SF 2017: Katherine’s Recap

The San Francisco Pen Show took place from August 25-27. This is the second in a series of recaps. Check out one from my dog’s POV here

It’s a little funny to go back and see what I thought I wanted to buy as of last, last week… Allegedly an Aurora Novum, but I saw zero of those at the show. Oh well!

All in all though, the show was a huge success for my pen collection, and a moderate injury for my wallet. I stayed under budget, but not by much. To cut to the chase (a little more on workshops and such below), here’s my haul:

SF Show Haul!
  • Omas old style Paragon (date stamp ’97) in Arco Verde
  • Pilot Capless in Black Stripe
  • E Faber Permapoint in a cool brown striated material w/ yellow trim*
  • Spors glass nibbed pen in marbled pink
  • Brute Force Designs small (don’t remember model name) acrylic pen in a marbled brown
  • Vintage Sailor from the collection of Susan Wirth
  • Written in Rice octopus 7-pen wrap
  • Four bottles of Chinese ink: Pen BBS 226 June Pearl, Pen BBS 178 Rose Quartz, Starry Silent Corderite, Students Ink 25 (yellow, no sparkle) [swabs here]
  • Five grinds: (one each) Masuyama needlepoint, Masuyama formal italic, Dan Smith CI & two Dan Smith sharp-ish stubs

The Omas Arco materials have long been on my wishlist — last year at the show I asked around, but ultimately everything was out of my budget. This year, I found this one at Peyton Street Pens within the first hour or two of the show at a competitive price (and for reference, my budget for an Arco pen wasn’t significantly higher this year than last!). Teri was kind enough to hold it for me while I agonized over the price and dragged various friends back to her table to see it. In the end, I decided I’d regret not jumping on it… and I’m glad I didn’t, it’s a joy to use and to look at.

Above are another two pens I picked up on Friday, both from friends. The back pen is from Leigh Reyes, a glass-nibbed Spors pen from wartime Japan. Yep, that crazy material is vintage. The front pen is a E Faber “Permapoint”, from a fellow SF Pen Posse member and SF Show dealer, Gary Naka. It’s a pen I’ve been eyeing for months, and he finally restored it and was willing to part with it — yay! I love the unique finishes on both pens, vintage pens are so cool. I also had the brown pen ground to a fine CI by Dan Smith, so in addition to being cool looking, it’s quite fun to write with.

This show was also the first time I worked one-on-one with a nibmeister, and I was lucky enough to work with both Dan Smith (above) and Mike Masuyama (below). They have very different styles of working (see their different set ups), but both produced great nibs for me!

The grind I was most nervous about and most excited about was a formal italic on my Nakaya Decapod Twist, medium nib. I tried a friend’s formal italic several months ago and loved it — but they are notoriously sharp, and most people were surprised I wanted one, including Masuyama himself. I’ve had a few days with the nib now, and I really enjoy writing with it. Yes, it’s sharp — but I haven’t caught paper with it and writing with it feels… like it will keep me awake? I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s fantastic.

This year the show featured some new inks in the ink testing stations, and even a new model of ink testing stations for shimmer inks (though I failed to capture a picture). I didn’t spend much time with the ink testing stations this year, but they were consistently quite popular!

Loot and new shiny pens aside, the show has always been a place for friends new and old to connect and discuss a shared passion. This year I met many people I’d talked to online for the first time, which is always a little strange for me (I’m kind of awkward :P) but was overall a great experience. I also like to think I did a good job of introducing folks to each other — in the picture above, Todd (one of the show organizers, a local Pen Posse regular, also known as farmboy on FPN) helps a friend replace a broken nib, on the spot, no tools needed other than a shred of paper towel. He’s super cool like that.

No show would be complete without classes, seminars and meet ups! This year Pam and I hosted a repeat of the Planner Meet-up, which I thought went very well — we met ladies (why are there no men who show up?) from around California and shared washi tape, planner layouts and took a look at different brands and designs. I also attended Leigh’s workshop on Creative Uses of Fountain Pen Ink (picture above) where she shared some of her tips and techniques for “making a mess” and getting artistic with materials one already has… not that I really needed more help making a giant mess. And lastly, I attended the Hanko Making class lead by Rui Saito, who wrote part of my Chinese name for me in her beautiful calligraphy.

There will be many more pictures to come of the pens and inks I picked up, and maybe a little bit of house cleaning to help my wallet recover… But in the meantime, thank you so much to everyone who came to the show and said hi! And to those who I haven’t met, I hope to meet you at a future show! Sometimes I loathe to admit it, but this hobby is great because of the social aspect — sharing a love of shiny objects (and journaling, plannering and making ink blobs) while spending uncomfortable gobs of money. What else could a girl ask for?

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