Chicago Pen Show 2017 “Haul”

Chicago Pen Show 2017 purchases

We’re supposed to post our pen show pickups, so here are mine from last weekend’s Chicago Pen Show.

Seeing it all splayed out there is daunting. But magnificent. It takes a truck.

What did I buy? Two pens. One new, which is my first Franklin-Christoph. And one vintage, which is my second PFM I. Both pens are blue, which is my favorite color. I also bought five bottles of Papier Plume inks (my first). Three bottles of KWZ Chicago Blue. My first bottle of Robert Oster — Tranquility, recommended by blog readers. And a really cool notebook called the Zequenz roll up journal.

Zequenz roll up journal

In terms of gifts, Papier Plume threw in a stick of gold sealing wax, with which I intend to seal my many important proclamations, like “don’t put empty boxes back in the pantry.”

A friend gave me that empty Akkerman bottle. Someone else gave me a leather case (already in use). And I got a pin for a cool fountain pen blog, Of Quill Alchemy, from three amazingly talented students at the University of Chicago who run it.

The best present isn’t up there. It was finally meeting my dear friend Lou. We’ve known each other for years through fountain pens, but only via emails and letters, because we live so far away. Lou was in the area with his wife and brother for a family event, so they hung out with me on Thursday, the show’s first day.

That Thursday also happened to be my birthday. Now, of course turning 29 (once again) doesn’t phase me. I’ve gotten blasé about that, it happens so often. But finally meeting Lou and his family made for the best birthday ever.

pen wrap with opal

Lou made and gave me that gorgeous pen wrap. He knows me, however, so he handed it to me with the caution, “be careful.” The closure is opal. Which … okay, I’m fairly sure I’ll be googling “opal glue” before I turn 29 next year.

Inside, Lou stuck a few bookmarks, to remind me of some very important things. The last was, “remember to write me every once in a while.” He said that with a smile, because we’re both terrible at that. Not that it matters. Friends stay in each other’s hearts.

pen wrap interior

Along those lines, people in the US fountain pen community know that right after the pen show we unexpectedly lost Susan Wirth, a pen show mainstay and a great personality.

We always assume there will be a next time. But of course that’s not always true. So I’m going to try to remember to take more time for myself and other people. Rush around less, hang around more.

13 thoughts on “Chicago Pen Show 2017 “Haul”

  1. I’ve been trying to get my hands on a grid version of the red Zequenz 360 for a while now. Nothing doing. Their website seems to indicate they are sold out all the time, and Amazon won’t ship to NZ. Any ideas on other avenues?

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  2. It was great seeing you on Saturday, Laura! Kristen was absolutely blown away at the amount of people there, as she tends to think it’s just a few “crazies” out there that love these old school pens – I think she realizes now that I’m not alone! She loved trying a lot of different inks at your testing station, and although I didn’t pull a trigger on a FC pen yet, it’s at the top of my list especially after having the chance to try those beautiful Masyuama nibs.

    We just got back from Australia, and inking up a pen with Kwzi Chicago Blue was one of the first things I did when we got home 😉 WHAT AN INK! I only picked up one bottle at the show, but am thinking I’ll have to wander over to the Vanness’ site and pick up at least one more…

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  3. Wow, everything sort of matches too! I guess it wasn’t intentional, but it seems to be something artistic/visual people wind up doing without really thinking about it – choosing things that match when they are chosen close together.

    The pen wrap is so beautiful! I love the warm colors and slightly rustic texture of the fabric, and how it enhances the delicate transparency of the opal.

    Opals I think are reasonably sturdy when it comes to knocks (well, within reason – they’re not _diamonds_) – afaik they’re more vulnerable to things like harsh soaps or solvents because they’re porous (i.e., if you wear a ring with an opal, you should take it off when you wash your hands). Most pen rolls probably don’t need to be washed ever though, so that’s not an issue!

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  4. Well done. I was getting worried that you might be running out of ink soon, and you can never have too many of those PFM things. The F-C will be fun, I just know it. Best of all, you did this all in a very experiential manner, from the priority of ‘things’ to the visitation of friends to the lessons one gains from all this stuff. We *are* fortunate to have the moments to gather with like-minded people, share good sprits and interests, and remind ourselves to keep things in perspective: in a blink of an eye, we can lose so much.

    This year marks the centennial of American composer Lou Harrison’s birth. A remarkable life in all aspects (not to mention he was a very gifted calligrapher!) and I have always enjoyed his own mantra for a full and meaningful life. It is quite simple: Cherish, Conserve, Consider, Create.

    Congratulations on a splendid Chicago Pen Show!

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  5. An excellent haul. I’m glad I’m not the only one who will be turning 29 for the forseeable future!

    Is it petty that I dream of buying a nice Sheaffer PFM and using it with the utmost glee because I’m not a man?

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    1. I had to google the PFM to get this…hahaha! I guess the trend for pointlessly gendered products (man cereal anyone?) is part of a long and illustrious tradition 😛

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  6. Looks like you got some awesome stuff at the show. I got a sample of that Tranquility, and it is very nice. I think it is close to Diamine-Steel Blue, and maybe Marine too. I am not through testing and comparing with it yet. The Zequenz journal looks interesting. Tell us how you like it after you’ve used it some. Ah, you got a bottle of the Pecan and Oyster Grey. I loved both of them. I liked all of the stuff you got actually. Enjoy them!

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  7. A great haul. I have been looking forward to hearing how you got on at the pen show. I hope the ink testing station was a hit and that you were not too exhausted. I was beginning to worry that you never wanted to see another pen again:)
    The soft cover journal looks similar to one that I like here from Paperchase. Glad to hear that you had such a wonderful birthday too and met your friend Lou. (I hope that you will not be needing opal glue!). And beautiful sentiments in your concluding lines. I am sorry to hear of the loss of Susan Wirth.

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    1. The Ink Testing Station was a hit, thank you! And I was indeed totally exhausted by the show, and now need a vacation. 🙂

      Since I’ve long passed the pen acquisition stage, it’s a mystery how I ended up with two pens. 🙂 On the other hand, there were plenty of others things that sold before I could get back to them, so that was lucky. 🙂

      It was a good show for the people who came, so I’m happy about that. Oh, and we had some leftover Chicago Blue which we’ve sent on to Vanness for anyone who couldn’t make the show but wanted the ink. Go get it, blue fans.

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