Ink Swab: Vinta Laguna 1605

Next up in my review of their Heritage collection is Vinta’s Laguna 1605 (St. John’s). The name is from St. John’s Parish in Calamba, Laguna which was built in 1605. The church is known for its brick red exterior and baroque architecture. The color of the ink reminds me more of rose petals. Those blood-red roses which has petals that go from dark red (almost black) to rich, velvety red. I think this color reminds me of De Atramentis Thomas Alva Edison or Red Black, except it’s redder. This is the kind of red that’s suitable for daily writing.

I would put the flow at moderate to slightly wet. It’s nicely saturated, and at first look it doesn’t look like it has shading, but it does. It doesn’t have any noticeable sheening. I like that it dries up in a color that’s dark cherry red, not like magenta or oxidized blood. I would say it’s a true red black. I’ll go back to this page a few months later to see if it changes color over time.

Here are a few close ups of the writing sample:

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Ink Swab: Vinta Makopa 1938

I’m catching up on my reviews of Vinta’s new ink collection. I barely had the chance to do anything fun like this during quarantine. Today’s review is of Makopa 1938 or Malayan Apple. Also called rose apple or java apple, I believe. Its scientific name was first pubished in 1938, hence the number on the Filipino name. I had to Google what makopa looked like because I had already forgotten about it, but there was a time in my childhood when we ate this fruit every week. We attended a church with makopa trees planted around it and the fruit was plentiful. We just picked them up and ate them with salt.

This ink color is a bit hard to pin down, at first it looks like dark purple, but under certain lights and as it dries up, the pink really shows through. It ends up being somewhere between purple and pink, and with a beautiful gold sheen. The sheen is even noticeable in Midori Cotton paper, which is what I used for the writing sample above. When you mix water with it, it really shows the light pink, red, a bit of yellow. It’s nicely saturated so it doesn’t show off a lot of shading except if you use Tomoe River paper. It flows wet too, so the nib just glides on paper. I think the color is close to Pilot Iroshizuku Yama Budo. This one will be legible even with fine or xf nibs. Here are a few close ups of the writing sample.

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Lockdown Diaries

Metro Manila has been on lockdown for 11 weeks. Only one person is allowed to go out of the house because only one quarantine pass per household is issued, and we can only go out during a certain window of time, 3 days a week (Wednesday, Friday, Sunday).

I have not been outside our home for over 11 weeks.

I keep a Hobonichi cousin, and I use the weekly pages to make short daily summaries at the end of the day. Just an overview of how the day went, along with a few to-do items. Here’s a collection of my weekly pages from the past 11 weeks of community quarantine. I included a simple drawing of what we had for lunch daily. It takes a few seconds to illustrate, these tiny drawings, but this little ritual has kept me calm and sane these past eleven weeks. It’s also a bit quirky, keeping track of what we eat no matter what that is. You can see the weeks when I made more of an effort to cook healthier food instead of relying on processed food that are quick to prepare. 11 weeks’ worth of daily summaries, showing what my life had been like in community quarantine. These daily summaries don’t take up a lot of time, but what they did for me in terms of my mental and emotional health is incalculable.

Aside from these weekly pages, I also write longer daily entries that include Covid cases and deaths in the Philippines and worldwide. The first day that I recorded these tallies was back in March 11, when we had only 33 cases in the country and no deaths. Fast forward to today, when the global tally is already over 6 million. I don’t subscribe to the idea of toxic positivity, where you only focus on the positive no matter what. I subscribe more to the eyes wide open school of thought. We’re going through extraordinary times, and it’s important that we be honest about what’s happening not just around us but also inside us. It takes more courage to face the facts, after all, and it’s an important process in being able to see what’s happening in a larger historical context.

Tomorrow we’re allowed to go out, with some restrictions. I am looking forward to seeing what the world outside looks like. We won’t be in lockdown anymore, but I know that life isn’t going back to normal anytime soon. We’re slowly inching our way to some sense of normalcy, and nobody knows what the next few days will be like. I think it will be interesting to read my journal entries for this year someday, several years from now, when we’ve put COVID behind us.

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Parker Duofold Junior

My husband’s early anniversary gift to me arrived today. It’s over a month early, but I don’t mind. 🙂 It’s a Parker Duofold Junior in jade green. It’s the first Duofold in my collection. I believe this double-ringed model is a streamlined version, which was released sometime in 1928. Aside from the design clues, I can’t pinpoint exactly when this was made because the markings on the barrel have already rubbed off. You can see how the barrel has become discolored due to its age. The material looks very similar to my Sheaffer Lifetime Jade. It’s really almost the same. The discoloration is also the same color.

I like how small it is. It’s just a bit longer than a Sailor Progear Mini, it fits comfortably in the palm of my hand. The girth is that of a full-sized Duofold, though. It also has a nice heft to it. I like the section, it’s short but comfortable, and it flares a bit at the end.

The pen uses a button filler. It’s my first time to use one so I had to search on Youtube how to actually use it. It wasn’t complicated at all. I also liked that it was easy to fill and clean. The nib was a bit stiff and writes somewhere between fine and medium.

The nib has the  double line along the tine that I like, although the point is a bit shorter and wider than full-sized vacs.

The clip still uses that little ball at the end instead of the iconic Parker quiver of the later models.

It’s impressive that this pen is about 90 years old and is still usable. I’m grateful that we have people like JP (who helped my husband source this pen) who repair these marvelous vintage pens so that we can continue to enjoy them until now. I’m really happy with it. It’s awfully cute!

I have a small collection of pocket pens that I’m currently trying to grow. I have Kaweco Liliput, KawecoSport, Sailor Progear Mini, and Parker Vacumatic Debutantes. I didn’t even know that there were Duofolds this small! When I did my little research earlier to find out more about this pen, I found out that there are even smaller ones than the Duofold Junior called Vest Pockets. Oh my goodness, they’re adorable. I’m going to put that in my wishlist.

Overall, I’m really happy with my anniversary pen. I will enjoy using this daily. 🙂

Women Leaders

Today’s journal entry is about women leaders and the quality of leadership that they brought to their countries during the time of pandemic. I think one thing that this pandemic did was to shine a very bright spotlight on how poorly certain leaders are doing during these times. Leaders cannot bully, bribe, or brag their way around a pandemic. One also cannot fake empathy for the people. At least  not for long. It’s interesting how a handful of women leaders brought a markedly different approach to the pandemic. They harnessed data, encouraged research, reacted quickly, and brought an undeniable warmth and steadiness whenever they addressed the people. Meanwhile in the Philippines, our president can hardly get through a single press briefing without using foul language, which his supporters passes off as sincerity, lol. Anyway, I thought it would be great to make a journal entry about these remarkable women and their response to the pandemic because it will definitely be part of history.

Keeping an Art Journal Through a Pandemic

To say that the past few days have been difficult would be the understatement of the year. It’s been brutal on everybody, and harder for some than for others. It’s hard to fight off the existential dread that has been eating away at many of us these past few weeks. We’re almost at the middle of the third week of lockdown and though things are settling down a bit at home, it’s not always comforting to look at the news and see what the government is doing (or not doing). You look at how other countries are responding to the same existential threat and you see very clearly how much our own government has neglected us for years. You don’t really notice it if you’ve worked all your life to not need anything from the government, but when you’re put in a position where your life depends on it, things can get pretty bleak. I started documenting COVID19 around end of January, at a time when I was still wondering I’m overreacting to it (turns out I wasn’t). My husband and I were cautious about this novel virus, at a time when not a lot of people were taking it seriously yet. Then there was a lull in the local news about it, and things went back to “normal” for a time. Then the mad rush to get food before the “enhanced community quarantine”. It seemed like all of a sudden, reality spun out of control and we were struggling to secure our food supplies, herding our little family home, keeping out an invisible enemy while trying to make sense of the government’s haphazard, wildly-swinging policies about the lockdown.

I can still remember the last time I was outdoors. My husband and I were rushing to buy groceries at 6:50PM, making it through the door just 10 minutes before SnR closed. Then rushing home just a few minutes before the 8PM curfew, nervous about how we’re going to get my brother-in-law home from Quezon City when cities are closing borders. It’s like waking up to a new, dystopian version of your world. It’s very disconcerting, to say the least.

To keep calm and to help myself process what’s happening, I’ve begun to write more focused entries on the pandemic, hoping that I will be able to read them a few months from now and marvel at what we all went through.

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Ink Swab: Vinta Romblon 1582

This next Vinta Ink from their Pamana collection is called Romblon 1582 (Black Onyx). The name is derived from the province of Romblon, which is the marble capital of the Philippines. The name was given by Spanish chronicler, Miguel de Loarca in 1582. This is a nicely saturated, wet-flowing black ink with blue and gold sheen. The combination of the sheen on Tomoe River paper looks a bit reddish, though, as you can see from the photos below. Some people may ask why fountain pen users would even think of getting different kinds of black inks when black is black is black. The answer to that is simple, black isn’t just black. There’s a color bias even for black inks, and of course there are differences in saturation and they way they look when they’ve dried on paper. This particular black ink looks like a warm shade of  black, although a closer look will show that the base color itself is a cool shade of bluish grey. The sheen gives it a layer of complexity so that it looks warm under certain kinds of light and cool in others.

This ink is pretty wet-flowing, but it dries fast (about 10-15 seconds on Tomoe River paper, using a medium nib). I think it’s pretty well-behaved. I love that Vinta came out with a black ink that’s great for daily use. For people that like to use fountain pen ink for art, you’re in for a surprise once you add water. The ink explodes from black to pink and teal. It’s so cute. Of all the Vinta Inks that I used for art, this is the easiest to use. That’s worth considering if you’re interested in making art journal entries.

Here are a few close ups of the writing sample:

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Ink Swab: Vinta Pamana 2018

The next ink I tried in Vinta’s Heritage collection is Pamana 2019 (Heritage Brown). The color’s name is to commemorate the first anniversary of Vinta Inks and their commitment to sharing Filipino culture to the world through their products. The dark, reddish-brown ink reminds me of the color of pear wood. It has a very subtle greenish-silver sheen to it, but the sheen isn’t what you’d call very noticeable. The shading is gorgeous–dark orange, red, dark brown. It’s a warm color, and nicely saturated too so it’s great for daily writing. While wet, the ink is decidedly dark brown, but it lightens to its reddish shade after a few minutes. The flow is a tad wetter than moderate, and it takes about 15-20 seconds to dry with a medium nib.

Here are a few close ups of the writing sample and a comparison with Fortaleza and Damili:

Pamana will be available at Vinta Inks soon.

Ink Swab: Vinta Fortaleza 1797

The next ink from Vinta’s third collection that I tried is Fortaleza 1797. The name is from the Miag-ao Church in Iloilo which is also known as a Fortress church. The color is a distinct ochre and was constructed in 1797 using materials such as eggs and limestone. This church is a UNESCO heritage site.

Oh my gosh, look at it.  Needless to say, this ink is a lot prettier in person. Brown ink fans will certainly love this one. This is a lovely shade of brown with hints of  yellow, orange, and some red. There’s no sheen or shimmer on it, just good old fashioned shading, and boy, what gorgeous shading. The longer you look at it, the more fascinating it is. The shading on this ink runs from dark brown to orange to some warm, butterscotch yellow. The effect is quite eye-catching, as if the letters are glowing a subtle shade of light orange.

The flow is moderate, but again I would recommend that you use it with a wet writer to really see the gorgeous shading on this ink. It’s saturated enough to make it more than comfortable to read. It’s not waterproof, and if you like to use fountain pen ink in art, this one’s pretty fun to mix with water. Here are some close ups of the writing sample:

This one’s also going on my to-buy list, obviously.

Fortaleza 1797 will be available in Vinta Inks soon.

Ink Swab: Vinta Damili 1572

I received some samples of Vinta Inks’ new collection and I must say, the colors are pretty interesting. This is one of my favorites. It’s called Damili 1572. Damili is a term that refers to the art of red clay pottery popular in Vigan. A very apt name for the terracotta red color of this ink. The color reminds me of MB’s Red Fox. I think it’s really pretty and vibrant. I tried it in two pens, it flowed wet in one and a tad dry in another. I suggest using it with a wet-writing pen so that you can really appreciate how vibrant the color is. It dries pretty quickly too, about 10-15 seconds with a medium nib on Tomoe River paper. It’s the shade of a bright, red-orange tomato. So cute! I love the expressive shading on it too. There seems to be a light silvery sheen on it but I wouldn’t say it’s too noticeable.

Here are a few close ups of the writing sample.

The third collection of Vinta Inks will be available for preorder soon.