Buckle up, folks, this is a long one. I did my best to summarize what I did and saw at Baltimore, but there’s a lot to say. You’ll notice a dearth of photos of the show itself. I was so focused on enjoying myself that I didn’t take a single photo while in the show room. Oops. But, you can get your fill of BWIPS imagery on Instagram by looking up #bwips2022 or #baltimorepenshow2022, visiting the BWIPS website, or watching Mike Matteson’s — AKA Inkdependence — video on YouTube.
As one would expect, getting back to the Baltimore / Washington International Pen Show was phenomenal. As I’ve said before, BWIPS is my favorite show. You can imagine my excitement as we approached the hotel and headed inside. We made it there in good time and ended up with just a couple of minutes before we could pick up our VIP badges. I decided to go with VIP to get in to the selling floor early, and for the mugs.
Bert and the DC Pen Crew volunteers were handing out the VIP goodies in the boardroom. While there, I ran into Susan and paid for/picked up the pen I’d reserved from her. The photos she’d shared hadn’t done it justice. It’s absolutely stunning.
Before arriving, my plan was to go to StyloSuite first for another Spencerian nib, Pen Realm second for a Secretary of De Flex, then to All in the Nib and River City Pen Co to pick up pre-show purchases. We humans make plans, and the gods laugh.
I made use of my VIP privileges and headed into the show. But, because it was an hour early, there were vendors who hadn’t set up yet, and Les of StyloSuite was one of them. Then Kirk of Pen Realm was busy with a customer. Damien of All in the Nib, however, happened to be free when I went by. So, I was able to pick up the Architect nib I’d pre-ordered from him. It was no surprise to me that it was perfect as is, with no need for adjustments.
I’d spotted Jinji Chocolates in the back corner of the room while at Damien’s table and made a beeline over to them as soon as I’d packed away my nib. Two years without Jinji’s truffles is two years too long!! They are just as good as I remember, and Guy is as sweet as ever. It was great to see him again.
I think — it was a busy 3 days, so forgive my imperfect memory — Kirk was free-ish when I went back down his aisle. Since I was just buying his standard Secretary of de Flex nib without any personalization, he got me squared away in a couple of minutes. I’m lucky I had the pen I’d just bought from Susan on me so he could install the nib for me to test really quick.
Shortly thereafter, I found River City Pen Co and picked up my Ravenclaw pen from them. I missed out on the first Ravenclaw that he made. It literally sold while I was signing in to purchase it. I was able to get the second, though. I have a long-standing goal to get pens representative of each Hogwarts house. So if anyone knows of good Hufflepuff or Gryffindor colored pens, please let me know in the comments.
It wasn’t long before I saw Les setting up and hurried over to him. I didn’t take much time, as I already knew what I wanted, but he did offer me a few nibs to play with, like he does. I’ll have a new nib from him soon. He’s going to fit the Spencerian I chose to a Woodshed Pen Co pen I left with him. He’s always so busy at pen shows that he doesn’t really have time to fit and tune nibs into different pens. He didn’t once have an empty table in the whole weekend.
With my planned purchases out of the way — thank goodness my cash extended to all of them — I was free to just roam the show. It was great getting to see an chat with pen friends in person.
I got to meet Gavin, son to the illustrious Greg Hardy of Hardy Penwrights; and to finally meet Rich Paul of River City Pen Co in person. I also made sure to catch up with some of my friends I only get to see at pen shows:
- Brian Weaver of Iron Feather Creative and his wife, Jane,
- R. George Adams, vintage pen seller,
- Jonathon Brooks of Carolina Pen Co,
- Cary Yeager of Kenro, Esterbrook, and Fountain Pen Day,
- Lauren Elliot of Lucky Star Pens, and
- Ryan Krusac of Ryan Krusac Studios.
I’m sorry to anyone I left out, I have a serious pen hangover, and the three days have blurred together into a fun-filled mish-mash.
As I made my way around the room, I picked up an artist proof from Dromgoole’s of the Retro 51 Vanness Artist Series Katie McGowan made for Vanness Pens. They also had some gorgeous leather-wrapped Retros, but I managed to refrain.
After a bit of deliberation, I snagged a bottle of Robert Oster Sydney Lavender from Pen Realm. I stared at the pens Ryan had for sale, too, but I had trouble choosing one, so decided to give it some time.
Somewhere in there, Jim and I took a break for lunch at the hotel restaurant, with Jinji truffles for dessert. While he went up to our hotel room to rest, I went right back to the show. I inevitably ended up back at Ryan’s table. This time I made a choice, picking up a Legend L14 in Purple Heart with alligator skin engraving. It’s beautiful, and I’m happy to finally have a Ryan Krusac pen.
Following some more time admiring pens, I headed up to our hotel room to check in on Jim and drop off my purchases. He was ready to go back down to the show, so we meandered down together. I thought my shopping for the day was done. Ha! Foolish me. I ended up picking up some ink — Colorverse Coffee Break and Kyo Iro Cherry Blossoms of Keage — and a bag of Jinji’s chocolate covered coffee nibs. Then it was time to grab Jim and head out for a dinner meeting. But, I stopped at Greg Hardy’s table and ended up getting one of his Companion model pens in Liquid Smoke Diamondcast.
After the Show
Jim and I had plans to meet up with Emma Pellerito, aka InkyExperiments and her husband for dinner. It was a great success. Unknown to Jim, Emma and I had been planning a birthday present for him, and dinner was just an excuse to give us a chance to give it to him. We were both happy that he loved his gift. Although, how could he not? It turned out fabulously! Emma’s a genius.
As a wonderful bonus, dinner was delicious. We went to Sushi Q, about 10 minutes away from the BWIPS hotel. My sashimi don bowl was so pretty, I had to take a photo.
Post dinner, we went back to the hotel and hung out with pen friends, as one does during a pen show. We made the poor decision to indulge in an enormous, but sinfully good, chocolate cake/cheesecake/ganache monstrosity. My tongue and stomach loved it. The rest of me gave me the finger the next morning, especially my head. Does anyone else get sugar headaches?
Anyway, we had a lovely time visiting with everyone and resting our aching appendages before heading up to our hotel room for sleeps.
Alright, I’m going to stop here, as it’s already pretty long, and there’s still Saturday and Sunday to go through. I’ll post part two on Friday. Thanks for reading!