November has always been a huge travel month for me. In addition to the start of the holiday season here in the U.S., I typically have at least two conferences I’m required to attend, and everyone at the office seems to shift their projects into overdrive in an (often futile) effort to get them done by the end of the year. On the bright side, I get to spend a lot of time in New York, a city I love and which is chock-full of stationery enthusiasts and, increasingly, boutique stationery stores. I’ve written before on the shops I frequent, and not much has changed, other than a planned trip to the new Goods for the Study location over on West 8th Street before I take off tonight.
On this trip, however, I unintentionally timed my travel to coincide with the November meeting of the Big Apple Pen Club, a group of enthusiasts from the New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut-area who gather once a month to talk pens, share their latest finds, and even host speakers and guests from within the pen industry. Within minutes of my arrival, cases were opened, pens were on the table, and what I’d consider a mini-pen show ensued. To make matters worse (for my wallet), Daryl of Atelier Musubi was visiting from Singapore, and brought a selection of his journals and pen cases made from Japanese fabrics. I purchased an “Edo” journal in the “Iroha” pattern, as well as an oversized two-pen case in the Seigaiha “wave” pattern and natural fabric. I managed to stay away from Yoshi Nakama’s hand-turned pens, because I knew that wouldn’t end well!
And, like all pen gatherings, I came across several items to add to my “must-have, eventually” list. An Oldwin pen, from Mora Stylos in Paris, remains firmly on the list, after handling my friend Dan’s oversized ebonite version that he acquired from M. Mora at this year’s Tokyo Pen Show. Oldwin pens feature a variety of rare and unique materials, particularly celluloid and ebonite, and can only be purchased at retail directly from Mora Styles, though Sarj Minhas sometimes has a handful of pens for sale at shows. I also had the opportunity to play around with an “Epilogue” nib from Regalia Writing Labs (Ralph Reyes), and believe it or not, I think I could find quite a practical use case for this nib for highlighting and annotation. (So, of course, I’ll have to buy one if they’re ever in stock!)
I made a quick Friday night trip downtown to CW Pencil Enterprise, where I stocked up on annotation pencils I had run out of, and picked up some scratch-’n-sniff stickers for my daughter. If you’ve never visited the sticker boutique in the back, you need to! Today, I’m off to explore what else NYC has to offer, including Goods for the Study, Muji, and perhaps the Apple Store to test out the new iPad Pro and the supposedly new-and-improved Apple Pencil 2.0 I’ve heard so much about.
If you ever find yourself in New York City on the second Thursday of the month, consider dropping in on a meeting of the Big Apple Pen Club. As with most circles in the pen community, it’s a welcoming group, and this experience made my trip!
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