I’m tooting the pink-ink horn today. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Montblanc Heritage 1912 with broad nib. This is one of my favorite pens, with its updated safety-filler design and its pleasantly bouncy nib. But today I’m really doing a disguised Ink of the Day.
I read that the first cherry blossoms begin blooming in Okinawa right about now, which made me take out the Sailor Sakura-Mori. Warm weather envy can be a beautiful thing.
I really enjoy the gentle pink of Sakura-Mori. A few drops of ink clinging to the nib show the peach tint that makes this ink so interesting.
I asked my friend Chris to tell us what inks she bought in 2016. I love her lists, because they always contain such interesting things. On the one hand, we both love Caran d’Ache and Montblanc inks. So, we’re practically twins. But Chris has much broader ink interests than I do. Occasionally I will insert an Editor’s Note in her text, because silence is not my forte. But here’s Chris.)
I think I’ve bought a similar number of bottles to last year, but I’m not counting any inks that I received for free. Like last year, I bought some more inks that I intend to sell, so I haven’t included those either.
I still haven’t kept very good records of inks I have bought, but I’ve gone back through PayPal and credit card purchases to compile a list for the purposes of this post. I buy inks from quite a few sources so my new years resolution for 2017 will be to keep an accurate record. (Editor’s Note: Good idea. I think my resolution will be to “forget” half my 2017 purchases.)
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Well, last year I wasn’t happy with myself, because I ended up buying 30 bottles of ink. This year, I did much better. Oh, sure, I still bought a scandalous amount of ink. But not as scandalous. Progress!
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November 2016 kicked off with the best World Series in 108 years, for a Cubs fan. And when it came to fountain pens and ink, the rest of the month was pretty darn good, too. Here are my fountain pen highlights.
1. Sheaffer Targa Green Moiré. The grand slam.
2. Some Great Inks. Montblanc Golden Yellow, a new KWZ, Bung Box Sweet Potato Purple, Bung Box Dandyism. Wow. And if the rain ever stops here, I’ll be able to take photos.
3. Columbus, Ohio. I had a great time at the Ohio Pen Show. I’ll list some favorite things. First, being able to consult Richard Binder, Ron Zorn and Dan Smith. Also, Tim Hofmann’s coffee. Hanging out with friends. The pho restaurant. Robert Mason Co. And above all, the nice people of Columbus and Ohio State. Thinking of you today, Columbus.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a person approaching either a vacation or a national holiday must be in want of extra work. Thus I am toiling away feverishly at boring work, even as I should be cooking for Thanksgiving and writing posts about pens.
But needs must, and like the Pilgrims surely would have, I will send out my thanks over the internet. Weirdly, I am going to be thankful for ink here. Because it’s a blog with a theme. Because I like ink. And because, okay, you guessed it: I got up late the day they were passing out Thanksgiving topics to bloggers, and I missed out on all the good ones. Oh, and I also have to bring two pies.
No, sincerely, I’m thankful for my three favorite ink companies. KWZ, my new favorite. Montblanc, which I can never resist. And J. Herbin, my old favorite. These inks are easy on my pens, and easy to clean out of my pens. The colors are beautiful, and the inks shade. That’s my entire wishlist.
I’m thankful for my most used ink: Pelikan Brilliant Black. The old reliable.
I’m thankful for all the inks that friends have sent me to try this year. Those made this year a lot more colorful, a lot nicer and a lot more fun.
And lastly, I’m thankful for the inks I tried this year that were hard for me to like initially. I didn’t always end up changing my first “yes or no” inclinations. But I always ended up changing my initial impressions. There were some “I don’t think so” inks that became “this is just fine in the right pen.” And there were also a few “I don’t think so” inks that became “I cannot write with this another day, not even another second.” (Most of those were in the babypoop brown category.)
Don’t let anyone kid you: ink is just colored water. Inks are not at all like people. Okay, except in this one little way: some you love immediately, some you take a bit longer to warm up to and some you may never warm up to, but you still benefit by giving them the benefit of the doubt, as much as you can.
I may not like babypoop brown, but gosh darn it, some people want three or four different babypoop brown inks. And I may feel an involuntary shiver run down my spine when someone says “I have a great avocado green ink here,” but the truth is, every other fountain pen user seems to love avocado green inks.
Ink is just colored water. But still I’m thankful for each time I encountered an ink that was more challenging, because it helped me remember, in the tiniest way, that we get back what we put into things.
So, ink fans, I say, today, two days before American Thanksgiving, let’s be thankful not just for the inks we love, but also for the hard-to-love, the puzzling, the “what do people see in this anyway” inks. The “brown” inks that are black, if we’re telling the truth to power. The hard-to-read neon greens. Even the everyday blues.
Because, just maybe, these things are worth another look. A better look.
Let’s keep trying. And let’s be thankful for the opportunity to do so. Because just being able to devote a few minutes of the day to think about ink, instead of more pressing things, proves it. We are so lucky.
We should remember that every day.
Here’s a golden array of inks, with Montblanc Golden Yellow shining right in the middle.
We all know that colors look different depending on surrounding colors. And this is a perfect illustration. Look how unattractive the two amber inks seem when they flank Montblanc Golden Yellow.
In fact, J. Herbin Ambre de Birmanie and Pelikan Edelstein Amber are both lovely. In fact, they are favorites of mine. When they aren’t next to Montblanc Golden Yellow, the ambers are attractive golden brown inks with nice shading. So I should apologize for them looking so awful here.
Golden Yellow is so lively and so yellow-orange, that it deadens these amber inks. Not every ink looks good with every other. So here’s a link that shows how Ambre de Birmanie really looks, next to more congenial colors, and here’s one showing Pelikan Edelstein Amber.
Now, I really like Golden Yellow, which is why it’s interesting that one of the inks in this array is an ink I intensely dislike. The ink that sets my teeth on edge is on the far right: Sheaffer King’s Gold. The King’s Gold is no longer in production, for which I applaud Sheaffer. But King’s Gold almost looks like a more orange, more brown Golden Yellow here, doesn’t it? Yet, to me, one is yay and one is nay.
It’s a reminder in (bright yellow) Broadway lights, that nothing beats testing an ink to see if it works for you.
Finally, it’s interesting how Diamine Sunshine Yellow is fairly close to Montblanc Golden Yellow.
When you write with them, Montblanc Golden Yellow is darker (more orange) and more legible than Diamine Sunshine Yellow. That’s nearly impossible to see from the swabs. But you can tell from the swabs that there’s a lot of similarity.
And now I have one final twist, worthy of Hollywood: there is another.
Remember that Diamine operates on the principle that “if one ink is great, three nearly identical inks will be fantastic.” (That happens to be my motto, as well.) So you won’t be surprised to hear that Diamine has another ink, Diamine Amber, which is very close to Diamine Sunshine Yellow, and thus to Montblanc Golden Yellow, albeit browner.
I did not include a photo of Diamine Amber, because my photo array is full, the two Diamines are very close to each other, and I’ve already got two better amber inks in there. But I find it interesting. Inks. Even the yellow ones are interesting.
Montblanc Golden Yellow. Liquid happiness.
This just arrived from Montblanc, brightening up a rainy day.
I love the sunshine orange of the bottled ink, but this ink is not orange: Montblanc Golden Yellow really is a yellow, and a golden yellow at that.
The color reminds me of a glistening egg yolk. It’s deep and warm.
I’ve got mine in a Montblanc 146 with broad nib. The ink seems to have good flow, but it is a yellow ink, so not very dark. I wanted the wider nib.
I am a fan of shading inks, and I love the shading of this ink.
Golden Yellow is not eye-searing or overly bright, and it seems to have a slightly orange tint. But it’s still yellow, so this is probably not the color for writing a note to your boss. But what a happy color.
Golden Yellow looks like it could sheen, perhaps, but rainy weather here makes it impossible for me to know. And I suspect any sheen would be very subtle.
It is pure chaos right now at Fountain Pen Follies. That cup is so full of pens I was sure I couldn’t fit even one more.
But I needed to, because, unable to bear the suspense any longer, I opened the world’s best ink bottle and filled a Pelikan with Graf von Faber-Castell Cobalt Blue.
So imagine one more Pelikan, jammed into the last empty spot, right in front.
This pen cup is now filled wall-to-wall.
What’s taking up all the room? There’s a rollerball. Also the Parker 51 and the charcoal Lamy Safari that are my everyday pens. Every other pen in there is for an ink review or other ink post that I’m working on. Except the pen that’s in there for a pen review I’m working on.
A bunch of Pelikans. A bunch of Lamy Safaris and a Vista. An Edison. Two Montblancs. A Platinum. All fantastic. Except, this is so overstuffed. I need to go on a pen diet. Or start cranking out content faster.
Or I suppose I could just move the rollerball….
“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet”
-Romeo and Juliet
Blog readers, you know my love for William Shakespeare, the playwright and the ink. And while Montblanc Shakespeare is new, I think it’s already popular. It’s hard to find online. But do you know what ink is quite easy to find? Diamine Carnival.
And Diamine Carnival looks close enough to Montblanc Shakespeare that I wonder if Diamine Carnival might make a decent substitute.
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