I got to spend the final day of the SF Pen Show being a legitimate visitor, shopper and participant which was a pleasure. I was able to wake up a little later than usual, chat with friends and visit with vendors and sellers. Several of us were a little hung over too so a slow start was nice. Shhh… can everyone talk a little quieter? Thanks. Those Aurora pens are so lovely in the morning light of the atrium.
The best thing about shopping on a Sunday is that the pace is slower. Most vendors made their money on Saturday so there’s a genuine feeling of relief on Sunday. If they make money on Sunday that’s great but the busiest part is over and Sunday is gravy. For shoppers, its not as crowded and most folks are making their second, third or 12th pass over the tables seeing if they missed something or if something they saw earlier in the weekend is still there. Or if maybe a vintage seller might be willing to make a deal on Sunday if its still there. Sometimes they will, sometimes they won’t. And sometimes its a chance to try a new style or type of pen because sellers are not as busy and have more time to talk through a filling system or brand of pen you might not be as familiar with.
I like Sundays at shows. Its a more familial environment by that time as everyone starts to recognize each other but there’s a bit of melancholy too as you know it will all be ending soon and it will be time to pack it all up and go home.
And then you get goofy, fun moments like this and they remind me why I love pen shows and pen people so much. I got expressions like this from lots of people, I just didn’t have my camera out for them. Who loves ink and pens? WE DO!
Even on Sunday, the ink testing station was still busy and pens still had ink. There were some folks who were disappointed that not all inks were available for sale at the show but I think it was hard for the organizers to know which inks were limited edition, discontinued and be able to provide a list to vendors to be able to cross reference. The whole thing is pretty epic. Any way you slice it, the chance to try all those inks, discontinued, rare or easily available is awesome and worth the price of admission right there. I know how much work it was to clean and fill all those pens and I tip my hat to the folks who put in nights and weeks to filling all 600+.
I loved seeing this tray of Peter Pan fountain pens. The vintage dealer selling them kindly let me rearrange his display to put a Pelikan in the middle for scale for my photograph. Pretty amazing, huh? And most of them had flexible 14K nibs too. Swoon.
Once again, Mr. Michael Sull was amazing. Kind, generous, dapper and epically talented. Watching him work is mesmerizing. Like those ice skaters who spin and jump so effortlessly, he makes Spencerian look so easy and effortless. Then I pick up a pen and I feel like I’m all thumbs — or toes or something.
I met Greg Weddig who got a wild hair to make his own iron gall ink because he found oak galls on the trees near his house. I had no idea that galls were things that grew on trees but I’ll go into more details when I write a more detailed review about the ink. How cool is this?!? Its dip pen ink only but Michael Sull has taken a shining to it so, of course, I had to buy a bottle. I’m hoping it will imbue some Sull Spencerian magic on me. Think it will work?
In the afternoon, Amanda McKay hosted a letter writing social which she called the “anti-social social” as we all settled in to quiet contemplation with our paper and pens and envelopes. Amanda provided lovely stationery, postcards and envelopes plus stickers, hand cut rubber stamps and stamp pads for folks to use. She even had a pile of pens so you really didn’t need to bring anything but your address book.
It was a lovely break in the day, dotted with occasional conversation and pen, ink and tool swapping, and I hope that it is an event that will be added to the dockets of other pen shows.
After the social, there was just an hour of shopping time left before the boxes and crates came out and the vendors had to pack everything back up and load up the vans and head home. I wrapped up my ridiculous quantities of ink and crossed my fingers hoping that Southwest Airlines will deliver them to KC without any damage. Cross your fingers for me too because I finally got a bottle of KWZ Honey and I want to review it this week. You want that too, right? Collective finger crossing starts now!
Boarding my plane in ten minutes and will be back to real life soon. Miss all the folks I met in SF already and I look forward to chatting with everyone online — both those who didn’t get to a show yet and those I’ve met this year.