2010 Toronto Pen Show

A collection of comments from various members who attended the 2010 Toronto Pen Show (TPS):

By Owen

“The TPS, although small, was my first show. By far, the neatest thing about it was seeing all the pens that previously, you had only heard about. Pictures don’t do justice to the real thing. They certainly don’t show the beauty and detail that goes into making these instruments. One memorable table held several old filigreed eyedroppers. Nothing much to look at in pictures, but infinitely interesting in person.
I went with only a little bit of money, just enough to get something small and a bottle of ink. And I’m glad I did. Most,  I imagine, plan to get something really nice, or expensive, or unique, or even their grail, at a  pen show. It would have been nice to go with a hundred dollars and get an impressive, memorable pen. But I would have spent the whole time trying to pick out that particular pen, second-guessing what I really wanted. I would have only looked at pens that cost a hundred dollars. I may not have even seen those beautiful $500 filigreed pens mentioned above. I would see the price tag, move along.

So, to all those first-time pen-show-goers, I say this: Bring twenty dollars. It’ll be enough to get you something small, as a souvenir of the show. You will be able to spend your time a lot more wisely. By the time the next show rolls around, or you get onto the Internet, you’ll have handled dozens of pens, and have a much clearer idea of what you really want in a pen.”

By Mike

“I met a gentleman from the UK who kindly hand-delivered my copy of the new Conway Stewart book – Fountain Pens for the Million, The History of Conway Stewart 1905-2005 –  from the author, Stephen Hull (long story), I had also arranged to buy this gorgeous Swan 46 Eternal fountain pen when it came up on FPN (for less than what was asked here) but waited to have it brought to the TPS rather than pay for shipping.  The owner of the Swan was also interested in a 2006 LE mandarin Parker Duofold that I own but we could not agree on a price.

Swan 46 Eternal fountain pen

I have an Edison Huron with a custom grind steel nib but I decided that I wanted to have an Edison gold nib in it (also custom grind) so I met Brian there to pick up the new nib and have it swapped into the Huron.  I yakked with a bunch of people who I know, looked at a few pens (but did not buy) and bought a few bottles of ink (Noodler’s EL Lawrence – a green/black colour and Parker Penman Emerald) from Sleuth & Statesman.  I was hoping to buy some of the new Diamine inks like the Amazing Amethyst and Syrah but unfortunately there was a dearth of ink at the show.  Finally, I bought some large Apica recycled notebooks from Nota-Bene.”

By Dan

“Being my first ever trip to a pen show I was not sure what to expect. There was certainly more to see than I expected for what I had been told was the smallest pen show around. I was amazed and commend the vendors who made long treks to Toronto to bring us their wares. It was great to meet a couple of guys from the Michigan Pen Club, they were disappointed not to see Doug and John there (LPC members who could not attend) and asked me to relay greetings to them. Of course seeing most of the members of our neighbor club from Cambridge again was also nice. Sadly I did not purchase anything at this year’s show, which I think surprised my wife even more than it surprised me. All in all it was a fun day and I look forward to doing it again next year.”

By David

“Once my travel-mates had stopped squabbling about the position of the front passenger seat, the trip to Toronto proceeded smoothly enough with a discussion of pen show hopes and wishes. It was good to see a new natural light-filled room for the show along with familiar faces from previous shows. Following a brief tour around the tables, I settled down to examine a Parker Duofold Junior desk pen with a grey and white marble base. The seller had two – the esthetically less desirable model with the better nib, a nice juicy medium with stubbish tendencies. He switched nibs for me and the deal was done; I am very pleased with this pen, which writes like a charm.

Parker Duofold Junior desk pen

I bought a bunch of paper items from Russell at Nota-Bene, including some Apica notebooks (best value for money of any notebook), a Rhodia Clic Bloc mouse pad, some other paper and an Exacompta notepaper holder. There were a couple of other minor purchases before I bought a 32 oz. bottle of red Waterman’s Ideal Ink, bottle almost full and complete with original box. I won’t need red ink for a while.

Vintage bottle of Waterman's Ideal red ink

I spent a little time talking with FPN’s “goodguy” who showed me the four magnificent pens he had in his shirt pocket, including three Montblanc Writers Editions and the biggest pen I have ever seen, the Visconti Jewish Bible fountain pen. And of course it was fun to watch all the goings-on, such as Mike negotiating a potential trade, Rick drooling over a plum Parker 51, and Gord fondling his new Visconti Opera fountain pen in Honey Almond. The trip back was relatively uneventful; fortunately I managed to tune out some rather conservative and highly misguided political chit-chat by tuning into “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” on NPR, which was appreciated by all.”


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Review of Renaissance Art Folder Holder (by KR)

So, my friend kindly sent me a bottle of Old Manhattan. I fell madly in love with it and absolutely had to find the right pen for the job. Decided that it had to be something black and subdued and preferable not shiny, just like Old Manhattan. Since said friend knows better than I do, he sent me this for my 40th birthday:

Yellow Omas Emotica
Yellow Omas Emotica in the process of being attacked by a snake!

(The pen, not the snake. The snake is in love with the pen. Long story, but the pen is extremely lovely.)

So. We now have the perfect pen/ink combo. Now what? Hm. I seem to have a separate Apica notebook for everything that interests me. I have a New Music Canada/CBC Radio 3 notebook and a History notebook and a NY Times crossword notebook where I write unfamiliar words for further study so that I can kick tail at the 2010 American Crossword Championship and an “Interesting Things I Hear on the Radio” notebook and… You know where I am going. An absolute nightmare to go to the library lugging all of those notebooks.

Enter the Renaissance Art Folder Holder! Excellent! Rather than a whole notebook dedicated to one subject, I can have all of my subjects, plus work, meal planning, grocery shopping, household chores, calendar and personal goals folders with me at all times, everywhere I go. Sweet.

Drat! I use Rhodia pads and they won’t fit in the traditional Folder Holder! No fear, as Arthur the Magnificent from Renaissance Art kindly just made me one that would accommodate A4. Two days later it was in my hot little hands.

Renaissance Art Folder Holder
Enter the Renaissance Art Folder Holder

The leather is fabulous. Hands down, the nicest leather I have ever seen. It even smells good. For those who ride motorcycles, this leather has the same feel as a Hein Gericke jacket. The stitching and everything exceeded my expectations. Bliss. Now to fill it with lovely, useful things. Because it was purchased to 1) make life easier and 2) look (absolutely!) fabulous with the Emotica and the ink and the Rhodia, yellow, black and orange would figure exclusively.

What a hat trick - Folder holder + Emotica + Rhodia!
What a hat trick - Folder holder + Emotica + Rhodia!

I do use different little useful things depending on where I am going, but the folders generally stay the same. When I have finished a page of, say New Music, I take the page out of the folder and put it in a matching folder in my desk. That way, I don’t fill up my Folder Holder too much. There is ample space for extra folders and a Behance Action Pad, which I carry everywhere in case a spontaneous meeting erupts. If you haven’t tried this stuff, you should. Very cool.

Check out the Behance in that folder holder
Check out the Behance in that folder holder

Anyway, I usually have a Clairefontaine Age Bag address book in the middle pocket (yes, I know my address book is black, not brown. Noodler’s Heart of Darkness and a Q-tip fixed that little problem), Behance Action Pad in orange and a Crane 3×5 card case with a Behance Action Card in the CD pocket. My Mikado fits snugly and happily in the business card pocket (I used to carry a Visconti traveling ink pot there but because of the Mikado’s ink capacity, I no longer run out). The Emotica fits securely and happily in the large pen loop and the material used to make the loop doesn’t stain the yellow rubber. Bliss. Because of a recent development (details below) I now carry a Preppy eyedropper highlighter filled with (wait for it) Noodler’s Orange highlighter ink in the pen loop. Oh. The Rhodia pads have yellow paper. Sigh.

Okay, now we’re cooking. I had a part time job at our local Farmers’ Market and the good bathrooms were upstairs so I used to pass by and chat with an artist who worked up there. Very nice man. One day, I linger a bit longer and take a really good look at one of his little tiny paintings (I had glanced at it every time I went up there, but I hadn’t really looked at it).

"The Gang's All Here" (ed. note - and what a motley crew it is!)
Photo otherwise known as “The Gang’s All Here”.

Enter the missing link: Jim Pescott is his website. Amazing stuff and those of you who get the Unicef Christmas cards may see his work this year, as he was selected to participate. This is a very great honour and I am proud to know him.

Now, as all such adventures go, I found that I needed another piece of the organization puzzle. I am a notoriously bad housekeeper. I don’t plan well and I forget that things need doing, such as taking library books back on time, sending birthday cards and cleaning the kitchen. That one constantly falls out of my head. I was using a folder for it in the Folder Holder, but I’d keep forgetting to look in it to tell me to do things like clean the kitchen. I needed something more “in my face”.   Enter the 3×5 card case with composition book!

Enter the card holder
And gimme one of those card cases too!

While I am not thrilled with the leather used on this one (I got spoiled by the batch used to make my Folder Holder) it is a well made and thoroughly well designed item. I’ll get used to the leather (nothing wrong with it, but I don’t like shiny leather). I scoured the city and have found some composition books that might work. I am still in the process of finding exactly what I want. I may end up cutting the covers of my Apicas and putting those in (the opening is a bit too small).

Everything in its place - Oops, where are my glasses?
Everything in its place - Oops, where are my glasses?

So. The Folder Holder and his little brother, the card case have changed everything. Seriously. I can now have all of my various hobbies documented in one place and it is effortless to drop one subject and pick up on another very quickly. I have orange folders for my personal hobbies and yellow for my work projects. The card case serves as a constant reminder of what needs to be done when and how. It is impossible to open it and not see that my copy of Spaced needs to be back to the library on the 25th. I have a running shopping list in there and a myriad of other lists and doodads, with a composition book that is for note taking and is also perforated so I can dispose of my ramblings.

Renaissance Art has been fabulous to deal with (slow answers to emails aside-their spam filter is apparently too efficient) and there is no denying the quality of their goods (shiny leather aside). The Folder Holder and his little brother are extremely cool tools in quieting the frenetic mind (I think the expression is “mind like water”). I have never been more organized, although the kitchen is still a mess. I lost that card, I think. Oh, well.

Thanks to LPC member KR for writing this and taking the great pics!