Archive of ‘fountain pens ink paper’ category

nakaya piccolo kuro-tamenuri

A Nakaya fountain pen, no matter the price, comes beautifully packaged in a simple pauwlonia wood box with a pen wrap. It’s just one more instance of the company’s attention to detail, their commitment to giving their customers not only quality products but also a satisfying experience.

Every Nakaya fountain pen comes with a pen wrap like this one – its own kimono, if you will.

I prefer my Nakayas without clips. They have a tendency to roll on flat surfaces, but I find the sleek uninterrupted line true to the aesthetic, the finish gleaming unbroken along its length. 

The kuro-tamenuri finish is black lacquer upon red. In time, the lacquer will become more translucent, and more of the red underneath will start to show through. This pen is about four years old; its color was darker when I acquired it over two, maybe three, years ago from Leigh. 

The parts of a Piccolo: cap, barrel, nib and feed, and converter, filled with ink. See the ink bubble inside.

Writing sample with the stock flexible fine nib. There is good line variation, and I’d probably get more if I were better at calligraphy. As it is, it’s a modern nib that flexes much like vintage ones.

“Love is a Memory” is the title of an essay simmering on the stove (it’s what I had workshopped at this year’s University of the Philippines National Writers Workshop last April). Excerpts from the essay are here, here, and here.

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swarovski white pearl ballpoint pen

While I use fountain pens exclusively for note-taking, signing documents, and making lists and checking them twice, there are situations when only a ball-point will do – filling up carbon-copy bank forms, doodling on napkins, and poking things to see if they’re naughty or nice.

But of course it can’t just be any old BP. It’s got to be special, blingy, and blindingly handsome. Like this one.

It’s a Swarovski BP in White Pearl.

 The lower part of the barrel is metal painted a pearlescent white, while the upper part is clear plastic filled with Swarovski crystals. They are fixed; they do not move within the barrel.

The brand name is engraved on the clip. Seen up close, the crystals are shaped like faceted diamonds.

The fill system inside is unusual. I have no idea how I will replace the ink refill later on.

The combination of white and crystal is elegant and timeless; this is a pen to treasure and use often.

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nakaya piccolo cigar

The Nakaya Piccolo Cigar is a triumph of understated design. It draws on the Japanese aesthetic – simple, clean, minimal. Its lines are sleek and elegant. It is a zen koan brought to life.

Nakaya calls this model the “Cigar” because it is sans clip; their model with clip is called “Writer”.

The black lacquer finish on this one gleams subtly, an inky pool that laps up light.

The Piccolo is Nakaya’s shortest size.

Uncapped, it’s just right for my hand. I try not to post the cap when using it so as not to scratch the barrel finish, though urushi wears pretty well.

The nib is, as all Nakaya nibs are, reliable from the get-go and doesn’t skip nor railroad.

The 14-k gold medium stock nib is firm with a hint of spring. It is perfect for note-taking and daily use.

This pen was rehomed from bleubug two years ago. I’d put it away for safekeeping, but lately I’ve been thinking, Life is short. Let’s use the good china – and the fountain pens.

So I took it out of hibernation and let it rock.

Nakaya Piccolo Cigar, black Wajima urushi nuri finish. It poses at the Senate of the Philippines (Senate seal in the background).

“Wajima” is the area in Japan where world-renowned lacquerware – urushi – has been produced since the 16th century. Nuri means “coating”. Nakaya Fountain Pen Company artists work with a Wajima-based company for the urushi finishes for their pens. The lacquer work is a painstaking, labor-intensive process. It takes a couple of months of expert craftsmanship to build up the urushi finish by hand on the ebonite base of a Nakaya fountain pen.

The Piccolo Cigar rests on a Pocket Moleskine on my lap. Since the pen does not have a clip, it has a tendency to roll on flat surfaces. One of these days I might get a roll stopper for it like this one. I’d like a horse or a cat.

More than a functional object, it is a work of art. It is a marvel of Japanese engineering and design. With my Nakaya, I feel I can take over the world. Or, at the very least, stylishly make notes on how to get it done.

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a rainbow of j. herbin inks

Thanks to Scribe Essentials for bringing J. Herbin inks to the Philippines! I got these from the wide assortment at their stand in Power Books at Greenbelt, Makati.

As I’ve already written before, J. Herbin inks are among fountain pen users’ most coveted ink brands, not only for the smoothness of their ink formula, but for the beauty of their bottles and packaging.

The brand goes back to 1670, and is still popular among stationery enthusiasts today.

These color swatches are as close to true-color as I can get them to show on a computer screen.

The radiant rainbow hues will inspire anyone to reach for a pen and write a love letter, a poem, or a story, or reach for a brush and paint the images  in their mind’s eye to share them with the world.

Je vous le désir.

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moleskine memo pockets

From a small selection of notebooks similar to those beloved of writers and artists in the past to its present wide range of stationery products, Moleskine is engaging buyers with things that evoke the artistic lifestyle.

The Moleskine Memo Pockets lets you keep receipts, notes, tickets, and other little bits in a stylish case that looks exactly like one of their notebooks.

The same elastic as in their notebooks runs down the right side.

The case has six pockets made of acid-free paper.

The pockets open wide to provide lots of space. The edges are reinforced with red ribbon.

Moleskine Memo Pockets also come in black. They have a larger version in black of a notebook full of pockets, called the Folio, for papers, drawings, and such.

Moleskine seems to be developing a one-stop system for organizing your paperwork. Notebooks are for jotting down your thoughts and other information – let’s face it, it’s still easier to write something down than take out an iPad or a Galaxy Tab, boot it up, and do the touch-pressing on the virtual keyboard. Planners help you keep to a schedule.  The cases like the Memo Pockets and the Folio help you sort and stash your bits of paper, the journals help you store information specific to a certain topic (books, wine, recipes, etc.). I’m looking forward to what they’ll come up with next.

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lamy safari aquamarine

Thank you to my friend Thomas Overfield for sending me this lovely Lamy Safari Aquamarine fountain pen! I must have been a very good girl the past few months to deserve this coveted limited-edition writing instrument.

Lamy is a  German brand established in 1930 that pioneered in the use of molded synthetic plastic to make their products.

The Lamy Safari Aquamarine with box, wrapped in a note.

The popular Safari, made of ABS plastic, was designed by Fabian and Spiegel and has remained in production since 1980; new colors have been rolled out at intervals since then as limited editions. The standard colors are red, yellow, and blue.

The Lamy Safari Aquamarine parts – cap with stainless clip, barrel with ink view window, nib-and-section with ink converter. It’s ready to be inked with J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche, the color in my stash that comes closest to the color of this pen.

Safari is also available in clear plastic (called the Vista demonstrator) and aluminum (the AL-Star line).

The Safari comes with a stainless nib; a black extra-fine nib was substituted for my pen.

A writing sample on a page from a plain pocket Green Apple notebook (available at National Bookstore branches across Manila). The paper is a bit thicker than Moleskine’s, with minimal show-through on the reverse side – great for fountain pen use.

J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche ink with the Lamy Safari Aquamarine on a Green Apple notebook. The notebook cover is waterproof printed rubber; note the elastic band placed horizontally, minimizing the slippage usual to vertically-placed elastics like on the Moleskine. A notch on the sides of the cover holds the elastic in place.

The Lamy Safari Aquamarine (fountain pen and ballpoint) will be available at National Bookstore in July; they are now taking reservations.


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moleskine le petit prince

Moleskine was the pioneer of the luxury “writer’s notebook” market, positioning its product as something that traces its origin back to the old-fashioned journals used by writers and artists like Hemingway, Van Gogh, and Picasso, that until the mid-80s were still being peddled in obscure bookshops in Paris, as rhapsodized by Bruce Chatwin in his book Songlines.

Fast-forward to 1997, when a Milanese publisher revives the product and launches a trend.

Today there are many imitators and rip-offs, and Moleskine has to keep several steps ahead by coming out with interesting designs.

This is one such limited edition design – Moleskine Le Petit Prince.

Inspired by Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s self-illustrated 1941 novella, the line features pocket and large ruled and plain notebooks with covers engraved with drawings from the book.

Pocket notebooks, ruled and plain.

The back covers are plain black, but the paper label has all the information on product specs.

Detail of front cover of pocket notebook showing an engraved line from the book – “What is essential is invisible to the eyes.”

Detail of the front cover of the other version of the pocket notebook.

I haven’t opened my pocket notebooks yet, but I got these images from other sources to show you what they look inside.

The inside front cover and  first page have more drawings from the book. The text says: “If found, please return to planet _____. As a reward, my secret about ____.”  Image of large notebook here.

This limited edition line comes with cut-out and stand-up scenes from the book. Image cropped from here.

Sunset scene above comes with the pocket notebook, flower scene below comes with the large. Image here.

For lovers of the Little Prince, literature, and fine notebooks, here’s a product that combines all those for you.

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ink of a perfect vintage

Last holidays were fantastic for me for several reasons, one of them being the arrival of a pleasant surprise from gogirl cafe reader Gil Q. He sent a lovely bottle of Mont Blanc ink in Bordeaux, and a Ciak Ecological Journal with elastic strap.

The Mont Blanc ink bottle is itself a product of marvelous design. Shaped like a little shoe, raised ridges along one end form a no-slip grip when twisting open the plastic cap with an inlaid signature white star. The color of the ink is like the rich wine it is named for.

Mont Blanc Bordeaux ink shown here with circa 1920 Moore Manifold flex fountain pen.

The Ciak Ecological Journal is made of pre-consumer waste material inside, while the cover is made of waste leather. Handmade in Italy, it is also superbly designed – the crosswise elastic strap is less likely to slip, unlike vertically-oriented straps. In addition, a notch in the cover prevents the elastic from slipping.

The  Ciak also has a bookmark. Its binding allows it to be laid flat open.

Thank you, Gil Q, for the beautiful gifts! I promise you they’ll be put to good use.

In the gallery below are more pictures – fountain pen, ink, and journal enthusiasts, enjoy.

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sheaffer targa 1005

Meet my colleague Noy’s heirloom pen. It was given to him by his father over the holidays, when Noy asked if there was a fountain pen around he could use as a sign pen at work. His father gave him this one. Noy took it to me one morning to check out.

I was impressed by how pristine it was. There was no ink discernible on the nib or within the barrel or cap. Before inking, I flushed the nib and fill system. The water remained undiscolored. Then I realized – IT WAS UNUSED. Mint condition, save for a few rust spots on the barrel.

After some research at Penspotters, I identified the pen as a Sheaffer Targa 1005, circa 1985. I knew Rick Conner’s site would have the answer.

The clip has a white dot; both top and bottom tassies are black enamel. The cap and barrel are gold electroplate, perhaps 23k.

The nib is the typical upturned-tip associated with the Sheaffer Targa. It’s a 14k fine, but I keep comparing the Western nibs to the Japanese so to my mind this is a Japanese medium .

It uses an aerometric fill, very convenient and easy to use – just dip and squeeze until no bubbles appear.

It had feed issues and would not go even after being inked with black Parker Quink. I inserted a business card several times between nib and feed, a trick taught me by Leigh which has helped me save many a pen here and abroad, and it got going.

This handsome pen is a buttery-smooth wet writer, perfect for Noy to sign any peace treaties, declarations of independence, and attendance forms that may cross his desk.

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hack you

Muji is a terrific little Japanese shop which carries houseware, stationery, and even clothes, all in neutral colors. It’s almost like Ikea but not quite because it doesn’t have the same staggering selection of goods. Still, it’s a place to get interesting stuff. Last week I visited the Powerplant Mall, Makati branch close to closing time; not having much time to look around, I went home with only a few items – a couple of erasers and this yummy kraft-paper covered notebook.

The cover is actually quite smooth, as is the creamy unruled paper inside. But the cover was excruciatingly plain. So I hacked it.

How to hack a boringly blah notebook or something of similar persuasion:

Step 1: Wait for an inspiration to come like a lightning bolt.

Step 1a: In the event that no creative brainstorm occurs, open drawers and rummage through stuff to quickstart the process. I found red and purple ink stamp pads, a flex-nib fountain pen, ink, and a great poem.

Step 3: Using the materials you have found, use them to embellish your notebook by gluing, painting, writing, drawing, cutting, folding, verb+ing, and so on.

Step 4: Enjoy your one-of-a-kind modded thing!

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