Wednesday, 28 May 2014

The Pen of Maya Angelou

When working, Maya usually researches and writes about 16 hours a day, but it's always been difficult for her to write at home. To solve that problem, Maya rents a tiny hotel room. Waking about 4:00 am, she goes to the hotel about 7:00 am and works at least six hours... In the hotel room, Maya keeps a dictionary, a thesaurus, a Bible, and a pack of cards. An occasional game of solitaire keeps her hands busy while she thinks. There's a bed in the room, but she never rests on it.Maya writes longhand with a pen on lined, yellow legal pads. Sometimes her eyelids swell closed from fatigue and her back aches. At 64, her arthritis is bothersome.*

When I pick up the pen to write I have to scrape across those scars to sharpen the point.**

Maya Angelou, 4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014 (aged 86)


*Maya Angelou by L. Patricia Kite, 1999
**Maya Angelou to Bill Moyers, PBS interview, quoted in I know why the Caged Bird Sings: A Casebook by Joanne M. Braxton, 1999.
Photo from Eye On Life Magazine

Friday, 23 May 2014

Old Carnations Smell of Tannin

Old carnations smell of tannin. 
The hexagonal bottle of Waterman's comes from the 1940s and once it's opened the inky carnations fill the air. Perhaps it was more red when it first blossomed but now the ink is much darker. Waterman's Carnation starts almost black and gradually dries into what looks like a deep purple. Watch closely though and the pink hues are showing through not only in the ink swab but in the writing as well. Ageing, light and nib widths are the culprits of these wonderful inconsistencies. Old inks die hard.

"Carnation" written with George Hughes Million Pen and William Mitchell 3/4 Script Pen

"Carnation" written with Geo.Hughes Million Pen; William Mitchell 3/4 script pen; Esterbrook relief pen

Carnation ink starts almost black and dries deep purple.

The label at the back

"Old carnations smell of tannin..."

Watch the hints of pink carnation..

But here it's dark purple

The iconic Waterman ink bottle designed by Ted Piazzoli
 Read a Waterman's Carnation Ink review at the Fountain Pen Network by ToasterPastry.

More Waterman inks of old:

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Stabilo S Move or the Basketball Pen

A fan of basketball I am not but I cannot resist Stabilo’s iconic “basketball” pen, the s move elastic writer. What a departure from the obvious: the ’s move pen has a bright orange shaft with a rubberised “basketball” surface and a cap that emulates a basketball net. The tip bounces when pressed down (the cushioned tip is apparently patented) adding to the basketball theme and making for an interesting writing experience. It produces a 0.7 mm line and the ink is erasable though I’ve never tried to put this statement to the test. Stabilo’s s move is not one of the best fineliners I’ve ever written with. Some of the s moves I’ve purchased in the past have dried out more quickly than expected; the tip is satisfactory but not as smooth as other fineliners' and at certain angles it simply cannot write. Yet when I find the s move bouncing all bright and orange in front of my eyes in the stationery shop I have to have it. It’s a good companion to carry around in one’s satchel. It puts a smile on my face every time.

Stabilo s move's cushioned tip bounces up and down.

Stabilo s move's rubberised surface and basketball net-like cap

The "basketball pen" has M (for move) embossed on its shaft.
The rubberised surface can get a bit dirty with use - just like a basketball.

At certain angles the tip cannot write.

Love the ergonomic design and the orangeness (is this even a word?)
0.7 mm line - too thick for some but I like my lines to have some substance
Not as widely available in shops as you would expect.
Find it online in
Tiger Pens

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Waterman Red Ink of old

Has the old Waterman's Red ink been altered by the ravages of time? As the other inks in the Waterman series it has been produced in the early years of the 20th century and like them it seems to have withstood the test of time. Do not expect a traditional shade though. The ink that comes out of the old bottle is a popping Coral Red. It flows beautifully out of the J pen nib and dries a solid colour with no discernible shading. Stunning.

A glimmering W on Clairefontaine paper: the still wet ink catches the light. 
The old Waterman's ink bottle with its paper label. 
Some ink has dripped on it in the past and has dried pink.

The "e" pops out of the Clairefontaine paper full of coral red ink.  The "R" is black-red: my nib hasn't been wiped clean and still contained some Montblanc Mystery Black ink.

Stunning solid coral red shade

Waterman's Red ink swab

This Waterman's Red ink comes from L.G. Sloan Ltd "The Pen Corner", 41 Kingsway, London WC2.
More Waterman inks:
Washable Blue