Category: New Acquisition

Hand Engraved Kaweco Liliput Brass

Last year (December 2018) I contacted master engraver, Jay Del Fierro, to ask if he can make custom engravings on a pen for me. I told him that I intended it to be a tribute pen to honor the memory of my mom who passed away a few years ago. His schedule was pretty much booked so he wanted to decline my request, but when he found out it’s a tribute pen for my mom, he graciously added me to his long list of projects. Fast forward to yesterday, when he shipped the pen over to our place all the way from Bicol.

I’m amazed at how much detail these roses have, and that they fit in such a tiny pen such as the Kaweco Liliput (the only brass pen I own). Everything is hand engraved, even the beautiful italic lettering.

I asked for a garden of roses because my mom loved those flowers, and because I have a particularly special memory of her that involved roses. The words “Lively Little Treasure” is the meaning of my name (Alva Pao-Pei). My name was the first thing that my mom gave me when I was born. She gave it a lot of thought and as soon as I’m old enough to understand, she taught me what it meant. Some of the clearest memories I have of my early childhood were of my mom taking my face in her hands, looking me in the eyes, and telling me that I’m her lively little treasure.

I wasn’t always very appreciative of my unique name. Being an extremely introverted child, I hated drawing any kind of attention to myself, and of course I hated having to explain to strangers what my name meant. I learned to love it as time went by, though. I learned to like explaining the meaning of my name to anyone who asked. After my mother passed away, I grew to treasure every evidence of thoughts that she had about me. Journal entries, letters, email messages…my name. These are all precious to me.

I waited 6 months before I got it back, but it’s really worth the wait. I love the work that Jay did on my pen. Now there’s no other Liliput quite like it. It’s as unique as my name. 🙂

Inks by Vinta

One of the greatest pleasures of using fountain pens is the insane variety of inks available in the market. There was a time when the only available colors are red, black, blue, and the occasional blue black from Parker or Sheaffer. Now there are more brands to choose from and a delightfully wide amount of colors too. One only needs to spend a few minutes with a fountain pen nerd to know that all of blue inks he/she owns have its own character and nuances. Even black inks aren’t just black. I can tell just by looking at my journal which kind of black ink I used for a sketch.

So it was such an amazing treat to be asked to attend the launch of a new brand of locally-made fountain pen inks called Vinta Inks. It’s such an appropriate name because the word Vinta refers to boats with vibrant, colorful sails traditionally from Mindanao. The brand was launched last March 9 and it was such an huge success. I had the pleasure of trying out some prototypes of the inks since last year, and I already know that they do perform quite well and the colors they made are so beautiful. There were still a few surprises for me during the launch, though.

I made these writing samples using a glass pen and watercolor brush. You can see right away that there are very interesting colors in the lineup.

The inks during the launch came in 45ml bottles but newer batches will come in 30ml bottles due to issues sourcing a stable supply of the 45ml bottles they used for the first release. I like the little bottles, and I suggested that they figure out a way to accept bottle returns so that they can reuse them instead of us throwing them away.

I like the simplicity of the design of the logo and the labels. It’s clean and classy.

Best of all, the opening of the bottle is wide enough to accommodate big pens. That’s always been a pet peeve of mine. Of course you can decant inks to smaller containers if the opening of the bottle is not wide enough to accommodate fatter pens, but it would’ve been much simpler if the opening was just wide enough in the first place.

I’m relieved the bottle’s opening is of a comfortable size. Also, look at the sheen on that lid. Yum.

It’s also worth noting that Vinta Inks will donate P25.00 per bottle sold to Teach for the Philippines, Inc. which provides support and training for public school teachers nationwide. What a wonderful advocacy.

I bought five colors to add to my personal collection, most of them are colors that I loved during the time that I was regularly using the prototypes. I picked Kosmos 1955 (Cosmic Blue), Carlos 1960 (Emerald), Leyte 1944 (Sea Kelp), Dugong Bughaw 1521 (Blue Blood), and Sandugo 1565 (Sikatuna). All very interesting colors. I’m going to try and write a review on all of them and will update this entry with a roundup of all the Vinta Inks I review.

Vinta Inks are locally available in the Philippines via their website.

INK REVIEWS:
La Union 1971 (Vineyard)
Kosmos 1955 (Cosmic Blue)
Sandugo 1565 (Sikatuna)
La Paz 1985 (Bronze Yellow)

Victoria’s Journals Copelle Gold Edition

Last year I was able to try out Victoria’s Journals’ Copelle Gold Edition which was raffled off to a few lucky people at the Fountain Pen Network Philippines’ Christmas party. We enjoyed trying this because the paper was really nice thin. I have been waiting for it to be available at National  Bookstore branches near me ever since, but it was only yesterday that my husband was able to find one for me (w00t).

The cover is faux-leather textured and very light. It’s soft to the touch and the binding is stitched. I’m not too keen on the colors, though. I picked the dark grey one because it’s the least shiny-looking one in the collection,  but it’s sparkly. I would love to see them come up with a non-shiny looking cover, that would be awesome. The elastic is thick but soft, easy to pull on and off the notebook.

As you can see in the photo above, you can lie the journal flat. That’s great, and makes it easier to write in. I like the stitching and binding on the journal.

      

It has a few pages for a 2-year calendar spread, table of contents, trip planner, and a couple of pages of blank Eisenhower Decision Matrix (instructions included).

It also has 8 pages of ink test cutouts. Each page is divided by 4 sections with perforations so that that you can tear them off individually. I think that’s a nice touch, especially since it shows on the cover that the notebook is “fountain pen friendly”, which means it’s targeted towards a market of fountain pen and ink enthusiasts.

At only 55gsm, the paper does remind you somewhat of Tomoe River but it’s thicker and smoother. You can feel by touch that the paper has more coating than Tomoe River, and the quality feels premium. Unfortunately, they only have dotted paper, no blanks. Still, the paper is white and the dots are light grey, which makes it easier to ignore them. I personally prefer not to use the dots to guide my writing because I like to space my lines closer to each other. I really would prefer a blank page but the light grey dots aren’t exactly a deal breaker for me.

The paper might feel a little slippery if you’re using very fine nibs or dry writers, but overall I find the experience of writing on it very pleasing. It doesn’t feather but it does show a bit at the back if you’re using thick nibs.

Not particularly bothersome for me, Tomoe River shows through a lot more than this. It also holds up better to dye-based stamp inks. It doesn’t bleed through to the other side.

The paper holds up okay for light washes, it doesn’t tear up or fall apart when you apply light layers of watercolor on it, but it warps a lot and it doesn’t flatten out too much afterwards.

The color is pretty vibrant,  but it’s hard to get the watercolor to behave how you want it to, with all the warping going on. The smooth paper also makes it too easy to rub off too much pigment with just a few brush strokes. Overall, good for simple watercolor illustrations but don’t go crazy with it.

Here are a few close ups of the writing samples, to show how the paper shows off shading and sheen. Continue reading “Victoria’s Journals Copelle Gold Edition”

Everything Calligraphy’s Write3C

Last Sunday, my husband and I packed up my pens, journals and other art stuff and made our way to The North. Everything Calligraphy’s 3rd anniversary event, Write3C was held at Ella and the Blackbird. I have not been in that area since my college days (waaaaay back in 2000). The area has changed a lot since I last visited, I almost didn’t recognize it.

I wish I took more photos of the event but I was really busy. The photo above was taken by my brother. These are my nephews and niece having fun at the ink bar. It’s never too early (or too late) to encourage anyone to discover the joy of writing. The kuya manning the table was so patient and accommodating, especially with my niece who wanted to try all of the colors. It’s one of the things I really love about Everything Calligraphy, the service is friendly and they are invested in nurturing curiosity and interest about the hobby.

I enjoyed the ink buffet too, there were a lot of inks that I haven’t tried before. It was fun to write on the fountain pen-friendly paper. I wish I took a photo of what the table looked like after it was filled with scribbles. There were awesome calligraphy, colorful inks, interesting handwriting, beautiful doodles…

It was also fun being around people who are painstakingly comparing different shades of red/blue/green/purple/black because one doesn’t just buy any shade of color! What do you mean you don’t see the difference between all these black inks?!

It’s honestly so refreshing to just have fun and be with people who understand what you’re talking about when you gush about the beauty of nibs and inks, etc etc etc. I loved listening to what they have to say, and taking a peek at their collection of pens and journals. I loved being able to hold up an ink bottle and ask “have you tried this shade of red? Is it more like scorched-earth red or does it lean more towards pink?”

I have to admit that I dove right into the ink bottles before they even laid everything down on the table. Haha. It was a lot of fun. I wanted to buy what I needed before things got busy, and they got really busy later in the day.

Lorraine (of Calligraphy Spot) and I gave a series of 15-minute long demos and lessons throughout the event. She taught about calligraphy and beautiful writing, I taught about Baybayin and art journaling. It was a unique pleasure being able to share the things that I love with people who are interested in the same things. Maryanne Moll and Chloe Arun handled the Saturday classes. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to make it on that day.

It was pretty hectic and (being an introvert of the feral cat variety) I felt exhausted by the end of it, but it was a happy kind of exhaustion. The pen-loving community has always been generous and welcoming towards me, and I was glad to give back and share whatever I could.

My sister-in-law and little niece also had fun learning about calligraphy. I think my little niece had the most fun of them all. It’s so cute that she was carrying around her little bag filled with her own collection of different pens while clutching her little pink Pilot Petite in one hand. Time will come when I can bring her with me to pen meets and she can be around people who are as crazy about writing as she is.

Overall, the event was well-organized and attended. Kudos to the Everything Calligraphy team for pulling it off. The discounts were awesome. I also loved the food at Ella and the Blackbird. There were slushies a-plenty, and the food was delicious and affordable.

After the event, I went to the Fountain Pen Network Philippines’ group page and had a lot of fun looking through everyone’s loots for the day. Mine are pretty modest, I just bought things that I have been thinking of buying but couldn’t decide on buying. It was, after all, my birthday. I allowed myself to splurge a little bit. I got a box of J. Herbin Rouge Hematite, Diamine Carnival, Rohrer and Klingner Sketch Ink Emma, Rohrer and Klingner glass pen, a brown, passport-sized Traveler’s Notebook, and Tactile Turn Gist fountain pen with an M nib (Polycarbonate body with bronze finial and grip).

Happy 3rd anniversary to Everything Calligraphy! Here’s to more years of penabling. 🙂 More chocnuts to come!

 

 

Troublemaker Inks

I was looking through the #fpnph feed on Instagram when I stumbled on a photo of a recent pen meet among Cebu members. The photos showed a number of new inks developed locally called Troublemaker Inks. One color caught my eyes, the Hanging Rice, which reminded me of Alt Goldgrun, it made me curious about the inks. Plus, they’re locally made, and it’s always great to support local businesses. I placed my order on the Troublemaker Inks website on 8/20 (which was 2-day long holiday), so my order was processed and shipped out on the 22nd, and I received it today (8/29). I was surprised that they used Philpost’s EMS to send the inks (there were no other shipping options available on the website). It accounted for the amount of time it took to get delivered. I was honestly a bit nervous about it because I’ve had very little positive experience with our local post office.

Today the inks arrived, there was a bit of leaking around the caps but nothing too concerning. Perhaps a bit of cling wrap around the bottles would help? Overall, the package did arrive safely, so no complaints here.

You can actually choose the level of wetness for the inks, if you want the flow to be dry, moderate, wet, or extra wet. I opted for the wet formulation, but perhaps on my next order I’ll try the moderate flow instead because I have mostly wet-writing nibs. Anyway, the concept is pretty interesting, and I really hope that they get a lot of local support so that they can keep on making their inks.

Reviews of the two inks I tried coming up soon. 🙂