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Stationery Ecosystem

Posted in Stationery

A few days ago, I finally got caught up on the Gourmet Pens Club podcast. And can I just say, if you haven’t listened to it yet, what are you doing? I don’t even like podcasts and I love the Gourmet Pens Club.

Anyway, the Paper Talk episode from 1/15/24 was especially entertaining with Azizah’s description of Candace’s collection as a solar system. The description sounds like it fits perfectly.

… I know from my experience, the pen collection exploded once I discovered paper. Because when I discovered Tomoe River paper, and how beautiful inks look on that paper, that was my downfall because then I was buying all the inks. Because they were so pretty on the paper.

I see.

And once you buy all the inks, you want to use all the inks and therefore you could justify buying all the pens.

You need more pens. So in this case your paper was the stable factor.

Yes, yes.

Ah, that is very cool.

Yes it was. It was the paper.

So if you picture it, your paper is your stable factor and your pens, inks, and nibs are the thing that’s like orbiting your paper.

Generally speaking, yeah. I mean certainly initially when I first started getting into the hobby.

Oh! It’s like a stationery solar system.

Yes that’s right.


And the paper is the sun!

And the paper’s the sun. OK, so it’s like what’s your sun this week? Oh, that’s beautiful! …

Gourmet Pens Club ep. 34 17:40

And that got me thinking about my own collection. I definitely do not have a solar system. There is no central element — no stable factor — to my collection. The variety of ink colors, while my gateway to the pen world, are not the center point, nor the most important aspect of my collection. And that’s true for the other groups of my fountain-pen-adjacent-stationery collection: pens, nibs, and paper (including associated accoutrements like binders).

After some careful consideration, I think the best description for my collection is a symbiotic ecosystem. Allow me to explain.

I wanted to use pretty inks, so I bought a cheap pen. I then wanted a better writing experience, so I upgraded my paper. This better showed off the ink, so I got more ink. But, then I needed more pens. And with more pens, I wanted variety in my writing, so I tested nib grinds and different types of nibs. But then I needed more pens to hold them. And then inks that would benefit from those new nibs…

I think you get the picture. Any expansion of or improvement to one part of my ecosystem affected at least one other part, generally for the betterment of the entire collection.

The downside to this, however, is that I’m open to improvements and changes anywhere in my ecosystem, which has equaled greater overall purchase volume. In my earlier years of collecting, especially, I chose breadth over a focused curation.

But, I’ve started ambling, which means it’s time for me to wrap this up.

I want to know where you fall. Do you have an ecosystem, a solar system, or something else entirely? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading to the end, I hope you enjoyed my post. Make sure to subscribe to my blog or follow me on Instagram so you don’t miss any posts. I generally post at least once a week.


  1. Michele Hexen
    Michele Hexen

    I think I fall into the ecosystem type as well. There is no one thing that everything else revolves around except my joy in trying it all! I’ve developed preferences, of course.

    I have Tomoe paper, but it’s not my everyday go-to. There are plenty of other papers that satisfy. Tomoe is special use paper for me.

    I will check out that podcast.

    February 17, 2024
    • I definitely recommend Gourmet Pens Club! It’s a great podcast. Tomoe is letter-writing paper for me since I usually only write on one side of the paper for letter writing.

      February 19, 2024
  2. Interesting post! I think for me the pens are at the centre of everything. Most of the inks I’ve bought so far were because I thought they would go well with a specific pen, and so my ink collection has grown as a result of growing my pen collection.

    February 4, 2024
  3. Art

    Hmm, this is a great topic. Thanks for your input! I think I am similar in that I have more of an ecosystem than solar system. I went from the Amazon Basics fountain pen suggestion (Asvine/Hongdian Forest River) from Amazon to Pilot 823 in about 3 months, but I definitely don’t use all my inks. So… more pens? I just don’t know.

    I see the appeal of Tomoe River, certainly, but it feels too flimsy and takes too long to dry for me to make it the focal point of a solar system.

    February 2, 2024

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