From Feather to Pen: The Art of Cutting Quills

Homework Hashtag: #kcaquillcutter


Find out how cutting your own pens can improve your connection to your writing as we take a deep dive into the art of pen cutting. Have you ever looked at a picture of somebody writing with a feather, and wondered: "How did they do that?" All of your questions can be answered with this course! In this easy-to-understand class, we'll take the mystery out of this traditional craft and bring it back into our every day lives. We'll be covering topics like:

  • Gathering feathers the ethical way
  • Preparing and storing your quills
  • Cutting pens from quills
  • Writing with quills and more!

Materials Needed:

  • Washing tub large enough to hold feathers
  • White vinegar
  • Mild dish soap (Dawn, or similar)
  • Heat-resistant rubber gloves
  • Jar of distilled or rain-water
  • Can of fine sand (Deep enough to cover the hollow part of your longest feather)
  • Nitrile/Latex gloves
  • Small size crochet hook
  • Pinion feathers from goose, swan, turkey, etc.
  • X-Acto knife with #11 blades
  • Sharp scissors
  • Glass plate (Mine is from a dollar store picture frame)
  • Soda can for “spring” (Optional)
  • Magnifying glass to check nib (Optional)


Want to join us for class? It's offered on-demand and available now for all Tier 2 students.  Some classes are also available to Tier 1 students. Click here to see the Tier 1 Class Listing.  

How to Access Your Members-Only Class:

  • Go to
  • Log in to your account
  • Click on Classroom
  • Click on Tier 2
  • Scroll to Current Classes

Enroll in Tier 2

Homework Challenge:

Practice your cutting technique until you can cut a pen that gives sharp hairlines. Remember that you need a very light touch when writing with a quill pen. Don't forget to tag your progress with @kallicampacademy, @illuminatedscribe, and the class hashtag #kcaquillcutter!

Instructor: Eddie Vanderwood

Instagram: @illuminatedscribe

Eddie Vanderwood truly began his calligraphy journey in 2019 when he retired from a 15 year long career in the music industry. The original intent was to produce an illuminated manuscript version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, but he quickly fell down the rabbit hole. Over the past four years Eddie has spent time learning calligraphic scripts, drawing techniques, paint/ink making, and pen cutting. During the course of his research on cutting pens, Eddie discovered that he had developed a huge passion for this mostly-lost art form, and has determined to bring it back into the public eye by taking some of the mystery out of the process. In addition to producing traditional watercolor paints, Eddie's studio; Scribal Scribbles Scriptorium provides education on preserving the heritage craft of pen cutting.


Download a Free Calligraphy Getting Started Guide

When you subscribe, we will send a 14-page printable packet to your inbox with a supply list, instructions, anatomy of the guideline, a minuscule exemplar, 5 traceable worksheets, and several different guideline sheets. Welcome to the world of beautiful writing!