Fashionable Friday: The Pen Show Edition


In preparation for the Atlanta Pen Show, I thought it might be fun to put together some great (maybe a little “dreamy”) things to have on hand with you should you venture out to the Atlanta Pen Show, or any pen show.

In your kit, you’ll want to have a notebook with paper you love to test inks and pens. This will give you a personal record to take home with you of what you tested as well as tangible memories. Last year, I filled an entire Midori Traveler’s Notebook insert with pen tests I borrowed and tried from people I met at the show. Its one of my most treasured memories from the show as well as a great resource of pen nib grinds and ink colors. I recommend picking a brand of notebook with good quality paper, no larger than an A5 with a stiff cover so that you can write in a confined space quickly and easily. If you’ll be spending more than a day at a pen show, you’ll be surprised how quickly the page will fill up.

I’ll be packing my planner which has all the schedules of events, a list of contacts and all my reservations, flights and assorted information as well. I can store any business cards or additional paperwork in my planner too to keep it all organized.

You might want to pack a small bottle of your favorite ink. Should you decide to buy a new pen, you may want to fill it up with an ink you know, love and trust.

Alternately, you may want to pack a favorite pen with you should you find that rare, unique ink you’ve been lusting after. Pack the pen clean and empty so its ready to be filled. I recommend your favorite demonstrator to show that new ink to its best. And a trusty, favorite pen to take notes like a Lamy 2000 Multi-system ballpoint.

Of course, you’ll need a carrying case for your pens, both those you want to bring and share and those you may purchase. Depending on how streamlined you’d like your kit to be you might choose a small NockCo case (starting at $12 from NockCo) or large leather zip that can hold 12-pens (starting at $40 from Anderson Pens)

Don’t forget your pack your business cards or calling cards. You’ll be meeting people and will want to be able to swap contact info. Make sure you have a spiffy case for them too.

And finally, you’ll need a bag to carry it all. I recommend a crossbody bag over a backpack as it is easier to access contents and less likely to wipe out a table or other people because you were unaware of the added volume of your turtle shell. I look for lightweight fabrics over leather or canvas for events like this since you’ll be schlepping your bag all day. I’ll be carrying my Kipling Cadie ($109 from Kipling USA) which has both shoulder straps and a crossbody strap so I can switch configurations as needed for comfort.

  • Fabriano Venezia Art Books 6″ x 9″ $14.37 (via Cheap Joe’s)
  • Diamine 150th Anniversary Ink in Carnival (40ml Bottle) $15 (via Anderson Pens)
  • Mophie Powerstation Reserve in (red) $34.95 (via Mophie)
  • Platinum 3776 Demonstrator Fountain Pen $162 (via Pen Chalet)
  • Visconti Traveling Inkpot $70 (via Anderson Pens)
  • Penco Large Silver Clampy Clip $3.50 (via Fresh Stock Japan)
  • Acme Business Card Case in Charles & Ray Eames Dots $39 (via Goldspot Pens)
  • Nomadic PF-03 Carbonium Pen Case C in Black $20.50 (via JetPens)
  • Filofax Finsbury Personal Organizer in red $70.65 (via Pen Boutique)
  • Lamy 2000 multisystem ballpoint pen €69 (via Fontoplumo)
  • Cadie Satchel $109 (via Kipling USA)
  • Altoids Approx. $1.99 per tin at your local convenience store
  • iPhone or other communication/picture-taking device, prices vary depending on carrier and contract
  • Kurochiku Japanese Pattern Small Eco-Bag in Hanagatami Tsubaki (Flower Basket Camellia) Print $9.50 (via JetPens)
  • Pilot Iroshizuku Take-sumi Ink (Bamboo Charcoal) (15 ml Bottle) $14 (via JetPens)

What you don’t need to pack:

  • a fishing vest (unless you plan on going fishing)
  • every pen you own
  • all your inks

Happy Pen Show! Hope to see you all there!

Written by

2 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Richard Binder recommends taking a loupe which might come in handy to check nibs on vintage pens. For those worried about overspending, leave credit cards at home or hard to get to, and take cash.

    Great ideas about taking a clean pen and favorite ink, plus a notebook with good paper you already know and use.

    The one pen show I attended (Chicago), I didn’t think to take photos. Goal one was to find Edison Pens to get a Menlo. I had cash for that but violated the spending limit when we found a vintage Postal Pen.

  2. OH darn. I was going to get out my “shoot me first” vest and put a Penaddict patch on it for Atlanta this year.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.