Gutter #15

Erotica Big. Erotica Capitals. Helvetica Neue Regular. Micron 01, Graphic 1, Brush. Moleskine.

The fountain pen has come to be associated with everything classy about writing, drawing and signing documents. Invented in 1827 by Petrache Poenaru, this pen replaced the dipping pen, which made writing a task of frequent interruptions to refill. The fountain pen has an internal reservoir of ink that feeds the pen’s nib by gravity and capillary action. Modern day pens use plastic pre-filled cartridges introduced by Waterman in 1953. The ‘business end’ of a fountain pen is the nib and has remained relatively unchanged over time. Original nibs were gold and platinum for their flexibility and resistance to corrosion. (These are the pricey pens.) Cheaper everyday pens have steel nibs. All nibs have a ‘slit’ and a ‘hole’ that creates the capillary action that carries the ink to the paper. The variation in pressure spreads the nib and creates a variation in line thickness. Everything about this instrument speaks beauty—especially when creating a well-penned letter.

Bees are flying insects closely related to wasps and ants, best known for their role in pollination. They are responsible for pollinating approximately 80% of all fruit, vegetable and seed crops in the United States. Bees are all business. During chillier seasons, worker bees can live for nine months. But in the summer, they rarely last longer than six weeks—they literally work themselves to death. They never sleep. A bee’s hive is constructed with honeycombs—the most efficient structures in nature—the walls meet at a precise 120-degree angle, a perfect hexagon. Honeybee’s wings stroke 11,400 times per minute, thus making their distinctive buzz. They have five eyes, three small ones on top of the head and two big ones in front. They also have hair on these eyes, which might explain the need for five of them! Aside from their significant ecological role, bees produce honey and beeswax. Their honey is so treasured and sweet it made Van Morrison’s 1971 single a timeless hit.

“She’s as sweet as tupelo honey
She’s an angel of the first degree
She’s as sweet as tupelo honey
Just like honey from the bee”