resting up for LA International Pen Show

Yesterday I mentioned that tomorrow we are going to attend the LA International Pen Show in Manhattan Beach. I have mentioned at various places in my blog that I am a fountain pen lover.

It all started when I learned calligraphy in 1974 before my first marriage. I wanted to be able to address my wedding invitations, and thus began my love of both calligraphy and fountain pens. Back then it was quite a feat to find a fountain pen anywhere. While I learned calligraphy mostly with dip pens, I quickly learned the benefits of fountain pens with their ease of use and consistent flow. The biggest challenge was finding a decent italics fountain pen. The main two brands on the market were Osmiroid and Platignum, with the latter being the higher end pen. At that time I used a fountain pen strictly for calligraphy.

It was not until my boss, chief of medicine at Henry Ford Hospital, said to me one day, I’m surprised the way you like to write that you don’t use a fountain pen all the time. I had not even realized that fountain pens were still available, not having used a Sheaffer fountain pen since I was in Catholic grade school. He gave me the name of Joon Pens, and that was the place that sent me my first fountain pen: a Parker, and I don’t recall the model now. I still have it in a case here somewhere–and, by the way, it still writes as well now without a skip or drip as it did then. Since then, I have never again used anything but a fountain pen for my personal writing.

The main difference in writing with a fountain pen is that it requires no pressure. While I write a lot on the computer, I also write a lot in journals, notebooks and notepads. Writing with pressure fatigues the hand, so writing fatigue is greatly reduced with a fountain pen. And, writing with a fountain pen is fun because of the many beautiful inks available. My modest collection of inks is roughly 40 bottles, and my favorite colors change with the seasons. I’m still experimenting with brands, so I don’t have an exclusive preference, though I have inks from J. Herbin, Private Reserve, Diamine, Noodler’s, Aurora, Waterman, Omas, Pelikan, Rohrer and Klingner, and I can’t remember the others. I am anxious to try De Atramentis, which has an outstanding selection of colors and very cool scented inks. I can’t wait.

As far as my collection of pens, my favorite pen is Pelikan. I love the pen because no matter how long it sits, it writes instantly. I have a couple of journals that I use only occasionally that I keep pens looped to to their lanyards; when I pick up the journal and the pen, I get no hesitation of ink flow the moment I start writing. That is critically important tome. Also, I have short fingers, so I like pens that are a bit smaller. Pelikan’s Souveran series offers pens in various sizes, and I have several in the smaller sizes which suit my hand perfectly. I also have an M800, the larger pen, which oddly is as comfortable for me as the smaller sized pens.

Still, I like other pens, too, and have bought several others over the years, giving me a small collection of about 50 pens. My collection includes pens with italic nibs in various sizes for calligraphy and regular nibs in fine to extra fine for other use. I tend to write small to tiny, so I prefer writing with a fine or extra fine nib.

So tomorrow, with my walker/wheelchair ready for action, Marvin and I will head over to the LA Pen show, hoping to find some Valentine’s treats. Mmmm, pens, inks, journals, seals and sealing wax  . . . I know I’ll be dreaming about choices.

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© 2004-2010 Donna Peach. All rights reserved.
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