The “qalam” is generally an Arabic term for “pen”, a common domestic writing instrument. However, it is notably recognised as a calligraphy pen used in “khat” another Arabic term for calligraphy, an Arabic art of beautiful writing.
To craft a reed or bamboo into a pen is generally not much of a difficulty. A sturdy, hard and straight wooden stick is good to begin with, along with a very sharp knife (the sharper the better), which is (critically) the pen’s best friend. This is considered as a form of traditional art of crafting a pen.
However, fine-tuning or detail operations in crafting of the pen for certain aesthetic and functional levels may require a good amount of time to train the eyes, hand-skills and the ability to feel the fibres of the material in order to understand how and what can it work for. This may take a good amount of 3 years, of regular carving experiments and training on different materials.
Inevitably, the pen is an instrument to transmit the ink onto the paper. These 3: Pen, Ink and Paper, possess important relationships with one another in order to produce the desired visual manifestation of a message. Therefore, learning about ink and paper are also important matters to learn, to understand more about the functional behaviour of the pen.
In this article, we are not going to discuss much technical details of the characteristics of a pen, or even about the ink and paper. We will be just putting up a general video showcase on pen-making, whereby handling and techniques in the crafting operation can be observed.
This is an 8-min documentary video demonstrating the craft of making a pen. Bamboo is used here, to be made into a Qalam (Arabic) or calligraphy pen. The angled or oblique nib is specially cut for use in crafting Khat, the art of Arabic calligraphy.
These are the materials used in this video:
1) Bamboo stick, thick-walled, approx 8mm diameter.
2) Turkish Pen-carving Knife: Kalemtraş
3) Turkish Pen-cutting Slab: Makta
We hope you enjoy some observations through our video here. And certainly hope you enjoy a good start in some adventures of pen-crafting.
Till then thank you for keeping up with us, we hope to update more things to you in the future!