Now that I've had a few days to think on it, this year's D.C. Pen Show probably went down as one of the best I've experienced, at least in terms of the people who were there. This was the first year I've attended all four days, and in the future I plan to make a point of attending at least a portion of the Sunday show. Sundays are MUCH less crowded than Fridays and Saturdays, and they give you an opportunity to interact with the vendors and other attendees when they're not slammed with customers.
Ok, so I ended up buying more pens and ink on Sunday. I thought I had finished with my buying on Friday, but as always happens, that's never the case. I had been eyeing two newer models that Franklin-Christoph had out on their table - in prototype color acrylics - and when they were still available at 2:00pm on Sunday... well, I was weak. I picked up a Pocket 20 in red urushi acrylic and a Model 45 in transparent orange acrylic.
At the urging of Leigh Reyes and Thomas Hall, we tried to fit a 1950's Eversharp Skyline nib into the housing from a JoWo #5 nib, which would make the vintage nib compatible with the Model 45. Despite the best efforts of Franklin-Christoph's incomparable Jim Rouse, we couldn't make it work. I had to "settle" for a Masuyama-ground needlepoint that writes like a dream. The pocket carry pen that I've been looking for, in clear orange!
I finally got a chance to visit the Vanness Pens table and thankfully they had plenty of Akkerman Ink left. I grabbed this bottle of Akkerman #28 (Hofkwartier Groen), which went directly into my Franklin-Christoph Model 45. Also, Vanness purchased whatever Kobe Nagasawa did not sell at the show, so if you're interested in these inks head on over to Vanness and get them while you can. Certain colors are already sold out so they won't last long.
Overall Show Impressions
This year's D.C. Pen Show had a lot of buzz and energy, especially on Saturday. I'm happy to see that every year I've attended, there have been more and more attendees from all age groups, which gives me a lot of hope for the future of the pen show scene. That said, most of the "new group's" attention seemed to be focused on modern pens, with steady crowds mobbing Vanness Pens, Anderson Pens, and Franklin-Christoph. Brian and Rachel Goulet also made an appearance and made the rounds throughout the weekend. On the vintage side, things didn't seem as busy for some reason, though there were plenty of vintage dealers there.
- The Kanilea Pen Company launched this weekend. I had not heard anything about this new company prior to the show, but several people went home with multiple pens. Hugh and Karol Scher did a beautiful job building out this brand, and I'm looking forward to seeing what they come up with in the future. I didn't get to spend as much time at their table as I would've liked.
- Stylo Art Karuizawa. Japanese pen-makers and urushi artists Stylo Art were in D.C. for the first time this year, after a strong showing at the Los Angeles Pen Show. Lots of people were purchasing Stylo Art's wood and urushi pens, and one of these is on my list for my next big purchase at a show next year.
- Omas and Conway Stewart Re-launch. The word on the street is that distributor Kenro Industries is relaunching the Conway Stewart brand. On a similar note, the group that reintroduced Wahl-Eversharp is in the process of inking some sort of a deal to bring back Omas, which filed for bankruptcy earlier this year. Stay tuned for more developments. It's unclear from the post whether they have actually purchased the name, or rather just the pens and materials, but something is in the works.
- Montblanc Ultra Black Special Edition Ink. Though I find the ink a bit wet, it has gorgeous undertones and shades very nicely. I currently have it inked in several pens and I'm liking it so far.
- Better Ink Testing Station. The ink testing tables at the D.C. Pen Show are notorious for having dozens of bottles of really old ink (as in, more than 5 years old) that no longer resemble their original colors due to mixing, mold, dilution, etc. A couple years back, organizers of the San Francisco Pen Show came up with a new idea for an ink testing station, which uses inexpensive piston filler fountain pens to avoid having people dip dirty pens in multiple bottles of ink. They built one for Vanness Pens, and it was ready to go in D.C.
- Lots of people stayed through the weekend. We still had a fairly large group of people Sunday night, and we all got together and had dinner in the hotel restaurant. You get to know people better over the entire three days, especially when we all finally had a chance to kick back in the hotel restaurant over dinner and drinks after the show closed on Sunday.
- Montblanc Ultra Black 146. Prior to the show, I had one of these on order, but after having the opportunity to hold the pen in person I decided to cancel. The pen just didn't "click", and at that price point it has to be a perfect fit. Also, the matte black finish on Montblanc's resin looks as though it might be prone to scratching very easily. Since I post my pens, that makes me nervous.
- No Bung Box! One of the highlights of last year's D.C. Pen Show was Japanese retailer Bung Box, who showed up with not only their entire line of ink but their special edition pens. Kobe Nagasawa made up for that this year, and Vanness Pens carries all the Bung Box inks, but I was really looking forward to picking up one of their special edition Sailor Pro Gears.
- Very Few Vintage Japanese Pens! Ok, I'm reaching here, since I know that this is more the scene in L.A. and San Francisco, but I'm really on the hunt for a Pilot M90 and/or a Pilot Myu.
It makes me sad that I can only do two or three shows a year, but my wallet can't take any more than that. As good as this year's DC Pen Show was, I'm thinking of mixing it up a bit and taking a year off in 2017, perhaps attending the Los Angeles or San Francisco show? We'll see!
So many bloggers were in attendance this year, it would be impossible for me to list them all without unintentionally leaving someone out. Other recaps will coming, so check out the Pen Addict, the Well-Appointed Desk, FP Quest, Inkdependence, and others! I'll be retweeting and linking throughout the week.
If you missed my Friday/Saturday recap, you can check it out here.
Disclaimer: This post contains links to sponsors and/or advertisers on this blog. However, all of the loot that I bought at the DC Pen Show was purchased with my own funds, for my own collection, at full show prices, even where purchased from my sponsors and advertisers.