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Every year or so when I travel to France, I purchase several Clairefontaine French-Ruled notebooks. Unfortunately, I sometimes run out of them before I get the chance to go back, so I had an idea: why not create my own?
But what is French-Ruled Notebook anyway? Storytime…
Seyes Grid, also known as “Grand Carreaux” (large square) and commonly called French-Ruled in English, is the standard lined paper used by students in France. It is as commonly used as college-ruled paper in the USA and consists of an 8mm x 8mm grid, with lighter or thinner horizontal lines spaced 2mm apart inside the main grid. This is how French kids, myself included, were taught how to write.
For many of us youngsters, this was a painful experience: imagine spending hours writing lines of letters using fountain pens – being judged on our hand dexterity – and graded on our performance… Scarier than Freddie Krueger for some! In elementary school, there was this girl named Laurence – she was so perfect – her clothes always matched her shoes and the bows in her hair. Everything about her screamed excellence. I could have been jealous of all that, but 9-year-old Daphné was really envious of the praises she gets for her cursive handwriting! As much as I was practicing and confident of my own proficiency, I never got more than 13/20 – Bs. It was crushing my little heart…
I kept at it (I did not really have a choice) and today – away from elementary-high school pressure and years of practice – I believe my handwriting has become pretty decent! If I may say so myself!
A few years ago, a friend of mine known online as the Handwriting Artist started posting about her Calligraphy practice. Until then, it never occurred to me that writing cursive was “a thing” until I talked to a few of my American friends and the latter informed me that their kids who were not even required to learn it in school passed a certain grade. I guess things change, and there may be legit reasons for it. I still think that would be something positive to have in your arsenal. In an article published in Trends in Neuroscience and Education, Neuroscientists Karin Harman James and Laura E. Engelhardt link cursive writing to quicker reading acquisition. It is a good enough reason for me to teach it – although I can also understand that sometimes priorities may be elsewhere in the classroom.
My Own Specialty Paper Notebooks
Here are some original cover designs I created for my Seyes notebooks. Composition notebook size 7.5×9.25
Next, I wanted to keep it simple with these square-elegant notebooks with a very minimalistic cover. I played with the colors (8.5×8.5in)
Of course, I do write on college-ruled notebooks but there is something nice for me, a piece of home, in writing on seyes paper. It binds me with part of my French culture.