Wednesday, October 23, 2019

It's Inktober all year round for me.

I found myself in the unusual and strangely wonderful position this week of being in suspended animation on every single job I'm working on. I suddenly realised I was either waiting on feedback, or for the go-ahead, and for the rest to be signed off as 'done'.

This very rarely happens. I'm usually juggling so many things there's never any actual 'gaps' - and thank goodness for that in an uncertain and unpredictable trade. But thankful offerings to the Freelance Gods aside, I've been rushing around completing as many overdue tasks as possible while I can (and believe me, there are STILL more to do - those things that are are on our lists that we just NEVER get to!)

I replaced the shower. I repaired the bath cradle. I planted the spring bulbs. I cleaned. I finished the archiving and helped clean the chimney. I brushed up a couple of website bits and bought some Christmas presents. Helped with the final cider pressing of the year, and designed and printed over 200 labels for last year's bottles. I made the candles for the winter season - 13 in total (*flavours below, if you're interested in that sort of thing). I wall-mounted the speakers that were fed up with sitting on the desk, and ordered fabric samples for the new bedroom curtain. Did a LOAD of financial stuff. Did some sewing modifications to my new gym Ts.

And I got really special nails done for the upcoming Hallowe'en party and trick-or-treating with my nephew next week.

What I ALSO did was get out all my fountain pens, take them apart, clean them, flush them through and fill them up with fresh ink, then found them a new place to live where they're all together in one spot, and slightly tilted so that the ink is always flowing the right way.

Sounds fairly routine, I know, but it was the most relaxing and indulgent thing I feel like I've done in ages that 'wasn't work but was work'. You see I have loads of pens, at last count over 700, but the fourteen fountain pens have a special place because they range from the wooden one (with matching biro) my Mum and Dad got me for my 18th birthday, to the Mont Blanc (with matching pencil) Dad let me have when he realised I would use it more than him. That one's done many book covers - in fact it drew a whole YA series in its entirety. Unlike my massive pile of fineliners or my jumbly heap of Poscas, every fountain pen has a story, and has found its way to me via a person or an event that's important to me.

As expected for a tiny ink-delivering machine based on technology that's in most cases decades old and probably hand-made, each one has its own 'voice'. Read on if you share my love of writing - and drawing! - implements; this is my collection.

This is the wooden one that was the 18th birthday present. It's never been out of used, but has no brand on it - the case is long gone. It has an iridium nib and uses cartridges - and has a sister ballpoint in exactly the same design, which lives in my bag - whichever current bag that might be. 

And just look at its exquisite nib!

Here's Dad's Mont Blanc, responsible for scribbling all those Lottie Biggs books, with its lovely golden nib. It uses a piston filling system. 

This Platignum cartridge fountain pen was cheaply made and mass produced, but I LOVE its sure-footed, nimble nib. I can really crack through acres of drawing and writing with this.

My tatty little burgundy Osmiroid 65 has a somewhat reckless golden nib that's really quite bendy, and it uses a lever system to refill.

These Platignum pens are literally bent - at some point the barrel has been subjected heat or pressure (or both) and developed a raunchy little kink. Still, they work perfectly.

The first is a nib-based pen with lever refill system.

The second was produced en masse for schools. You can replace the entire nib section, and it's filled via cartridge - cheap, convenient and less messy for educational use, while still being a couple of decades away from commonplace ballpoint and gel pens in schools. See below the tinful of replacement nibs I have for this pen and its bro 'Platignum School Pen', which also has an unruly curve! The tin of nibs and cartridges was a gift from may friend Boyd, aka Solo One, who knew from the moment his eyes met Diana's that they'd be safer and more useful in my hands than his own.

My bladder-filled Shaeffer has gold findings and a very delicate nib, which creates precise and very definition lines. Some nibs feel a little like they're going to run away from you at any moment, or feel unsure of their direction, especially if they're very flexible: this one doesn't. 
A great one for signing contracts, as it seems to really like metallic and shimmer inks.

I also love squidging the bladder, for no reason other than it feels amusing.

My olive green Esterbrook 9314M is a recent acquisition, and I made an attempt to fill it with its own colour - not quite a match, but a glittery warm green anyway. This pen has a fine calligraphic nib and a squeeze-bar refill system. It's a very satisfying write.
It was a gift from The Pen Museum in Birmingham, with whom I was working to identify some pen parts recently. 

This really heavy Shaeffer was also one of Dad's - a pen lover himself, he recently let me have it because he felt sorry for me having so few pens.
Its nib is dramatic and pointy, its barrel and lid a brushed steel - I would say aluminium sum, but it's just so weighty. And it too employs a squeeze-bar refill system.
One to choose when there's a gravitas to whatever it is you're signing, redacting or drawing.

Another paternal addition to the collection - this cheery 80s Parker is an easy choice when reaching for a fountain pen. Its relative newness means the ink flows without any mardiness, and it has a smooth, brushed metal hand grip and balled nib end - a beauty. Just flows.
This one likes cartridges.

The heaviest of them all is this massive welterweight Shaeffer. I like to have the top on the end of every pen I write with, for balance and weight (*controversial*)  - but this one is just too heavy to do that with. Employs a piston filling system.
It's virtually brand new at about 10 years old, and has a rather ornate nib - you can see how little wear this nib has seen compared to my others.

This, and the next pen, were gifts from Shaeffer during a project I took part in called 'The Library Of Lost Books'.

And all-metal, it's usually really cold to the touch!

Also relatively new, arriving about the same time, is this plastic Shaeffer calligraphy pen with clear barrel. The nibs are interchangeable and it comes with 4 options - width, angle etc. - and coloured neck sleeve.
Ink is delivered via cartridges.

This little Messenger is a stone-cold favourite, even though I feel bad saying I've got favourites.
It likes the shimmer inks, behaves impeccably and is all-metal - meaning it's another cold one!
With its fine, almost-flat nib it's reliable and eager, and it's the narrowest of the fountain pens - meaning it's delicate and cigarette-like in the hand. It's got a piston filling system.

Finally, my ladylike Parker Slimfold - a pretty embossed pattern in its top collar, and that classic golden arrow - actually gold plated - to clip it into your shirt or notebook. It possesses a lovely rounded end, like a submarine, and fine, golden, small nib. Considering the fineness of this nib, its line is surprisingly wide.
This one too enjoys a shimmer or metallic ink (not all do!) Ink is delivered via modified 'U' aerometric filler.

Here they all are, lids on and off:

and in their new, lightly-angled pen tray, fresh cartridges and a wildly exciting stash of inks ready to refill them whenever they should need it!

*Those candle flavours in full:
Bakewell Tart
Chocolate Fudge Cake
Lemongrass & Ginger
Espresso Martini

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