Day 2 at the Pen Show

Did this get your attention?

I was up early with Hubby and we went down to the hotel restaurant to have an early breakfast.

My gluten-free breakfast

After breakfast, I walked Hubby out to the garage as he was heading home for the day and then coming back the next day to check out the pen show and to take me out to dinner.

I had my ink journal with me and decided to head to the Ink Testing Tables to swatch some inks. Back in 2019, the ink tables were located in the small ballroom. This year, they had relocated the ink tables along the hallway outside the main ballroom. That was a brilliant idea! That meant the smaller ballroom had the custom pen turners and and fountain pen blank designers all in one room. How convenient!

Also, there was a lot more room in the main hallway to jump from table to table to test out the inks from different ink manufacturers. One of the reasons for getting up early is I had the ink tables to myself. Each table had a few nib holders, q-tips, small pieces of paper to swatch on, empty cups for used q-tips, dog bowls filled with pen flush, and cups filled with water.

I came prepared with my ink journal, regular pen, and my water brush. I have my own efficient process for swatching inks and I don’t enjoy spending the time to clean out the nibs in between ink colors. That’s why I bring a ballpoint pen to write out the ink names in my journal. Time is of the essence when at the Pen Show. Hahaha!

I made sure I to swatch the Pilot Iroshizuku inks. The small bottles are so cute!

Pilot Iroshizuku inks…look at all the beautiful colors!
Noodler’s inks
J Herbin inks

I knew I only had a small amount of time to myself at the tables and selectively picked certain brands to swatch from. I still had two more days (early mornings) to circle back and get the remaining colors swatched.

I checked my watch and knew I had to walk around, get my laps in and stop by a few tables before getting ready for my workshops. I immediately headed over to the Franklin-Christoph table. Scott’s tables are alway busy with fellow pen folks.

One of the busiest tables during the show

I inquired about a specific pen model and saw a pen that caught my eye. It did not have a clip, but I was told I could have one installed and they could mail the pen to me. I decided it was time to do a few laps and not make a commitment as I had other tables to visit. My gut instinct told me to move away from this table. Little did I know there was something else for me a few tables down.

Who could not resist the colorful pens at the F-C table!

I strolled along the back wall past BG Artforms, Bexley, Wahl-Eversharp, ASC, and Bittner’s tables.

A few months ago, I read about some lovely flex pens from Stylosuite. I saw some gorgeous writings with the lovely line variations as well as the interesting nib with the cut outs. Based on my personal experience, I knew some modern nibs could flex a bit with some amount of pressure like my Pilot 912 with FA nib. After writing a few lines, my hand would get tired and my writing would get sloppy.

I came across a tray of lovely pens. They were absolutely gorgeous to look at. I immediately recognized a few brands. Can you name the brands in the following picture?

I introduced myself to Les (owner of Stylosuite) and took a seat at his table. I answered a few questions about my writing style and pens I tend to favor. Les handed me an Opus 88 Omar with a JoWo nib that had fancy cutouts along the nib’s shoulders and sides and a cut that goes past the breather hole. The minute I put pen to paper, I realized I became one with this pen! Very little pressure and effort was needed to make this pen write with broad lines on the downstroke. I immediately had that “rhythm” and bounce in my handwriting.

Les laid down a few more pens in front of me that had different nib sizes (Fine and Medium) and also one with a cursive italic nib. I tried them all, but I still came back to the first pen I tried. That Omar had the Stylosuite Extra Fine Xwing Harpoon nib. It was an extremely smooth writing experience. Les complemented me on my writing. I told him it was the pen and his lovely nib in my hand that allowed me to write effortlessly across the paper.

All the nibs I tried at his table kept up with my fast writing. Les modifies the nibs and then tunes it with the particular pen that will house the nib unit. This is important to remember and I do not plan on swapping this nib unit around with my other pens. His Xwing Harpoon nib was perfect with this particular Omar. Oh and let’s not forget that the Opus 88 Omar has a “tank” that holds a lot of ink!

Not knowing how Les handles purchases and orders, I asked if I could buy this particular pen. When you become one with a pen, it’s the one that you have to take with you, right?

My Stylosuite Extra Fine Xwing Harpoon nib! Stunning & gorgeous!

A writing sample with this flex nib with very little pressure. Amazing!

I was done with my shopping for the day. Or so I thought. I still had to get ready and grab my bags and head down to my meeting room to setup for my workshop.

After my first (of three) workshop was finished, I immediately packed up my supplies and papers and dropped them off in my room. I still had to do a few laps around the main venue and to also check out the small pen turners and pen blank designers in the small ballroom.

I took a few more pictures and then stumbled upon another table. Turnt Pen Co. His trays of pens were shouting my name. I slowly scanned each pen in their trays and came across one that caught my eye.

I asked and Tim confirmed that his pen was made from a Primary Manipulation 4 blank by Jonathon Brooks. I needed to feel the whole pen in my hand and Tim was gracious enough to install a JoWo #6 Stub 1.1 nib unit and a converter into the pen. He wanted to dip the pen in some ink and I told him no need to do that. I can sense how good a pen will be by just holding it in my hand and going through the motions of writing on paper.

Then a very familiar sensation hit me! I became one with this pen! It’s a similar feeling as I had with the Stylosuite pen, but that pen will be used for my fancy handwriting. My Turnt pen was about the “whole package” for an EDW (everyday writer) including comfort, balance, and weight. Could I write with this pen for hours? Yes! This feeling almost reminded me of holding a Franklin-Christoph pen in my hand. It was that good! The writing experience was just lovely and it did not hurt that this particular Turnt pen was just absolutely stunning. I can’t believe I managed to get a PM4 pen that was on my wish list. The stars were definitely in alignment and I was meant to be at Turnt’s table. I was so thrilled to have met Tim. (Thank you Tim for a wonderful pen show experience and I enjoyed chatting with you!)

After my second purchase for the day, I had to wear “blinders” and walk by many more tables. I did see some fun Esterbrook patches with the lovely Aqua Fun! theme and the Esterbrook clip. Next thing I knew I was given a lovely Esterbrook tote bag, washi tape, and a plain white nautical hat to along with my purchase. When I was wearing the hat the next day, Hubby said I looked like I belonged on Gilligan’s Island! Yeah, I’m not sharing any pictures of me wearing the hat. Hahaha!

My Esterbrook accessories

I was so tired from the day’s activities that I ordered a meal to go from the lounge and spent some quiet time in my room. I ended up practicing my fancy handwriting with my Stylosuite pen and twirling my Turnt PM4 pen. Okay, not at the same time.

Here are additional pictures I forgot to add when I published this post.

More to come….

Day 1 at the Pen Show

I wanted to share this bit of information. I was able to empty a bottle of Robert Oster Thunderstorm. My first empty fountain pen ink bottle. A milestone for me!

Now to get back to my normal post.

It was a gorgeous day to travel to the 2021 Washington DC Fountain Pen Supershow. The temperature was in the low 80s with hardly any humidity. Normally, the whole month of August makes me “glow” and my hair is the first sign to go flat against my head. Not today and most likely for the remaining week and weekend. Traffic was light as I made my way over to the Marriott. The hotel was kind enough to have my room ready when I arrived. A good thing as I had a lot of bags to unload from my car and I wanted to get settled in the room before Hubby arrived.

Several trips later and my car unloaded, I quickly sent a text to Hubby. He was joining me later in the early evening. In the meantime, I was happy to see a long desk/table in our room as I had to spread out all of my workshop supplies and organized them so I could grab and go for each session.

I made my way to the main ballroom of the hotel to see if there were any fountain pen and ink activities I needed to be aware of. I went to the registration desk, introduced myself, and met the wonderful pen show managers, Barbara and Jeff. I received my badges and a bottle of Monteverde Bob’s Blue Ink. Bob Johnson passed away last year and his sister Barbara and his nephew Jeff took over the responsibility of running the DC Pen Show.

I reconfirmed the meeting room I had for the next few days and I was off to go exploring. The show tables in the main venue were setup and arranged in long rows. A few Exhibitors were starting to setup their assigned tables. At the right side of the ballroom wall and in the far corner I could see the Franklin-Christoph staff setting up their tables.

Along the left wall and center is the Kenro (e.g. Esterbrook) table which I was able to visit later in the show and try out Gina’s Journaler nib. More on that in another post.

Hubby texted me to say he was out front and not sure where to park. The front of the hotel has a small turnaround area with limited outdoor parking. There were folks who were waiting in line to unload their boxes of supplies for their exhibits.

I did not realize how hungry I was from all the running around I did from the time I left home until I unpacked my car at the hotel. Yes, I have to include a “foodie” picture of my gluten-free meal: Fish Tacos! I took a bite into my first taco and was so enamored I could have a meal that tasted close to normal. It was that good! I let Hubby take a bite of my delicious taco and he said I was not getting that one back! Hahaha! Good thing I had two more tacos to savor and not share with him.

I was not too worried about counting my calories for this long weekend. I knew I was going to get in a lot of steps and my Fitbit would be extremely happy with me. I made sure I was getting my protein and drank plenty of water.