Laura’s St. Louis Pen Show Recap

This past weekend I was delighted to attend the St. Louis Pen Show. I attended the inaugural show there in 2018, and hadn’t been back since. There was the pandemic, and then the last two years I had travel conflicts. Actually, this was the first pen show I’ve been back to since the pandemic!

The St. Louis Pen Show is our closest “local” pen show. It’s about a 3.5-4 hours drive from my house. If you haven’t been, it’s a good small to mid-sized show. It has a nice variety of vendors, the hotel is lovely (and well air-conditioned –  a must during midwest summers!) and overall, it’s a fun event. This year I didn’t go specifically to work for a vendor. I tagged along with Ana and helped out a little bit in the Dromgoole’s booth, but primarily went as a visitor which means I got to take advantage of fun things like taking classes, socializing, and browsing the vendor tables leisurely. I ran into an old friend who I hadn’t seen in at least 10 years, and we got lunch while catching up and chatting about our purchases. It truly was a lovely weekend.

Today’s post will be about a few new vendors I found at the show and, of course, the spoils. Tune in next week to hear more about the class I took and how it relates to my journaling for the year!

So I drove over to St. Louis late Friday afternoon, which means I missed the first day of the show. I heard it was busy on Friday, and full of the die-hard pen fans. Saturday is normally a busier day, but also with more varied visitors. There were lots of folks new to fountain pens, as well as some experts! Saturday morning I started browsing as the show opened. I didn’t go with a specific budget, or list of purchases in mind. I had one pen I would have bought if I saw one there, but I didn’t. However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t shop. But first, a few new vendors I saw and loved.

I was entranced by the No Junk Mail Club starter kit from the Kabine, a “curated slow stationery package via sloth mail.” The adorable elephant is Lucy Letterwriter, and the club includes a few packages a year, giving you supplies to fill your friends’ mailboxes with real mail rather than junk mail and bills! The Kabine is a tiny shop inspired by travel and design, and has products from Japan, Europe and other stationery-loving places around the world.

At most shows, you find new-to-you makers who turn pens themselves. I was particularly impressed with Specialty Turned Designs, with all the interesting pens of Michael Hughes. My favorites were the Whisky Collection (above) and the geometric wood turned pens (below), but he had several tables of pens made from ephemera and collectibles in all sorts of genres (sports, historical – with real bits of historical items!, nature, music, special occasion and more). His card indicates a lifetime warranty on his one of a kind pens, and also suggests lessons are available!

The wand, and fountain pen, choose the wizard!

Timothy Wyitt Carlile, Wandmaker and Penturner, created a stir in his booth each day! He had a variety of magic wands, combination wand+pen (both fountain and rollerball), aged paper, free writing prompts, and more!

Travelers Company and Plotter aren’t new to me, but I’d never visited a show that they attended so of course I had to get some fun stamps!

Of course an essential part of any pen show is purchasing things from my a variety of makers! Some of these items will be the subject of further reviews, but here’s a few of the spoils:

  • A journaling kit from my class with Tom from Sugar Turtle Studio
  • An analog leaning stand from Keith from RandomThinks (hello better photos – I hope!)
  • Wearingul Robinson Crusoe ink from Dromgoole’s (which matches my new pen!)
  • A Sailor show special: the Line Friends collaboration in Sally the Duck
  • Perhaps my favorite purchase, a turquoise sparkly pen that matches my nails and a turquoise nib (more photos coming soon) from Hinze Pens
  • Not pictured: new notebooks from Notegeist and stickers and pins from Inky Converters

The true mark of any good pen show, aside from a wicked Monday “pen show hangover,” is a lack of photos with friends because we were having too much fun chatting, swapping pens and enjoying each other’s company. So here’s a photo of Ana and I, sweaty and tired, late Sunday afternoon, after we finished packing up the Dromgoole’s booth!

Until next year, St. Louis!

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2 comments / Add your comment below

  1. It looks like you had a very successful show, Laura! And I can’t wait to hear about your class with Tom. You brought home some great loot, especially the sparkly pen!


  2. Can’t wait to hear all about the journaling class. I really wanted to go to it, but I couldn’t stay late enough for Friday evening’s class and had other plans already on Saturday. I kind of regret not buying a mini wand.

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