I came across Hurlestone on Instagram. It had everything I need to be immediately suckered in: small, new maker based out of somewhere unusual (in this case, New Zealand); pen cases in a variety of sizes; and unusual textile materials in a range of colours.
I placed an order for two pen cases: a two-pen model in blue (Carson), and a four-pen model in grey (Charcoal). They arrived this week, and I’ve given them a quick spin. If this brand has just landed on your radar, here’s a bit more info to help you make your decision.
First, the materials: if you’ve ever walked into a sofa shop and had a look at the textile swatch books, you know exactly what these feel like. They’re made of polyester, and they’re soft and robust. Each case is lined with a matching synthetic velvet. The materials feel good, with interesting textures. Since they’re designed for upholstery, they should be very long-lasting.
Second, the construction: these cases are sized big. I’ve fitted four huge pens into the four-pen case and they’re swallowed up with ease. If you like small pens (Pelikan M400, say), they will be utterly lost inside.
The consequence of this is that the two-pen case is about the size of a Nock Lookout or Sinclair, which is a three-pen design. The four-pen case doesn’t look that much narrower than my Franklin-Christoph Penvelope 6.
Each pen slot is completely separated from the rest for its full length, so there’s no risk at all of your pens touching.
On the back of each case is a decent-sized slot that you can use for cards or whatever. It’s quite short, though, so I wouldn’t use it for anything precious or anything full-length, like notebooks.
One thing I was really curious about was how “floppy” the cases are. Have they been constructed to hold their shape when empty? Not really. Even with pens inside you can almost roll the cases up.
This is not a problem, except I found it quite tricky to tuck the lids under their loops to close the cases, because there’s so little rigidity.
Pricing is fair for a handmade product, in my opinion. The two-pen case is priced at $47 NZD, and the four-pen at $56 NZD. I paid $18 NZD shipping, meaning total cost to me was around £62. I got hit with an £11 customs charge too, alas.
I like these cases: they have a gentler, more rustic feel than Nock’s sharply modern materials. Functionally, I find I still prefer my Nocks. But do check Hurlestone out: the selection of materials is fantastic, so you’re bound to find one to suit you.