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!

THANK YOU!

 

“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
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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.

 

Pay-It-Forward

 

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! 🙂

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2016 San Francisco Pen Show Personal Report: Franz

20160908_2016-sfpenshow_5002

 

Hello friends! It has been almost two weeks since the 2016 SF Pen Show was held at the Sofitel SF Bay Hotel in Redwood City, California on August 26, 27, and 28, 2016. Oh what a great experience that was and I already miss it and cannot wait for next year.

I have never done any pen show recap/reports ever since I’ve been attending pen shows in 2014. So it took me a while to decide if I would do one this year, and if so, how would I present it? I was nudged by a couple friends to do so (y’all know who you are). And as suggested by a friend, present it in a chronological order. A fair warning though, I’m a photo-oriented person so this report will have a LOT of pictures and quite a long read. So I suggest you grab some popcorn or something. Haha!

This is the third year that the current show organizers have held the SF Pen Show. And each year, it has gotten better and better. I did have a unique multi-perspective of this show. I purchased a table to be a vendor, I am part of the SF Pen Posse, the local pen group who had a big part of volunteering to make this show a success, and the principal show organizers asked or “volun-told” me to assist with the coordinating of the paid classes, and free seminars. I’ve come to treat pen shows more as a social event focusing on seeing old friends, and creating new friends. And yes, as an attendee, seeing lots and lots of fountain pens is something I look forward to as well.

 

Thursday, August 25 – The Evening Before the Show

The SF Pen show organizers opens up the show ballroom the evening before to allow vendors to set up their table displays or just to let them know where their table will be. I arrived at the hotel around 6:30pm and saw the empty tables with just a few pen posse members hanging out. The show sold a lot of vendor tables this year. And I actually witnessed the hotel staff adding the very last table that was bought at the last minute.

The SF Pen Show ballroom empty the night before.
Lisa Vanness, Brad Dowdy, and Mike Vanness taking a sec for a quick photo as they set up their table. They're always so fun to see at the show,
Lisa Vanness, Brad Dowdy, and Mike Vanness paused for a quick photo as they set up their table. It’s wonderful to see them back at the SF pen show.

The show organizers also held a reception/mixer for dealers, and special friends that evening. It was great to mingle and meet up with old friends. After the reception, a few friends from Southern California and myself just hung out at the hotel bar.

At the reception, I got to meet Ana Reinert of Well-Appointed Desk blog, Paul from Karas Kustoms, Amanda McKay (who taught the Snail Mail class), and Daniel T. Photo by Ricky Chau.
At the reception, I got to meet Ana Reinert of Well-Appointed Desk blog, Paul from Karas Kustoms, Amanda McKay (who taught the Snail Mail class), and Daniel T. from the Los Angeles area. Photo by Ricky Chau.
Grilled cheese and tomato soup. Photo by Ricky Chau.
Grilled cheese and tomato soup. One of the delicious food items prepared for the reception. Photo by Ricky Chau.

 

Friday, August 26 –  First Day of the Show

The big day has arrived! The San Francisco Pen Show opened for Dealers and All-Access Pass holders at 7:00am. The general public was let in later that day at 1:00pm.

I arrived at the hotel around 7:30am and the ballroom already had a good number of attendees. After doing some of my registration desk/seminar coordinator responsibilities, I immediately went to Mike Masuyama’s table where he was already helping people with their nibs. I got to say hello and speak with Mike and his wife Emiko for a bit and got a number to be in line for nib work. I was number 19 and this was only at 8:00am. More on my nib-work with Mike later on the day.

Next stop for me was at Franklin-Christoph’s table. I was curious to see what prototype pens they brought to the show and also I was asked by a friend from Nevada to purchase a specific pen from them. Guess who I found at the F-C table? It’s Katherine! She was already being helped by Jim Rouse with her nib choice. She was at the hotel right before the show opened.

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My first pen purchase was a Franklin-Christoph Pocket 66. And it wasn’t mine. Haha! #penshowmule. It was fun sitting with Jim and chatting while he worked on that Fine cursive italic nib.

 

Afterwards, I needed to go back to the registration desk since Master Penman Michael Sull’s Basic Spencerian class was about to start. This class was sold out a couple weeks before the show with a few people on a wait-list. Mr. Sull had another class later in the afternoon called Advanced Spencerian and that was well attended too.

Pen repair classes were also held by brother and sister, Joel Hamilton and Sherrell Tyree. There were three sessions: Basic pen repair, Vacumatic, and Snorkel/Touchdown.

While classes were in session, I got a chance to walk around the ballroom, chat with dealers and attendees, and take a few photos. At this point, I was really just scoping out what interesting pens would find me. ;-P

One of the first couple people I said hello to were Matt Armstrong of The Pen Habit blog, Brad Dowdy of The Pen Addict blog, and Lisa Vanness of Vanness 1938. Matt and Brad were there to help Lisa and Mike out at their table.

Matt Armstrong of The Pen Habit blog, Brad Dowdy of The Pen Addict blog, and Lisa Vanness of Vanness 1938 were the first ones I said hello to. Matt and Brad were there to help Lisa and Mike out at their table.
Matt Armstrong, Brad Dowdy, and Lisa Vanness

In the middle of the ballroom were the tables for the 14 Ink Testing Stations that contained 686 pens with 686 different fountain pen inks free for people to write with and see how the color looks. The SF Pen Posse donated ink samples and volunteers inked up each station before the show. Each station has 49 fountain pens.

The ink testing stations weren't crowded yet.
The ink testing stations weren’t crowded yet.

First time pen show vendor, Troy Clark of Brute Force Design was there with all smiles. He drove all the way from Seattle and was one of the people I got to chat with last night as well. He gave me a nice pocket notebook. What a nice gesture. Thanks Troy!

Troy Clark of Brute Force Design. He had a nice array of pens for sale.
Troy Clark of Brute Force Design. He had a nice array of pens for sale.

Toys From The Attic returned to the SF Pen Show and they were right beside Franklin-Christoph. I first met Mario at the 2014 LA pen show and I look forward to seeing him at shows. He’s brought some beautiful pens with him.

I moseyed on over to the back wall where the Wahl-Eversharp table was and said hello to Syd Saperstein and his wife Judi. It’s always a pleasure to see them at pen shows. The Wahl-Eversharp pen company is the show’s principal sponsor and Syd is one of the three show organizers.

Since I was focusing on vintage pens this year, I got a chance to ask him about the vintage Wahl-Eversharp Gold Seal, and Doric pens. I learned a lot from him even if it was just for a quick moment. A customer walked up and asked him questions as well.

Right beside the Wahl-Eversharp table was another pen show trademark. It was Susan Wirth’s table. Susan and her team travels to almost every pen show in the United States. She loves writing with an italic nib (like myself), and almost all her pens for sale are inked up for everyone to try before they buy.

Calligrapher Deborah Basel, Susan Wirth, and John Martinson having a fun moment at the show.
Calligrapher Deborah Basel, Susan Wirth, and John Martinson having a fun moment at the show.
An interesting desk set and letter holder by Mr. Mike Conway found at Susan Wirth's table.
An interesting desk set and letter holder by Mr. Mike Conway found at Susan Wirth’s table. I wonder if there was a San Francisco Edition.

Wandering around more in the ballroom and I found Bill Weakley’s table full of beautiful Namiki, Parker, Paul Rossi, and Pelikan pens. I first met him at the 2015 LA Pen Show. I’m so glad he attended this year’s SF Show. He had a lot of pens that I wanted but were definitely over my budget. Haha!

Pens at Bill Weakley's table.
Pens at Bill Weakley’s table.

Then I saw Stuart Hawkinson and Jim Leonard whom I met at last year’s show. These are two guys who love restoring pens and like to share their experience.

Cliff Harrington
Cliff Harrington and David Isaacson
John Corwin's table with a "Flexxies" balloon
John Corwin of Flexinibs’ table can be identified with a “Flexxies” balloon.

Headed over to Ryan Krusac’s table and admired his new line of Legend L-14. Also his limited Dangers of the Deep pens were quite tempting. I’m glad he got to attend the SF pen show this year and he brought along his wife, Julia. He was at the 2014 SF pen show but was unable to attend last year.

Revisited the ink testing stations and now it’s getting busy.

Almost all seats were taken at the ink testing stations.
A quick hello from the other side. Katherine, Pam, and Nikola Pang
A quick hello from the other side. Katherine, Pam, and Nikola Pang. Pen Posse peeps!

Dan Smith arrived later in the afternoon from Iowa and he had an online signup sheet. One of his first customers was Joey Feldman from Los Angeles. It was a treat to see these guys at the show.

My Dad, Bert, visited the show in the afternoon and just wanted to see what was going on at pen shows.

Surprised to see my Dad walking towards me.
Surprised to see my Dad walking towards me.
Of course a selfie was in order. #fatherandsonselfie
Of course a selfie by the ink stations was in order. #fatherandsonselfie

While you’re at the Ink Testing Stations, it’s also a perfect opportunity to start conversations and make new friends. This was a brainchild of Ricky Chau, and the Ink Master, Loren S. since the 2015 SF Pen Show.

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Ladies: Lore, Julia, Holly, and Ana. Ink master Loren had his back turned beside Holly.

As it was getting close to the end of the first day, I was finally called for my turn at Masuyama-san’s table. I had my vintage Skyline’s medium nib ground into a smooth cursive italic. I also had my Pelikan M800 double broad (BB) nib tuned as it was skippy and had the baby’s bottom issue. I’ve had my nibs tuned and ground by this man for the past 3 years and he knows exactly how I want my nibs. I rarely give the pen back after he’s done with it the first round.

It’s also always a delight chatting with Mike and his wife, Emiko. Talked about their trips to Japan and other pen shows.

Masuyama-san was busy turning my vintgae Skyline nib into a cursive italic.
Close-ups of Masuyama-san working on my vintage Skyline nib into a cursive italic.

 

Pen Addict Meetup – After Show Event

Right after the show closed at 7:00pm, there was a Pen Addict meetup event hosted by Brad Dowdy, the Pen Addict himself, and Lisa Vanness. It was an effort to get together with the people you’ve seen around the show during the day and just plainly talk pens, paper, inks, etc. The event itself was free, and you didn’t have to attend the pen show to get in.

As you walk in, Brad handed out raffle tickets for some awesome giveaway prizes. They had some snacks as well. Alcohol was also served and available for purchase.

It was great to meet and chat with like-minded people. Around 8:00pm, Brad started the raffle and gave away awesome prizes. I do not recall each and every prize given away but here goes nothing: 2 Nock Co. cases, Lamy Dark Lilac ink, notebooks, empty Akkerman glass bottle, Joey Feldman poster artwork, notebook engraved with Joey Feldman’s artwork, and a one-and-only Pilot Iroshizuku ink bottle engraved with the show’s hashtag, #SFPenShow2016.

As the Pen Addict meetup ended, a few of the Pen Posse peeps left the hotel for dinner at Amici’s Pizzeria in Redwood Shores. Needless to say, we were all famished and enjoyed some salad, pizza, chicken wings, and more pen conversations.

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Here’s a close-up of that Iroshizuku ink bottle and box that Pam won. Even though it’s an orange ink, I was green with envy. Haha!

After dinner, we went back to the hotel bar and just relaxed. What a fantastic first day of the show. I went home shortly afterwards.

 

Saturday, August 27 – Second Day of the Show

Another exciting pen show day! For this day, the show once again opens for dealers and All-Access pass holders at 7:00am. And the general public will be let in at 10:00am. I arrived at the hotel around 8:30am so I definitely missed the breakfast provided for the dealers and All-Access pass holders. But no matter, I had a breakfast sandwich and Cold Brew coffee right before heading to the hotel.

I have to highlight the SF Pen Posse volunteers who signed up to man the registration and seminar desk from Friday all through Sunday. Without their generosity of time and effort, I’m not sure how the show would’ve turned out.

Saturday's first shift of registration desk volunteers. Lena, Laralyn, Margaret, Rachel, and Spenczar
Saturday’s first shift of registration desk volunteers. Lena, Laralyn, Margaret, Rachel, and Spenczar

Across the registration desk in the foyer was Steve Curnow’s table. This was a popular first stop for show attendees. Steve had a wide selection of notebooks, journals, and pens for sale. He also had a very limited edition San Francisco design journals at the show.

Curnow Bookbinding and Leatherwork - Steve Curnow and family were at the show everyday.
Curnow Bookbinding and Leatherwork – Steve Curnow and family were at the show everyday.
Steve Curnow's limited edition San Francisco design journals.
Steve Curnow’s limited edition San Francisco design journals only sold at the SF Pen Show.

In the beginning of this report, I did mention that I was a vendor as well. Well the whole day Friday, my table was unused and empty. On Saturday, Edna, my Mom, arrived at the show and was selling some handmade earrings, and necklaces. Also, I let my friend from the Pen Posse, Fred, sell his SF Pen Show shirts at my table. I intended to sell pens but I just didn’t have the time to sit at my table so I just laid out three pens in the middle with price tags. Katherine also placed her wooden pen blocks she made a few months ago for sale.

Fred from the Pen Posse was selling SF Pen Show shirts, and my Mom, Edna, was selling some handmade jewelry. In the middle were some pens I was selling.
Fred had a handful of SF Pen Show shirts, and Edna with her handmade jewelry.

Tania at the Franklin-Christoph table had a free moment and we took a hand-comparison selfie. We’ve known each other online for a couple years now and we’ve always joked about our hand size difference.

The Franz bear paw against Tania’s hand. Photo by Tania

I walked around the ballroom once again but this time, I reached the other side of the room which was dubbed, Anderson Alley. Brian and Lisa Anderson returned this year and enlisted the help of Jason, and Ana. They brought a lot of items from their store in Appleton, Wisconsin. I always find it a treat to get to chat with the Andersons during the shows.

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The Anderson Alley was well-lit, and well attended.
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A selection of fine Sailor fountain pens.
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Brian and Lisa Anderson

I then saw one of the most knowledgeable pen person that I know. In fact, he has written quite a few books on pens including Fountain Pens of the World, and Fountain Pens of Japan. It’s none other than Mr. Andreas “Andy” Lambrou of Lambrou Pens (formerly Classic Pens). His pen selection is quite exquisite and he collaborates with very artistic people like Mr. Paul Rossi, and Mr. Ryan Krusac, and others.

Andy Lambrou speaking with a show attendee.
Andy Lambrou speaking with a show attendee.
Some gorgeous acrylic blanks that Andy brought to show and explain the pen-making process. Photo by Ricky Chau.

More wandering around…

Parker 75 pens found at Lee Chait's table.
Parker 75 pens found at Lee Chait’s table.
Mark speaking with Detlef Bittner of Bittner Pens.
Mark speaking with Detlef Bittner of Bittner Pens.
Cindy Bittner of Bittner Pens.
Cindy Bittner of Bittner Pens.
Regal Pen Company
Regal Pen Company

I got to speak with Cliff Harrington about vintage pens. Cliff always has very rare (and can be pricey) pens. And he also has a wealth of pen knowledge to learn from. As I stopped by, I learned more about Waterman pens, Wahl-Eversharp pens, and Carters pen. He showed me a nice and rare Waterman Ideal Doll pen. As far as I know, there were only two of these pens at the SF pen show.

I found myself back at the Wahl-Eversharp table admiring the modern Decoband Gold Seal Oversized pens. And I had to take a photo of both Syd, and Judi.

The NibSmith still hard at work at his table. I actually signed up for his Saturday schedule on his website but because it got busy at the registration desk, I had to give up my spot for other people to have the opportunity and time to sit with him.

The NibSmith tuning a Pelikan pen.
The NibSmith tuning a Pelikan pen.
Show and Tell: A Waterman Lady Patrician pen and pencil set that my friend, Gale got at the show.
Show and Tell: A Waterman Lady Patrician pen and pencil set that my friend, Gale got at the show.

I stepped out of the ballroom to make sure all registrants got to attend Amanda McKay’s Kick A$$ Snail Mail class, www.letterletter.com.

This class was the most attended and it was full with 30 people in the class. I’m one of the people that just sticks a stamp on an envelope, address it, and send it out. So I found this class quite helpful when I had a chance to sit in a little bit and learn from Amanda. There were a lot of questions asked with regards to Amanda experience on how the US Postal Service handled her well-designed envelopes.

 

Planner Meetup – Mid-Show Special Event

Right after Amanda’s Snail Mail class was the planner meetup hosted by a few SF Pen Posse members. This is something new for the SF pen show and it was intended to be an informal hangout for people to learn about the different planner notebooks, strategies on how to use planners effectively (or ineffectively), and also to share stickers, stamps, and washi tape. This meetup was well attended. Three tables were occupied and lots of conversation happened. Tiffany from the Pen Posse gave me a roll of washi tape with a fountain pen design. Thanks Tiffany!

Quickly scoped out Joey Feldman as he was painting his poster artwork for people who bought at the Vanness table.

Should we call this the Purple Pen Posse? Margaret, Edna, and Edith
Should we call this the Purple Pen Posse?
Margaret, Edna, and Edith

Back in the ballroom, door prizes were being raffled off. Including a very nice Pelikan M205 in Transparent Blue sponsored by Dan Smith, The Nibsmith.

Syd and Judi raffling off door prizes.
Syd and Judi raffling off door prizes.
Curtis at Dan's table. Along with winning the pen, Dan included a free nib tuning, or a grind of choice.
Curtis at Dan’s table. Along with winning the pen, Dan included a free nib tuning, or a grind of choice.

On Saturday, the show ended at 7:00pm. I had the pleasure of having dinner with my Mom, Andy Lambrou, and his associate Margie. We immediately left the hotel and proceeded to the city of San Mateo where the Vietnamese restaurant named Ben Tre was located. I brought Andy to this place last year and he wanted to come back. Needless to say, we had an enjoyable and relaxed dinner.

 

The Royal Deuces – After Show Live Band Event

From the restaurant, we went back to the hotel and enjoyed the music of the Royal Deuces band. This is their third time to perform at the SF Pen Show. A lot of fun was had at this after-show event!

When the band was done, conversations still went on. Nikola Pang was there and was writing people’s names to give out. He wrote my name down and gave the card to me. Thanks Nik!

After some time, the room slowly emptied out and I went home.

 

Sunday, August 28 – Third and Final Day of the Show

Time flew by quick! There was an overall feeling of happiness and a bit of sadness because we knew that this special event would be coming to an end.

I arrived right before 10:00am when the show opened to the general public. After helping out at the registration desk for a bit, I did my rounds of the show once again.

I bid my friends Mary and Jon goodbye as they had a long drive to Southern California. It’s always a delight to see them at the LA and SF pen show.

Mary, and Jon S. Photo by Ricky Chau.
Me with Mary and Jon. Photo by Ricky Chau.
The traditional selfie with Sam Fiorella finally happened and Frank joined in!
The traditional selfie with Sam Fiorella finally happened and Frank joined in!

Rick Propas, The PENguin, always brings a beautiful array of german pens. Namely Pelikan and Montblanc.

Rick Propas with customers. Phillip always helps him out at his table.
A beautiful flock of vintage and modern Pelikan pens at Rick's table.
A beautiful flock of vintage and modern Pelikan pens at Rick’s table.

More wandering…

John Corwin of Flexinibs was talking with Julie who flew in from New York just for the show.
Holly discussing pens with Mody of Regal Pens
Dan of Karas Kustoms testing out some of the pens they brought to the show.
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Karas Kustoms pens
My friend Frank came to the pen show to check it out. I think some watches found him.
The ink testing stations are still popular even on the last day.
Pen Posse peeps Gabriela, Miyuki, and Tiffany
Pen Posse peeps Gabriela, Miyuki, and Tiffany

There were more door prizes raffled off. One of them was a TWSBI pen sponsored by Sunny Koh of Straits Pens.

Wandering around the room, I found Dale Beebe’s table of Pentooling.com. He had lots of pen repair tools and fully restored pens for sale.

Right beside Dale Beebe was Teri Morris’ table, Peyton Street Pens. They’re located in Santa Cruz, California and is a part of the SF Pen Posse as well.

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Sunny Koh of Straits Pens was a show sponsor and is also a frequent visitor of the SF Pen Posse. He brought pens , lots of Pelikan, Pilot, and limited edition inks from Japanese pen shops. Straits Pens also has an exclusive Noodlers ink called, Pacific Dawn at the Golden Gate which was launched at the SF pen show.

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Walked away from the show to have a cup of coffee at the hotel bar with my friend Frank before he left.

Show and Tell: Parker Vacumatic Maxima in Grey Pearl =)

After Frank left, I went back to the ballroom to see more people and help pack up for the show. I saw Ana getting a pen tuned by Jim at the Franklin-Christoph table. #lastminutepurchases

“The SF Pen Show is ending… NO!!!”
Ana and Jim. I finally got a photo of Jim smiling at the camera.

And that’s the last day of the pen show folks. It’s 4:47pm and the doors close at 5:00pm.

The watch face says, “Correct Time to buy a Parker Duofold”. So true especially when you’re in “Pen Show Time Zone”.

 

Post Pen Show Activity

As the show closed at 5:00pm, a few pen posse peeps took responsibility of the ink testing stations. After all, the ink testing frenzy isn’t over and it will continue to be used at pen posse meet ups in the next coming weeks. #inkcrazypeople

We met up at Amici’s Pizzeria once again for dinner and discussed the events of the show including details for next year.

Some Pen Posse peeps: Amer, Brian, Christina, Margaret, Gary, Ricky

Back at the Sofitel hotel after dinner and just hung out with pen-minded folks. Terrific time to keep on having conversations and do some show-and-tell of what they acquired from the show.

SMILE! =) Holly, Lisa Vanness, Lore, Matt Armstrong, and Edna

Final Thoughts

Pen shows are such a fun event to attend. Most especially when it’s local in your area. The 2016 San Francisco Pen Show was such an enjoyable weekend filled with beautiful pens, lovely inks, terrific special events, and most especially, generous and kind people. It was magnificent to see old friends get-together and see each other once again and I appreciate the chance to form new friendships. I look forward to this show every year.

A HUGE Thank You to Ricky, Todd, and Syd for continuing to organize this show. In addition, to all of the people who have contributed  to its success, I thank you as well. To the awesome SF Pen Posse, thank you for all the effort and the volunteer work. Without you guys and gals, well, it wouldn’t have been as fun.

Well, until next time. Thank you for sticking to the end of this long report. I hope it wasn’t dragging and also that your snack was enough.

If you attended the SF Pen Show, feel free to leave a comment for any of your thoughts about the show and also what you bought!

 

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

 

Sunset sky for August 28, 2016. A lovely way to end a superb weekend.

 

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Post SF Show Recap: Katherine

Whoa. It’s been a couple days now, and I’m already excited for 2017 — August 25 to 27! Mark your calendars!

To recap, I was loosely looking for an Omas, vintage flex, cool materials, but if I had money left in budget, I said I’d get a Pilot Custom 823 with an FA nib. What did I actually buy? A Franklin-Christoph p66 with a Masuyama Needlepoint in a cool translucent swirly orange and cream color (cool material, check!), and a second generation Wahl Eversharp Doric in striated black with an adjustable semi-flex medium stub (vintage flex, check! same shape as the Omas pens I like… check?)

Here’s my entire haul. Yep, that’s it. Just three things. I’m very proud of coming out of the show UNDER budget.

SF Pen Show 2016 Haul!

Now the long version…

I woke up on Friday at 5:45am to pick up a friend at 6:15, despite flying in from Hawaii the night before. I thought I’d be super sleepy (~8 hours of sleep in the two nights before) but I wasn’t. I guess pen show excitement does that! I ran a little bit late (got distracted posting about the new Noodler’s ink to Reddit) but made it to the show in good time.

We arrived at around 7am, before most of the dealers had set up. It was a nice time to walk around before everyone was set up since that was a lot less overwhelming. I met Troy from Brute Force Design and admired his pens (I love the look of all-copper pens, but unfortunately they’re just too heavy for me!) while we both kept an eye on the Franklin-Christoph booth and talked about pen turning (my lathe is showing up in the mail today…).

Scott (of FC) showed up sometime between 8 and 9am with the hand carry suitcase full of prototypes and I pounced. I picked out a lovely “prototype” in a unique orange-and-cream swirl material. FC never gave it a name since they only made 1-3 pens with it. This is my first time buying a pen from FC at a show — and getting the nib tuned with Jim was fantastic! I had opted for the Masuyama needlepoint and he asked if I preferred fineness or smoothness. I went for fineness, and the nib isn’t scratchy at all but has an enjoyable amount of feedback that I can best describe by calling it “pencil-like”.

After this, I made my rounds taking a look at each booth, handling pens, and testing out inks. I had my eye on flex pens and Omas pens and Wahl Eversharp Dorics — I really like the 12-faceted shape. I found my second pen also on Friday morning with Cliff Harrington, who was very, very friendly, helpful, knowledable, and had a great selection of Dorics. But, it was only Friday morning — so I thanked Cliff and swore I’d think about it a little longer. By Saturday afternoon I was legitimately stressed that someone else might buy “my pen”, so I went back and bought it. It’s a second generation Doric in a striated black material with a #9 adjustable nib. It goes from a smooth medium stub to a a wet BB-BBB. I’m very happy with the pen and Cliff was great to work with!

In addition to my pens and ink (I picked up a bottle of Kingdom Note’s pink jellyfish ink from Sunny at Straits Pens) I had a lot of fun meeting some great people and looking at interesting pens. Cliff had Waterman’s World’s Smallest Pen which was neat to see and handle in person. John Corwin had some crazy flex nibs, including a smaller-sized Doric with an adjustable full flex nib (out of my budget). The ink testing station had over 600 inks — and after trying every Akkerman ink there, I decided not to get a bottle (upsides to getting to try before you buy!).  I met many folks who were fairly new to pens and many more who had years of pen knowledge to share with me. So many pens, so little time! 🙂

Pens aside, Pam and I hosted a Planner meet up on Saturday afternoon. We spent Saturday morning putting together grab bags of washi tape samples, stickers and cute sticky notes for grab bags — but despite making two dozen, we ran out! It was a fun-filled hour and a half of oggling each other’s planners, sharing supplies and, most importantly, making friends. After the session I have some ideas for a planner experiment I’m going to kick off in a couple days when September 1 rolls around! (Starting with a new month is just easier… I think)

All in all, I had a great time and I managed to stay under budget*! I’m very excited for next year and am full of ideas for new workshops and maybe even being a vendor!

Did you find the pen of your dreams at the SF Show?

* Sidenote: Staying under budget was hard — but I’m really trying to limit the number of pens I own. So this doesn’t at all reflect on a lack of amazing pens at the show, but instead my IRON self-control. Yep. (Real reason? My pen carrier only has 15 slots, so I can’t own more than that without buying another form of pen-transport… and I’m too cheap to shell out $60+ on a nice leather carrier)

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2016 San Francisco Pen Show: What are you looking for?

 

The SF Pen Show is less than a week away! There will be dozens of vendors, ink stations with over 600 inks & classes and meet ups.

What are you looking for at the show?

 

Katherine: Well, to start with – I’m SUPER excited for the Planner meet up I’m hosting with Pam on Saturday. I’ll be bringing my planner & lots of supplies to show off, see what other folks are doing and hopefully swap some supplies. I’ll also have some (probably 20?) goodie bags, so drop by and say hi! 🙂

On the buying side — I’m primarily looking for interesting pens, but don’t have a well-defined wish list. My focus is going to be on picking up a reasonably priced Omas (fingers crossed), and perhaps a new flex pen or nib (I have one with a nib I like, but a body I hate. hah!). I’m also very much interested in pens made with interesting materials (I do love those vintage celluloid pens!) and nibs (I’ve recently been very curious about hooded and inlaid nibs). So we’ll see what turns up!

I have a rough budget, and if I don’t use up all/most of it, I’m going to buy a Pilot Custom 823 with an FA nib after the show. I thought of buying it before the show and having the nib ground, but this will be an interesting way of judging whether or not I really want a pen at the show. This is my second time at a pen show and I’m a little wary of getting carried away — my first show was a year ago and SF was just overwhelming! All I bought was a converter.

Pam: I am trying really hard to be disciplined at this year’s pen show after this past year of pen gluttony. Thank you for the strong work in pen-abling Franz and Katherine!  Therefore, if all goes to plan, I will be purchasing more inks than pens.

I am going to be making friends around the Franklin-Christoph table. Definitely looking to purchase a pocket 66 (in ice finish or a prototype material) and a Model 45 (in antique glass, if available at the show).
My Inky wishlist includes Bungubox Omaezaki Sea, Pelikan Turquoise, J. Herbin 1670 Stormy Grey, and Sailor Yama-Dori.

Additional pen lookout for a Pilot Capless with a special alloy nib, Pilot m90, Pilot myu.

Lastly, but definitely not least, to meet planner/pen-minded people and make more planner/pen friends!! Especially at the planner meet up!

Franz: Awww man! I’ve been so excited for the SF Pen Show ever since the 2015 show ended. On the final day of last year’s show, they already knew the 2016 show dates and I couldn’t wait.

To answer the question of what I’m looking for at the show, I’m looking for a pen (or two) that will grab my attention and won’t let me go home without it. I don’t really have a specific list of pens to acquire but I do have a couple pens that I wanna see how it feels “in the hand”. For vintage pens, maybe a Wahl-Eversharp Doric or Gold Seal, or maybe a nice Parker Vacumatic, or a safety fountain pen. For modern pens, I want to hopefully see the Visconti London Fog in person. That pen has been popular among the online pen community for a couple of months now. Then perhaps a Pelikan pen I’ve never seen in person before. I’m also looking to sell a couple pens at the show. I haven’t decided which ones yet but maybe a couple vintage Parker pens, a couple Pelikan pens, and just other pens that other people will enjoy writing with and perhaps become part of their own collection. Hmm.. this is becoming a lengthy explanation of a very vague point. Sorry.

Now onto what I’m REALLY looking for at the show. I’m looking to reconnect with old friends I’ve met from the past pen shows (SF and LA), and also to meet new friends either just from the pen show itself or meet a few Instagram (IG) friends in real life (IRL). True story: I actually met Pam and her friends at the 2015 SF Pen Show while I was helping out at the registration desk. So there you go, with each pen show I attend, I am blessed to chat with people and gain more knowledge about this great hobby of ours.

I will try my best to post photos on Instagram during the pen show. The Instagram tag used is #sfpenshow2016 and #sfpenshow as well.

 

We’re looking forward to all the fun things planned like the free seminars, the planner meet up, the letter writing social, and many more. Even after the show closes, there is a Pen Addict meet up on Friday at 7pm. And then on Saturday night, the Royal Deuces band is performing live music at 8pm.

So if you’re able to attend the 2016 SF pen show on August 26, 27, and 28, please do and we hope to meet some of y’all! Thank you!

 

P.S. If you will be attending, what are you looking for at the San Francisco Pen Show?

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