What a weekend! We spent most of the BWI Pen show as volunteers, so unfortunately our photos from the event are limited, but I thought it would be fun to see what stories the photos we managed to snap do tell. Let’s dive in
I started the weekend on Friday morning at the local Office Depot, grabbing something last minute supplies. Nothing makes you appreciate the exquisite writing instruments at a pen show quite like taking a peek at the dearth of options out there on the retail shelves. It’s good to go into a pen show weekend feeling fortunate to have such a variety of pens to admire back at the show venue.
One of the first things I did at the show, before I was technically even supposed to be there, was to snap this photo of Sailor’s new show exclusive ink for American pen shows in 2020. It’s a very cool mint green, and while I didn’t buy a bottle myself, I did assist one of the vendors in picking up a bottle before it sold out without having to leave their table. Rachel, the rep for Sailor of North America, was super knowledgeable and friendly, and also shared with me that there will be a series of Sailor inks coming out, one for each of the fifty states. These should be available at retail, but the first two, Colorado and California, were also available at the show. I’m looking forward to Maryland, whatever color they go with.
Our big find on Friday were these rOtring 600s, a silver rollerball, a silver fountain pen, and a black fountain pen. We have long been a rOtring family, so acquiring these pens was really meaningful to us, to finally have these 600 models, and not just the pencils that we’ve had since the 90s. I took the silver fountain pen (which I still need to clean up, but that’s how they post-show week goes) and my father took the black one and the rollerball.
As the day wound down I caught a rare moment of downtime for Damien Alomar (All In The Nib) and Mark Bacas (the Nibgrinder) which they used to discuss nib grinds. There were seven different nibmeisters at the show all weekend, and they all seemed to have a steady stream of customers whenever I looked.
On Saturday, as the show got busier, I ran in to Brian Chu of the Red Dragon Pen Company. He was chatting with John Phelan of Lemur Ink, who took this picture of the two of us holding what looks to be the same sizes pens, but actually Brian is holding a TWSBI Eco, and I’m holding an 8” long Yafa Jumbo Hightlighter. It’s amazing what giant hands and forced perspective can do.
I didn’t just joke around when I saw Brian, though. I also bought a pen. This gorgeous Red Dragon Sylvan model is made from purpleheart wood and “brown sugar blue” alumilite, with an ebonite hard rubber section. I put a spare Jowo nib in there that I had laying around (which I later had ground by Mark Bacas, into an amazing Fine Architect.)
I also brought a little bit of merchandise of my own to the show. Saturday night we sold a couple of our Penquisition logo Rickshaw sleeves. These should eventually be up first sale here on the site, but for now you’ll just need to find us at a pen show or meet-up (or email us and we can make one-off arrangements.)
Penshow After Dark was a massive affair at BWIPS this year. We had a room with capacity for 120 people, and by the end of the night there were only a couple of tables left empty. “Show and tell with pens” is always a show highlight, especially when you get to share it with one hundred of your closest pen friends.
On Sunday I helped my friend Jesse run an impromptu encore presentation of the Fountain Pens 101 class. I got a real kick out of presenting to everyone, and it’s got the wheels turning thinking about what I might want to do next year. Consider yourself warned.
That’s all the photos that I managed to take over the weekend. There were a ton more things that happened, but while I was busy running around checking event tickets, catching up with old friends, and making new friends, my camera just didn’t have a chance to come out very often. To everyone whom I spent time with over the weekend thank you so much for an awesome time, to all of the other volunteers I worked with, thank you for everything you did keeping the show running, and to Bert Oser and Corinne Litchfield, thank you so much for another wonderful BWI Pen Show. I’m already looking forward to 2021!