a rainbow for writing

After weeks being surprised at how long it was taking to write one of my pens dry, I finally reinked all my pens in the colours I want.


I think.

I’m still not completely convinced on the orange, but it feels good to have made these choices for now. I think the number of pens I have is little absurd, but that’s a discussion for another day because all of these colours make me happy. This paper isn’t the best for flex nibs or wet fountain pens, but it’s been nice to have a book to track how pens were inked over time. I picked it up at Muji a while ago. Sorry for the colours being off. Time change + a rainy week!

Bottled Inks are:
J Herbin Terre de Feu, Ambre de Birmaine, Lierre Sauvage, Verte Empire, Poussiere de Lune
Diamine: Red Dragon
Noodler’s: Apache Sunset, Lexington Gray
Waterman blue-black (purchased 14 February 2001)

return of the Lamy

After not writing with my Lamy fountain pens for a while, I cleaned and set them aside to see if I really missed them or if they could go find a new home. I traded my charcoal grey Safari with Miriam Felton in exchange for a custom pen case. Shortly thereafter I picked up more ink colours. On Monday I decided I wanted to try the Noodler’s 54th Massachusetts sample I had picked up but didn’t want to change out any of my other pens. Out came the Lamy. I’ve been writing with a medium nib Jinhao and was surprised to find I enjoyed it, so I had hope for the return of my Lamy.


While the barrel shape isn’t my favourite, I am liking how it writes. I also really like this this colour and if I ever use up the bottom of Waterman’s blue-black I picked up in February 2001, I will likely replace it with the Noodlers.


I’m happy with my rainbow selection of inks. I’m now looking for the perfect orange, a nice harvest colour. Right before this photo, I had just given the Jet Pens Chibi filled with J Herbin Ambre de Birmanie a dip in some windex to improve flow, I’d stored it oddly, it’s a very beautiful colour more ambre than in this early morning tablet camera photo.

Do you have a favourite ink and pen combination? Please let me know.

greens and blue-greens, ink edition

I go through colour phases. A long time ago when family tried to get me to stop wearing so much black (I live in NYC, I wear black, deal), I shifted through the colour spectrum more frequently. During each colour shift, it seems almost everything I acquire ends up that colour. It isn’t conscious I just look up and suddenly everything all my accessories are shade of green. I’ve been in the green phase for a several years now. It’s a good place to be and I find it easier to mix two shades of green than I can other hues. I realized that a secondary colour arrived. Perhaps it began with the surprisingly perfect sweater. It has now expanded into my ink collection.

Inks shown are Noodler’s General of the Armies, J Herbin Vert Empire, J Herbin Lierre Sauvage, J Herbin Poussière de Lune, and a mystery teal cartridge.

Do you have a favourite fountain pen ink? I love J Herbin’s Poussière de Lune the most.

a new fountain pen

The other week I discovered a new, inexpensive, small fountain pen by J Herbin. I like small and slim fountain pens, they are the most comfortable in my hand. I bought a J Herbin roller ball several years ago. I love it. I was very excited to see this pen but couldn’t find it online, it was that new. Karen at Exaclair was very generous and sent me a demo pen before she even got a chance to try it!

This pen writes beautifully and if you don’t want to use cartridges the Monteverde Mini Ink Cartridge Converter fits.



Looking for a J Herbin fountain pen of your own? Ask your local stockist to carry them, or try online at Paper Bistro.

thank you my friend

Dear everyone of Art Brown,

I miss you already! Sure, you really don’t know who I am or my name, and I always forgot your names (because I was too shy to ask directly), but I remember you and both spaces. I’ve been coming to terms with the news since I first learned of your final closing and then read further confirmation. I feel the loss of each small business, each friend.

Thank you for being you.

Thank you for putting up with my wandering through each aisle 20 times but not knowing for what I searched. Thank you for not complaining when I spent half an hour debating between two ink colours…Thank you for never pressuring me to just buy something already. Thank you for being patient while I bought my first Lamy and my delight as you changed it to an EF nib. And the second. For looking for a nice box for the j herbin rollerball I was picking up as a gift, and surprising me with one for my selfish acquisition as well! Thank you for the many sheets of paper in various formats that i could look at and touch (and sniff) before I bought. Thank you for the regular boring muggle pens and the scrap paper left there so I could try them out and pick up the one I needed for my non-special-ink writing. Thank you for the ink selections and never complaining when I asked to see the swatch books, again. That you for being kind even without saying a word. Thank you for not questioning when I would spend a long time in a back corner with items I had collected, review them, debate them, and then finally come forward to ask a question. I’ll never forget the day I wandered in during a pen sale caught totally unawares and wondering if I could just pick up the new notebook I needed.

I’m sorry I didn’t visit as much recently. My work is no longer just a few short blocks away, but I tried to visit when I could. The next time I’m nearby I know that when I start to walk toward 45th I will feel the loss all the more acutely then.

Thank you for the memories. I’m saddened I didn’t do more. I will miss you.

your friend,

Fountain Pens fine and medium
multitasking, old skooloffice supply Lamy Safari, Lime XF Nib
(note: not all pens or paper pictured were acquired at Art Brown. Most were.)

Dear Reader: Please support a local small business you respect and admire in memory of Art Brown – The International Pen Shop.