When Papier Plume sent me the newest edition to their New Orleans Collection of ink, Iron Lace ($10 for 30ml bottle), (“a not-so-basic black”, it says on the bottle), they included a note that it was a “subversive black alternative”. Yes, please.
Like all Papier Plume inks, the bottle is topped with the melted red wax and their fleur de lis stamp. The bottle is printed with graphics that represent the iron fences seen throughout New Orleans.
Papier Plume clearly decided that black was a little too humdrum so they decided to spice it up, like everything in New Orleans. They found their inspiration in their surroundings, the iron work fences that are so prevalent in New Orleans. Iron Lace lives up to its reputation as a black with a distinct green undertone like the black fences hint at the underlying metal or the moss and lichen that grow upon it.
Iron Lace is not so dark as to be a blackout black. It has some shading to it which gives it a lot of character. It’s not quite a grey ink but it’s not black-black. It’s a wonderful in-between.
I found some unusual inks to use for comparison with Iron Lace — some are grey but others are inks that fall into that “in-between” space. I would say that Robert Oster Graphite is probably the closest in color to Iron Lace though I don’t think it has quite as much shading. Penlux Charcoal is also similar but it is a little warmer in hue and doesn’t shade much either. Diamine Graphite is the same cool tone but is darker I think. Colorverse Vortex Motion is just an oddball being neither grey, nor blue, nor black, nor purple, nor green. Colorverse Anti-Matter is a purply grey-black and Kobe #46 is a bluish grey, almost black. These just show a range of not-so-black blacks.
(Shown above, top to bottom: Kobe #46, Colorverse Anti-Matter, Penlux Charcoal, Diamine Graphite, Colorverse Vortex Motion, Papier Plume Iron Lace and Robert Oster Graphite)
I had fun playing with the ink a little bit using a pipette. It feels appropriately fall-ish and ready for Halloween. In a wider nib pen, you are likely to some of the range of hues seen here. This makes Iron Lace entirely work appropriate while still being a little fun, a little… subversive.
Go ahead, break the rules… use a not-so-black black. I won’t tell.
- Paper: Rhodia Uni-Blank No. 16 with 6mm guide sheet
- Pens: Tachikawa dip nib holder ($7.75) with Zebra G titanium nib ($33.50 per 10-pack), Acrylic dip nib pen (Approx. $15), Folded Nib ($44.85USD)
- Swatches: Col-o-Ring Ink Testing Book ($10) & Col-o-dex Rotary Cards ($15)
- Ink: Papier Plume Iron Lace (New Orleans Collection) ($10 for 30ml bottle)