evil. No Discussions.

by Terri

Image is of a masked chibi committing Stereotypical Art Theft. They are holding a framed Starry Night, and have Rodin's Thinker and Andy Warhol's Marilyn Monroe in their sack.

Image is of a masked chibi committing Stereotypical Art Theft. They are holding a framed Starry Night, and have Rodin's Thinker and Andy Warhol's Marilyn Monroe in their sack.

Since today is Labor Day, I wanted to take some time to talk about art theft. When most people think art theft, they think White Collar-esque heists or the exhibit at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Unfortunately, most art theft in the digital age is far more mundane. Its mundanity in no way decreases the harm it causes to artists.

Several types of art theft exist:

  • Use in a Commercial Venture: this is when you take someone else's art and upload it somewhere (Threadless, RedBubble, etc) that you can make money from it. It also includes using an image to illustrate a website, blog, or article for which you are getting paid, online or in print.
  • Non-Commercial Public Use With Attribution but Without Permission: this is when you share an artist's work on the internet. You have left their watermarks/identifying features intact (possibly also included a link to their site), but the artist has not given permission for this work to be shared widely. For example, doing a Google Image search to find a good thumbnail image for your personal blog post, giving all of the proper credit, but failing to check that the original source's Terms of Service allow for free sharing of content.*
  • Non-Commercial Public Use Without Attribution: this is when you share an artist's work without any way of tracing it back to that artist. 
  • Private Use: printing out art from someone's website and hanging it on your wall,** is really the most egregious example of this that I can think of. In addition, using an image to make a t-shirt just for yourself.

In none of these cases was permission sought or payment given. Each is bad in different ways, and some people might not realize that they are all bad and all are theft. In the case of the latter three, people might think that it's OK because they themselves aren't trying to profit from the theft. This is incorrect.

What are the consequences of theft? So many. For starters, there is the direct loss of wages. Even if it's just printing something out for personal use, that's one print sale the artist isn't making. If their design is on something that can be purchased from you, they're not making money from their work, you are. An artist loses time they could be using to make art when they have to spend it asking you to please stop using their work. Sometimes an artist needs to pay someone else to make sure that their IP is being properly protected. There is also the loss of recognition and brand building opportunities. If Geek Calligraphy's art is running around on the internet without attribution to the business, how do people who see it and like it know where to buy it? You might love someone's work, but if you don't know who they are, you can't nominate them for awards. In addition, theft results in the loss of intellectual property, which can like a violation of self and cause significant worry and emotional upheaval.

It's not that we don't want other people to benefit from our work - part of what we love about making art is that other people benefit from it. But we do object to other people benefiting from it without us being paid, or at least having the opportunity to waive payment, such as in donations-in-kind to charities.

Respecting intellectual property rights is more than just not stealing. It means sharing pictures with appropriate attributions and actively crediting artists when you see their work being shared without attributions. If you need a thumbnail image for a blog post or a background for a presentation slide, use the filters that Google provides to allow you to only find images that are OK for reuse.  

In my freelance job, I make sure people get paid. Either by making sure that they're negotiating for the correct salaries, or by making sure that no one illegally profits from their work. I have had to send a DMCA takedown on behalf of one of my clients, because doing it herself was making her feel physically ill. I would love to be put out of the second half of that aspect of my job, but it is unfortunately necessary. If you are an artist who needs someone to be Professionally Angry on your behalf, I am taking clients on a case by case basis. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter (as @crewgrrl) and my professional email here on this site. I am not cheap, but I am effective!

 

*Not speaking from personal experience or anything. Nope.

**This is a real thing, and it has happened to us. It's why we released Mini-Cordthulhu.

No Matter How Much You Love It, Work Is Hard

by Ariela

We're generally pretty cheery about our work process here at Geek Calligraphy on this blog. But today I want to pull back the curtain a bit and talk about some of the ways in which it is challenging.

Geek Calligraphy is a side gig for me. I have a day job that I work 35 hours per week (and only 35 hours, thank you, labor union). I create all the Geek Calligraphy art, write my portion of the blog posts, take commissions, and do scribal work around the edges of that. This means that I have financial security while I work on building up this business.

With the recent addition of scribal work to that load, however, I have started to strain the feasibility of this arrangement to the breaking point. There are only so many hours in a day, and aside from shifting more of the blogging burden onto Terri, I haven't really cut back on any of the other work associated with Geek Calligraphy. We still do a product release every month. I have a backlog of commissions that's over six months long. (Sorry people who don't have definitive deadlines! I promise I have not forgotten you!)

I have more work than I can feasibly accomplish while maintaining a full-time job, but not enough that I could quit said full-time job. (Also, my spouse is a grad student. That day job is what keeps a roof over our heads and food on our table.) Someday I would like to ditch the day job and do calligraphy and scribal work full time, but I am not there yet. Reducing my hours at my day job is not currently an option, and finding a new one that would cover our expenses, include benefits, and not require more hours is as likely as finding a unicorn grazing in Central Park (if you see one, it's probably a hoax).

Nobody is forcing me to do this. I could quit anytime, but I don't want to, because I love doing art and I love getting my art out to people who appreciate it. I don't want to stop doing scribal work, or product releases for Geek Calligraphy, because both of those are important groundwork for that elusive someday when I might be able to be a full-time artist. So I work too much, get out too little, and keep saying to myself "someday!"

And right now, I feel like this:

Gif shows Barry Allen on a treadmill.

Gif shows Barry Allen on a treadmill.

Tishrei is Coming!

by Ariela

Today is the first day of the Jewish month of Elul, which means only one thing.

Brace yourselves....

Image shows Ned Stark blowing a shofar, with the words "Tishrei is Coming."

Image shows Ned Stark blowing a shofar, with the words "Tishrei is Coming."

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

AAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!

AAAAAAAGGHHHHHHHHH!

 

Ahem.

For those of you who aren't Jewish, or aren't observant, you may be wondering what all the yelling is about. 

Rosh HaShanah, or Jewish New Year* is on the first of the month of Tishrei. It kicks off an entire month of festivities. Rosh HaShanah runs two full days in the lunar calendar (meaning it starts in the evening and ends two evenings later). It involves going to very, very long prayer services and eating a festive meal each dinner and lunch, usually shared with other people. Think four Thanksgiving meals in two days. So that's the first two days of the month.

On the 10th day of the month is Yom Kippur. That's a day of fasting and atonement. There's no eating or drinking during the day itself, but that means lots of hydrating leading up to it, and we are supposed to eat a large, festive meal before the fast starts.

On the 15th day of the month starts the holiday of Sukkot, or the Feast of Tabernacles. If you have Jewish neighbors and see them putting up an oddly flimsy looking hut-like thing in their yard with a bunch of dead plants on the top of it, that's a sukkah, a booth or a tabernacle. Said booth is not supposed to be built before Yom Kippur, but it must be completely finished by the time Sukkot starts. We spend the next 7 days eating in these booths, starting with two more days of holiday (or one, if you live in Israel or are Reform, about which more below**), during which we spend more time praying and eat another four Thanksgiving-dinners-worth of meals. Yes, in the hut, we eat all that food in the hut. There are lots of bugs, and sometimes raccoons, skunks, and coyotes.

On the 22nd day of the month is Sh'mini Atzeret, the Eighth Day of Assembly. It's another festival day, with more long prayers. Eating in the tabernacle is optional on this day, but there are still two festive meals to be eaten.

On the 23rd day of the month is Simchat Torah (in Israel and on the Reform calendar, this is combined with Sh'mini Atzeret), the Celebration of the Torah. This is when we celebrate completing the annual reading of the Pentateuch and begin the lection cycle anew. It is a relatively new holiday, but there's still lots of praying and eating, though not outside anymore.

All of this is in addition to regular Sabbath observance, which involves more festive meals and praying. Also, those of us who are observant of the Jewish prohibitions against work on the holidays have to take a whole mess of days off from our jobs, but deadlines don't get pushed back.

In sum, in the space of a month we need to prepare and host or be hosted for about 13 Thanksgiving dinners, spend 7 full days in synagogue, still observe the Sabbath, and meet all of our regular work deadlines. Hence the screaming. All of this goes double if you actually work in a synagogue and have to orchestrate this at a professional level as well as for yourself as an individual.

Some Additional Notes

*Rosh HaShanah is usually referred to as "the Jewish New Year," but we actually have four new year celebrations each year. Rosh HaShanah commemorates the creation of the world and is the start of the Jewish calendrical year. The other three are:

  • New year for the trees, happens toward the end of winter, also was the start of the tax season in historical Judea;
  • Liturgical new year, happens in the spring, on the first of the month of Nisan;
  • New year for animal tithes, happens in the summer (today, in fact, first of Elul).

**Why is the holiday calendar different in Israel than for Jews outside of Israel, except for Reform Jews?

Okay, buckle in.

The Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar. In the days of the Temple and the Sanhedrin (the Jewish High Court) in Jerusalem, instead of having a fixed calendar each new month was declared when two witnesses came and swore that they had seen the new moon. Once the new month was declared, the proclamation was spread by means of signal fires, think the Warning Beacons of Gondor. While Jewish holidays listed in the bible have only one day of Festival observance (with the corresponding abstention from work, feasting, sacrifices at the Temple, etc.), the rabbis declared that those living outside the Land of Israel should observe two days of each Festival, in case of any lag or confusion caused by the time it takes to transmit the proclamation of the new month. (The exception is Yom Kippur, since telling people to go without food or drink for 48 hours is impractical and, in many cases, dangerous.)

Before you ask, yes, they had astronomy and almanacs back then, everyone could have worked it out for themselves when the holidays would occur, regardless of location. That wasn't the point. The point was that the new month did not begin until the Sanhedrin declared it so.

Most Jews who live in the modern State of Israel no longer consider themselves obligated to follow the requirement of the additional day of holiday observance. (Whether that is because they are in the historical location of the Land of Israel or they consider the modern State to be a new manifestation of the historical Land is a point of serious debate. Let's not go there now.) Likewise, the Reform Movement has declared that, in light of the calendar now being fixed as opposed to each holiday being individually declared, they see no need to retain the second day observance. The Conservative and Orthodox Movements outside of Israel retain the additional day.

Except Rosh HaShanah is still observed for two days within the State of Israel and by most Reform congregations. Why? I don't know.

Geek Calligraphy Abroad

by Terri

My sister got married just outside of Jerusalem yesterday. I have been in Israel with my family for the last almost month. Working over an eight hour time difference has been... fun. In the way of sticking sharp objects in one's eyes and dental surgery sans anesthesia. On the other hand, I have lots of great pictures. Here is a selection:

Half of Reading Station/תחנת קריה. This is an old bus stop, repurposed into a free library.  [Image shows a man, woman and stroller in front of a bus shelter filled with bookshelves]

Half of Reading Station/תחנת קריה. This is an old bus stop, repurposed into a free library. 
[Image shows a man, woman and stroller in front of a bus shelter filled with bookshelves]

Wine grapes (either cabernet or malbec) at the Tzuba Winery. [Image shows two clusters of blue-purple grapes amid healthy green leaves]

Wine grapes (either cabernet or malbec) at the Tzuba Winery. [Image shows two clusters of blue-purple grapes amid healthy green leaves]

Mosaic map of The Cardo (Roman street in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Mosaic map of The Cardo (Roman street in the Old City of Jerusalem.

A solo cat and a cat who owns a person consider each other, rather like the cats in The Aeronaut's Windlass. [Image shows a thin cat with a white belly and calico back staring down a much more well fed grey and black tabby with a red collar]

A solo cat and a cat who owns a person consider each other, rather like the cats in The Aeronaut's Windlass. [Image shows a thin cat with a white belly and calico back staring down a much more well fed grey and black tabby with a red collar]

Monster at the western retaining wall of the Temple Mount (also known as The Kotel). [Image shows a small child in a red t-shirt and rainbow skirt touching the stones of a wall that's over 2000 years old.]

Monster at the western retaining wall of the Temple Mount (also known as The Kotel). [Image shows a small child in a red t-shirt and rainbow skirt touching the stones of a wall that's over 2000 years old.]

Making friends with a boa constrictor at the Biblical Museum of Natural History. [Image shows me with a large brown snake wrapped around my arms whose head is extending up my neck. The expression on my face is half amused, half terror]

Making friends with a boa constrictor at the Biblical Museum of Natural History. [Image shows me with a large brown snake wrapped around my arms whose head is extending up my neck. The expression on my face is half amused, half terror]

Wide interior shot of the stalactite caves in the Sorek Valley. Visible in the center is the stalagmite feature often referred to as "the ice cream cone with three scoops."

Wide interior shot of the stalactite caves in the Sorek Valley. Visible in the center is the stalagmite feature often referred to as "the ice cream cone with three scoops."

Classic shot of the Kotel and Temple Mount. [Image shows the stone wall of the Temple mount and the gold dome of the Dome of the Rock mosque]

Classic shot of the Kotel and Temple Mount. [Image shows the stone wall of the Temple mount and the gold dome of the Dome of the Rock mosque]

I Love Coloring

by Terri

Animated .gif of me coloring a tulip purple.

Animated .gif of me coloring a tulip purple.

Knitting is my primary hobby. So much so that I shipped a large box of yarn to Israel to make sure that I would have enough to knit while on vacation there.

But in addition, I love to color in so-called "adult coloring books." No, they don't have naughty pictures in them (though my favorite book so far has many many naughty words), but they are often more difficult to use than ones designed for children. Typically the images are subdivided into many small shapes, that require more fine motor control than the average five year old possesses. In theory they are designed to be calming and somewhat meditative. Before discovering the F*cking Awesome Coloring Book, my favorite books were generally based on on mehndi designs or other geometric shapes

Ariela, on the other hand, finds the whole idea of coloring line art she didn't draw herself twitch inducing. She likens it to wearing someone else's underwear. So the idea of Geek Calligraphy coloring pages never actually occurred to her - she doesn't find it enjoyable, so why should she make them for other people? 

First test version of the Spoon Dragon coloring page. Monster has since absconded with the original.

First test version of the Spoon Dragon coloring page. Monster has since absconded with the original.

In my house, there are Monster's markers and Mommy's markers (generally very fine felt tip pens, but I also like brush tips for larger area coverage). I also have a box of colored pencils, and have branched out into gel pens. I have discovered the joy of coloring cabbages and achieving exact radial symmetry in my work. Coloring taps into the part of my brain that is more than happy to choose a radically different yarn than the pattern designer intended, but won't make structural alterations to the pattern itself. In my world, Spoon Dragon is a lovely shade of lilac with blue hair. Fantastic blues and greens show up in every bird, not just peacocks. And I always have something to do while waiting for major web edits to do their thing. In fact, while working on this post, I have been coloring a large raptor type bird wearing sunglasses and holding a piece of pizza in its talons. The bird is in magnificent flourescent shades and the pizza cheese is sparkly. I didn't have to create the bird myself, which is awesome. I just get to choose what it looks like.

So if you like to color, you're in good company. And we'll continue to turn some of Ariela's line art into downloadable pages for you to enjoy.