Time to clean some pens, eh?
On Bloc Rhodia No 16 of course!
A neat desk is a good way to start the new year. I reckon I will have to wait until 2014 for that bit of holiday joy.
The top section of my list comprises only the pen related items.
Then there is all the stuff that is not fountain pen related.
You should see what else it holds. Or maybe not. No need to traumatize you neat and tidy people.
What better way to start the year than with a thorough cleaning. Ten pens got the treatment and are drying, nibs down, in a wad of paper towel. That leaves a mere five for general use and two for testing. Does that sound like a lot? I assure you that is lean for me.
When a fountain pen won’t do, there are four more writing instruments at hand.
Elena sent a couple of Mitsu-Bishi 9800 2B pencils that will get some playtime soon. It’s likely the Levenger Kyoto True Writer Masuyama Stub will get a load of Iroshizuku syo-ro or possibly Private Reserve Ebony Blue in the near future. I love writing with this pen so it never stays clean for long.
That’s my winter rotation. What’s on your desk to start the new year?
Sometimes it’s good to appreciate the amazing choices we have. So today I took stock of the bounty on my desk and found plenty to make a pen person smile.
Next to my right hand, coffee mug, and mouse are ten fountain pens, three felt tips, a brush pen, a mechanical pencil, and one highlighter. Does that seem like a lot? You should see the mountain of art supplies that hogs the left side of my workspace. Pens are small, tidy things in comparison. Paper is the biggest space invader but that’s another story.
The first three pens get daily use and I am content with each. The newest addition is the Namiki Falcon SB which is well-matched to Stipula Verde Mushiato both in flow and shading. The Levenger True Writer Masuyama Cursive Italic is perfect for brown ink but the Namiki Falcon SF gets to change its colors frequently. Its ink will be determined by what is missing when the other pens have been filled.
The three pens not pictured in the sample are due for cleaning and replacement by old favorites like my Sailor 1911 EF. That one works brilliantly with Noodler’s Red-Black and is an easy choice. The Sapporo F might get a fill of something turquoise or possibly one of my 1976 Pilot Elite “Socrates” pocket pens will get Diamine Teal. All three pens are good for long sessions and disinclined to clog even if unused for days at a time.
Sometimes I like to dig deeper in my pen drawer for older pens that deserve some playtime. The navy gray Parker ’51′ Aero F looks like a good mate for Noodler’s Zhivago and the Pelikan M250 Fine Stub has had a thing for Diamine Emerald for years. The dimensions of these two are slightly different from the other pens so that helps reduce hand fatigue on those days that seem to have no end.
Lastly it’s time to go back to black. Either the Limited Edition Sailor Hougado Deep Moss Black or Noodler’s Black but the pen has yet to be determined. The Lamy Safari OB and the Pilot Custom Black Stripe F are good candidates for a rich, dark ink. Again maintaining a variety of dimensions will determine the winner.
So that’s my latest pen and ink rotation.
Putting aside everything on my desk but the fountain pens and the written sample, I looked for a common thread to this rotation. Danged if I can find one save the pleasure in using a fountain pen and the colorful line it produces. That’s pretty simple but it does make me wonder about other fountain pen people. If you are a member of that club, what drives your rotation?
Did you know that I have cage mates? Well, they think of it that way. Though my workspace/cage is crammed to the brim with ink, paper, books, art supplies, and the usual stuff that goes in an office, there is a high shelf devoted exclusively to a pair of Society Finches. We are an odd threesome.
Both birds are physically challenged and best suited to cage life. In fact their kind do not exist in the wild. Whether by chance or design, they first appeared in aviaries in China more than three hundred years ago. They are considered a domestic finch and quite gentle though not inclined to interact with humans.
My pair can usually be found cuddled together on a perch, a content if not happy couple. They are not loquacious birds but do chat up the locals inciting a delightful riot of calls. They have also been known to scold me from time to time should I be inattentive or fail to meet their concept of a proper schedule or even skip my veggies since they partake of them, too. Thus the arrangement is of mutual benefit.
Even though Thing One and Thing Two complain little, the dynamics of a full social life are absent. In fact Society Finches have been known to hang out with friends to the exclusion of all else, even essential activities like procreating and raising their young. Such a social creature needs a larger flock so soon we will add another cage mate or two.
What does that have to do with pens and writing? Having things around us that bring joy and inspiration are of immeasurable value. My finch friends with all their tweets, twirls, and curious expressions, receive food, shelter, and care. They even toss me seeds from time to time as though to share the wealth. In the great outdoors, they would perish. In my home, they thrive. In return they oversee my work, chide me when I am lazy, and distract me when I need it most. They even make me smile and that is priceless. I wonder if I ever have the same effect on them…
Does this happen to you? No matter how limited I try to keep things, my desk gets overrun by fountain pens. Time to whip them into line or at least to make my fountain pen excess more manageable.
Actually, only a few duos get regular use based more on the inks than the pens. Sure, I’m a sucker for color but other properties as well. Nevertheless, there are a few pens that are so much fun to use, they are rarely given a rest especially when matched with the perfect ink.
(Note that the ink scan is far from ideal. Iroshizuku Ku-Jaku is darker and a bit more green while Diamine Violet is slightly more red than the image appears on my monitor. Even Rohrer & Klingner Alt-Goldgrün could be a tiny bit more yellow. The image of the pens is spot-on but then black is hard to get wrong even for me. )
After much winnowing the core of my rotation now includes
Alt-Goldgrün is so right for so many uses that it deserves a better performing pen than the Safari. That is the only weak spot in my lineup and it could get remedied as soon as a few pens return from the spa.
For additional variety, two or three duos from my Very Nearly Perfect List will do.
The secondary players:
There are a few inks that either haven’t met the right pens yet or other inks nabbed the great pens first.
These inks will eventually meet ideal mates and join the secondary list which will bring my total rotation to twenty-one with ten to twelve inked at a time. Add to that a few inks being tested for Inkophile reviews and it’s no wonder my desk always looks so overcrowded!
Do you have a core group of inks and pens? Do add your list to the comments. I would love to know which ones make you happy.
For the last two weeks, my pens and inks have taken on summer hues. Inks more than pens but black is a neutral, right?
While other inks and pens will surely get added over the next few weeks, my current rotation includes
There are five fine nibs, four stub/italics and lastly one lone, flex nib. Not until I completed the list did I realize how well it represents my usual choice in nibs. Unintentionally, I picked just the right mix of pens.
The inks were a bit more considered but still without a true plan. Summer weather does call for lighter, cheerful shades like orange and turquoise. Larmes de Cassis fits the season as well. So the inks skew a bit softer than my usual rotation.
Just to keep things from getting into a rut, I’ve also have at the ready two Levenger True Writers with fiber tip refills, one black and one blue. Veering even further from the fountain pen fold, a couple of Pigma Microns showed up in orange and evergreen. Those two will make colorful notes on anything including an old Moleskine Cahier with paper that just doesn’t play fair with fountain pen ink.
Well, that’s my seasonal kit. Varied and colorful it invites playful use which is just the thing for the lazy days of summer.
How about you? Do you have a group of pens and inks that suit this time of year?