Posts tagged ‘J Herbin’

November 24, 2010

Inky pleasures

I’m quite new to fountain pens, although my first foray into the world of nibs and flowing ink was when I was quite young (maybe seven at the oldest), wielding my uncle’s fountain pen to draw cockroaches in brown ink.

(For the record, I hate and always hated cockroaches. But I have a strange tendency to dwell on things that horrify me.  Like knives and blood. Most people avoid their phobias and fears; I stare at them with unconcealed horror and fascination. Go figure.)

I’ve always loved stationery, and a great deal of my high school life was spent hunting after the perfect ballpoint pen. I have tried every cheapie that Officeworks and Big W has to offer. I really have. I have also tried mid-range ballpoint pens from Parker, Waterman and that Spanish brand that Myer stocks that I can’t recall at the moment. The best, by the by, is the Parker Jotter by a long mile, unless you want a lightweight pen (Jotters are a bit hefty at times), and then it’s difficult to pass by  a Pilot BPS-GP with a fine point. The Pilot BPS-GP also has a removable metal pen-cap thingy that holds the pen together…

 

That Thing. And the most important thing about That Thing is that, with practice and a bit of patience, you can spin it off the body of your pen and make it spin around the table like a little silver top. Priceless hours of class entertainment, I assure you.

The thing about ballpoints is that a ballpoint pen is only as good as its refill. And once you’ve found your ideal refill (Parker ftw!), your mission has basically ended. (Though I haven’t tried Lamy, but I don’t like the shape of their pens.)

Not so with the fountain pen, which is a finicky little brat. The nib has to get along with the ink which has to get along with the paper, or else all you get is this blurry mess of once-legible writing. And nibs change, even in the same manufacturer (and in the same pen line), which makes every pen purchase a bit of an adventure.

I’ve found that my inks tend to agree best with my Parker Sonnet, which has a nib that’s wide enough to bring out the character in inks but isn’t so broad that my writing turns (too) illegible. (I have a photo of my pen on my About page, if you’re curious.)

 

My obsession with ink started with one particular colour: J Herbin’s ‘1670 edition anniversaire’, which is a glorious blood red ink commemorating 340 years of making ink and other awesome stationery. It was, of course, limited edition and I discovered it, of course, a few months after it had been released and snapped up by ink-lovers all over the globe.

And then one day, I saw it on Inscriber, which is (without a doubt) the best online stockist of awesome stationery. And it was sold out.

Story of my life.

(Not really, I just felt very sorry for myself because I’m a bit of a brat.)

But I asked them to notify me when the product was in stock (none too hopefully for, as I just mentioned, I was in the mood for feeling sorry for myself). A few days later, the email came.

A few seconds after that, I put an order through.

And in two days time, the most amazing bottle of ink appeared on my doorstep:

 

TA DAAAAA!

Isn’t it amazing? It is. Nicest bottle of ink I’ve ever seen. J Herbin usually has shorter, squat, no-fuss (though still rather attractive) bottles, which you can sort of see on top of my Penguin books on the left. (It’s the bottle with a purple moon on it. And the ink is delectable. You can sort of see it on my About page, too.) But this bottle is so very attractive, with its wax sealed cap and little wax seal badge proclaiming its name. Each seal is hand-done, I think (I know I read that… somewhere >.>) which just adds to its awesomeness.

AWESOME, YOU GUYS.

 

A translation, for those who can’t read my handwriting:

J Herbin 1670

EDITION ANNIVERSAIRE

Nommiest red evar.

OMG.

OMG, you guise.

This red pwns my favourite red nail polish.

It looks good even though I don’t have Inkophile’s handwriting.

Eeeee! Look at the shading!

Wow. This is pretty pigmented for J. Herbin.

Love love love wheeeee.

 

My favourite red nail polish, for the record, is OPI’s An Affair in Red Square. OPI’s Affair in Red Square is a deeper red cousin of OPI’s famed I’m Not Really a Waitress, and J. Herbin’s 1670 is darker still, with earthy brown undertones that make it look closer to blood than to the sparkling Christmas tones of An Affair in Red Square.

Here’s another shot:

THIS INK IS SO AWESOME.

SO AWESOME.

It’s the sort of colour that makes me want to write passionate letters to my lover right before I murder them and write confessional notes in their blood.

If I had that sort of tendency.

Which I don’t.

Sharp knives and blood fear, remember?

Maybe I’ll just write a murder mystery instead.

ANYWAY, away from sounding creepy and back to just sounding strange:

I mentioned ‘Inkophile’ in that scrawl. Inkophile, whose handwriting I covet terribly, has an amazing blog. The swatches of 1670 put mine to shame. Look and drool: Inkophile’s swatches of1670. This ink has character and Inkophile has the skillz to really bring it out. I want those skillz. So badly.

…I wish I had more use for a red, because red is a little bit difficult to read in long stints. I suspect I’ll use this bit of ink up first and then go to my usual dusty purple or nutty brown, unless I suddenly buy another brilliant colour.

Okay, outfit post coming up later tonight!

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