I recently rediscovered the pleasure of real pens, using real ink on real paper.
This was as a result of considering techniques for writing, and I was led into a new world of stationery by writing-buddy Amanda Fleet, who blogs about writing here and about stationery here.
It was Amanda who introduced me to Bureau Direct.
Now – be warned. The link above takes you to Aladdin’s stationery cupboard.
I recently had a look for ‘lined envelopes’. One hundred and forty choices. (All of which I could find a use for.)
Need a notebook? Four hundred and ninety eight options. (Not counting colour choices.)
Amanda and I correspond by letter. Yes. Really. Hand-written, on paper, in an envelope, with a stamp. (Any younger readers – ask your parents.) She has lovely hand-writing, and always has several fountain pens inked up and ready to go. Her letters are always an explosion of bright ink.
I have horrible handwriting, but am quickly catching up on the pen front. So it was time for me to start experimenting with some more coloured inks.
I had ordered the J Herbin Ten Inks Set. (£26.95 after my special discount.) OK, anyone can get the discount – sign up for their newsletter; but I still prefer to believe it’s just for me.
Inside the beautifully presented ‘coffret’ (just sounds better than box) are ten bottles of ink, each of 10ml. In order to test them out, I used a J Herbin glass pen that I had bought from Bureau Direct a few weeks ago. The paper is an Age Bag notebook, by Clairefontaine, available at, you guessed it, Bureau Direct.
Check out Amanda’s excellent review of the paper here. I can only imagine that when naming the range, the Clairfontaine marketing team had risked the second bottle at lunch.
The ink is lovely to write with, even as this left-hander wrestled with the glass pen. In truth, the glass pen is not hard to master – as soon as you discover that rotating it will alter the breadth of ‘the nib’.
Colours – entirely subjective. I like them all, but I am particularly taken by the Gris Nuage. I suspect that tomorrow, I may have a different favourite.
The team at Bureau Direct are knowledgeable and charming. Delivery is fast and efficient.
Just be careful. I’m now mainlining stationery…