2018 LA Pen Show Report: Franz

Hello Friends! I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the 2018 Los Angeles International Pen Show that was held on February 15 thru 18. I actually try to make it to the LA pen show every year as kind of like a vacation for myself. Things I look forward to at a pen show: hanging out with pen-minded people, perusing thousands upon thousands of different pens, possibly buying a pen (or two) that I can’t go home without, seeing and visiting with old friends, creating new friends, and just having a fun time!


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Sunset sky at the Manhattan Beach Marriott Hotel. I have arrived!

Each year, the LA pen show is held at the Manhattan Beach Marriott Hotel in Manhattan Beach, California. This year, they’re in a transition period and changing their name to Westdrift but is still under the Marriott brand. The hotel was still undergoing construction during the pen show. There’s more to be said about that part but I’d rather just focus on the show which was all fun for me!

I arrived on Thursday afternoon just in time as the first day was wrapping up. I immediately checked in and went downstairs to the ballroom.

Pens were found!
Ebonite pens at the Peyton Street Pens table

Walking around, I found a “few” pens that want to be bought! But since it was the first day and the first hour I was at the show, I decided to just take it easy and mull it over until the next day. Basically, if the pen isn’t sold yet then it’s mine. So I didn’t buy anything for myself for Thursday. We left the hotel for dinner with Pen Posse peeps as well as pen dealers from Italy, and Japan. We had great food from Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza and Grill. We shared tapas, and pizzas but what we really went there for was the dessert. Salted Caramel Pudding. ‘Nuff said. =)

Salted Caramel Pudding

Back at the hotel, we all congregated to the hotel’s outdoor bar aptly called, “The Tent”. This is the time where pen people sit, relax, talk, and show off their pens.

At the bar: A Pilot Hira Maki-e pen in Ume pattern in the foreground while being photobombed by Kimberly.
At the bar: An Aurora Optima 365 Azzurra pen. Playing with pens is sweet especially when you have dessert on hand.

One of the pen bloggers (code name: Pink Hair) arrived at The Tent and generously let everyone try out the new Wancher Dream Pen. I must say that it is a substantial pen that filled my paws well. I then did a quick comparison in size with a Pelikan M1000. Thank you Agent Pink Hair!

At the bar: Wancher Dream Pen capped
At the bar: Wancher Dream Pen unposted
Side-by-side: Pelikan M1000 and Wancher Dream Pen


Friday, August 16, 2018

Good morning Los Angeles! It’s a beautiful day for a pen show! I woke up early-ish and got ready for the day. I went down around 8:30am and found that the show was already ongoing. Paid for my Trader Pass and I was on my way. Walked around and visited to say hello to friends (vendors and attendees).

I found the Straits Pen table with some Pelikan pens as well their table’s security detail.

Pelikan M400, M600, and M800
Pelikan M101 Originals of their Time 1935 in Lapis Blue
Pen Posse Yuan armed with an ebonite rod for those people with sticky fingers!

Walked around more and saw the Professional Nib Expert, Mike Masuyama at his table working early. I signed up to get some nibwork done as well. Because of how late I signed up (9:00am), I wasn’t sure if I’ll make the cut for the end of the day. That’s how in demand this gentleman is.

Mike Masuyama’s first customer was ready and raring to get her nibs ground!
Mike Masuyama’s work station wherein he pretty much sits behind the whole pen show. This is THE place where he wields his magic and skills to make you happy to write with your pens.
Masuyamasan grinding a nib to a cursive italic

Since Friday morning wasn’t too busy yet, I got the chance to do a Live Instagram video and got to show some of the pen show’s light action on Friday morning. I then uploaded to YouTube for others to watch. I was reading and answering live comments (that you don’t see anymore) so pardon my incoherency at times. Enjoy!


One of the pen dealers who I just met this year at the show was Letizia Iacopini from Italy. I have always heard of her name in the community and how she is an expert of Italian and other pens.  She is also an author of several fountain pen books. Her most recent book was, “Parker in Italia: 1900-1960”. Her table at the show had exquisite pens from the vintage and modern era. Majority of her pens were Italian.

Vintage Omas pens

Modern Omas pens
Own a Ferrari? Why not get a Ferrari Omas pen as well?
One of my favorites in Letizia’s table. A Parker 45 with Italian solid 18k gold basket weave overlay. I mean, WOW.

Then I turn around and walk 3 steps towards the table of Dayne Nix. He always brings in great vintage pens from different regions. As a side note, I met Dayne at the 2012 SF Pen Show and it was from him that I bought my first flex pen, a Parker Televisor and I still have it. Anyway, Dayne’s table display is fascinating especially his array of Conway Stewart Dinkie pens as well as his  demonstration of how a rare Zerollo Dunhill Two Pen worked.

Conway Stewart Dinkie, part 1
Conway Stewart Dinkie, part 2
Conway Stewart Dinkie, part 3
I placed a Pelikan 400 to contrast against the size of these Conway Stewart Dinkie pens

Perhaps one of the most curious pens I’ve seen from Dayne is this Zerollo/Dunhill Two Pen from the 1930s with a matchstick filler. Thank you for showing us this awesome pen Dayne! #onlyatpenshows

Brian and I were fascinated with the Zerollo/Dunhill Two Pen. I took a few action shots and these four showed the pen’s action very well.

At the Armando Simoni Club (ASC) table, a couple large pens caught my eye.

ASC Bologna Wild Dark Side, and Arco Brown
ASC Bologna Extra Israel

I then walked out of the ballroom to check out the Vanness Pens team in the hallway and look at who I found! Mike Vanness and his awesome suit! He always wears colorful clothing.

Mike Vanness

In the corner were Lisa Vanness, Joey Feldman, and Ana Reinert. Joey was creating artwork for people who bought journals at the show.

Lisa, Joey, and Ana
Mike joined in for the Vanness team photo sans Brad who was still traveling.
Vanness always brings in tons of paper, pens, and lots of ink! Akkerman, Lamy, Colorverse, etc.
Vibrant Pink Special Edition Lamy Al-Stars


FOOD TRIP: It was almost 11:00am and a few of the pen posse peeps congregated to go out for lunch. A quick-ish drive to Korea town for Magal B.B.Q.! It’s become a tradition for us mainly because of the magic tea they serve.

Kimchi, etc.
Magic Tea
Volcano Fried Rice

After lunch, we went back to the hotel for more pen show! It was actually energizing to step out of the show for a relaxed lunch. I need to do that more often.

I stumbled upon the Kenro table with all the Aurora pens on display.

The new lineup for Aurora Optima Flex limited edition pens. This time they have rhodium trim instead of the gold ones on the 88 lineup last year.
Aurora Optima pens. Blue Auroloide, Green Auroloide. And dio mio! Look at that Sole Mio!
Someone’s been playing with the caps of those Aurora 88 Demonstrators
The Aurora 88 Marte is showing off its beauty as it basks in the Sun.

Here’s a Pelikan basking in the sun as well.

That Bright Red M101N is enjoying the sunshine by the Dromgoole’s table


Vintage Corner: My friend Janet showed me a Pelikan IBIS in Grey Marbled that Rick Propas was selling and also showed me her Green Marbled one. The Pelikan IBIS was a pen produced from the mid-1930s thru the early 1940s. You don’t see the IBIS often and this was actually my first time to see the marble colored ones. #onlyatpenshows

Pelikan IBIS: Green Marbled, and Grey Marbled

I then went back to the Vanness Pens table to buy some of their special edition LA Pen Show journals by Curnow Bookbinding with artwork by Joey Feldman. Joey was still there and he drew my Pen Show Persona on the back of the A5 journal I bought. This guy is phenomenal and do you notice what he named my sneakers as? Pelikan M800 FTW! Thanks Joey!

Afterwards, I went up to my room to unload my purchases and rest for a while.

As I went back down, I checked on the progress at Mike Masuyama’s table. As it happens, the “last” person Mike was gonna help was a vendor and did not have the pen with him at the moment and I was the lucky person next on the list. Ricky got to take a picture of me as Masuyamasan was tuning my M800 nib. Thanks Ricky!

Masuyamasan’s last customer on Friday

Post Show Dinner: Every year, the SF Bay Pen Posse as well as friends from the SoCal contingent hold a dinner at the Tin Roof Bistro and Joi E. graciously organizes this with the restaurant. As seen on the menu, we call it, “Pen Posse: TRB Edition”. Thank you very much once again Joi!

For this meal, it’s all about the Brussel Sprouts! If you’ve had them at Tin Roof Bistro, you know this to be true.

Brussel Sprouts!!
Dessert: Chocolate Mousse, and Straberry Kunquat Trifle
coffee… coffee… coffee… pen…

Back at the hotel, it’s Pen Shows After Dark time!

At the bar: Cary’s Wahl-Eversharp Decoband in Gatsby Pensbury Etched finish
At the bar: Cary’s limited edition Pelikan M1000 Sunrise
At the bar: Cary’s limited edition Pelikan M1000 Sunrise
At the bar: Yuan brought delicious Port wine


Saturday, February 17, 2018

Pen Show Persona: Thanks to Sharon for taking this pic and thanks to Mike P. for the head gear!

Woke up early once again to get ready for the show. I think I got to the ballroom at 7:50am (so early) and it was once again busy with activity. A quick side note, a week prior at a Pen Posse meetup, I joked that I wanted to walk around the show wearing a magnifier head gear to look like a legit pen guy. Friday morning, my friend Mike got me one of these and I committed to what I said. Interestingly enough, what started out as a funny gesture became a very useful tool while I was perusing pens. Sometimes you just can’t see the small print on nibs and barrels. So if you’re going to a pen show, I recommend having a lighted magnifier like a loupe, or this head gear. #pro-tip

After signing up again at Mike Masuyama’s table, I did my walk around and found myself at Paul Erano’s table. Paul is the Grand Poobah of the secret-not-so-secret Black Pen Society.

Paul Erano: Parker 65, Cross Verve, vintage Parker Duofold pens, and a modern Parker Duofold International in between them.
Paul Erano: An array of more pens.

This year, I was fortunate to meet Jesi Coles at the show. She is one of the hosts of the B.Y.O.B. Pen Club Podcast and she also sells pens at shows or on her website. She is known for being a proprietor of vintage Esterbrook pens.

Jesi brought a nib tester display so people can try out the different nib types and sizes that Esterbrook had. This was pretty cool!
Esterbrook J, LJ, and SJ
Esterbrook Pastel pens

Suddenly, I saw 2 to 3 people doing a beeline from one side of the ballroom to the other. Apparently, a seller just brought out their trays of pens and a few pen buyers saw it from afar. #onlyatpenshows

Vintage Pen Trays

Visited the Peyton Street Pens table and found some vintage Pilot Pens from the 1950s. Sent my friend photos and a message if interested, and boom! Pen show muling… done. OPM points!

Green Pilot RMW300 set
Nib close up of the Pilot RMW300
The Pilot RMW300 also had gray and black color choices

Afterwards, I went up to the hotel’s mezzanine level to attend two seminars. This was my first time to sit in a seminar in LA. The first seminar was about writing books on pens by Mr. Andreas Lambrou. He described his process when he was starting to write his Fountain Pens of Japan book as well as the Fountain Pens of the World. I was so into his topic that I forgot to take a photo. The second seminar was about fantastic nibs by Mr. John Mottishaw. He was demonstrating how to tweak nibs to make it write a little better. He asked people to bring up pens that didn’t write quite right and showed them simple tricks to make it better.

John Mottishaw tweaking nibs

After the seminars, we stepped out for brunch at the Shake Shack across the street from the hotel. First time to have their food and it was good!

After brunch, it’s back to the show and I got to stop at the Artus Pens table and chat with Maxim. Artus Pen always has beautiful art pens painted by Russian artists. Their lacquer work is phenomenal and the artwork is just stunning.

Artus Pens
Artus Pens
Beautiful tiger lacquer on a watch. First time to see this at Artus Pen


One of the usually busy tables at a pen show is the Franklin-Christoph team. I barely got to see them yesterday because of people being at their table so I took advantage of a slower moment on Saturday. I got to peruse their show prototype pens and saw a “few” that I liked.

F-C Model 31 prototypes with the fantastic Jonathon Brooks material
F-C Model 45 and a couple Pocket 40 protoypes

Pens from Dale Beebe’s table. Pentooling.com

flexible nib pens
desk sets

More Pelikan pens…

Vintage Pelikan 100, 100N, etc.

I saw Eric Sands of Atelier Lusso who was also at last year’s SF Pen Show. He is a pen maker and he does great work as well. The clips on most of his pens were fashioned by Eric himself.

Atelier Lusso Pens
Atelier Lusso Pens

Back at Mike Masuyama’s table, Mike called me over and I had him do an italic grind on one nib as well as tune a vintage Pilot pen. A friend of mine was listed before my turn but had to leave the show so he entrusted me with 2 of his pens for Mike to work on. I spent a little over an hour sitting and chatting with Mike and other pen friends who walk by. This is one of the best ways to spend a Saturday afternoon at the pen show.

Mike checking out the nib with his loupe
Still taking a closer “loupe” at the nib
Mike applying his skills and grinding the magic on to my M800 nib


Sometimes, a vintage pen is stubborn and takes a little more time. Mike seems to be casting a spell on it or something. =P

After sitting with Mike, I walked around once again and just enjoyed the rest of the afternoon. We went to  dinner just outside the hotel and came back to “The Tent” for more hanging out.

A friend of mine showed me her newly purchased Franklin-Christoph Model 65.

We were admiring different pens with my LED light panel then something happened. A certain brand of urushi lacquered pens kept on appearing under the light and we decided to take a family photo.

A Nakaya family photo from different pen owners
BTS Photo: A photo LED light panel makes a difference when you’re in a dark area
Kikyo (Blue) Urushi on 2 Neo-Standards and a Long. We were discussing how the kikyo finish was different among the 3 pens. Pretty interesting!

Called it a night and went to bed. Sunday is the busiest day and I am helping out at a table so I had to get some rest.


Sunday, February 18, 2018

Last day of the pen show! Woke up around 6:30 to catch the sunrise. I swear, pen shows are the only time I sleep late, and wake up earlier than when I have to go to work. Pen Show Time Zone! =)

The show opens to the general public by 10:00am so the Trader Pass holders had 2 hours of last minute shopping before the crowd gets in. I took advantage to take a few photos before I had to work at a table so here are some photos as I walked around.

The Classic Fountain Pens table.

Nakaya nib testers
Neo Standard in Shinobu Blue
Urushi goodness
These ladies took care of all the customers over the weekend. They answered questions about the pens as well as nib grinds. Thank you!
Last but not the least, CFP’s security detail, Pony Boy. #adventuresofponyboy

The PENguin Rick Propas‘ table had a lot of pens for sale and these were a few pens that caught my fancy. He is also a “fountain” of knowledge about pens and is always willing to share it.

Vintage Kaweco Sport pens
Uncapped vintage Kaweco Sport has a nice shaped nib and a blue ink window
These were Kaweco 187 and 189 vintage pens
Vintage Pelikan 140 for $140. These are perfect starter pens for people who want to go vintage and experience a Pelkan pen with vintage gold nibs. The box on the right were the 120 pens that usually sport a steel nib.
A Pelikan 400NN Tortoiseshell set in its original leather case
One of the more sought-after Pelikan pens is this M620 San Francisco from the City Series.
A different perspective to show the different cap finials of vintage Montblanc pens. #whitestarpen
Rick also had a lot of vintage Parker pens for sale. I wish I had funds to just buy all of these.
A nice gold-filled Eversharp Ventura set.
This is one of the premium pen trays =)
Pen shows have knives too!

The Wahl-Eversharp table was manned by Syd and Judi Saperstein

Judi was ready with her sweet smile and to give away sweet candies!
Wahl-Eversharp Decoband Israel. That blue material is fantastic!
The Magnificent Seven Decoband set

Pendemonium’s Sam and Frank were ready for the Sunday crowd

Frank and Sam Fiorella. Two of my most favorite people.
I seem to always catch Sam while taking photos
Typewriters can also be found at a pen show

Bill Weakley’s table had beautiful discontinued Pelikan pens for sale.

The Andersons always brings paper, pen cases, pens, and inks to the shows.

Anderson Pens

Vintage Wahl-Eversharp pens found at table of The Write Shoppe

Wahl-Eversharp pens

Not just fountain pens… Stabilo markers found at Carla M.’s table for kids attending the show.

Coloful Stabilo markers

Ray Walters from the United Kingdom was at the show as well.

Parker Duofold pens, Omas pens

Alright, 10:00am arrives and the crowd is let in. I didn’t get to take photos of the line this year but it was pretty long as usual. Having one public day at a pen show honestly causes the big rush. Sometimes people wish that public was allowed to get in on Saturday as well. Will that change? Maybe. Not sure. I hope so. Anyway, here are my shots of the ballroom while I was helping out at a table around 10:30 so the full force of people haven’t really cleared the line yet.

Around 1:00pm, the crowd let up a bit and I got a chance to walk around and do a live Instagram video once again. Enjoy!

And with that, 5:00pm arrived and the 2018 LA Pen Show was over. Helped a couple vendors pack up, and went to dinner to end a tiring but fun weekend.


Final Thoughts

Pen shows are definitely a fun event to attend. Being in the pen community forges friendships and pen shows are way for you to see your friends. It can never be said enough, if you are near a pen show or can afford to attend one, do it. You find out how a certain pen feels in your hand, you learn about different pens, you find pens you didn’t know existed, but more importantly, you meet people who are as enthusiastic as you are with stationery and pens. To these people, these aren’t just sticks that hold ink. =P

As I’ve said before, pen shows for me have evolved into a social event and honestly is what I treasure more than what pens I bought. To all my friends, it was great to see you as always and to all the new people I’ve met, Instagram people I’ve finally met in real life, hope to see you all more often as well. Until next year!

Thank you for your time in reading my report!


“Pen shows are about the people and the stories between each other. The pens start the story and the people get closer.”

Part of my pen show haul: Sheaffer Flat-top, Pelikan 300, and LA Pen Show journal from Vanness Pens. I also got my Pen Addict “MemberChip” given by Brad Dowdy. Gotta represent Susie Wirth too!

2017 Fountain Pen Day Giveaway Winners!

Woohoo! Congratulations to our 3 winners of the FPD Giveaway we held on November 3, 2017. The giveaway was open for anyone to join either via commenting on the blog post, or via Instagram.

We had 184 entries and 3 were randomly chosen between the three of us. Thank you all very much for joining in and being a part of the awesome community!

And the winners are:

Oeste Prera in Green Demonstrator – @theclarkm via Instagram

Lamy Petrol ink bottle – @inkydipper via Instagram

Sailor Yama-dori ink bottle – @inkdabbler via Instagram

Congratulations again! Always have fun with your pens and inks! Until the next giveaway.

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2017 Fountain Pen Day Giveaway!

It’s that time of the year again — Fountain Pen Day!

While we absolutely believe that every day is fountain pen day, the first Friday of November is quite special because we get to celebrate our favorite writing instrument throughout the world in unison. This is also a day or a weekend wherein different deals and discounts are offered by our favorite retailers. Check out the Sponsors tab of the FPD website for more info on these deals.

More importantly, Fountain Pen Day is also a great time to share the joys of writing with a fountain pen to family, and friends!

To celebrate, we the trio, are running a giveaway with three prizes for three lucky winners:

  1. A limited edition green demonstrator Oeste Prera fountain pen
  2. A bottle of the 2017 limited edition Lamy Petrol ink
  3. A bottle of one of our favorite inks — Sailor Jentle Yama-dori

To Enter:

  1. Follow us on instagram, @handoverthatpen & regram our giveaway image or post a picture of your favorite fountain pen and ink with the hashtag #hotp2017FPDGAW (Please make sure your account is public so we can find it! And no giveaway accounts.) or —
  2. Comment on this blog entry with your favorite fountain pen and ink (not necessarily a pairing)

The giveaway is open from now, 11/03/2017 until 11/10/2017 11:59pm Pacific time. One entry per person please.

The giveaway is open internationally, but we aren’t responsible for any taxes, customs fees or duties that may be applied, and will be shipping without tracking due to cost.


2017 Pelikan Hub Palo Alto, California Report: Franz



On Friday September 22, 2017, the Pelikan Hub for Palo Alto was held at the Lathrop Library in Stanford University. The Hub was organized by co-Hubmasters Lawrence C. and Glenn T. and it was definitely well organized. Thank you very much for a terrific event gentlemen!

Hubmaster Lawrence speaking at the beginning. The person to his left was Hubmaster Glenn.

Our group had a mixture of members of the San Francisco Bay Pen Posse, and also members of the Stanford Pen Club. It was a nice gathering and I was happy to meet new people interested in the hobby. As we introduced ourselves around the room, I found that there were people into pens for about a month and up to about 40 years so it was an eclectic group and a lot of people shared their experiences and knowledge.

Speaking of knowledge, we were very lucky to have Pelikan pen expert, Rick Propas aka The PENguin, a part of our hub. He had talked about the history of the Pelikan pen company, the first model Pelikan 100, and the evolution of the Pelikan pen models. He showed a few rare, or one-off pens that are in his collection.

Rick Propas attends a few pen shows in the United States. He sells pens at pen shows, and also via his website: www.thePENguinpen.com

Rick Propas starting his talk about Pelikan history
Rick Propas and his Pelikan collection brought to the hub

I broadcasted an Instagram Live video and also uploaded to my YouTube account. Rick imparted a lot of information and I am very thankful he had taken the time to do so.


Rick showed his grail pen, the Pelikan 75th Anniversary. I got a chance to photograph this fabulous pen that evening.

Show and Tell: Pelikan 75th Anniversary. Those yellow stripes are very different and distinct.
Show and Tell: The nib of the Pelikan 75th Anniversary is very unique. The “75” engraving was fantastic as well.


Lawrence and Glenn were given Edelstein ink bottles by Pelikan and they made it available for participants to take ink sample vials of. Here’s some of the bottles emptied out.


A big thank you to Pelikan for once again hosting the Pelikan Hubs around the world and providing an avenue for people to meet and learn about fountain pens and Pelikan pens! Also, we appreciate the generous gift of the Pelikan Edelstein Smoky Quartz ink bottle for each registered participant. I love this ink!

I have been attending the Pelikan Hubs since it started in 2014 and hope that this annual event continues to occur successfully. See you next year!

A flock of Pelikan pens that came out for the Pelikan Hub



2017 SF Pen Show Report: Franz (Part 2)

Hello friends! Thank you for hanging in there and I hope that you’re enjoying my detailing of the San Francisco pen show. This is the continuation of my SF Pen Show Report – Part 1.

This carries on to the events on Saturday afternoon and evening. And ends on Sunday’s last day of the show. Enjoy!


Saturday, August 26 – Continuing on the Second Day

Planner Meetup – Special Event

Around 1:00pm, Pam, Katherine, and Christina had once again hosted a planner meetup and had discussions with others on what they do to decorate, organize, and utilize their planners. There were some exchanges of stickers, washi tapes, and notebooks as well. Photos courtesy of Christina.


One of the vendors that were considered a big hit at the show was Atelier Musubi who traveled all the way from Singapore. Their beautiful journals are cloth bound, contains Tomoe River paper, and are handmade in Singapore. In addition, these journals are handmade by a person living with a physical disability.

Here’s Atelier Musubi’s table located in the Grand Salon and was visited by some artists that you may possibly know.

Photo courtesy of Ricky Chau
Musubi journals. Photo courtesy of Ricky Chau
Musubi journals. Photo courtesy of Ricky Chau


Within the same room, the table of the SF Pen Show principal sponsor, Wahl-Eversharp was there and were selling a lot of their Skyline pen models. Also displayed were the Magnificent Seven Decoband pens.

Different Skyline pen models
The Magnificent Seven Decoband Set


Right beside Wahl-Eversharp was the Armando Simoni Club (ASC) table. Pens and chocolates… mmm…

Armando Simoni Club. Photo courtesy of Ricky Chau


Pen World Magazine – Readers Choice Awards Ceremony

A first for the SF Pen Show, Pen World magazine presented a few of the Reader’s Choice Awards at the show. Editor-in-Chief Nicky Pessaroff presented the winners their awards below. Congratulations to all!

  • Best Every Day Carry Pen: Franklin-Christoph Model 31
  • Best Non-Fountain Pen: Cross Classic Century 170th Anniversary Ballpoint
  • Best Artisan Pen: Ryan Krusac Legend L-14
  • Best Writing Experience: Aurora Sole 88 Limited Edition
  • Best Metal Mastery: RiKwill/Conway Stewart Churchill Prisme and Jour et Nuit
  • Pen of the Year: Montblanc Artisan Edition Homage to Kandinsky Limited Edition III


Pen Addict Meetup – Pen Dash

This year at the SF Pen Show, the Pen Addict Brad Dowdy, and Lisa Vanness of Vanness Pens tried a different type of meetup. In most meetups, people sit down, show their pens, get to know each other, and learn from each other. The Pen Dash is somewhat of the same concept except for the fact that every ten minutes the participants will have to stand up and proceed to another table with a different host or as what I referred to them as subject matter experts (SME). Brad made a write up of it on The Pen Addict.

I was able to do an Instagram Live Video and post it to my personal YouTube. Please forgive my blunder in the video and know that the first room DID follow directions to move tables. I just thought they were signaled to move right then. Ah, the hitches of live television. Haha!

Here are photos I got to take before going live on Instagram.

Paul Erano of Fountain Pen Journal in the pink shirt, David Isaacson of Vacumania in fishing vest
Ana Reinert of Well-Appointed Desk in pink hair. Hi Ana! =)
Shawn Newton of Newton Pens. He brought along his pens and some rods he’s working on.
Pam, and Katherine – HOTP Crew. I see Moogle as well!
Leigh Reyes, and Michael H. Leigh was showing her collection of pens she acquired from all over.
Joey Feldman making art at the Pen Dash. Photo courtesy of Kimberly L.


Susan Wirth Memorial

First, a sip of water, deep breath, and go.

As most of the pen community knows, the passing of Susan “Susie” Wirth earlier this year had left a great big hole in the pen show world. Anyone who knew her knows that it’s not a pen show without her. In 2012, she was one of the first five people I personally met in the pen world. This was way before I became part of the SF Bay Pen Posse.

My friend Rebecca Joyce got the chance to film Susie at the 2017 LA Pen Show. If you’re interested, here’s that very informative video.

From the 2016 SF Pen Show: Deborah Basel, Susan Wirth, and John Martinson. Three of the first five people I met in the pen world.
From the 2015 SF Pen Show: Susie and Greg having a fun time at the pen show concert

This was my first pen show to not see Susie’s table, to not see her face, to not smile and giggle as I saw her inky fingers, and to not hear her distinct voice. It felt weird to me and I’m sure to other people as well.

A week before the pen show, I decided to do something to honor Susie. I figured, what’s a small inexpensive thing that people appreciate at pen shows? Buttons! So I edited the picture I took of Susie’s identifiable shawl while she was wearing it and made it into a button. Saturday morning, I gave out these buttons to honor her. I told everyone, “This is her day!”.  I’m sure everyone agreed.

Susan Wirth Button

I am thankful that the SF Pen Show Organizers allocated some time during Saturday evening to honor Susie.

I am also thankful to see John Martinson at this show. He worked with Susie at every pen show and has become a good friend to me.  John brought some of Susie’s pens to show people and he also brought out Susie’s banner. I loved seeing it once again.

The iconic Susie banner. I first saw this in 2012.

During the memorial, John M. spoke about Susie. He ended by saying that the best way to honor her memory is to share the love of pens, to write more letters, and share what an italic nib can do for one’s writing. Thanks John!

You were definitely missed Susie. 


Groove Situation – Pen Show Concert

Each year, the show organizers gets a band and play a concert after the show. This year, due to the hotel renovations, the concert was held outside by the fountain. The band was different this year but their music, and song selection was still awesome. The band’s name is Groove Situation and their FaceBook page is here.

What’s pretty cool is that their bassist is Pen Posse’s very own, Jon R.


Pen Posse and The Bassist: Jon R.
A true realization of Pen Shows After Dark
Pen Posse: Judy, Todd, and Syd
Pen Posse: Terry and Casey

Overall, the turnout for the pen show concert was great and a fun time was had.


Inside the hotel, my friend Bruce Eimon introduced Taizo Yamamoto and his paper products. They are launching “Paper Tasting” (paper samplers) and they laid it out on an empty show table. Their website is http://yamamotopaper.com/index.html.

Some of the Paper Tasting from Yamamoto Paper. A couple pen posse peeps were checking it out.

Saturday evening went on and we all just hung around and had great conversations. The evenings of pen shows are opportunities to reconnect, interact, and meet new friends. I eventually went home to rest up for another pen show day.


Sunday, August 27 – Third and Final Day of the Show

Wow, the weekend is almost over and this is the day I feel happy and sad. Shall we say, verklempt?

Not gonna lie, the past few days were tiring especially with the amount of sleep (or lack of) I’ve had. But Pen Show Time Zone prevailed and got ready for another fun filled day.

I once again arrived around 7:00am to assist the 8:00am class attendees (Sorry Nik!), as well as assist the registration desk. Duty calls! As a reward, I got my name on Masuyama-san’s list as well.

Masuyama-san line: Sunday Edition. Do you see familiar faces from Saturday?

On Sunday, the show had another combination of paid classes, and free seminars.

  • Copperplate Calligraphy by Nikola Pang
  • Japanese Hanko (stamp) Making by Rui Saito
  • Shodo Demonstration (Japanese Calligraphy) by Rui Saito (free seminar)
  • Journaling by Susan Thom (free seminar)
  • Creative Uses of Fountain Pen Ink by Leigh Reyes (free seminar)
  • What can turn a Good Nib into a Great Writing Nib by John Mottishaw (free seminar)
Nik Pang’s Copperplate Calligraphy class. Photo by Ricky Chau


Yuan’s point-of-view of Rui Saito’s Hanko Making class

Here’s are some photos I got to take during the day.

John Mottishaw arrived in the morning and Joel Hamilton caught him at the registration desk.


Janet Takahashi

The Nibsmith, Dan Smith was always busy with a customer.

Pen Posse: Roz, Yuan, Pam, and Katherine. They were still stamping notebooks and selling stamps as well.


Over at Ryan Krusac’s table, the prototype of the limited/special edition Legend Pen he collaborated with Cary of Fountain Pen Day was on display. It’s beautiful for sure! And the proceeds of this collaboration will be donated to Shawn Newton’s scholarship fund.

Here’s a bit of a penvangelism story. Jon, my co-worker, brought his kids to the pen show and I took the liberty of giving them a tour. Of course the first stop was the Pay-It-Forward table and the kids got their starter kits. One of Jon’s kids wanted a pink ink to match the pink pen and we eventually found J. Herbin Rose Cyclamen from a table of a pen posse member. =) We continued the tour around the ballroom and we eventually sat down and showed them how to fill a pen with ink, how a pen works, etc. It’s inspiring to see teenagers wanting to learn how to use fountain pens.

A bit of background, Jon got into fountain pens when he started to work with a pen addict (me) and he really wanted to come to the show and find a pen he’d like. We found a green pen with a 14k gold nib over at Peyton Street Pens with the help of Nivardo. Needless to say, Jon and the kids were happy.

As the show comes to a close, I got to walk around the ballroom a little bit and take some pictures again.

Nivardo at Peyton Street Pens


Teri of Peyton Street Pens helping out pink hair… I mean, Ana. =)
Show and Tell: A nice vintage Sheaffer set
Dan and Leigh visiting Karol and Hugh over at the Kanilea Pen Co. table. It was Kanilea’s first time at the SF show and it was great to see them.
Janet, Ron, and Greg
Brian Anderson (Anderson Pens), and Mario Campa (Toys From the Attic)
Sailor Pro Gear pens at the Anderson’s Alley

See? Even puppies want to see some pens at the SF pen show! =)

My final purchase at the show was at the Vanness Pens table. Replenished my supply of Akkerman 05 Shocking Blue, and Bungubox Sapphire. Also picked up these special edition Curnow notebooks with Joey Feldman’s artwork in the cover. During the weekend, Joey was doing individual art sketches behind the notebooks when people bought them. He actually did this special piece for me (of me) on Saturday and I just picked it up on Sunday.

Joey has dubbed me, Franzulini: Leader of the Free Pen World. I loved it! If you’re reading this, thanks again Joey! =)


Post Pen Show

As the show closed, I packed up the PIF table, and helped with taking home some Ink Testing Stations. Ink Boss Christina was pleased. =)

Pen Posse: Ink Boss Christina, Brian, Ricky, and Yuan

And I got a chance to have a photo with the legendary Cary of Fountain Pen Day. Thanks Ricky! =)

My Mother and I took a pen vendor friend out to dinner which has become a tradition now. Afterwards, we went back to the hotel and found other pen friends coming back from dinner as well. We hung out at the bar for a bit.

Needless to say, I was tired but I was very happy. The photo below was the last one I took before I gave in to the fatigue and finally went home.

At the Bar: A panoramic of awesome pen friends hanging out. #penshowsafterdark (you may click to enlarge)


Final Thoughts

The San Francisco Pen Show has come and gone and I’m very thankful I was able to attend and be part of it. Pen shows for me have evolved quite a lot and it has now become a true social event that I look forward to attend. Whether it be SF, LA, Atlanta, or others, what makes pen shows is the people I meet, or visit with. I mean, pen people are so kind, generous, and cool. Who wouldn’t want to hang out with those kinds of people? There were a lot more stories that you can’t just place in a report and I treasure a lot of them.

A HUGE Thank you and Great Job to the show organizers: Ricky, Todd, and Syd. The SF Pen Show gets better year-over-year and it starts with them. To the amazing Pen Posse peeps, great job and thanks for the volunteer work! Just a reminder, 2018 SF Pen Show will be on August 24-26. So, plan your days off now! =)

And to you my dear readers, thank you for sticking around for this lengthy report. And again, I hope you enjoyed it.

For those who attended the show, comment what your favorite part of the show was and what you bought. For those who weren’t there, let me know if you have questions as well!



“Pen shows are about the people and the stories between each other. The pens start the story and the people get closer.”

The proper Franz pen show selfie. #pocketshots

2017 SF Pen Show Report: Franz (Part 1)


Wait, wha?! The 2017 San Francisco Pen Show is over?! I guess time flies when you are having fun!

Time for another pen show report! This will be another long read just like my 2016 SF Pen Show report so I dare not call it a “recap”. This year, I have become much busier working the show as the volun-told Class Registrar, assisting at the Registration Desk, and also being behind my registered table hosting the Pay-It-Forward table. So being busier means less time walking around the show and less photos taken by me. I’ve asked a few friends if I may use their show photos and they have obliged oh so kindly. Thank you!

Oh wait, for those who only want the short version? Okay, well, it lives up to their tag line, “THE FUN PEN SHOW”. And the post is done. j/k!

So go ahead and grab a snack to hold you over if you wish. This may be the lengthiest pen show report you’ve ever read. Quite lengthy that I had to divide it into two parts. I tried to be thorough and provide you the unique multiple perspective that I experience at this pen show. I hope you enjoy it!


Thursday, August 24 – The Day Before the Show

The Pen Show doesn’t really start until Friday but Thursday is typically the day when vendors, and attendees who travel from out of town arrive at the hotel. Thursday afternoon is a time for vendors to claim their badges, paperwork, AND table assignments. Some vendors with multiple tables and large displays start setting up so there would be less work to do on Friday morning. The show organizers also host food and drinks in the evening for the vendors. Just like last year, they served burger sliders as well as grilled cheese with tomato soup. Yum!

I arrived around 7:00pm to take care of some class logistics for the next day, as well as meet up with pen friends from all over. Some Pen Posse friends decided to have a late dinner and we trekked to the city of Millbrae for our favorite place, Peter’s Cafe. I think this may become a yearly tradition for Thursday night.

Hanging out by the lobby on a Thursday night. Photo by Ricky Chau

Afterwards, I hung out at the bar with a couple friends and got to check out some cool pens from different people. I also finally got to meet Leigh Reyes who arrived the same day all the way from the Philippines. A couple months ago when I knew Leigh was planning to attend the show, I reached out to her and “made” her do a free seminar which was on Sunday.

Show and Tell: A friend’s Oldwin in the Arco Verde material. That is nice!
Show and Tell: A friend’s Pelikan M1000 with an urushi lacquer by Bokumondoh that he got in Japan.
At the Bar: Leigh Reyes doodling with a pen fitted with a Shiro nib


Friday, August 25 –  Show Time!

On the first day, the ballroom opens to vendors to setup at 7:00am, and the All-Access Pass Holders are let in at 8:00am. The General Public was admitted at 1:00pm later that day.

Okay. This is no big secret but it still needs to be said. What’s one of the SF Pen Show’s secret weapon for success? The SF Bay Pen Posse. And I am very grateful to be part of this group. There were a number of volunteers months before, during, and even after the show. The people at the registration desk that greets and helps show attendees are ALL volunteers.  No one gets compensated monetarily, but an attendee’s smile while being at the show would be enough for them. So friends, I’d like to take this opportunity and thank you all for your help! Also for the whole weekend, Desk Boss Margaret kept us in line so special thanks goes to her as well! =)

The Early Morning Registration Desk Team is ready to go! Thank you to everyone who volunteered the whole weeekend. Photo courtesy of Sam Fiorella from Pendemonium
I was caught cheesin’ it at the Registration Desk. The pen show weekend was filled with so much fun! Photo courtesy of Sam Fiorella from Pendemonium. Thank you Sam! =)
Right before 8:00am, people are waiting. Photo courtesy of Ricky Chau.

I arrived 7:00am (too early…) at the hotel to make sure I get to assist the people who pre-registered for the classes and also help out at the registration desk. Friday paid classes were:

While at the registration desk, I get to see what people bought. This Pen Posse member came up to me and showed me his “First Blood” purchase from Stylo-Art.

Show and Tell: A very nice urushi and maki-e done by Stylo-Art

Around 11:00am, I finally got to walk around a little bit at the show, took a few photographs, and visited with friends. 

Steve Curnow and his family are back at their usual spot at the SF Pen Show. They have quality paper goods and a very good spread as you can see.

Pen Posse: The Curnow Family: Curnow Bookbinding & Leatherwork

The show’s registration desk from above.

Pen Posse: Rachel and Mike

As you walk past the registration desk, Greg Weddig is back at the show and selling vintage pens as well as his Valley Oak Iron Gall Dip Pen ink. Sharing the table with Greg is Gary Naka who was also selling restored vintage pens.

Pen Posse: Greg Weddig and Gary Naka’s table view from the mezzanine

Kenro Industries is back as well. This year they were represented by Neil L., and Cary Y. (Fountain Pen Day). Kenro is the US distributor for Montegrappa, and Aurora pens. They showcased the Montegrappa Game of Thrones pens, the Aurora 88 Flex pens, and a lot more.

Kenro Industries: Neil talking to show attendees

While I was at the mezzanine level, I yelled down to Ricky to pose for a photo and this is what I got. I asked for captions from the SF Bay Pen Posse group and I’ll share the top three (IMHO). Which one would be your pick? ;-P

  • “Where the F— did the Mont Blanc carpet go?!”
  • “WHAT?!?! Do you think I’m in charge or something?”
  • “Trust me! Drop your Namiki Emperor, I’ll catch it”
Pen Posse: Ricky Chau

Still within the foyer, our very own Katherine split a table with other pen posse peeps and was selling her hand carved stamps of pens, and ink bottles. She also created a Hand Over That Pen 2017 SF Pen Show stamp for friends to mark on their journals.

To complete the table, here’s Lawrence and Yuan who were selling pens, inks, washi tapes, etc.

Pen Posse: Lawrence and Yuan

Right beside was Claire R. (@writteninrice) who occasionally is a guest reviewer on our blog. She sells great quality pen wraps and she loves prime numbers. Her current wrap design holds 7 pens very securely. Her fabric combinations are just so cool!

Written In Rice Pen Wraps


Ink Testing Stations

A very unique feature of the San Francisco Pen Show are the Ink Testing Stations (ITS) set up for show attendees to enjoy. This year, round tables were scattered around the show for attendees to sit down and test the different ink brands, and colors. The pens used for the ITS were Dollar 717i. For 2017, there was a total of 783 inks available for testing. The ink lists for the past 3 years can be found on the SF Pen Show Ink Testing section of the show website.

Months before the show, the Pen Posse with the direction of Ink Boss Christina, all 783 pens were cleaned, labeled, organized, and inked up for the show.

We had different companies donate inks for the Ink Testing Stations. Luxury Brands donated their inks, Franklin-Christoph gave us their inks as well, Robert Oster donated 60 bottles of their inks, and Vanness Pens donated Organics Studio inks. Thank you very much for your generosity!


Right before the ballroom was an Ink Testing Station table. This table always had people sitting down. To my knowledge, one person successfully wrote and tested all 783 inks during the weekend!

Ink Testing Stations, Foyer Location


At the show, Patrick represented the Robert Oster company from Australia. Here’s Patrick speaking with Brian and Christina of the Pen Posse.

Brian, Patrick (Robert Oster), and Christina (the Ink Boss). Photo courtesy of Gary Naka

Walking into the ballroom, you will find Andy Lambrou of Lambrou Pens (formerly Classic Pens) and his associate, Monica, to your left. He has been attending the San Francisco pen show since 2014 and brings exquisite pens. This year, he brought a case full of Classic Pens CP-8, Lambrou Pens LB-6, and a few of the LB4 Tahiti pens.

Andreas Lambrou, and Monica. Photo courtesy of Gary Naka


Rod stocks of diffusion bonded acrylics exclusive to Lambrou Pens
Upper row: LB4 Tahiti pens, and a CP-8. Bottom Row (left-right): LR-8 Jupiter, LB-6 Passion, LB-6 Celestial, LB-6 Integrity, LB-6 Essence, and LB-6 Humanity

Walking over to the left was Itoya’s table. Itoya is the US Distributor of Sailor pens as well as Taccia pens. It was Itoya’s first time at the SF pen show and they brought a nice display of their Pro Gear pens inked up with their different inks.

Sailor pen and ink tester display
The Fresca Blue, and Anchor Gray 1911 pens were on display at the Itoya table

A little further in to the ballroom was The PENguin’s table. That’s Mr. Rick Propas who is a very well-known expert of German pens especially Pelikan pens. I always try my best to visit with him and say hello. Also, to take a look at his pens for sale.

Rick Propas always has arrays of vintage pens at his table. Majority of the pens pictured are the Pelikan 100 in different finishes.
One of the special edition Pelikan City Series pens, the M620 Piazza Navona. These are sought after by Pelikan collectors.
A few vintage Pelikan 400NN sets on the left, a Pelikan M800 Blue Striated, and a Pelikan P&K 30 set on the right.

Classic Fountain Pens aka nibs.com came back to the SF Pen Show this year and had several Nakaya pens on display. There were testers with their different nib sizes inked up for people to try out. Jonella set the table up on Friday and was there to answer questions, and take in orders of their pens all weekend. I’ve known her since my 2014 LA Pen Show experience (Pen Posse OPM).

Nakaya pen models: Portable Writer, Portable Cigar, Neo Standard Writer, Long Cigar, and Dorsal Fin Version 2
Nakaya pen tester set-up

Also at the Classic Fountain Pens table was Pony Boy. He was guarding the Nakaya pens! Pony Boy does quite a lot of traveling too. Check out #adventuresofponyboy on Instagram

Pony Boy #adventuresofponyboy
I tried to sneak around but I couldn’t evade Pony Boy =) #adventuresofponyboy

Here’s Matt Armstrong of The Pen Habit blog came back to the show! And once again, he helped the Vanness Pens team at their table.

Matt and his bandolier of ink samples! He’s ready for either an ink battle or a barrage of ink questions at Vanness Pens.

Lisa Vanness and Leigh Reyes during a light moment behind the Vanness Pens table. Photo by Gary Naka.

Lisa and Leigh

Kick A$$ Calligrapher Nik Pang was at the show as well. He was selling nib holders and was writing people’s names.

Pen Posse: It’s @possibly_nikp!

As I walked out of the ballroom to do more pen show duties, I saw more people testing out the Ink Stations.

A few more show attendees ink testing. This was inside the Grand Salon room.

One of the SF Pen Show’s sponsors is Straits Pen represented by Sunny Koh. He brings in a lot of pens and inks from Asia. I caught him having a snack by the registration desk with a friend.

Pen Posse: Sunny Koh and Don (Sorry Don!) getting ready to snack on a hard boiled egg.

I had a registered table at the show and that was gonna be the Pay-it-Forward table. But I decided that I would set it up on Saturday and Sunday afternoon. So I had my friend, Mark C. sit at my table and sell his freshly roasted Monsooned Malabar coffee beans. He also, by request, brewed some coffee for people to try out what he was selling. I was very thankful he did that. And that’s my cup that he has the pour over dripper on. =)

Monsooned Malabar coffee beans for sale
My coffee… mine! =)
Caught by my friend Kelly taking a coffee break. I told you that coffee was mine. =)
Got a quick picture of Desk Boss before she told me to go back to work. haha! j/k! ;-P


Back at the registration desk, I met this nice fellow named Ralph and he got me beat with having two shirt pockets filled with pens. Cross pens at that! There were a couple Parker pens too. He showed me a Cross Townsend in Lapis Lazuli that I almost drooled on but I didn’t get to take a photo of it though. =(

Ralph, the Cross man!

I noticed these Kisses chocolates left out on a table. Let’s just say I got some much needed sugar boost! =)

Dark Chocolate Kisses

Friday’s show went on, met more awesome friends during the day. The show ballroom closes down at 5:00pm and the Pen Collectors of America (PCA) held a pen auction at 5:30pm. I registered and got paddle 27 but I eventually didn’t go and just hung out with people. I gave my paddle to a pen posse friend and apparently paddle 27 was very active. Haha!

One of the reasons why I did not go to the auction was that I realized that I missed my reserved time with The Nib Smith, Dan Smith. So I waited to be the last person he’d help for the day and I picked up the only pen on my pen show list. The Fabulosa! I mean, the Aurora 88 Nebulosa.

Show and Tell: I rarely share my haul at pen shows but that Nebulosa is yummy!


After a fun first day, a large group of us went to the Pen Posse favorite, Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria for dinner. It was a quick 5 minute drive from the hotel.

I only got to take this one picture of the pizza before we devoured… ate it.


After dinner comes my favorite part of pen shows. Back at the hotel bar, it’s hanging out with the people you saw at the show. Sharing the items bought, and telling the stories of the day. As Eleanor said before, it’s Pen Shows After Dark!

At the Bar: Different groups of pen folk
At the Bar: Pen Play!
At the Bar: Someone bought an inkwell. Neat!
At the Bar: Leigh Reyes doodling =)
At the Bar: Nik Pang wrote Holly’s name down as the group was talking.


Saturday, August 26 – Second Day

On Saturday, the ballroom once again opens to vendors to setup at 7:00am, and the All-Access Pass Holders are let in at 8:00am. The General Public was admitted at 10:00am in the morning.

After a late night of pen-joyment, I sleepily got ready for another fun day. Pen shows are the only events that I would look forward to going to bed in the wee hours of the morning and then wake up WAY earlier than when I have to go to work. It’s what I call Pen Show Time Zone (PSTZ) and I love it.

Typically, Saturday is the busiest day for the pen show and is the day when the most number of people attend. This year was no exception and with all the events jam-packed, it definitely was a busy show day.

I arrived around 7:00am once again for the registration desk and for the classes and seminars being held on Saturday. When I arrived, there were already a few people in line for Mr. Mike Masuyama’s sign up sheet. Masuyama-san did something different this year in that he asked the registration desk to do the sign up for him instead of it being at his table. So the sheet was brought out at 8:00am for people to write their names and phone numbers. The photo below was around 7:45am and good thing I got to take it.

The Saturday Masuamaya-san line. A few of these people were in line for all 3 days.

For Saturday, there were a combination of 2 paid classes and 3 free seminars.

  • Guide to Italic Handwriting by Sherrie Lovler
  • Special Design Bookmaking by Virginia Woodruff
  • Basic Handwriting by Gary Naka (free seminar)
  • Pens 101: Pen Basics by Loren Smith (free seminar)
  • Pens 102: Vintage Pens by Ricky Chau (free seminar)

Here are examples of the special edition books that Virginia designed for the pen show. You can add or remove pages as you go.


Calligraphy Demononstrations

Something new for the pen show this year was that there were volunteers each day to do calligraphy demonstrations. The volunteers came from The Pacific Scribes Guild, and Friends of Calligraphy Guild. Their tables were located at the foyer across the registration desk so I got to check them out and two ladies wrote my name.


Pen Artisan Guild Annual Contest

Another new event for the pen show this year was that the Pen Artisan Guild held their first annual contest for guild members and created one of a kind pens for the contest.

Show attendees had the chance to vote for the pen they like. And The People’s Choice Award went to pen number 11, by Jonathon Brooks of the Carolina Pen Company. Photos of the guild pens are courtesy of Ricky Chau.


At 10:00am. the General Public was let in to the show and it definitely got busier. Here are Ricky Chau’s photos of the ballroom around that time.

Getting crowded. John Strother assisting a customer at his table.
Sailor’s table was selling their inks. The Montblanc table was marked by Wolverine, errr Hugh Jackman’s photo.
Dale Beebe and John Martinson in the foreground, Vanness Pens table is busy in the back left. Do you see Matt’s colorful fishing vest?
Amidst the busy ballroom, some calm was found by people at the ink testing station table.
Jim Rouse setting up nibs for a customer at at the ever popular Franklin-Christoph table.
Lisa Anderson helping out a customer at the Anderson Alley.



What is the Pay-It-Forward table you ask? Well, it is a table at a pen show fully motivated by kindness, happiness, and a great love for writing instruments. The PIF table was originated by Oscar, The PENthusiast, and a smattering of other generous pen folk at the 2017 DC Pen Show. If I am not mistaken, this idea was inspired as well by Rachel Goulet of The Goulet Pen Company. The PIF mission at pen shows is twofold. First is to create and give out Fountain Pen Starter kits to newbies young and old. Second is to provide an avenue for experienced pen people to donate items that are no longer loved, and to give these items a second chance to be loved by another home. Items encouraged to be donated are pens, ink bottles, notebooks, and other stationery related things. Monetary donations are also welcome either at the pen show or the PENthusiast’s website.

Right before the 2017 D.C. Pen Show, I reached out to Oscar to come to SF with the PIF table. But due to schedule issues he couldn’t make it. He did send a box full of PIF supplies for us to host at the show. We then put a call out on a blog post, and at the SF Bay Pen Posse group to ask for donations at the show. Let me tell you, a lot of people have come up to me and donated new pens, used pens, mostly full ink bottles, notebooks, and other items. Since Thursday night I’ve had items given to me for the table and I am floored with the generosity of the pen community. I decided to have the PIF table up by noon on Saturday and Sunday at the show. The table was located right before the ballroom so a lot of people stopped by, asked questions, and eventually left happy.

Because of all the pens and inks given at the table, we didn’t really use all of the supplies that Oscar sent. Which is great because the next planned pen show appearance of the PIF table will be at the Colorado Pen show in October.

I did make a big blunder that I should be burned at the stakes for. Out of all the excitement and busy-ness, I did not write down the names of the people who donated items during the show. I do remember and know a lot of the people who donated but at the risk of forgetting anyone, I shall just say a big…  THANK YOU FOR YOUR GENEROSITY! You all know who you are and your kindness is deeply appreciated.

Initial supply for the Pay-It-Forward table

During both days, a lot of people asked about the Give A Pen, Take A Pen racks. I explained that it doesn’t have to be exactly give and then take. If there was a pen (or two) that they would like to have, they may just take it. Now if they have a pen that they don’t love anymore, they may just leave (give) it on the rack for someone else to possibly love it as well!

Here’s a quick story. There was a young lady who wanted a fountain pen from the rack but instead of just taking it, she felt it necessary to give a pen so she left a ballpoint. #onelessballpoint ;-P

Another one. An awesome person was looking at the Give A Pen, Take A Pen and placed this beautiful pen on the rack. He made the pen himself and wanted to donate it. I’m glad I got to take a photo of it because someone had taken the pen not even five minutes after. To the awesome gentleman who left this pen and if you are reading this, please let me know your name for I missed it during the show.

Awesome handmade pen donated to the PIF table! #killwinterwithorange

On Sunday morning, Lisa and Mike Vanness came up to me and asked where the Pay-It-Forward table was. They had a crate full of empty ink bottles that they’d like to donate. I told them it’s not set up yet but we can definitely place them at the table for people to take. Et voila! Thank you!

Bottle organization, and Signage courtesy of Christina. Thank you!

In the photo below, the gentleman on my right is Mr. Ron L. and the lady behind him is his daughter. They helped sort out the donated pens and placed them in the starter kits with ink samples as well. Their efforts truly helped us out at the PIF table and made it possible to provide more kits to people on Saturday and Sunday. Thank you Ron! You are a gem for the pen posse, the pen world, and to myself.

Photo courtesy of Christina L.

I also would like to give special thanks to another person who helped out at the PIF table. None other than my mother, Edna or as she placed on her name badge, “Franz’s Mom”. She helped me out at the table on both Saturday, and Sunday. She was such a pro talking to the newbies at the show. Here she was on Sunday checking out at a nib with her loupe.

Thank you Mother! Big Kisses! =)

Edna getting “loupe-y” for a newbie at the PIF table. She was rockin her purple SF Pen Show shirt from last year as well!

This Pay-It-Forward initiative by Oscar and company was such a great idea and I am glad to provide help as well. The PIF table was such a success at the show and we are planning on how to make it a much better experience for show attendees next year at the SF Pen Show.

Thumbs up for Paying It Forward! Thumbs up for Penvangelism! Photo courtesy of Kyo Suayan


With that, thank you for reading this far and I hope you are enjoying it! The report for the rest of Saturday, and Sunday pen show will be published on Friday, September 15, 2017 and will be found on SF Pen Show Report Part 2.



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?


SF 2017: A Fluffy Pawspective

This post features Moogle as a guest poster. He was excited to make it to another pen event, so he joined us at the San Francisco Pen Show on Saturday! Both the show and the hotel, the Pullman are dog friendly.

I started the day out keeping an eye on my human’s table. She was selling hand carved stamps and washi tape. Neither tasted good. Eventually I gave up and just went to sleep behind her table.

I got to meet a lot of new people! They all wanted to pet me — the pen show should be renamed “Moogle’s Spa Day”! Below was me being a dog loaf on Mike Masuyama‘s table while Pam (left) was hanging out. Masuyama-san and his wife told me all about their dog! Maybe I’ll meet it one day.

I also spent a couple hours at the front desk. Next year I think I’ll set myself up — “Pet me to relieve stress from blowing through your pen budget!” One of my human’s friends bought a cool urushi and raden pen from the Carolina Pen Company… here it is on my head.

And here I am with Franz at the Pay It Forward table! We were giving away starter kits and assorted items people had dropped off. Unfortunately, no dog treats. 

Did I mention I got lots of petting and cuddling? Here’s Troy from Brute Force Designs carrying me!

I didn’t get any pens (my human doesn’t give me an allowance…) but I had a great time meeting people, being pet and sniffing the carpet for dropped food. I’m looking forward to 2018!


Prospective Look at the 2017 San Francisco International Pen Show

The San Francisco Pen show is just around the corner for the HOTP crew! Here is a sneak peek of some of the things that will be at the pen show and what we are each looking forward to for 2017!


Pam:  It’s odd to think that I met Franz at the registration desk of the SF pen show in 2015, 2 years ago! That said, my first full experience of the SF Pen Show was last year. With the knowledge from last year, I can say that I am really looking forward to:

  • Starting bright eyed and bushy tailed on Saturday morning! To start, I will be at the registration desk to greet you and very likely at the HOTP table soon after. Stop by to check out the amazing show exclusive stamps that Katherine has made! And the “Pay-It-Forward” loot!
  • I will also likely be making a majority of my pen purchases that day. I am most excited to get a “sea glass” pen from Troy at Brute Force Designs!! I hope to get the great Mike Masuyama to work on some of my pens.
  • Don’t forget the planner meet up! We will be meeting at 1pm on Saturday in Salon 4. The Pen Addict meet up is a must for me. It’s very surreal to see a face to go with the voice for me each time I meet THE Brad Dowdy (Downy). And finally, I will be ending the night by attending Susan Wirth’s Memorial.
  • Sunday is class day! I will be attending Nik Pang’s Copperplate class, the Hanko (Japanese seals) class by Rui Saito and a mystery class by the amazing Leigh Reyes. Oh, yes, Leigh Reyes will be at the SF Pen Show. May the fangirling commence. ::squeal!::

Itinerary aside, I am just really excited to meet pen friends, new and old, near and far. The pen show is a great time and place for me to nerd out with all things pens and stationary with nerds just like me. And at the end of the day/weekend, it’s just what it’s all about. See you all at the FUN pen show by the Bay!


Katherine: I’m mostly on the hunt for unusual pens and have been excited to hear that there will be a couple of European vendors that are new to the show AND Stylo Art will be there! My wallet quakes in fear. I’d love to pick up an Aurora Novum, but we’ll see if I can find one that fits in my budget. -____-

I’m also sharing a table with a couple friends from Pen Posse, where I’ll be selling washi tape and hand carved stamps. Keep an eye out for me in the lobby! 🙂


Franz: Whoa! It’s been a year already since the 2016 SF Pen Show and now I can hardly wait for next week! Year over year, the SF pen show seems to become much bigger and busier. I try my best to help out at the show with assisting at the registration desk. Pen Posse members try to take shifts in manning the desk to make sure that we help people get in the show, or direct them to classes and seminars. Being at the desk lets me see old friends when they arrive and make new friends as well.

This year, the pen show has more vendors attending that weren’t present in 2016. Some vendors off the top of my head: Shawn Newton (Newton Pens), Hugh and Karol (Kanilea Pen Co.), John Mottishaw (Classic Fountain Pens), Motoshi Kuzuno and wife, Shuko (Stylo Art Karuizawa), Claire Rice (WrittenInRice), Miroslav Tischler (Penkala Pens), and A LOT more!

Events that I’m looking forward for the weekend:

  • I will attend an actual live pen auction sponsored by the Pen Collectors of America (PCA) on Friday. I just don’t know if I can control myself from over-bidding on a few lots.
  • As Pam said, there’s a planner meetup on Saturday. I’m not a planner kinda person but I do use my Hobonichi Planner as a daily quotes, and gratitude journal. I’m curious to see what other people do.
  • Saturday afternoon, Pen World Magazine will hold a ceremony to announce this year’s Readers Choice award winners.
  • Of course after the show on Saturday, the Pen Addict Meetup is a thing to attend. I love getting to sit down and talk pens with the attendees and dealers. There are door prizes too! Last year, Pam won an ink bottle from Vanness Pens that is so awesome and I’m still secretly planning to steal…oops… ssshhh!
  • And yes, a memorial to the Queen of Ink Susan Wirth at 7:30pm Saturday.
  • On Sunday, I’m hoping to attend Leigh Reyes’ seminar in the morning and then John Mottishaw’s in the afternoon.

The San Francisco Pen Show for me has evolved into primarily a social gathering. I love seeing the different vintage and modern pens offered for sale and I may buy a pen, or two, or three! ;-P But what really floats my boat is seeing old friends, visiting with the pen show vendors, meeting Instagram friends in real life.




This year, we will have the Hand Over That Pen table to host the Pay-It-Forward initiative. The Penthusiast Oscar Rodriguez along with a lot of awesome pen people started this fantastic PIF table to provide beginners, and children who are attending the show with pen starter kits. It was a great success at the D.C. Pen Show a few weeks ago. There will also be a “Give a pen. Take a pen.” part wherein people can donate pens they no longer use and just want to donate instead of selling. People can also take a pen that they would want to own. This will be a little bit smaller than what they did at the recently held D.C. Pen Show but we believe it’s important to keep the ball rolling.

To learn more about the PIF table, it’s all documented on Oscar’s site: https://www.thepenthusiast.com/dc-pen-show-pay-it-forward-table. If you would like to donate money, pens, notebooks, etc. please let us know via the comments or direct message Franz on Instagram: @franzdimson


Hope to see you at the #SFPenShow2017! 🙂


Flax Pen Faire Report

This post features Moogle as a guest poster. He’s been silently present (or under the table) for so many of our photo shoots, so we gave him his own post!

Every year (or maybe twice a year?) Flax in Oakland hosts a pen fair!

This year, I embarked on a journey across town to take a look at some pens and attend my first pen fair! (My human hasn’t figured out if the SF Pen Show is dog friendly.)

It was the small gathering at the front of the store, with about 5-6 tables of pens, and some shelves of ink and paper. The rows and rows of pens were pawsitively overwhelming! (And all at 20% off MSRP)

Several brands were represented, and while it’s nice to see pens in person, if you spend a lot of time online, the selection (and 20% off MSRP) aren’t terribly exciting or novel. But, Flax is dog friendly, so there were also other dogs to bark at. (I’m a jerk like that)

Taccia and Sailor were also there, with a table off to the side. Sailor had a couple interesting pens available — a maki-e pen, a clear KOP and a Pro Gear with a sabi togi grind, but unfortunately the last of those wasn’t inked. Taccia (photo above) had a selection of gorgeous and unique urushi pens that I hadn’t seen anywhere online, which were mighty tempting — but I doggedly stuck to my budget.

Overall, the best part were the people! Pam gave me a hug and Franz gave me many pets.

I was exhausted the rest of the day.

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