Atlanta Pen Show Haul Mini Reviews

I had a great show in Atlanta this year and though I didn’t really have a budget to spend going in I did have a well thought out list of things to see. I saw most of them and changed my mind on quite a few. They just didn’t speak to me and I don’t buy stuff for the sake of ownership and checking off a list. In the end I am happy with my haul.

My social acumen was better this year. I know a lot of people talk about this phenomenon, or borderline fear, but I have never had one bad experience interacting with other pen people at shows. Granted not every conversation takes off into an all night gab fast but we’re all different. I’m hoping I continue to mature in this area with the more shows I’m able to attend. This year I met some new friends and connected with others I only get to see in person at pen shows.  I was very fortunate to score a late Saturday spot for nib work by the great Mark Bacas @nibgrinder.  He does incredible work and I have a better writer because of it. Thanks Mark as always.  My only regret from the whole show is missing my good friend @gentlemenstationer. We were even in the same room together, how do we do this GS?. The loss was mine.

Below is my haul from a couple of hours on Friday and a full day on Saturday. I missed Sunday due to travel home but my wallet protested when I tried to delay departure and sneak one more round of the show floor in.  I plan to do full reviews of a some of these new treasures in the future but until then here are my first impressions:

Franklin-Christoph Notebook Covers – Starting at the top left I picked up two fabric notebook holders from Franklin Christoph. Always love their stuff and these are a nice break for me from my usual leather products. I got the pocket notebook cover and an A5 journal cover, both in Linen Brown Fabric. Also got a set of the pocket notebooks and the A5 notebook itself has a nice cover that might be a shame to cover up.

Robert Oster Fire & Ice – This is my first Robert Oster ink and I had a bit of FOMO when I saw a bottle of it. I like the blue hue and with the broad nib on the right paper the ICE portion does pop out.

Akkermann # 28 Green Ink – I have a green ink l really like but Brad and Mike talk about #28 so much that I had to try it.   This does rank as the prettiest ink bottle I have ever seen though. I so much want to put it on display.

Pelikan Edelstein Smoky Quartz – Late last year I sold my one partial bottle of brown ink, Caran D’ Ache Grand Canyon.  I loved the color but the small bottle made it such a pain to refill the larger size pens that I prefer.  I never replaced it so I set out at this show to get another brown ink. The Pelikan Edelstein Smoky Quartz landed in show bag. In hindsight I think I was more enamored with it’s status as ink of the year and there was probably something else that would have worked for less money.  Lesson learned but it’s still a very nice color and well behaved ink.

Diamine Cocoa Shimmer – I have a lot of Diamine ink and the brand has never disappointed me so I had to get their version of the glittery en-sparkled ink.  Andersons Pens had a good selection and I landed on the Cocoa Shimmer. It needs the right paper to really see it’s shimmer but when you do it’s really something. I have read different reports on what this glittery stuff will do to your pen but I will watch it closely and flush soon just in case.

Col-O-Ring – I have tracked my ink samples on index cards for several years now. I always knew the big box stores’ index cards would not perfectly depict the ink color but it has worked for comparing two similar shades.  The Col-O-Ring is a bunch of small very fountain pen friendly cards held together with a ring. I’ve only been back from Atlanta for a couple of days and I have had a lot of fun opening up all my inks and spilling big blotches on Ana’s creation. Ana Reichert of Well Appointed Desk may not have invented the idea but she did perfect it with her version.

Story Supply Pocket Notebooks – I love love love what Vito and Gabe are doing with their company, giving back to kids. Read about their goals here.  I’m always on the hunt for new pocket notebooks with fountain pen friendly paper. My quick test filling up a page says these are a home run.

Nock Co Dot Dash cards – I originally bought some of the Dot Dash index size cards to really support Nock. With the pack sitting on my desk I found myself using them for more and more little tasks until now I’m hooked on them.  I got a refill of the 3 x 5 size and picked up the new business card petite size.  I plan to use the business card size for making notes to put in the boxes of stuff I buy that shows when, where and how much for the item.

Ryan Krusac Legend #16 Fountain Pen – I wanted an all wood pen and I got a beautiful all wood pen. Ryan’s a cool guy, a talented artist and was a joy to talk with and deal with. He has several models in a variety of wood species. I liked the 16 mm diameter version of his new Legend series.  He has a slightly smaller 14 mm diameter model as well.

Kanilea Pen Company – In a short couple of years Hugh and Carol have really made an impact on the custom pen market and our community.  Their designs, company focus, packaging, conversational exchanges and everything about them carries a Hawaiian vibe.  This was a purchase I was on the fence on, for me the price of entry was stiff for an unknown brand, again, unknown to me. I read many positive reviews on their product and everyone said go see it in person.  I went to see them as my first stop when I got to the show on Friday. Hoping for the best  selection.  I can confirm the best photography cannot prepare you for what you experience in person. Within 30 seconds I fell off the aforementioned fence and knew I was going home with one. The harder part was picking which one.  Especially as they sold two others while I was standing there!  The model that took me awhile to decide on was the Kilauea.  It’s a stunning orange, grey and red swirls. Everyone I have show in to loves it and by mid Saturday all the Kilaueas they brought had been sold. I scored!

Carolina Pen Company – The now famous Jonathon Brooks @brooks_803 creates some of the most beautiful and creative use of color in resin pen blanks available today. So much so that several other custom pen manufacturers use the blank resins that Jonathon makes. He is also a very accomplished pen maker himself. I got a Charleston model fountain pen in a beautiful off-white color with some grey swirls and gold specks that you can see when you spin the pen. A very interesting finish. Jonathon also gets credit for the best line at the whole show “I own lots of women’s makeup”.  It brought the house down at the live Pen Addict podcasts.  He was referring to how he gets much of the color into his pen blank creations but you can imagine the context of the comment.

Wrap up

I brought home more than I expected to. I will need a better plan for DC or restrict my visit to fly in grab what I can in 15 minutes, hug Brad and leave.  I already look forward to next year and I might even do the weekend trader pass!  If you have a show in your area or have the means to get to one I encourage you to make all efforts to go. If you’re not a big social person that’s ok, you WILL still enjoy the show. If you like chatting with other pen nerds, count on learning something and gaining new friends in this wonderful community.

The links above are for reference only. I tried to link to the product and dealer that I bought from at the show. I would purchase from all of them again but there is no affiliation other than that. Pricing should not be assumed the lowest available.

Remember: Write something nice……

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Are You Going To The Atlanta Pen Show

Atlanta Pen Show Apr 21-23, 2017Is it too early to start planning for the Atlanta Pen Show ? I think not. I keep telling myself I want to make it to DC and Atlanta this year but so far Atlanta is the only sure bet. I’m getting a little better at the whole pen show social aspect after 2 years. That hesitation is totally on me, everyone at the show has always been super nice and friendly.

Atlanta Pen Show

April 21-23, 2017
Wyndham Atlanta Galleria
www.atlantapenshow.com

I have not done a lot of research so far but a growing list of what I want to see has emerged:

Ink

I’ll end up with one of these shimmering, shading, flakes of gold ink at the show. Not sure which one but my interest is up:

  • Diamine Shimmering Red Lustre – I like variations of red and Diamine has always performed well for me as a brand.
  • Robert Oster Fire & Ice – I will be surprised if I find any of this available. I think it’s been very popular
  • A new brown ink – this will be my first attempt at shopping by swatch as I have no brand allegiance or ideas.
  • J Herbin Emerald of Chivor – I know I’m months and months late to the game on this one but if it’s still available it may be this one or the Robert Oster
  • Akermann #28 Green – I have a green I really like but it seems like I hear about this one every week on the Pen Addict podcast so I’m going to give it a try.

Pens

  • Anything in real wood – Since making my first fountain pen out of a pen kit and some old barn wood I just love the feel of the wood in my hand. I also have a Faber Castell Ondoro in real wood and it’s equally soothing in hand. I’m gunning for your table Ryan Krusac.
  • Aurora Optima – I don’t own an Aurora and I’ve heard good things about them. This will definitely be a try before I buy as I have only seen them in print.
  • Sailor Pro Gear – See Akermann #28 above
  • Pilot Namiki Stella 90 – This has been on my list for a long time and honestly I don’t remember why. Maybe if I actually find one and see it in person I will remember why.
  • Kanilea Pen Company – I’m on the fence on this one. Beautiful pieces but it’s on the high side of my price point so it will really have to speak loud to me in person.
  • Scriptorium – I love working with small makers and support them when I can. I have seen some of their work and it’s very nice.
  • Faber-Castell Special Edition Pure Black e-Motion – I love everything I have of Faber-Castell. Plus every one of them have been perfect writers right out of the box. Their styles can be unconventional but their quality always rings my bell.

The links above are for reference only. I have purchased from the dealers referenced and will purchase from them again but there is no affiliation other than that. Pricing should not be assumed the lowest available.

So there I have it, If I get one of each I will come home broke and probably on a bus so the hunting and deciding should be fun.

Would love to hear any recommendations you have for me on the above or what your plans are for The Atlanta Pen Show or other shows this year?

Remember: Write something nice……

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Atlanta Pen Show Recap

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The clothes washer is full, car needs an oil change and my bank account is flying a bit leaner. Yep, the Atlanta Pen show is over. This was the second year that I dragged my wonderful wife up with me and though we were more prepared than last year we didn’t get bogged down with following any sort of script. If you went I hope I didn’t scoop any pens out from under you. If you didn’t go and have resources or distance advantage to go to another show I can’t recommend it enough. Here is our experience from a great trip.

Our drive up Friday from Tampa was uneventful and our only stops were lunch and the Going Gear shop that was about 6 miles from the hotel. I have shopped with them online for a while and if you’re into other pocket toys such as flashlights and pocket knives they are definitely worth a stop while in the area. Their flashlight display is the best I have ever seen in person. Hotel check in was fine and Longhorn served us a great steak for dinner.

We started off Saturday morning across the street at the golden arches because the Waffle House was still full of PenAddict Posse passed out from too much ink on their pancakes and pulling an all-nighter, sorry we missed it.

Name tags are great, we spotted Lisa Vanness in line so we tried out this community thing and I walked up and bought her teams’ breakfast. She was a little taken back but then I explained my motivations and it was like we were old friends. Granted it wasn’t a big spend for me but the payback to me and my wife was far greater than the credit card receipt. And yes I bought a pen from her later!

Back to the hotel and we got downstairs around 9:45 where the show was already alive and they let us in a bit early. My first task was to find Shawn Newton before he sold out of everything. We spotted him in room 1 and I think I pulled my wife’s arm slightly out of joint with the nudge. Shawn was a real joy to speak with. He had a good selection left and I walked away with a beautiful yellow and black swirl Shinobi. It’s bigger overall than I expected but what a great writer and I’m a big pen guy. Shawn swapped in a broad nib for me which is perfectly tuned.

From there we started a tour of the tables just to get a feel for whole show. Rounding turn 3 at a trot Crazy Alan’s Emporium hit me up for one of the new 2016 LE Lilac Safari. I bit and Alan dropped in a broad nib for me. Nice $30 writer that I’m very pleased with.

After a couple of rounds I decided on a Franklin-Christoph. I sat down at the table to try some of the more creative nibs and ended up as plain as my wardrobe with a broad. I chose a model 2 with the ice frost finish and a red cap. Jim polished up the broad very smooth for me and even let me pick the color ink. Great experience and a supreme writer.

Now it was on to the Vanness table where Lisa fixed me up with a Sheaffer NOS pen with what she called a sharpie broad. I don’t even know the model of the pen but it is FUN to write with.

At the Nock table it was great to chat with Brad, Jeff, Myke and Ana over multiple passes throughout the day. They got stamina. I picked up a variety of Nock goodies, most everything I that I didn’t have already. Still don’t know what I should do with the key dangler but hey I got one!

We’re old so after lunch it was a short power nap then tried a local seafood restaurant that had good reviews but with waits reaching an hour at 4:30 pm we passed and found a burger joint.

Closing out the day we sat and listened to the PenAddict podcast live from the hotel room. My timing was a bit off to catch a seat in the live audience but that sounded like fun.

Sunday morning we hit the road about 8:30 in the morning and 7 ½ hours later rolled into our driveway in Florida. Good safe trip.

I’m an introvert when he comes to crowds. I don’t mind crowds but it’s hard for me to just walk up and talk to people. This show, and probably the pen community as a whole, helps me get past that. Everyone I talked too was so friendly, dealers, vintage, new, custom makers, it didn’t matter. Shout out to my friend Joe, The Definitive Gentleman Stationery. So happy to have crossed paths with him and chat a few.

We are considering the DC show this year but for sure next year Atlanta will be a do not miss for us.

I would love to hear about your time at Atlanta or any pen show. Any questions that I can answer for you as a show newbie myself I would be glad to answer and help you get to your first show.

Remember: Write something nice……

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Atlanta Pen Show

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Hotel is booked, gas in the car, ATM is cleaned out and I am ready for the Atlanta Pen Show.  Atlanta 2015 was my first pen show. I was overwhelmed with the choices and had absolutely no plan. I had a great time and did come home with a couple of goodies though my big purchase failed to hold my love but that’s for another blog post and a for sale thread. I’m hoping to avoid a similar buyer’s remorse this year by utilizing some sort of plan.

This year I assembled a loose list of the pens that have been on my want list, some for over a year, but I haven’t pulled the trigger on. I won’t come home with everything but I hope my list helps me prevent at least some of the aimless wandering.

My grocery list:

Aurora Optima

I have never owned an Aurora and would like to see one in person.

Faber-Castell Black e-Motion

I have fallen in love with every Faber-Castell I have ever purchased and the nibs have never required any tuning. I just want another FC broad.

Franklin-Christoph

They have an impressive booth and I hear great things about their products. I hope I can get close enough to their pens to try a few out and add one to my arsenal.

Delta Dolce Vita Oversize (Converter)

I want a Dolce Vita as my next BIG size pen. I am confused by the models and that is probably what’s prevented me from buying one online. I want a piston filler but all my research says the official OVERSIZE model is converter only.

Delta Dolce Vita Piston

Repeat…it will only be one or the other.

Delta Serena

I have not owned a Delta pen before so if I bomb on the Dolce Vita this may be a stand in.

Pilot Namiki Stella 90s

I just love the style and looks but in person it will have to jump out and speak to me.

Shawn Newton

I hear so much about Shawn’s work and see his beautiful creations online, plus what Shawn gives back to the community is inspiring. Picking all the options online is just overwhelming to me so I’m hoping he has a few pre-made models available.

Scriptorium

I have heard great things about their pens so hoping I can see them in person and meet the folks behind the instruments.

Bexley Gaston Angel

I love the look, uniqueness and limited run. What may change my mind in person is the length. It only holds a cartridge and reportedly not large enough for a converter.

Conclusion

So that’s it, nothing super rare and nothing I just absolutely can’t write without. I would love to hear about your approach on shopping the pen shows and if you have a list for Atlanta.

If you go, enjoy, travel safe and I hope we can shake hands.

Remember: Write something nice……

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