Calligraphy & tea: An interview with The Archer

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Photo by EJ Azucena; styling by Kristine Grace L. Natividad and Donna Bae Malayang

Many of you know Clement Dionglay from her blog, Rants of the Archer. I caught up with her recently to ask a few questions about her background, life, and hobbies…

Tell us about yourself where are you from, where do you live, and so on?

I’m Clement Dionglay, a.k.a The Archer, the person behind Rants of the Archer blog. I was born in the sleepy town of Alaminos, Laguna, a big province south of Manila, the capital city of the Philippines. I am currently based in Los Baños, a small, closely-knit science community in the same province where I grew up; where I am currently engaged as a publications designer and electronic list keeper in an international organization. I am currently working on a degree through distance learning that I am scheduled to finish in a year. I’m a doting aunt to four girls aged 1 to 10, and an avid hoarder of a lot of stuff.

How did your passion for pens and paper develop?

My passion for pens and paper developed at a very early age. I was writing (and reading) long before I started schooling. My maternal grandmother was an elementary teacher, and had lots of paper I used to doodle on. I even had hand-me-down notebooks from my aunts and these were my first notebooks. My aunts supplied me with pencils and other stationery (scented erasers, colorful Sanrio stationery) and that I guess became the starting point of my longest love affair that with pen and paper.

When did you start practicing the gorgeous calligraphy that we see on your blog?

I started doing calligraphy only very recently. I forced myself to learn the art after I received my first 2 bottles of J. Herbin ink out of the Bastille Day offer last year. I was about to write a review of the inks and I wanted to come up with a little extra aside from my regular handwriting, so I took out my Lamy Joy set and downloaded a lot of Chancery calligraphy guides from the internet. And I found out it wasn’t even difficult at all!

What are your favorite pens at the moment? Your favorite notebooks and inks?

I love Sheaffer pens. I got several NoNonsense pens and I love them. They are dependable, durable writers. But my daily stable of pens also include Schneider Base pens and several Lamy Safaris. I love blue and brown inks — Bleu Pervenche reminds of somebody’s dress, Terre de Feu of somebody’s eyes. I keep a large Quo Vadis Habana as my journal, and despite its weight, it’s currently my favorite notebook.

Which pens have surprised you most over the years, either positively or negatively?

My pens are mostly student grade pens. I love them all because they function well, and I am able to use them fully. What surprised me the most is the set of two Manuscript calligraphy pens I got from a store selling used clothes and shoes. I got the set for P50 (a little over $1) and did not like them at first because they have crisp italic nibs. After I learned doing Chancery calligraphy, I found out that these pens do fantastic work! So much value for their price.

I understand from your blog that you’re an avid diarist. Do you have any particular writing routines — a certain place, time of day, etc.?

Yes, I love writing in my diary/journal. I have a strange preference of where to write: on my dining table! LOL! Seriously though, I write, do craft, paint and even sew on my dining table. I don’t remember how this strange practice started, but I love using the dining table, perhaps because it’s bigger than my study/work table. I love to write at night, when I’m done with most of my chores and the neighborhood gets some semblance of calm and quiet. I like to write in silence. I always have. Silence brings me so much: words, emotions, remembrances — even sound. Writing has become ceremonial for me. Almost ritualistic. I like to write after my night bath, with a mug of steaming hot tea next to me. While I’m a coffee drinker, I love sipping tea at night, and I like it steaming hot because I love the aroma of tea filling the room. My journal entries always begin with the day and the date. I also include the pen and ink I am using for the day’s entry. Sometimes I also listen to late night jazz while I write.

To learn more about Clem, please visit her blog.

To learn more about EJ Azucena of EDGE photography, check out his Facebook page.

3 thoughts on “Calligraphy & tea: An interview with The Archer

  1. Very interesting and a great interview. I love this kind of post especially about pen/paper/stationary people from different lands and cultures than my own.

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