A Shopping Adventure

Although I haven't written about it in a while, I have been working away on Noah's invitation, refining the design, based mostly on input from Noah's parents. These conversations have been lovely, far ranging in scope, all of these versions of the invitation with small variations are sharpening the final design in a really good way.

It's taking Noah's mom a little while to realize that I actually like the input and don't feel at all criticised by it.

Our discussion this morning, made me realize that I need a smaller square tipped nib. I do most of my calligraphy on fabric and not paper, so my supplies for doing calligraphy on paper are on thin side.I have a really large selection of paint brushes and only a small selection of nibs.

Today, was one of those perfect New York fall days. it seemed like the perfect day to bring my husband to the High Line. I had been a few months ago with my sister. It was an atrociously hot and muggy day when we had gone but it was really magical. Well, it seemed like half of Manhattan had exactly the same idea as I did today.

Last time, the High Line had seemed like a bit of wilderness transported into the city. It had some of the sense of walking by the side of a completely un-manicured road in a small town, combined with views of both decayed and brand new city. The tracks, the beautiful irregular paving, and the wild grass planting all blend and re blend with the streetscape below, in ways that made me understand the city in a new way.

Today, it felt like a prettier version of the walk underground from the Port Authority Bus Station to the IRT. It was so crowded that you couldn't take in any of the landscape. My husband was unimpressed with the experience. I will have to drag him back during terrible weather so he can experience the High Line in relative quiet.

After we had walked down the stairs from the High Line, we walked over the Utrecht, the art supply store on 23rd street. I hoped to purchase a thinner nib.  Noah's mom had offered to foot the bill for the nib. I assured her that it would cost about a dollar and not to worry about it. When we got to Utrecht, they had stick penspackaged with an array of nibs. I didn't need six nibs though, I just needed one C-6 nib. They also had two packs of fat nibs. I needed a skinny nib.  I looked around for a sales person.

I found a young woman who was carefully explaining to a young man why the brush he wanted to buy was a bad idea for working with oils. She sympathised with his reasons for liking the brush, but explained carefully why he would do better to buy the less expensive brushes  next to the brush he was holding in his hand. THIS was a great sales person for an art supply store.

When she was done with the man who wanted the paint brush, I explained what I needed. She said that if I threatened her with a gun, she wouldn't be able to say for sure where the nibs were, but that she might be able to find them in one of the stock rooms if I didn't need them exactly that minute. I agreed to wait while she looked. She emerged after several minutes with a box filled with small boxes of nibs. We both rummaged through the box to find the fine tipped C-6 nibs. We found a box of C-4s. I decided to risk it and buy the nib. there were no prices on the boxes. But since packages of two nibs came to $3, I assumed that it would come to about 1.50.

I went to the cashier to pay. The cashier informed me that she couldn't ring up the purchase because she needed an item number.I offered to pay a dollar and a half and let her figure out the inventory number later.  She called over the sales clerk  who had helped me. She did a bit of magic on the computerized cash register. She announced the price to me. The cost of the nib was  fifteen cents.  I couldn't remember the last time I paid .fifteen cents  for anything since I was a little kid buying candy. Yes, I had to pay a penny for sales  tax.

I took the nib home. It was the wrong size. But I think I managed OK without it.


  1. It is funny how the price for things like nibs has not gone up with inflation! I guess they are not that in demand these days!

  2. I guess that it is just old stock.


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