May 2, 2021

29. Pen Clubs

29. Pen Clubs

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| Calgary Pen Club  |
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29. Pen Clubs

[00:00:00] John: [00:00:00] Welcome to episode 29 of stationery orbit, where we are all here to learn more about creative letter writing. I'm your host John West, and I'm joined by our co-host Evan Harris 

and in today's episode, we'll be talking about pen clubs. So that way, when we can all get out of the house, we may have some folks to share our fountain pens with. But first, we're going to talk a little bit about some of the new acquisitions that  we've got. I know   we've both got named stamps.

Evan, how about you? Tell us about what you got.

Evan: [00:00:25] so I got the espresso drinks stamps, which, Like many people love coffee and really liked this design. There's a latte, a cappuccino and espresso and a mocha all in this very kind of coffee, house style art. And they've really nice. I also got some winter scenes which have a variety of different designs on them as well, and living in a place that has a lot of winter.

It felt appropriate even as we get into spring. What about you, John?

John: [00:00:57] Yeah. So I finally got in my Chien [00:01:00] Shiung Wu stamps, and those will be the ones I'll be using for my postmarking experiment, at least for the first go at it. And the set of envelopes have been ordered. Those will be coming in. I've got five different kinds of envelopes that I'm gonna be sending in for these postmarks.

I also got in the new Colorado butterfly, non machine, double hand sort stamps. So those are real, pretty.

Evan: [00:01:22] Yeah the Colorado hairstreak butterfly.

John: [00:01:26] There you go. Yep. Oh yeah. You are the proud new owner of a Nock Co Brasstown.

Evan: [00:01:31] That's right. I got the Nock C o Brasstown case that you sent me. It's different than most of the cases I have, which are a lot of sleeves. I do love my Rick Shaw cases, are  great for sleeve pens. And but not necessarily if I want to go on a trip. Someplace which I'm going to be doing soon to finally see some family.

This is a great case that holds up really well. There are a few pens I wouldn't put in here. I have one pen with . I would not put in a Maki-e  or an Urushi or anything with a [00:02:00] really more intricate or detailed finish. But for my safaris, my Lamy two thousands, it's a great case.

John: [00:02:07] Yeah, I've been using the Nock Co Brasstowns pretty much since I got in to fountain pens back in 2017. And I'm with you, there are a few pens that don't go into the brass towns just because they are nylon or canvas. And the Urushi is, are the ones that don't go in, but everything else I have had zero problems with any of the pilots, any of the pelicans.

They hold up really well. And the thing I love about them is that they are really compact.

Evan: [00:02:36] Yeah. Theoretically Urushi is supposed to be fully cured. Urushi is supposedly really tough. So it shouldn't be that worried with nylon, but it's still, it doesn't sit right for me to put in a Maki-e pen. Mine is a  stencil Maki-e so it's not the hand painted, but nor is it a sticker, which that's a whole nother discussion, which we're not having today.

But Brad, if you're listening, make one with a felt lining and I [00:03:00] will be very happy.

John: [00:03:02] All right. And was it I saw on here that you had also found a dip nib pen

Evan: [00:03:08] That's right. So I have a dip calligraphy nib pen that I got on a trip a few years ago at a pen store. And I had thought I'd lost it when I moved apartments a few years ago. But I found it the other day. And the reason I'm bringing this up is because last week, when I was talking to you about the quills study about how you really only want to do pull strokes, you don't want to do push strokes and I'd broken a few and had to re-carve them.

This is a lot more durable and will let me practice My calligraphy before I have to start worrying as much about both the calligraphy and the carving with the twill pen. So it's still, let me get a little bit better before I go back to the quills because I am determined to write with the quills and have nice writing with the quills

John: [00:03:51] yeah, no doubt. And like I said, it's something that you get used to a certain style of writing and you're used to those pull [00:04:00] and push strokes and breaking yourself that habit's going to take some time.

Evan: [00:04:04] Exactly. What about you? What have you gotten in recently? I see some nice stuff on the show notes.

John: [00:04:11] Yeah. Managed to get a little bit of a haul in from jet pens. And first thing out of the whole thing, the big item out of it was the Kaweco supra fountain pen that I know that there are some folks out there that are not real crazy about this pen because of the way the section has a step on it. And  it's a removable item, but it still puts some folks off.

I don't have that big of a problem with it. My hands are so big that it slides over that little step on the section without any problem. And I love the big number six nib on it that all said, if I could find my Schon designs. Schon six, that pen right there. I can see that easily taking the place [00:05:00] of a Kaweco supra in most people's collections.

The one thing I do like about the supra is it as big and it is heavy.   The other two are fun, a really fun Japanese items. One is the King Jim mag flat clipboard. And that one is. Really an unusual design because of the way the magnets on it, that it has a flap on the back that helps you hold pages that you've flipped over the top.

Most clipboards, you really have a hard time doing that and you're holding onto them. This thing has a flop on the back. That'll hold it for you. And then there was a flap on the bottom of the clipboard that will hold the pages down. So if you're out in like windy conditions, You don't have to worry about the wind catching that bottom of the page so that one's a unique design.

And then also I've got the Nakabayashi lifestyle toolbox and it's a little bitty small thing, and I'm sure that it was made for Japanese school [00:06:00] children because it's really centered around. Working in metal lockers, but it opens up and it has all these little compartments in it and shelves where you can put erasers and pens and stamps and those kinds of things.

And then  when you get to school, you can open this thing up and magnet it to the inside of your locker so that all of this stuff is available. And when you're done at the end of the day, you take the thing and you close it up and it closes magnetically again. And you stuffed that in your bag and off you go.

And the Japanese are just over the top with some of their creativity when it comes to their stationery. So thank you so much to jet pens for getting this stuff over on this side of the Pacific for us.

Evan: [00:06:47] I may have to pick up one of those toolboxes once I can start doing some more proper traveling, put in stuff. So I don't tend to use wax with my seals that has the wick in it, but that'd be a great thing for [00:07:00] traveling. Some of the wicked wax, a seal stamp, a collection of stamps, all sorts, just easily.

Have it ready to go anywhere.

John: [00:07:07] So the next thing is a normal section for us is the new postal bulletin is out and we've got some new stamps that have been announced.

Evan: [00:07:16] That's right. The newest set of announced stamps or the heritage breeds stamps. These will be released on may 20 May 17th, 2021. And they have 10 different Breeds of animals. You may have seen many, if not all of these, if you've ever been to a state or County fair, I know I'm partial to the great Minnesota get together,  or as last year they sold shirts that said the great Minnesota stay apart.

John: [00:07:41] Oh, no. Yep.

Evan: [00:07:43] it was to raise funds to maintain the fairgrounds when they turn and have the fair,

John: [00:07:48] Yeah.

Evan: [00:07:48] a vaccination site.    But they include some of these include the American mammoth Jack stock Donte, which you can probably fill in what that, what one of those words [00:08:00] originally was there wa there is the Narragansetts Turkey,

John: [00:08:07] there you go, boy. You're braver than I am. I, wasn't not going to try to pronounce that again.

Evan: [00:08:12] The Cayuga duck, the San Clemente Island goat, the Mulefoot hog, the cotton patch goose, the American cream draft horse, the Barbados Blackbelly sheep, milking Devin cow, Wyandotte chicken. I will say this Barbados black belly sheep looks like it's could stare into your soul.

John: [00:08:33] Yeah. Yeah. They definitely got a dramatic shot for that stamp and For me here in Colorado, in the Denver area, we have the Denver stock show  in January most years. And been out seeing a lot of draft horses, seen a lot of mules and the American mammoth jacks, the American mammoth donkeys.

We're actually a crucial development for early [00:09:00] Americans in our development of mules. And some of our founding fathers, George Washington, very much amongst them were very big into breeding mules. Initially, and those American mammoth jacks were a large part of that.

Evan: [00:09:15] yeah, it, there's a lot of really interesting history behind Animal breeding. , and one of the things that the post office does for a lot of stamps is to show off great things and notable parts of American history and things that at least, hopefully we can as a country take pride in.

And I think this is one example.

John: [00:09:36] Yeah. And then, yeah. And another example out of that that we can all hopefully take pride in is they have the perseverance on Mars station. Postmarks.

Evan: [00:09:47] that's correct have mentioned this in the past. On an episode, the perseverance on Mars, postmarks. It has perseverance, it has ingenuity the helicopter flying in the backgrounds. It ha it along with several other postmarks have [00:10:00] been extended for 90 days. So that means that this stamp is extended till at least May 19th.

Because I am unsure for 90 days, they mean from the initial date or from the April bulletin. So you have at least until May 19th to get it. I sent some letters April 1st to get this postmark, including one to myself because it was going through the Kansas city, the mega center. And I have yet to receive it that bat in no one, none of my pen pals has gotten, there's yet.

John: [00:10:27] Wow. Yeah, that's definitely the reason why I'm going to be sending in my batches for returned back to me, instead of trying to get them all sent out to individuals. I, as much as I want to love the post office, I don't entirely trust them.

Evan: [00:10:44] I've had better experiences with sending things, not sending postmarks that aren't through the center. But I'm not sure, honestly, if there's any delay in sending it to multiple addresses or single,  I would hope that once it [00:11:00] gets postmarked, they  just put it in the mailbox with everything else,

John: [00:11:04] Yeah, I'm sure the centers probably work better than the. Mega center in Kansas city for some of that. Alrighty.  We got  the  Instagram account for some of the British postmarks.

Evan: [00:11:19] Yeah. Again, in the last episode I mentioned the Royal mail does in fact have their own postmarks, including some that are. Constant. And I want to do a little more research and maybe we'll do an episode on international postmarks at a later date, but if you want to see a lot of them, I found this Instagram account on Nathaniel's postmarks and there are a lot of postmarks.

Most of them are from the UK. There are a lot of other European ones and some American,  and a lovely collection of Postmarks from around the world.

John: [00:11:53] yeah. And true to your word of from last episode, they actually do have [00:12:00] a King Arthur postmark in here with the sword and the stone. And they've got a couple of others in here. Apparently there's a, and maybe somebody from Britain will have to explain this to me. But there's a few of them in here that say lovely jubbly and I don't understand that, but it's funny.

Evan: [00:12:18] It's a phrase from a common comedy show.

John: [00:12:22] Okay. All right. That makes a little more sense then that works.

Evan: [00:12:25] I just can't remember which show it is.

John: [00:12:29] I like this one that's down here. Only fools and horses from London. That one's good.

Evan: [00:12:35] That one stood there's, I'm personally a big fan of the star Trek one while there are several star Trek ones.

 John: [00:12:42] Apparently didn't scroll far enough for that one.

Evan: [00:12:44] they're pretty far back and I knew to look for them because I'd seen them before.

John: [00:12:49] Okay.

Evan: [00:12:50] I've seen a lot of, he, he has a lot of Postmarks I've never seen before though. Including British ones.

So it is always interesting to see and decimalization day. [00:13:00] Because the UK has only used a decimal currency for 50 years now.

John: [00:13:04] that's right. Yeah. And that was apparently a real deal to get them off of. 

Evan: [00:13:11] Yeah. And it was the same day in both the United Kingdom and in the Republic of Ireland. There was  six penies in the sixpence.  Five shillings in a pound. something like that. It is a very complex. System beforehand.

I can't remember all of them hand, but it was if you've always wondered in Harry Potter, why the currency is not decimal, that's why it's just, it's based on the old British system.

John: [00:13:39] Nice.

Evan: [00:13:40] one interesting thing is because of when this happened, , all British coins that are currently accepted have queen Elizabeth face on them.

John: [00:13:50] God. Save the queen.

Evan: [00:13:51] God save the between and beforehand, any British join ever minted, basically from Charles, the second was legal [00:14:00] tender.

John: [00:14:01] wow. Yeah, that's a definitely. Something you wouldn't find in the United States, we tend to they tend to track the old currency down so that they, it can be destroyed.

Evan: [00:14:09] So the British mint does the same, but when you've been doing things for that long, it's a little different and you, if they would find things on the side of the Thames that washed up and find hope coins, and they would technically be legal, tender, worth significantly more as collector's items, technically legal tender.

John: [00:14:28] Yeah. Yeah, I'm sure there are probably a number of British parents that are, have been completely irked by the fact that their children have managed to take their collectible coins and go spend them.

Evan: [00:14:41] probably.

John: [00:14:43] Yep. One other thing  I wanted to mention is we got to mention on the, as the pen turns podcast with Brad and Jason and those two have both been turning out some really great pens lately and Brad. Just wanted to make sure you knew I've got  a letter writing [00:15:00] starter kit that has got your name on it.

So it'll be headed your way. We'll make sure we'll get you into a letter writing here sooner or later.

Evan: [00:15:08] Yeah. I am a bit fan of their podcast though. I completely missed that. They mentioned us. I never go back and listen again.

John: [00:15:15] Yep.

Evan: [00:15:15] it's a really interesting look in for anyone who doesn't know. It is a really interesting look into how custom pens are made.

John: [00:15:25] Oh yeah. All of the tooling and all of the headache and heartbreak that goes into having to turn those pens in the different kinds of materials and all of the considerations that it takes to actually make these pens. It's is a lot more complicated than most of us will ever give it credit for.

So  when you're dishing out the dollars for your next custom phone pen, you'll know why.

Evan: [00:15:49] Yeah. No, and as I've done some manufacturing and, but they look at it completely differently than I would have as a engineer because they've faced a lot of the problems that I would not have [00:16:00] thought of before. And it's their most recent episode. Was with  black Robin pen company and some of the pens that she makes a really neat.

John: [00:16:08] Yeah, I've heard nothing but good things about black Robin pens. So yeah, definitely looking forward to getting in and listening to that episode. And also on the podcast side of things, the pen addict this last week talked about the Maruman Croquis sketchpad. And thank you again to jet pens. They're the ones here in the United States that are carrying this stuff.

And these are very much sketch pad styles, but because of how the golden. Terms that Brad used for talking about this Maruman paper. I definitely think that there's going to be a new jet pens order in my near future so that I can check this out. I'll pick up one of the A-5 pads and yeah, it's a sketch pad, but it's going to end up being a letter writing pad for me.

Evan: [00:16:56] Yeah,  it's hard to have too much paper for letter writing.

[00:17:00] John: [00:17:00] Nope. And especially with all the, getting everything stamped and everything for your own stationery always good to have some different kinds of paper around. So the big topic for today's episode is I had a listener for some feedback, ask me to start going through and putting together  a list of.

The various pen clubs around the country. And I don't know what happened in the translation of that. And I ended up turning that into the letter writing society's episode. And then I went back and I looked at the actual feedback in the discord. And I'm like that, isn't what that supposed to be though.

There's one, he said, so I went back and I'm going to fix this. And this time around, we actually have. A whole list of the various pen clubs around the United States and a few were from around the world. And I've gone one step better that in addition [00:18:00] to the spreadsheet, I actually put these all onto a map on Google maps and I'll put a link in the show notes, but you can find it on the stationery orbit website down in the blog and it's embedded there.

So you can look around and find a local pen club. In your area and we'll go through some of the more notable and fun ones. So Evan, you want to get us started off

Evan: [00:18:25] So I want to start with the one that is closest to me. And that is the pen enthusiasts, Northern society or pens. Love a good acronym. They're based in the twin cities like many of these clubs, how active they are. It's not something we know off hand. Some of them we know have gone virtual, like a Colorado pen club, the Hoosier pen club, DC.

We don't, I don't know about the pens. But cause I found out about them  right after everything went virtual. But they are one of the ones close to me. What are some of the ones near you, John?

John: [00:18:55] Yeah. And here in Denver, Colorado, we've got the Colorado pen [00:19:00] Posse and they did go virtual they're on zoom meetings and they haven't had one for April, but they had one in March and they'd been pretty active during the pandemic with keeping those up and going. So that's been a real blessing for us here.

Evan: [00:19:16] yeah. Another one of the fun ones. In my side of the country is the greater New York pen and ink group. Or gin pig?

John: [00:19:24] Guinea pig.

Evan: [00:19:25] Yeah. Also pork themed. There's the pork Opolis peners of Cincinnati, Ohio.

John: [00:19:32] Yep. Over on the West coast they are not going to be out done by Guinea pig and they have their own version, which is glampig, which is the greater Los Angeles Metro pen and ink group.

Evan: [00:19:45] Yeah. We clearly love all the acronyms and coming up with fun ones. Over here, there's both the Michigan pen club based in Ann Arbor and Metro Detroit. , in speaking of them on the map, the locations are just roughly where the city and not specific [00:20:00] meeting locations, if it was the Michigan pen club, would be meeting in a very nice camera shop,

John: [00:20:06] Yeah. Yeah. That is a good point to be made that yeah, these are all based on just the cities. None of these are  exact addresses. So definitely want to look up your local pen club and find out where they're meeting.

Evan: [00:20:19] Yeah. And if you travel South from Ann Arbor and then take a turn you can go to the London, pen club of London, Ontario. Yeah.

John: [00:20:27] yep. Not to be confused with the other London. And

Evan: [00:20:30] with the other London, but you do have to go South into Canada to get there.

John: [00:20:35] nice. Yeah. The as I understand it, the London, Ontario pen club has actually contributed quite a bit to the London pen company. And some of his prototypes have made their way through the pen club there.

Evan: [00:20:49] That's what I've heard as well. And I first heard about the London pen club. In 2013 or 14. If I remember they've been going for quite a while. Though [00:21:00] when I lived in Michigan, it was a little too far for me to drive.

John: [00:21:04] Yep. And so on the backed out to the West coast, if you go a little bit further down the coast, there was the Southern California pen collector's club, and they actually do have an active website for that group. So that will probably be a good group for y'all out on the West coast.

Evan: [00:21:21] Yeah. A lot of interesting ones also on the East coast.  I know there's an active one in Charlotte that I believe has gone virtual.

John: [00:21:30] okay. And  there's a one up the coast in Seattle at the Seattle pen club.

Evan: [00:21:36] I believe the one in Seattle gets mentioned on  stationery cafe.

John: [00:21:41] Yeah, that wouldn't surprise me at all. It's been a while since I've listened to stationery cafe, I'll have to go back and  give it one to listen.

Evan: [00:21:49] Yeah. If you happen to be in Worcester, Massachusetts, you're basically halfway between the Boston, pen people and fountain pen fans and Holyoke, Massachusetts.

[00:22:00] John: [00:22:01] Yep. And then if you go up over the border, there is a Vancouver pen club up in Vancouver, Canada, as well as a Calgary pen club up up North of the border.

Evan: [00:22:13] and if you want to see some of the breeds we mentioned earlier, you can also stop by the Calgary stampede.

John: [00:22:19] absolutely.  There's the Southern Arizona pen club down in Tucson, Arizona.

Evan: [00:22:24] Yep. Atlanta has the North Atlanta, pen posse.

John: [00:22:29] Yep. And unfortunately we've got a huge amount of blank space through most of the Western States. The next step for us beyond Colorado. pen posse is the Dallas pen collectors in Dallas, Texas.

Evan: [00:22:44] Yeah, not too far from there. There's also the Arkansas pen club.

John: [00:22:48] Yeah. Which is the home base for the Vanness pen company.

Evan: [00:22:53] There's if you want to do a, see some rockets and maybe actually get a pen into orbit, you just stopped by the Huntsville pen munch, [00:23:00] Huntsville, of course, being a home to the U S space and rocket center and space camp.

John: [00:23:06] Yep. I'm actually going to take a step back for a Dallas, Texas, the, because the Dallas, Texas area. The at least for the Dallas pen show that has actually been taken up quite a bit under the wing of Dromgoole's pen shop. And one of our local artistsans from up here in the Colorado area, Kirk Speer of pen realm actually goes down and does nib work for Dromgoole's for their pen shows?

So I wanted to make sure that I tossed that one in there because they are physically active and they are doing in-person meetups.

Evan: [00:23:41] of course being in Houston,

John: [00:23:44] Oh, I'm sorry. Yeah, you're right.

Evan: [00:23:45] But they are involved  with the show in Dallas, I believe.

John: [00:23:50] Yep. And then just a little bit South of where you're at. There is the Iowa pen club and they actually have multiple chapters. So they are spread [00:24:00] between Des Moines and Cedar Rapids. And they do have several different chapters, so hopefully there'll be more active once the the pandemic light.

Evan: [00:24:08] Yeah, there is the South Florida pen club as well.

And the research triangle pen club in Durham.

John: [00:24:16] Yup. And then the last one on the a U S map here that we haven't gotten to is the middle Tennessee fountain pen group. And if I remember that is a meetup. Through the actual service as well as there are a few of these that are also in that kind of category. But I'd imagine that they've all taken quite a bit of a hit during the pandemic.

And that leaves us to getting out of the United States. And we get to talk about some of the other fun ones around the world.

Evan: [00:24:48] Yeah, there are two in London, the London pen club and the writing equipment society.

John: [00:24:56] Absolutely writing equipment society. If I remember right, [00:25:00] is the main group that helps put on the London pen show.

Evan: [00:25:04] I L I liked the name a bit.

John: [00:25:07] And then we also have the fountain pen network branch in the Philippines. And I think we also need to mention that In terms of the virtual world, the fountain pen network, I know has been a real go-to for a lot of fountain pen enthusiasts during the pandemic to keep an eye on what's going on and taking a look at their sales channels.

It's just a little overwhelming for me.

Evan: [00:25:31] Yeah. I agree. I. Find other media to be much more approachable than FPN though, if you need a very detailed question answered there's odds are somebody on FPN has either answered it or  knows it.

John: [00:25:45] Yeah, absolutely. And then we were talking about the various meetup groups and there is actually one of them in India, which is a pen club of India and they've, they work through the meetup as well.

Evan: [00:25:58] that is really neat. And I'm [00:26:00] sure there, there may be ones we have missed and there's some more on the map. The Cop PEN Hagen meetup.

John: [00:26:07] Yes. Which you know though, that's a great one. And then there's also the Wellington fountain pen club down in New Zealand. , there's also fountain pens, Oceania in Australia that brings us the nib section podcast. So that is everything that I have currently got up on the map. If I've missed something or have something else on there that y'all want to let us know about. Even if it's something that you have managed to just start up, because you've gone stir crazy due to the pandemic, and you're going to start a pen club of your own, then let us know about it and we'll make sure we try to get it onto this map.

And apologies to anybody that is out there that I missed on the map. I get all of this stuff off the internet. We know everything off of the internet has to be true. So that is the current truth status of my map.

Evan: [00:26:57] Yeah. And of course this hopefully [00:27:00] should go without saying, but please follow. Local guidelines regarding distancing and masking if you are doing in-person events,

John: [00:27:08] Yep.

Evan: [00:27:08] and stay safe in general is a good idea.

John: [00:27:11] Yeah, and go get yourself vaccinated. That'll make this whole thing move a whole lot faster. All right thank you very much, Evan. This was a fun episode. And we'll talk to you here in two.

Evan: [00:27:22] It was great to be here, John.