Are You a Member of the Elite Flock?

by Renee Palting (SAzPC Media Volunteer)

There are a few of us that own more than one fountain pen.  Some of us have collected a fountain pen for every mood, occasion, and whim.  I’ll be honest my fountain pen collection is an eclectic representation of a sweet tooth I have for this type of eye candy.  It’s easy to go over-board with pens and it can be just as easy to collect a full spectrum ink for your pens.

Now I realize some fountain pen aficionados simplify their life by only using one color of ink by one maker.  This brotherhood is what I would consider an elite flock.  Chances are that color is black, not blue-black, but black- just plain black.  So, this may never be an obstacle for anyone in that flock... but for the rest, how do you inventory all your ink samples and ink bottles?

Truthfully, my lust for liquid color was very gradual at first.  I discovered the joy of sampling inks at my first Pelikan Hub Party held by SAzPC this past October.  I can still remember Lisa saying, “there’s more than a few samples of ink waiting to go home- try and take.”  So, I did. I immediately became addicted.  One of the benefits of being a club member is getting free ink samples at the meetings.  Between the club, and a vast number of internet stores, I have curated a good size collection. Between bottles and samples, I must have over 200 colors of ink. I know many of you are saying, “pfff… is that all?”  Thankfully, most are only 2 to 3ml of ink.  The problem I encounter is how do you know what the ink truly looks like and how does it perform. 

At the Pelikan Party, a club member had graciously given me his raffle win (another member benefit- raffle prizes) of a Col-O-Ring Ink Testing Book.  He explained to use a dip pen to use with the inks and sample them onto a page of the book.  I felt like I had won the lottery-  paper, and ink.   What I later discovered was the Col-O-Ring is a popular tool to utilize to catalog an ink collection.  The book is a small and portable.  It is fairly inexpensive at $10.  The concept of sampling your ink on an individual page and being able to organize the book because the pages are held by a ring that opens and closes.  – CLEVER.  Until recently, I thought that was the only solution.  When it came time to acquire another book, I discovered they were missing in action.  Every store I turned to had an “Out of Stock” message.  I later learned the shortage of books may be related to the pending release of the NEW Col-O-Ring Rolodex system.  This shortage made me wonder by what other means can you curate your ink collection, and this is what I discovered.

In my search for another alternative, I started to ask graphic artists how they would curate ink. What was unanimous was to test the ink on the paper most likely to be used. Ink will look different pending the paper and the paper color.  Unanimously, all agreed that testing ink should not be done on white paper. White itself is a color and changes the perception of the ink color.  Off-white or light crème colored paper is a better choice.  But if you use white paper, do so with your ink testing.  Also, utilize the ink as you normally would.  So, if you typically drop ink onto paper and then spread it with a super wide nib… continue to do so to see how the ink performs under your conditions. A blotch of ink is good to use to compare to another blotch of ink. Otherwise, use your preferred size nib to see how the ink performs under your hand pressure.  The variance of stroke is a variance of color.  I have a heavy stroke, and most inks only appear to have dark hue under my pressure.  

With all that in mind, I discovered these possibilities for paper solutions:

If I want to keep the same concept of small business size cards on a ring, these are some options:

RingInkCardsOptions.jpg

Item

Size

Paper WT

Paper Color

# of Pages

Col-O-Ring Ink Testing Book

2” x 4”

160
gsm

Bright, natural white

100

Raymay Card Memo on Ring

2.6” x 4.1”

2.1” x 3.5”        

1.4” x 3.5”

127.9
gsm

Ivory

100

Life Index Cards

3” x 4.9”

125
gsm

white

100

 

InkJournal.jpgIf I want a book style solution, I can try the Ink Journal.  It is an 80-page paperback book small enough to carry around (8.5” x 5.5”). The paper is a good 80# weight making it nice to use with a fountain pen.  If I am hoping for a no-think solution this is probably it.  If I fill out the pages as designed, I will have a very organized solution to cataloging ink.  Here’s a video you to check out if you want to learn more.   The InkJournal offers other solutions as well.  

There is also the option of small Tomoe River notebooks.  They come in a variety of sizes. 

item

Size

Paper WT

Paper Color

# of Pages

Swatchbook

3.3” x 4”

52gsm

Tomoe River White

60

Pocket Tomoe

3.5 x 5.25

52gsm

Tomoe River White

60

InkJournal3.jpg

Of course, I could always use a Rhodia pad or notebook.  They come in a variety of sizes, including small pocket size.   Rhodia paper is 80gsm, acid-free vellum paper- great for fountain pen ink. Rhodia paper is found just about everywhere including Amazon. 

The more I looked, the more possibilities I found. Endless possibilities to meet the countless ink colors. I started to question what was the purpose of having such a vast variety of inks? I could also ask myself why have more than one fountain pen?  But I don’t want to answer those questions.  For now, I’ve decided to increase my correspondence writing to actually see the ink in action in a natural use scenario, and then decide if it’s worth cataloging and buying more. Who knows? Maybe, in the end, I’ll be a member of the elite flock.

See you at the next Southern Az Pen Club meeting! 

 

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