RD: Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
DG: My name is David Grimes, and I’m a calligrapher from Portland, Oregon.
I got started with calligraphy back in 2012, when I came across a video online of a man writing beautiful blackletter script. I was immediately taken away with the art, and I began, as most people do, struggling to find the right resources to learn and the right tools to use. It was several years before I began to understand the quality of materials that I was looking for: ink that wouldn’t run, paper that wouldn’t fray, and nibs that would glide smoothly along the paper. I chronicled my progress on my Instagram as Masgrimes, and over time, started to get a better idea of what I was doing. At the point of this interview, I’ve been teaching calligraphy professionally for almost a year, and the rest, as they say, is history.
RD: How and when did you first discover Rhodia products?
DG: I owe an incredible debt to Chicago Calligrapher Joi Hunt for first introducing me to the Rhodia products. It was in January of this year that she took me under her wing as my mentor and insisted that I start with good tools. What a difference that has made! A solid paper is one of the most important things a calligrapher can come across.
RD: Which are your favorite Rhodia products?
DG: I prefer the lined pads. In my experience, spiral bound is almost always the best choice, because I like to rip the sheets out as I use them. When you’re working with wet ink, and you’re writing quickly, it can be a hassle having all of your pages sticking together!
RD: Do you use them in any way that is specific to your job?
DG: Oh, Absolutely. Practice is an important part of any skill. Taking days off from working on the quality of your writing is no different. I go through multiple pads a week refining my script and honing my hand.
RD: Does using Rhodia products make your job easier in any way? (Do quality tools make the job easier?)
DG: The problem with using low quality tools is that they produce low quality results. That doesn’t have to mean that only EXPENSIVE tools can produce quality product, but rather that seeking out and understanding what makes something “high quality” is an important part of any art form.
In calligraphy, things I’m looking for in a practice paper are the weight, the tooth, the whiteness, and a lack of free fibers. I find that the Rhodia products are the best papers that I’ve used for producing outstanding quality of line with walnut, or watercolor inks.
RD: Pencil, pen, or other? Favorites?
DG: Well, dip pen, of course! Here’s a photo of one of my favorites. An ergonomic holder hand carved from Desert Ironwood, specifically fit to my grip.
RD: Where do you regularly purchase Rhodia products?
DG: There are a few stores here in town that carry the size I want with the spiral binding. But I’m no stranger to buying up large quantities of them from Blicks. My partner, Joi, and I also use them in our workshops, so we’ve also ordered directly from you guys before! Here’s a shot of some of those pads in action as Joi demonstrates to some of our students.
RD: Is there any way we could improve on your favorite product?
DG: Honestly, keep doing what you’re doing. More covers and colors will always be appealing, but it’s the make of the paper that will keep me (and my students!) coming back again and again.
Many thanks David!
If you would like to be featured in a Fan Profile here on Rhodia Drive (in exchange for a Rhodia product of your choice as a thank-you gift) email Laurie (at) Exaclair (dot) com and let me know! We’d love to feature you here on Rhodia Drive!