This year’s Washington D.C. Fountain Pen Supershow might have been the craziest pen show I’ve attended to date. Not so much in terms of crowds, but more in terms of the energy in the room and the enthusiasm shown by all the attendees. Needless to say, I’m absolutely exhausted, so there’s not going to be a links post this weekend, and Digital Divide will have to wait until next week. Instead, you all get to enjoy my pictures from the show, along with a brief recap.
Friday was your typical Friday at a pen show. The show was well-attended, but I wouldn’t say it was overcrowded. To get in on Friday, you have to purchase a weekend pass, which costs $45, and I think it’s worth it to “get first crack at the good stuff” before the crowds arrive on Saturday morning and it becomes a fight to get in front of some of the more popular tables like Anderson Pens, Franklin-Christoph, and Vanness Pens. It's also easier to get an appointment for nib work with Mike Masuyama or Dan Smith on Friday. Unless you arrive extremely early on Saturday, you can forget about getting nib work done.
I did my major pen shopping on Friday. I scored the only Visconti Homo Sapiens Dark Ages in extra fine that Bryant Greer of Chatterly Luxuries brought with him, much to the dismay of some. I also picked up a Vintage Pelikan M400 with a sweet oblique medium nib that wrote like a dream and did not need any work whatsoever. Finally, right before the show closed, I picked up a matte black Diplomat Aero, a pen that I’ve been eyeing for some time. I'll do a full review at some point, but this pen has one of the smoothest JoWo steel nibs I've ever written with.
I also bought some ink. One of the big surprises of this year’s DC Pen Show was the appearance of Kobe Nagasawa, operators of a large department store in Japan, along with 50+ varieties of Sailor inks that Sailor makes especially for them. The Kobe inks are sometimes available through eBay sellers, but in general they are difficult to find outside of Japan. I picked up two colors: #6 (“Bordeaux”) and #9 (“Suma Purple”). Next, I paid a visit to the Anderson Pens table to grab a bottle of Montblanc Toffee Brown and the new Montblanc Ultra Black Special Edition Ink, which is a really interesting black ink that has some blue and green undertones to it.
Since I blew it out on Friday, I took it somewhat easy on Saturday and limited myself to nib work. Good thing, too, because the show was so crowded it was difficult to navigate at times. I had Mike Masuyama tune the nib on my Visconti Homo Sapiens, and grind the nib on my Montblanc Heritage 1912 to a fine cursive italic, which gives the pen exceptional line variation.
One of the highlights of the afternoon was getting to spend some time with Ernest Shin of Hakumin Urushi Kobo. Ernest stopped by the show to drop a pen off for my friend Thomas, and brought along some pens from his personal collection, all of which were hand lacquered by Ernest himself. There were some gorgeous pieces. Ernest accepts work on commission, and also works with Brian Gray of the Edison Pen Company.
Sunday was pretty quiet, though I’ll have some additional updates later, along with a report on the “after-hours” pen show scene in the hotel bar. I saw some crazy (pen-related) stuff! Here's a gallery of additional fun pictures from Friday and Saturday at the show.
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