Tools of the trade

Lebanon Traveler - - THROUGH AN ARTIST’S EYES -

Though in­dus­trial cal­lig­ra­phy pa­pers are now avail­able, Haw­ila prefers to use the orig­i­nal pa­per, which he gets from Turkey. A process in it­self, the hand­made pa­per is coated with a paste made from eggs, which pre­vents the pa­per from soak­ing up the ink. “The ink on the pa­per should ex­actly fol­low the lines of the straw,” he says.

The pen, one of the old­est cal­lig­ra­phy tools in the world, is usu­ally made from bam­boo reed, which varies widely across coun­tries where cal­lig­ra­phy is still com­mon such as Iran, Egypt and Turkey.

Though com­pos­ite cal­lig­ra­phy inks are now widely avail­able, Haw­ila likes nat­u­ral inks such as saf­fron and coffee – “You can imag­ine how they dealt with cal­lig­ra­phy be­fore. It was an art that was very con­nected to the places they were liv­ing and what ma­te­ri­als were avail­able.” He of­ten though ex­per­i­ments in cal­lig­ra­phy with a va­ri­ety of ma­te­ri­als, even us­ing street-graf­fiti style paint for his big­ger out­door mu­rals.

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