The end of a year is a great time to reflect. I thought it would be fun to give some playful awards based on my experiences of a LOT of money spent in 2017.
The Inky Fingers award for best ink brand goes to… Birmingham
I have 10 bottles of Birmingham inks and I turn to them time and again. Great, interesting colours, flawless performance, a wonderful lubricated feel, and best of all they’re from a small company with outstanding service.
The Lived-Up-to-the-Hype award goes to… Visconti Homo Sapiens
It’s the default “grail pen”, so expectations for me were sky high. But I was still blown away by the Homo Sapiens and its wonderful Palladium Dreamtouch nib. And the honeymoon period hasn’t yet worn off.
The Community award goes to… Diamine Earl Grey
This ink could just as easily have won the hype award, after the huge Reddit thread and all the excitement over its creation. Amazingly, it’s turned out to be a brilliant grey ink that I’ve had inked since its release. I loved the crowdsourcing of the colour and naming and it’s fitting that the end result is so good.
Best Supporting Workhorse goes to… Lamy 2000
I was going to give this to the Pelikan M805, but my Lamy 2000 comes in at half the price and sits there like a spaceship in my pen case, writing beautifully whenever I need it. Despite needing a new cap earlier in the year it’s still a pen I trust completely.
The Biggest Disappointment award goes to… Organics Studio inks
I was really excited to get my bottles of Walden, Emerson and Arsenic Grey from Organics Studio, in all respects: the branding, the promise of the sheen, all of it. Unfortunately the sheen is overwhelming and actively distracts me from my writing, they smudge like hell and they hard start, too. They’re great for Instagram, but I doubt I’ll use them again.
The Small Biz Celebration award goes to… lots of companies!
Nock continued to expand, with Unicorn barf colours and the Lanier. I invested in my first Dudek pen block, which hasn’t left my desk since. It was marvellous to see Penwell launch, with a genuinely new idea and a humble approach to business. I invested in a Col-o-Ring book at last, and cursed myself for waiting so long. I ordered more nibs from the geniuses at FPnibs. Franklin-Christoph has whipped up frenzy with more limited editions, plus innovative new carry options… and even though I sold my Pocket 66, I’m now a deliriously happy owner of a Model 02 and a Penvelope 6.
And retailers, too. I continue to subscribe to Spotlight Stationery. Stu and co at Pocket Notebooks are basically my paper drug dealer. And I actively look forward to newsletters from Ink Journal, Bureau Direct, Write Here, and others. They make this a community!
The It’s-Not-You-It’s-Me award goes to… Pilot
With my 823 up for sale, I find myself with no Pilot pens in rotation for the first time since I got into this hobby. What gives?! I’ve decided I can’t do flex (goodbye FA nibs), the smaller pens are uncomfortable for me (goodbye 91, 92 and Myu), and I am completely over cleaning out CON-70 and CON-40 converters. Pilot: I love you, but this was not meant to be.
The Stop-Tempting-Me award goes to… awww, who am I kidding?
I’m still lusting after the Krusac Legend, several Kanileas, Edisons, Nakayas… this is an amazing time to be into stationery. There are pen makers all over the world turning out wonderful custom and production models that are calling to my wallet.
It’s been a great year and I feel blessed to have had the chance to play with so much fun stationery. What’s been your greatest discovery this year?