Sunday, March 15, 2015

Los Angeles pen show report - part 3 (old friends)

Pen shows are a great place to reconnect with old pen friends, and the L.A. Show was no exception. I had a wonderful time talking to people I'd met at pen shows and kept in touch with (via email and/or letters) over the years.

Sam & Frank Fiorella are the good folks behind Pendemonium, a great online pen store (and, until they moved to Arizona recently, a brick & mortar retail store) that has been around for a long time. I first met Sam & Frank at the Portland Pen Show (which ran from 2004 to 2008) and purchased many things from them over the years, so it was nice to see them in person again in L.A. As usual, they brought a wide variety of items with them to the show, including print ads, books, inks and ephemera, in addition to writing instruments. I bought a couple of really nice ads from them (and included a late photo of them in part 1 of my pen show report), as well as a book on the Parker '51'.
( ~ Click on images to enlarge ~)

Here's me with Bruce Hirschman, the pen maker extraordinaire behind Bruno Corsini Pens. I had a great time hanging out with Bruce (whom I also met in Portland) and his friends in the Pan Pacific Pen Club (which meets in San Francisco's Bay Area) on Friday night, as well as pen people from as far away as Portugal and Brazil. Thanks for inviting me along, Bruce!

A quick & candid shot of Sherrell Tyree, who runs Ink-Pen with her brother Joel Hamilton. Sherrell and Joel are super-nice people and it's always a pleasure catching up with them at pen shows. We first met at the Portland pen show back in 2004 and I've bought several pens from them over the years. They are experts on Sheaffer and Parker pen restoration and always have lots of nice pens to sell at pen shows.
Oh, and seated to Sherrell's right is Sam Highsmith, with whom I chatted on Saturday. Sam is a member of the very-active Arkansas Pen Club and is a real Southern gentleman. It was a pleasure making your acquaintance in L.A, Sam :) Oh, and P.S -- I managed to try some grits on this trip, but in an odd setting---the Amtrak restaurant on my way back home!

Here's Nibmeister John Mottishaw of examining a client's pen. John is a mainstay at many pen shows in the U.S (I first met him in Portland, too) and is a master at repairing fountain pen nibs. He delivered an excellent seminar on Saturday that was well-attended and much appreciated. Thanks again, John!

Photo above: That's Kim Sosin of Penquest talking to Sarj Minhas, who (with his lovely wife) came all the way from England to attend the show. Sarj is fondly referred to as "The One-Man Pen Show" because he always brings many, many lovely pens to sell. I hadn't met Sarj before, but I knew Kim from the Portland shows. I bought my amazing Stipula Gaudi Casa Batllo LE pen from Kim at the L.A. show this year (see part 1 of my L.A Pen Show report for photos of it) and I am thrilled with it. Many thanks, Kim!

Kim is the Executive Assistant at the Pen Collectors of America (PCA) which runs a free program called Pens for Kids (PFK). The aim of PFK is to "foster(ing) an interest in pens and pen collecting in the next generation." To this end, the PFK program has free workshops at some U.S. pen show which "also stress the importance of handwriting and personal expression in communication." At these workshops, each child is given a fountain pen to use and then take home.

That's Stuart Hawkinson and Jim Leonard, both from the Portland Pen Club. Stuart is one of the first pen people I met at the very first Portland show back in 2004. I bought a really cool vintage Eversharp Skyline ballpoint that he converted to a modern ballpoint at that show, and I still have and use that pen. Stuart is an amazing pen repairperson and a very nice guy, so it was good to catch up with him and see what he's been up to.

Last but not least....the one-and-only Dave Moffat from our own Vancouver Pen Club! I thought I'd be the only person from Vancouver there but I wasn't. Dave is one of the very first pen people I met in Vancouver and he's been collecting pens for decades, having amassed an amazing collection of both vintage and modern pens.

To finish up this long post, I thought I'd end with some photos of some very special Dupont pen sets--the Medici and Pharaoh---that were being sold by Toys From the Attic, the online store from whom I bought my nice new 3-pen leather case. My photos don't really do these gorgeous works of art justice, but I thought I'd include them anyway. Enjoy!

Many thanks to the organizers for putting on a great pen show! The hotel and setting was marvelous and I had a wonderful time (and hope to attend another one in the future ;)

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Los Angeles pen show report - part 2 (new faces)

(To clear up any possible confusion...The 2015 L.A. Pen Show ran from Thursday Feb 12th up to & including Sunday Feb 15th. The Sunday was the only public day; the other days were for dealers & traders only)

I've always maintained that at least half the fun of attending a pen show is the people, and this year's amazing show in L.A. only reinforced my belief. Part two of this report is about some folks I've never had the pleasure of meeting until last month's show. For example, I've been buying pens from Lisa & Brian Anderson of Anderson Pens for years, but never had a chance to meet them in person until I went to L.A.
(That's me--Maja--with Brian & Lisa ~ Click on photos to enlarge ~)

They are among the nicest people you'll ever meet...and know their stuff when it comes to writing instruments, both vintage and modern. It was a pleasure talking to them and seeing their professionalism in action when dealing with customers. Brian & Lisa --- many thanks for the TWSBI pen & cool Retro 51 pencil!
Oh, and this is what they brought to L.A:

Another pen person I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time was Dan Smith, from FPGeeks . Dan & I have traded emails and letters, but I've never talked to him face-to-face until we met up at the show. Dan is a great guy and is just as funny and personable as he is on those "FPGeeks TV" podcasts you might have watched.

I didn't have a chance to talk to Eric Schneider of FPGeeks, but he swung by the Andersons' table and I got him to pose with Lisa for a quick shot:
And here's a photo of Lisa with Dan:

It was nice to finally meet Bryant Greer of Chatterley Luxuries . I'd been buying lovely Italian pens from Bryant for many years, so it was great to chat with him and see what pens he brought with him to the L.A. show.
As you can see, he brought a lot!

That's me with Ross Cameron of YAFA .Ross helped our pen club import the gorgeous Delta Delta Dolcevita Caruso Vancouver Pen Club limited edition pens from Italy late last year, so it was nice to thank him in person!
YAFA had a really nice display at the L.A. show, as you can see:
I forgot to photograph the one-and-only Susan Wirth, she of the famous pen show calendar , but I had fun chatting with her on the first day of the L.A. show. To be honest, I was a bit overwhelmed by the size of the show and didn't photograph much until day three! Here's Susan's display from this year's L.A. show. It's is very "user-friendly" and consists of tables & chairs and inked pens ready for potential buyers to try---a great idea!
I feel really badly for not photographing the awesome new friends from FPN (the Fountain Pen Network) I met on Saturday (day three)--- Amberlea ("amberleadavis" on FPN) and Frank ("Frank C") from Vegas, Steve ("stevesurf") from Arizona and Pierre ("PrestoTenebroso") from Chicago. Amberlea was kind enough to invite me to join them for dinner at a great sushi place in Manhattan Beach on Valentine's Day. Thanks for making my day, guys, and thank you very much for the meal, Steve ;) Incidentally, Pierre is the man behind the amazing creations at Desiderata Pens. I had the pleasure of trying one of his amazing flexy-nibbed fountain pens at the dinner, and I was suitably impressed. Well done, Pierre!

Here is the ink specially made for FPN by Noodler's that Amber was selling at the pen show, on behalf of FPN. She drove down from Vegas with her daughter Eleanor (a very cool fountain pen person in her own right :) on Saturday and spent the day promoting the FPN website and the three FPN Noodler's inks--Noodler's Galileo Manuscript Brown, Noodler's Van Gogh Starry Night Blue and Noodler's Dumas Tulip Noire:
Amberlea had the great idea of pre-filling fountain pens with the various FPN inks (the red pens below), so that people could try them out on paper. She also brought some Noodler's ink made for Dromgoole's pen shop in Houston, Texas, including Noodler's Texas Live Oak (a lovely dark green ink) and Noodler's The Alamo's Twilight (a very interesting dark red ink):
Many thanks for the ink, Amberlea, and for your thoughtfulness in including me in your group's dinner plans; I had a blast! :)

Part three of my L.A. pen show report coming later today (March 14)...! (Update: Part 3 was posted on a bit late---a few minutes after midnight on March 15th!)

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Los Angeles Pen Show report - part 1 (the loot)

Half the fun of attending a pen show is meeting and hanging out with like-minded pen folks, but I thought I'd start my L.A. Pen Show report by posting some photos of the stuff I bought there ( ~ Click on photos to enlarge ~ ).

In addition to the fountain pens and pencils below, I bought some Noodler's Ink specially made for Fountain Pen Network (the Van Gogh "Starry Night" and "Dumas Tulipe Noire") as well as a bottle of ink from Scribe's Pens and a nice brown leather "Girologio" 3-pen case from Matt at Toys From the Attic:
Group photo below (from left to right): a nifty Retro 51 Crossword mechanical pencil from Anderson Pens, a Romet Asia fountain pen in the "Pomegranate" design, a Stipula Gaudi 'Casa Batllo' Limited Edition fountain pen from Penquest , a pink Pelikan 'Pelikano' fountain pen (purchased from fellow VPC member Dave Moffat), a Sheaffer 'NoNonsense' fountain pen and Pelikan "Twist" fountain pen from Sherrell Tyree of, and a cool vintage mechanical pencil by Ritepoint with advertising for Orange Crush on it (also from Dave---thanks, Dave!).
(photo below) A TWSBI 580 Aluminum (580AL) fountain pen, purchased from the awesome Andersons (Brian & Lisa) of Anderson Pens.
(photo below) A lovely all-metal Kosca button-filler, purchased from Peter Crook of Carneil Pens in Scotland. Probably my best deal from the whole pen show---only $60 for this lovely fountain pen!
Sometimes you find a pen you've been seeking for a long time, and other times you find something you never knew you really wanted... until you saw it in person. The former pen is the red Romet Asia in the red "Pomegranate" pattern (see photo below) . I'd been looking for this discontinued model for ages, with no success. I spotted it on the first day of the L.A. Pen Show but didn't buy it. Why? I have no idea, but I won't do that again! I found it again on day two and quickly purchased it. It's fitted with a 1.1mm Conklin stub nib but I don't mind---it's a gorgeous pen that has been on my Wish List since I saw it online a few years ago.

The Stipula Gaudi 'Casa Batllo' LE (in the same photo as the Romet pen below) was purchased from Kim Sosin of, a respected pen seller from whom I'd bought many pens in the past. I visited Barcelona with my husband in '98 and saw the building that inspired this pen, so I jumped at the chance to acquire it. It's a gorgeous writer with a responsive 14K Stipula white gold nib. My particular fountain pen is #147/193.
Part 2 of my pen show report coming soon! (Update: part 2 has been posted today---Sat March 14!)
Thanks for reading
~ Maja

Late edit: I forgot to include a couple of cool print ads I got from Pendemonium, and a nice vintage Parker '51' box I bought from Sule S! Here they are....
(Not pictured---the Parker '51' book by David & Mark Shepherd, also purchased from Sam & Frank at Pendemonium. I purchased the book as a gift for my good friend Glenn in Australia. Happy birthday in advance, Glenn! :)

Friday, March 6, 2015

Some photos from our February meeting

Many thanks to Richard, our pen club host at Perks pen store, for snapping some photos during our February meeting. I was attending the big pen show in Los Angeles (I'll post a report about it, here on our blog, later this week) and couldn't make it to our meeting, so I was glad that he took a few photos to document the event. Grateful thanks also to longtime VPCer Bruce Reeves for leading the meeting in my absence.

We had several new members in attendance---Catherine S, Michael Q, and Richard D. Also in attendance were two guests---author Ted Bishop (his website) who was in town to read from his newest work The Social Life of Ink, and Evy van Nobelen, veterinarian and artist-in-ink from Whitehorse (her blog). Nice to see that Leo C. from Edmonton was able to attend another meeting of ours. Thank you to all members (new & old) and visitors for coming!

Our February meeting topic was "Vacation Pens" and of the examples brought in for this topic, Bruce writes "...there were many differing views on what to bring on vacation – ranging from pencils to near-disposable fountain pens to top-of-the-line Italian celluloid." Before I left for L.A, I wrote and told Bruce my three "Vacation Pen" choices--a Lamy Safari fountain pen (they're durable--made of ABS plastic---and light), my Sailor Sapporo fountain pen (it's small in the pocket, but a decent size when posted; also has a gold nib), and my new Levenger True Writer ballpoint in the "Bouquet" pattern (because you need a ballpoint in order to write on postcards---a fountain pen just won't cut it! ). As for ink, I'd take my Noodler's #41 Brown--a great shade of brown that is also waterproof.

Quick reminder: our next meeting will be held at the same place (Perks pen store, 5844 Cambie Street) & time (6:30pm-8:30pm) on Thursday March 19th and the topic will be "Green Fountain Pens".

(~Click on photos to enlarge ~)
(Photo above: Ted Bishop, with his new book, The Social Life of Ink)
(Photo above: VPC member Mark Harcourt, with his newest acquisition)

Monday, March 2, 2015

March meeting information

Date: Thursday March 19, 2015
Place: Perks pen store, 5844 Cambie Street, Vancouver, BC
Time: 6:30pm-8:30pm ("early birds" welcome at 6:00pm, to chat before the meeting).
Theme: Green Fountain Pens!
We did this topic a few years ago (6 years ago, to be precise), so I thought we'd re-use it now, in honour of St. Patrick's Day. Please bring any fountain pens that relate to the theme. Our secondary theme is always "Newest Acquisitions" so if you have any new pen-related stuff to show, please bring it with you for us to see. I'll bring along the stuff I bought at the Los Angeles Pen Show last month and let you know how it went (I had a blast :)