Rustic Cyberpunk

Coffee & Cabins

It's Called "Pounce"

2 min read

When I was little, one thing kept nagging me a lot about medieval programs. "What's that powder they sprinkle on paper after writing on it with a quill?".

Pounce is a fine powder, most often made from powdered cuttlefish bone, that was used both to dry ink and to sprinkle on a rough writing surface to make it smooth enough for writing.

Pounce shaker

Before blotting paper was a thing, apparently folks used to sprinkle sea-critter residue to make paper surfaces more even to write on. When certain movies, shows, plays and so on show little details of the past, I tend to notice small actions that seem out of place and then become fascinated with them long afterwards.

I've watched movies and shows, with plots that didn't particularly interest me that much, just for the ambiance, background, and the little trinkets and tools. I couldn't tell you too much about what actually happens or who most of the characters are in a lot of these, but the ancient books, scrolls, writing and such were always interesting to me.

Wax seals are another mysterious thing before I saw what they were online. Wikipedia was barely over a year old when the first article on them was created (without accompanying images) which I found via AltaVista. A few more niche topics lead me down my first article ad-lib. This can be terribly addicting.

I've played with wax sealing as a kid and was promptly dissuaded by my folks after a couple burns. Children in my family tend to be fairly sheltered to their detriment, I think. Maybe that sort of upringing would explain why I tend to prefer the outdoors so much, especially bad weather.

I recently bought a set of fountain pens to start drawing and writing again. For some reason, pencil drawing was always harder for me than pen drawing. I think the almost infinite number of gradients possible with graphite has lead me astray. I didn't learn the basics first.

There's a wonderful series by Alphonso Dunn on YouTube on pen drawing that I've been following fairly diligently and I think it's a very good step in the right direction. I've decided to buy his book and follow along when I'm away from electricity for some stretches.