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2022 DC Pen Show, Part 2

Posted in Pen Shows

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.


As I’d originally planned, Friday was my shopping day. I saw and bought so much on Friday that I’m having some difficulty piecing together what order everything happened. But, I can at least give you a good overview of what I bought and saw.

Jim and I went downstairs first, as I assumed (correctly) that those makers that would traditionally be in the small room would be downstairs this year. My first stop, per usual, was Iron Feather Creative (319). Unfortunately for me — but, I suppose, fortunately for my budget — the pens I would have been most interested in buying had already sold.

I made my way around the room, visiting with Jonathon Brooks of Carolina Pen Co. (314) and his family, Greg Hardy of Hardy Penwrights (308), Rich Paul of River City Pen Co. (310), John Tello of Tesori and Hello Tello Studios (328), and eyeing some of the newer models at the Kanilea Pen Co. table (300).

Jim and I stayed fairly close to each other while downstairs, and made our way back out to the elevator to head upstairs. While perusing the various tables along the hallway to the elevators I found a pen at the Analog Notes table (349).

Side note: I’ve been wanting a pen with flower petals for quite a while. However, more and more makers are either refusing to work with, or charging a premium for working with, Flower Girl Blank’s rods. To be fair, this is understandable. Her blanks are made for kit pens or other items that don’t need threads, so she doesn’t leave space with plain resin for the threads. This, as well as the various materials she uses in her blanks, can cause chipping, breakage, and cracking during turning and with typical use. Failure rate is, apparently, pretty high with her blanks and those similar to them.

If I recall correctly, Analog Notes is a husband and wife team, where she makes the materials and he makes the pens — I could be very wrong, but I think that’s what was said. With the knowledge about kitless pen making, she’s able to incorporate petals in a “safe” way for making pens. The one I picked up has chrysanthemum petals at each end, and it glows in the dark!!

Once upstairs, Jim and I went our separate ways, occasionally crossing paths. I made a pit stop at Little Black Rabbit Paperie (194) which was right at the corner near the registration desk, and picked up some washi tape. Because, really, you can never have enough fountain pen themed washi tape. And look at the Halloween tape! How could I leave that behind?

Halloween and fountain pen washi tape

I darted into the upstairs room itself and spotted Damien of All in the Nib (42). I’m happy I stopped by his table so early, as he had a Flat Cut Stub nib pre-ground. I made it mine. After all, I adore his nibs.

All in the Nib Flat Cut Stub nib in a pen

Since Vanness Pens didn’t attend the show this year, I decided to try my luck at Dromgoole’s (46) as they often have a decent ink selection. I was hoping to find some Monarca, Pennonia, and Colorverse inks. I really should have gone by earlier, though.

I got waylaid by the gorgeous pens on Ryan Krusac’s table (43-45). I’d intended to buy one of his dragon pens, but didn’t realize that he now has two dragon models. The second one is more to my taste, and, since it’s only recently been released, will be around for a while. Add that to my BWIPS 2023 list.

Now back to inks. After looking at The Well-Appointed Desk’s swatch books, I changed my mind on the Monarca inks from Cielo Cruel and Tierra Colorada to Nopal. Unfortunately Arena Blanca wasn’t available. Only one of the three Colorverse inks on my list was at Dromgoole’s, Tan Pyeong. Granted, I realized on Sunday that Dan Hong isn’t available yet. Oops. And, sadly, Dromgoole’s didn’t have any Pennonia inks. No one seemed to. It was only on Sunday afternoon that I found the vendor that had them, and they were almost out.

Colorverse Tang Pyeong (left) and Monarca Nopal

At a pit stop at the Monteverde (32) section of the Yafa corner (26-32), I came across these cool, Pantone fan deck style ink color guides that were sitting out as freebies. My inner graphic artist squee’ed, and I picked up one each of the Monteverde and Private Reserve fans. While there, the kind lady at the table offered me pins as well. So, I grabbed one each of the Omniflex nib pen and the Monteverde ink bottle pin (for me and Jim). To be honest, it’s a bit ironic, as I don’t like either.

freebies from the Monteverde table

I spotted Jim in the back corner at Chatterley Luxuries (22) and made my way over because that was a stop on my list. I was looking for the Namiki Yukari Herb Decoration. Happily, they had one and I snapped it up after a nib change — it was a M and I wanted a F.

Namiki Yukari Herb Decoration

While I was making my Namiki purchase, Jim visited with Les of Stylo Suite (19). Somewhere in there I got to meet Aziza (GourmetPens) in person, and had an interesting chat with her and the Gillets of Luxury Brands of America (71-75). Somehow, before I left them, I ended up buying the Platinum Izumo Bombay Blackwood Tagayasan in the matte finish. I had wanted to get it for several years, and I’m glad I finally did.

Platinum Izumo Bombay Blackwood Tagayasan

As I continued down the row, I stopped at Federalist Pens (66-70) and managed to grab Colorverse Brunch Date — check that off my list — and 75t Rocket Engine! I’ve wanted the latter for a while, but don’t care for the big bottle it comes with. Turns out it’s available in a mini bottle.

Colorverse Bunch Date (left) and 75t Rocket Engine

I found Mayfair Pens in the back hallway (217) although Ben moved downstairs (330?) for Saturday and Sunday. The gorgeous Labyrinth Koi Noldor model caught my eye immediately, so I snapped it up. I definitely want to get one of his Eowyn models, too, though. Maybe at Baltimore next year.

Mayfair Noldor in Labyrinth Koi

I met up with Jim again and he gave me some pins from Aziza and Inky Kat Writes. I gave him a DC Pen Show pin — I’m sorry, I can’t remember precisely when I first visited Cary at the Kenro table (33-35).

Gourmet Pens pins (top), Proud Pen Addict pen from Inky Kat Writes (bottom left), and fountain pen day show pin (bottom right)

My last purchase of the day was a steel Sentry model from Gravitas Pens (146) with a new micro-texture. Ben also had some prototypes with him, and let me just say, I cannot wait until he releases the holographic glitter pen. If ever there was a “shut up and take my money” moment, that will be it.

Gravitas Sentry

I can’t remember when I stopped by Pure Chocolate by Jinji (341). However, I picked up two of their seasonal boxes and two date poppers. If Jinji’s is at a pen show, it’s a guarantee I’m buying something. Plus, Guy, Jinji’s dad, is super sweet.

seasonal truffle box from Jinji
I never remember to take a photo before eating at least one. Oops.

Nib Wars

I won’t say too much about Nib Wars here, as I plan to dedicate a post to it. Suffice to say for now, Jim and I attended, it was a lot of fun, I hope it’s repeated in future years, and congratulations to J.J. Lax!


On Saturday, I spent about half of the day showing my coworker — pen noobie and pen show virgin — around. It was fun seeing the show and pens through a fresh set of eyes.

While I was showing her around, we stopped at the Penquisition table (147) and picked up a couple of 3D-printed pen rests. I couldn’t resist the rainbow one, and the dual-color filament one just happens to be the colors of the bisexual flag, so of course I grabbed it.

rainbow and bicolor heart-shaped pen rests
Both of these are beautiful! I don’t know how much I’ll use them, but seeing them on my table makes me happy.

We also stopped at the Pendemonium tables (227-229) so I could pick up some buffer sticks before visiting Nahvalur (234-236) — formerly Narwhal — on our way downstairs. I’ve been eyeing their Nautilus model for a while, but I’ve been waiting for a resin version with portholes. I found out on Friday that such a thing isn’t possible, as resin won’t hold up to drilling the portholes. Sadness.

However, their newest ebonite version of the Nautilus, the Stylophora Berry, is one of my favorite combinations, purple and rose gold. So I picked one up.

Nahvalur Nautilus

After showing my coworker around the downstairs room and hallway, we went back upstairs so I could show her what I’d purchased on Friday before she had to leave.

I spent the rest of the day wandering around, chatting with people, and eyeing things here and there that I talked myself out of buying.


I only got a couple of hours at the show on Sunday, as we had plans for lunch with a friend who was visiting from the Seattle area.

The day started with my class with Jim on the true value of indie pens. Like with last year’s classes, this one wasn’t well attended, with only four people present. However, we had a fabulous conversation, and were able to personalize the class and pass around pens in a way that wouldn’t be possible with a larger group.

By the time I finished chatting with one of our “students,” I barely had time to make a final round of the rooms to say goodbye to everyone. I started with the upstairs and made a promised stop at Helen’s Creations to show her the pen sleeve I recently embroidered. A few of her pen sleeves magically made their way into my collection. I have no idea how that happened. 😇

Helen's Creations pen sleeves

Once I finished my goodbyes in the downstairs room, it was back to the real world.

Thanks for reading to the end, I hope you enjoyed my post. Did you go to the DC Pen Show? Did you buy anything? Have you been eyeing any of the pens I bought? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear from you.

More To Come

I still don’t yet know precisely how many posts I’ll have about the DC Pen Show. I know there will be at least two more. You’ll be able to find them all on the 2022 DC Pen Show tag page. But, I suggest you subscribe to my blog or follow me on Instagram so you don’t miss any.


  1. A2

    I can’t believe all I managed to miss. I feel like there are things at tables that aren’t obvious and I’m so overwhelmed I don’t see them at all. Really enjoying your review and hoping to keep my notes in a place where I can find them next year!

    August 12, 2022
    • I’ve found that it helps to make a plan for any vendors you absolutely must see so you can visit them first, then systematically work through the show in a logical manner that will get you too all the tables.

      August 12, 2022
      • A2

        The sad thing is I did that! I had a 3 page list of vendors, items, “try its”, and more. Even had them marked with priority so I knew what could wait. Amazingly, got to all of those but missed a lot of things when trying to see what else was there. I visited all the vendor URLs before the show and still didn’t understand what each would have. For example, how was I to know that Appelboom would have such an amazing nibsmith with those gorgeous nibs?! I didn’t find that out until the show was over and I talked to a ton of people about the “must sees”.

        Please read the above with a bit of a laugh in my tone. Better to have missed out on some amazing things than to have “been there done that”. I’m making notes from your posts on what to look out for next time. (:

        August 15, 2022
      • Ah, OK. I get it. Yeah, I feel like I always manage to miss something. But, I try to remember it for the next year. Or, I console myself with the fact that I saved some money by missing it. 😂

        August 16, 2022
  2. Caroline

    Hi Rachel, after reading this post I sent you a Facebook private message… I’m in the Baltimore and DC groups, I’m not some random spammer weirdo… 🙂

    August 12, 2022
    • Don’t worry, it’s usually pretty easy to tell who is a “spammer weirdo.” But I’m glad you mentioned the message, as Facebook doesn’t alert me to message requests.

      August 12, 2022
  3. I got the same Narwhal Nautilus as you did, in the berry.
    On your commentary on the lines and the QR codes, I did cover that some in my video review. We came downstairs around 9:30 AM. The line was through the lobby, out the door, down the sidewalk, and was wrapped around the building towards the parking deck. Someone went down the line with a cellphone and app scanning paperwork and handing out wristbands for entrance. So whether they had a prepurchased ticket or were paying the $10 at the door, it would still require someone attending to each and every attendee. In years past, they started to let people trickle in as early as 9:30, paying to enter as they went. With hot, humid weather, people were standing in line literally sweating bullets just waiting to be let in.
    There were some vendors I just plain did not get to see or video for my walkthrough recording because there were so many people crammed into the hallways outside of the main ballroom it was not possible to get around.
    I was disappointed in the venue but not so much with the show organization. I think that the online ticket purchase is not as effective as they think and actually hampers progress, as does being a stickler for not allowing anyone in before exactly 10 AM.
    I don’t much care for the hotel in general, especially since the rooms are not really sufficient for an entire family. The show staff did what they could with a major renovation at the venue, though.

    August 11, 2022

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