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Tag: Pen Show

Making Pen Shows Accessible

Posted in Fountain Pens

When I shared my 2022 DC Pen Show Part 2 post, I received some comments about accessibility that made me start thinking. The pen shows I’ve been to range from just passable for physical disability accessibility to barely accessible for non-disabled persons. As such, I’m dedicating a post to some thoughts on pen show accessibility.

Please be aware, I’m by not even close to an expert here. I’m 100% certain there are accessibility issues I don’t know about and accommodations I’ve never thought of. I would just like to help get a discussion going in the pen world. For the most part, the pen community is inclusive and welcoming, and it’s a shame our shows don’t reflect that.

2022 DC Pen Show, Part 6

Posted in Fountain Pens

A New Noodler’s

I’ve decided to end my 2022 DC Pen Show series here. While I have a couple more posts peripherally related to the DC show, I’m going to post them as “stand-alone” entries.

Straight up, this post has caused me some trouble. First, I wasn’t sure it was something I should write. Then, I didn’t like how I’d written it. Then I questioned if I should post it. Now, well, I think it’s about as good as it’s going to get.

Because this is a contentious topic, I’d like to remind everyone reading that all comments on my blog go through manual review and approval. That isn’t unique to this post.

2022 DC Pen Show, Part 5

Posted in Fountain Pens

Pen and Nib Mini Reviews

Disclaimer: I take no responsibility for pen envy or impulse purchases resulting from viewing this post.

Per usual, you can click on the images to view them larger. I do my best to provide you with the best pen porn. πŸ˜‰

Although I purchased and received several non-pen items, I’m only going to review the pens and nib in this post and the Jinji chocolate in a later post. Feel free to jump down to a specific mini review: Analog Notes | Namiki | Platinum | Mayfair Pens | Gravitas Pens | Nahvalur | All in the Nib

2022 DC Pen Show, Part 4

Posted in Fountain Pens

Nib Wars
Nib Wars

When Esterbrook first announced Nib Wars, I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was described as a competition where, “the nibmeisters will participate in three rounds, each round tasking the competitor to execute a specific nib grind.” I didn’t know if it would be fascinating or boring. But, it sounded interesting enough that I registered to attend.

I was especially intrigued by Esterbrook’s description of nibmeisters: “the unsung heroes of the pen community, nibmeisters build their skill over years of training and persistence. Not unlike a Jedi, if you think about it.” I’ve definitely found that people new to the pen world either don’t know about, or are somewhat skeptical about, going to nibmeisters. And, while I 100% advocate learning to tune your own nibs, nibmeisters are fabulous for narrowing a nib or changing the shape of a nib (e.g. standard round to stub or architect).

2022 DC Pen Show, Part 3

Posted in Fountain Pens

Show Review

Normally I wouldn’t review a show I’ve already reviewed. However, this year’s DC Pen Show was a bit different, as the hotel was undergoing renovations. So, I’d like to address how Barbara and Jeff, the main show organizers, handled the inconvenience. I’d also like to revisit some of my concerns from last year.

Overall, I was very pleased with the show organization. I think the show organizers did an excellent job given the difficulties they faced. They definitely seem to be learning from mistakes and oversights, and I give them immense credit for that.

Note: I’ll be discussing the show layout. For those of you who didn’t attend the DC Pen Show, you can take a look at the PDF version of the interactive show map, created by Alexander Kramer (pen_show_maps on Instagram) for the DC Pen Show organizers, to get an idea of the layout.

2022 DC Pen Show, Part 2

Posted in Fountain Pens

General Show Experience

You all know I write a lot. Too much, really. And I knew this post would be no different. So, I broke out my Thursday experience in my last post, since it was something new. Today is an overview of what I did and purchased each day of the show. There are pictures this time, but no reviews of anything. That’s for another day, because this is ridiculously long already.

Of note, I made plans before the show. I had a shopping list of pens and inks I really wanted to get. I was… somewhat successful.

For those of you who didn’t attend the DC Pen Show, you can take a look at the PDF version of the interactive show map, created by Alexander Kramer (pen_show_maps on Instagram) for the DC Pen Show organizers, to get an idea of the layout. I’ll also refer to table numbers for those who want to check locations to jog their memory.

2022 DC Pen Show, Part 1

Posted in Fountain Pens

Trying Something New

As I do every year, I’d been eagerly anticipating the DC Pen Show for the past month. Beyond the pens, knowing I’ll get to see maker and pen friends is a huge draw, and something I greatly look forward to. Last year, I indulged in the weekend trader pass for the first time, and went Friday through Sunday.

This year, I did something different again. For the first time, I attended the DC Pen Show on the Thursday. My hope was to sell some pens and inks to augment my show budget. That didn’t really happen. But, I had fun anyway.

2021 DC Pen Show, Part 2

Posted in Fountain Pens

I now return to the scheduled DC Pen Show Programming.

As I mentioned in my experience post, I’m also reviewing the 2021 DC Pen Show. I’m surprised I haven’t reviewed it before. For those unaware, Bob Johnson passed away, and his sister has taken over the show organization. She appears to be more willing to bring in additional help.

Of note, I won’t be as “harsh” as I general would be. With the combo platter of minimal planning time due to COVID uncertainties, a new person running it, and the limitations due to COVID, the show deserves some leeway. Because of that, I’ll likely review it again, next year (or whenever COVID restrictions have been completely lifted).

2021 DC Pen Show, Part 1

Posted in Fountain Pens

You all know how much I’ve been missing pen shows. I can’t say how great it was to go to the Washington DC Fountain Pen Supershow (AKA DC Pen Show). I intend to write a few posts related to the DC Pen Show, this one covers my general experience at the show. Still to come are my review of the show, and some reviews of what I bought. It was so lovely to see pen friends and chat with everyone throughout the show.

Friday – Show

This was the first time I’ve attended the DC Pen Show on a Friday, so I can’t say how different it was to normal, non-COVID years. However, in comparison to what I’m used to from the DC Pen Show, this year felt rather empty. There were additional vendors arriving throughout the day, though.

I was at the show from about 9:30am to about 1:15pm; leaving early after accomplishing my main missions. I needed to pick up Jim to go back for the unofficial Pen Show After Dark hangout, and I didn’t want to be stuck in traffic. And anyway, there were still two more days.

My first stop upon arrival was the registration table. I’d heard a rumor amongst the DC Pen Crew that a Weekend Trader Pass allowed you to bring a spouse. Turned out it was true!! So I picked up my badge and a badge for Jim (we were very thankful for that later). Then, because it was still so early (only about 9:38), I sat in the lobby for a bit. But by 9:52, I couldn’t contain my excitement anymore and snuck into the smaller room.

2021 Triangle Pen Show

Posted in Fountain Pens, and Reviews

Jim brought up going to the Triangle Pen Show (TPS) a couple weeks ago but we dithered for a while, only deciding to go on the Thursday before. The drive wasn’t too bad, we were lucky to not hit traffic on the way down β€” we hit all the traffic on the way back up, though.

We made it to the show around 11:30 am. Finding out masks weren’t required surprised me. Being fully vaccinated, we decided to try going maskless and see how we felt. I’m not going to lie, it felt a bit naughty. I felt almost naked. But it was nice to breath freely. And since the room wasn’t packed, I was OK without a mask and enjoyed the taste of pre-COVID life.

The best part for me was just being at a pen show again. Getting to see Carey from Kenro, Damien of All in the Nib, Bert of Bertram’s Inkwell β€” although we see him often β€” and some pen friends was great. I’ve missed the pen camaraderie. It’s such a social battery recharge to see people, talk pens, and be able to see/handle things in person before buying them.

Missing Pen Shows

Posted in Fountain Pens

As I reviewed some old blog posts the other day, it hit me that: 1) I never wrote a post about the 2020 Baltimore Pen Show and 2) that it’s been over a year since my last pen show, and I really miss them!

I’m well aware that I’m incredibly privileged to live near two pen shows, BWIPS and DC. While BWIPS will always be my favorite, both are tons of fun, dangerous for the budget, and an opportunity to see pen peeps.

And that camaraderie, that sense of community, is part of what I miss so much. I can buy pens β€” for the most part β€” at any time, but I can’t see people. Video calls, while nice, are not the same. Especially in an analog hobby, so much gets lost in a digital “meeting.”

2019 BWIPS Volunteering

Posted in Fountain Pens

As I mentioned in my last post, this was my first time as pen show volunteer staff. It’s an experience I look forward to repeating many times in the future.

When Corinne, the show organizer, put out a call to the DC Pen Crew for volunteers, I eagerly signed up. My reasoning, beyond wanting to help out, was that if I was volunteering, I wouldn’t be spending money.

That theory worked out well. When I received the schedule, I was happy to see myself listed for Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. That shift schedule worked so well that I’m hoping for the same next year.

2019 Baltimore Pen Show

Posted in Fountain Pens

Alright, my third pen show of the year. Allow me to start of by saying that the Baltimore Washington International Pen Show (BWIPS) is my favorite pen show. I’ll do my best to describe and rate it (since I haven’t done so previously) in an unbiased manner, but I don’t know if I’ll be wholly successful.

To start, this was a show with several firsts for me. It was the first time I’d attended a full pen show, the first time I’d stayed at the show hotel, the first time I’d attended a pen show workshop, and the first time I’d volunteered as part of the show staff.

I’ll cover my volunteering experience in another post. For now, suffice to say it was great. I’m eager to volunteer again next year.

2019 LA Pen Show

Posted in Fountain Pens, and Reviews

The Los Angeles Pen Show was the fourth show location I’ve attended (DC, Baltimore, Philly, and now LA). There were a decent number of tables, but the layout was appalling.

We arrived around 10:30, assuming that would allow us to avoid the opening crush of people we’d heard a lot about.

The exterior line at the LA Pen Show
The half of the line outside…
The interior line at the LA Pen Show
… and the half of the line inside.

Unfortunately, we arrived to find a line that wound down the corridor, out the door, and about half way down the building. Surprisingly, the line moved fairly quickly, but getting into the show was less than half the battle.

An unconsidered side-effect of arriving after the show had started was a lack of street parking. There wasn’t much to start with, but it was all taken by the time we arrived. Parking at the hotel ended up costing us around $20 for the little time we were there. I don’t want to know what people who stayed the whole day paid.

2019 Philadelphia Pen Show

Posted in Fountain Pens, and Reviews

As I sat down to write my post about the LA Pen Show, I realized I’d never written a post about the Philly show. Therefore, even though it’s over a month late, allow me to share with you my experiences at the Philly show.

We drove up from the DC area with a friend of ours, and, thankfully, there was no real traffic. Upon arriving, I realized how fortunate I am to have the DC and Baltimore shows.

My immediate thought was that the show is overpriced for its size. We paid $13 online (it’s $15 at the door), a single-day price higher than DC, Baltimore, and LA. It’s also smaller than those other three shows.

I will say that the aisles were roomy, on par with Baltimore and far surpassing DC and LA. The selection was fairly evenly dispersed between vintage, new, expensive, and affordable. There was a decent selection of inks. And, for the overall size of the show, a decent number of nibmeisters.

2018 DC Pen Show

Posted in Fountain Pens

This past weekend I was back at the Washington D.C. Collectible Fountain Pen Supershow (a.k.a the DC Pen Show). I spent two and a half days at the show this time, as opposed to the 2/3 of a day I spent last year, so rather than a set of in-depth posts, I’m giving you an overview of my experience with some detailed stories of the best parts of the show.

Friday

We weren’t able to take time off from work to attend the show on Friday, but we went straight from dinner to the hotel. From the moment we arrived at the Marriott Fairview Place on Friday night, it couldn’t have been more different than last year. By sheer coincidence, we arrived as a group of our pen friends were heading out to dinner. We exchanged “hello”s and “see you later”s with everyone, and hugs with a few people.Β Ralph, the contagious ink boy, inked Jim with a hug, which was rather funny.

We relaxed at the bar for a while, catching up with our friend TeAntae and her mother, Louise. Once people started returning from dinner, we spent the evening at the hotel bar, chatting, testing paper and nibs, and generally having a great time.

2018 Baltimore Pen Show – Part 6

Posted in Fountain Pens

Alright, this is it. The big one. The one we’ve all be waiting for…whoops, nope, this isn’t Harry Potter. This is my last BWIPS 2018 post. I hope you’ve enjoyed reminiscing with me. If you haven’t yet, go read parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 before continuing.

When I left you yesterday, we were all heading back to the hotel for the “official” pen show after dark fun. Somehow, between leaving Frank & Nic’s as one big group, and arriving at the hotel (a 5-minute walk if you’re going slow) we separated into multiple smaller clusters of 3-8 people.

Jim made a beeline for the hallway between the show rooms as soon as it became apparent that that was where the “event” was being held. Jim wanted a good spot, and I tagged along with him.

Soon Cary Yeager and a gentleman whose name I don’t know came down the hall and started setting up the area. I helped bring out and set up the chairs so my conscience would be clear when I didn’t stay to clean up.

Slowly, people filtered down from the bar and lobby, filling the little hallway area to overflowing.

2018 Baltimore Pen Show – Part 5

Posted in Fountain Pens

Welcome back to my BWIPS experience write-up. Today starts the pen show after dark shenanigans. If you haven’t read parts 1, 2, 3, and 4, you might want to go do that. This post is back to a shorter length, but tomorrow’s (which should be my last post) will probably be rather long.


The announcement that the show was official over (for the day) was a bit of a bummer, but it also meant that it was time for after-show shenanigans.

It took me a while to locate Jim, who I found sitting with Adam at the Bertram’s Inkwell table. At that moment, the plan was to stick with Adam to enjoy the after party.

But when we got shoo’ed out of the room, we found ourselves in a crush of people. For a while, we sat and listened to Larry Ragland of Diplomat Pens play the guitar. I even had some fun dancing. Te was kind enough to let me include some photos she took.

Larry Ragland playing guitar Dancing to Larry Ragland's guitar playing

2018 Baltimore Pen Show – Part 4

Posted in Fountain Pens

Welcome back to my BWIPS experience write-up. If you haven’t read parts 1, 2, and 3, you might want to go do that. Fair warning, this post is longer than I intended it to be because there’s a lot to say. That said, I hope you enjoy it.


When I last left you, I was on my way to the Bittner table to buy a Homo Sapiens Bronze Age (VHSBA). There were a couple of people in front of me, so I waited, mostly patiently, for them to finish. Finally, it was my turn. Cindy Bittner was very efficient. She had my Homo Sapiens Bronze Age Maxi with a medium nib packaged up and checked out in a couple of minutes.

Happy as a clam, I met back up with Te and Jim, and we went to the Chesapeake Room to await the Organics (Studio) 101 chat with Tyler Thompson.

2018 Baltimore Pen Show – Part 3

Posted in Fountain Pens

Welcome to part 3 of my BWIPS 2018 experience write-up. If you didn’t read part 1 or part 2, I highly suggest you do so before continuing with this. I’d like to take a moment before I start to mention that the more I “got into” the pen show, the less I remembered to take photos. So you’ll be seeing less for this installment.


As I was leaving the Herbert Pen Company table, I spotted Jim, and went to grab him so he could pick up his own pen. Of course, in doing so, I lost Te along the way. These things happen at shows. We’re walking along, happy as can be, then suddenly, “Oooohhh!! Shiny!!!”

Jim was a very happy Pen Sloth once he got his hands on his pen. I may be biased, but I think my pen is a little bit nicer. ;-). His is beautiful, though. It reminds me of Thai iced tea.

Herbert Pen Company Pen