In today’s episode, we have a guest that is from the fountain pen world. Evan Rosenberg is the co-creator along with his father Julian Rosenberg of the Penquisition Blog.
John- Mythic Pen Aeschylus XL in Cool Tones PM
Several New stamps: Mountain Flora, Sunflower Bouquet, Tulips
Interview with Evan Rosenberg
What are some of the pens that have been most surprising to review?
The review for the Fortuna Credo Shema
What pen have you been reaching for lately?
Beta V2 from Mad Science Pen Company in The Pensmiths Dark Arts material.
Can you share one technique with the listeners that you think will elevate their snail mail art?
Just do it.
Are there artists that you think are doing amazing work that stationery lovers need to know about?
What is your favorite purchase (stationery or not) in the last 6 months?
Beta V2 from Mad Science Pen Company in The Pensmiths Dark Arts material.
Where to find Evan on the internets:
50 Evan and Other Evan
John: [00:00:00] Welcome to episode 50 of stationery orbit, where we're 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. In today's episode, we have a guest that is from the fountain pen world, Evan Rosenberg. He is the co-creator along with his father, Julian Rosenberg of the Penquisition blog.
Other Evan: Thanks. Happy to be here.
Just Evan: We're happy to have you
John: Yeah. With the Penquisition blog, it was started in 2019. Is that correct?
Other Evan: Yes we were talking about it in 2018. Really the idea got off the ground a little bit ahead of time, but the blog itself we started in, I think February, 2019 was when I put it up the first.
Other Evan: Mike might've been December, 2018 when we registered the domain.
John: Yeah. How did you guys do during the pandemic?
Other Evan: Honestly, in some ways that the pandemic, it gave us more time to focus on it, oddly enough, maybe it's all the time spent communing [00:01:00] commuting previously, I could spend on other things. I personally, I, during the pandemic, I also got a master's degree and had a second child.
So I, it's not like I had extra time. I just, found the time to make it happen.
Just Evan: Yeah. just a little busy with those things.
John: Yeah. How do you think the fountain pen world has done during the pandemic from your perspective?
Other Evan: The biggest thing for me is I miss Pen shows, I miss, gatherings with at Pen clubs. I'm involved heavily with the Baltimore fountain pen club and during the pandemic, something I've done is, making sure that we have monthly. , We don't use zoom.
We use Google meet, but monthly video meetings where, you know, people who want, can still show up. I know the DC Pen Crew has been very good with, I think, two meetings a week, In some ways, the pandemic has a lot of people to get closer with that, but you lose out on having pens in hand and really being able to pick up a pen that you've never seen before. That said, I do think the fountain pen world has found its way through it. It feels like there's more pen companies, more pen brands now than there were [00:02:00] beforehand almost, definitely more pens to be excited.
John: Yeah. I think that the momentum is definitely on the uptick, because I think there are a lot of people that started getting very introspective during the pandemic , I think a lot of people had to go to that in order to maintain their sanity.
Other Evan: I absolutely. I first got into fountain pens. I've been into stationery since, before I can remember, but fountain pen specifically, I picked up a few months before my oldest was born. They used to call it my weird dad. And I think it's, speaking of just like introspection, between introspective writing and just having something to go focus on when the world is falling apart around you, you could say, all right, I'm not gonna focus on the news.
I'm not going to focus on the health statistics out there. I'm just going to go learn about different sizes of nibs.
John: Yeah. Yeah, for sure. And actually that makes for a nice segue. We were talking a little bit before the show and this is of course [00:03:00] horrible, a horrible radio or horrible podcasting to be. here and talking about something that is visually in front of the the hosts. But I did manage to get my mythic pen company Aechylus XL.
And I apologize to Brad for slaughtering the Greek name there, but I got this pen made in cool tones, primary manipulation, and I had to show it off to Evan and other Evan before the show, because the pen is. Absolutely massive, but because it's got a Bock number eight nib in it, it actually almost looks normal and it's definitely a fun pen.
So I wanted to thank Brad from mythic pens. I wanted to thank Jonathan Brooks from Carolina pen company, and I wanted to thank Kurt from Pen Realm for providing the nib for that one. So good job everyone. And I wanted to touch base real quick on something out of the postal bulletin. Before we get any further into the interview.
We have a [00:04:00] new postal bulletin and we a new stamps. Correct. Evan.
Just Evan: We have four sets of new stamps. The one of which I think we've already discussed. Three of which are these very Butte, actually all four are flowers, three of which are these very artists that very beautiful flowers. We have the mountain flora stamps, which will be out of Alpine, Wyoming.
We have the African Daisy global international stamp, which is the one I think we've talked about before continuing with the photos of flowers on the round stamp. Last, I believe it was the chrysanthemum. There's a, what looks like a watercolor painting to me for a two ounce. Postage rate of a sunflower bouquet.
And finally there is, again, what let's, I don't know exactly how to disrupt the art. It's not quite photo realism. It's not, nor is it watercolor, but very beautiful. A picture of some tulips for the two lip stamps. And that one is out of Mount Vernon. Washington
John: for some reason my browser does not want to go forward on [00:05:00] this easily, but I'm making my way through it here.
Just Evan: Yeah, there'll be a link in the show and it's, and it's a very visually stimulating more when John and I are both reading off a web page,
Just Evan: By.
John: trying to try to even that, trying to keep up with it, but yeah, all of them they got some great stamps coming out and yeah, definitely go check those out as they're coming out. And I apologize. I haven't, I, I missed on that. When are most of those being released?
Just Evan: March 14th or sorry, PI day for the mountain Flores stamps PI day as well for the. African Daisy the 24th of March for the sunflower bouquet and the 24th of March as well for the tulips,
John: okay. 3.14159. What a beautiful number.
Just Evan: got a friend whose birthday.
John: Well, A kickback in here with the other Evan and that with the Penquisition blog [00:06:00] that like I mentioned in the opening on this, that you had co-created that with your father , how does the , how does that.
Other Evan: Essentially, as far as he's concerned, he'd rather, I just do everything. And every once in a while, I bug him to. I'm joking, but it's in terms of blog posts, it really is my a blog to curate. Occasionally, when he's telling me about a new pen, he likes I'll tell him, Hey, you really liked that one.
You ought to write up a review on it. And I'll edit it for him, help him get it up there on the blog, I grew up going to Penstores with them specifically, Bertrand's inkwell back when it was in white Flint mall in Rockville, Maryland. I used to go with him all the time. I think Bertrand's opened up either right before, right after I was born, the original shop.
It's fun to sometimes go to Burt at a show and remind him that I used to have trouble seeing over his counters, but I've always shared a love of stationery with my father. When I got into fountain pens about a month later was the Baltimore Penshow. And I talked him into coming with me and this was back in [00:07:00] 2017.
And, so we, it was just something that we kept discussing together. We got reached critical mass to say, okay, let's start a blog. Let's start putting our views out there. He wanted to, at the time with. Wanted to make some pen blocks and, even tried his hand at turning pens for a little bit, see what he could make. So he focused mostly on production of products and I was focused mostly on the actual content of the blog. Over time. Really? It was early 2020. We decided let's try throwing in some 3d printing as well. We got a really good deal on some cheap Polaroid, 3d printers, and quickly found out that we got a really good deal and they were so cheap for a good reason.
But by that point we were really you know a bit by the 3d printing bug. And so we went out and got a couple of apprecia mini plus machines, and that's what we're currently using for 3d printing. So with the 3d printing we both do that. But the woodworking is all him.
Just Evan: Was it just the deal on the printers that got you into the 3d printing or is there a [00:08:00] really fun technologies?
Other Evan: Oh, yes. I've been fascinated by it for years. Know it was just something that was out of my grasp, both, price-wise and having an excuse to use it.
Just Evan: Yeah.
Other Evan: Mo most of the time, my 3d printer is printing out pen blocks and addresses and things of that sort. When I'm not printing those, I'm printing little, knickknacks for my daughters.
I'd love to print something for myself, but there's not so much that I functionally really need with it. It's just fun to play with.
Just Evan: Yeah. I have several knickknacks on my desk. They 3d printed while I was in grad school.
Other Evan: I have one of those.
Just Evan: This is one of the fun ones. But I was tuning the printer. Are there any styles or types that that either you and your father really enjoy making or designing or that selves are more popular in general than some of the other ones that you've got, because you have a good number, both in color and shape.
Other Evan: Sure. What I really loved printing with and fortunately, the company seems to have gone away. There's a hint that they might go.[00:09:00] But it was a filament from a company called Fillablend that they would take, I believe they were using filament from atomic filament, which I actually used some of their stuff for other things, but I believe they were buying from them and then splicing three colors together in one strand of filament. And so when I would print this, it would come out. Sometimes you would get each side being a different color. Sometimes you would get, kind of variation layer. it varied by school, but you get these great three color prints. And I loved that material. Unfortunately, the people running, it decided it was too much to run it.
They sold the company and said, it'll come back eventually. And we're still waiting. But what we've actually done a ourselves at Penquisition is we went ahead and got a what's called a mosaic. And so we're working on creating, not spliced together the way that Fillablend did, but in short order creating our own filament, that switches between colors [00:10:00] so that we can create our own multi-colored prints
and we may actually have some of those at the Baltimore Penshow.
Just Evan: Oh,
Other Evan: We're hoping to have some ready.
Just Evan: that'll be really neat. That 3d printing is such a cool space to work in.
Other Evan: Yeah. In terms of the actual designs. My favorite is always the most recent one I've done. I've got again, what grade? What great audio, but there's a link. There's a picture of one on my Instagram, at least. There's a new design that I came up with recently that takes everything and puts it at an angle, like a knife block.
And the idea behind it is with people working from home. You could have this slotted in right next to your monitor. So if you don't have a lot of desk space to work with, you can still get, six pens right there.
John: That's pretty
Just Evan: a link to that in the show notes. That is real.
John: Yup. Yeah. And we will definitely have your link to your Instagram account in the show notes, for sure. And so one of the things I noticed as I was going through everything is just the continuing [00:11:00] theme of Maryland coming through. And I was honestly really impressed with.
The way you did the 3d pen rest block with the Maryland footprint on it that had to have taken some pretty serious time. But one of the things I wanted to ask about is your exclusive retro 51 that you did with retro 51 called the Susan, which is after a black-eyed Susan, which is the state flower of Maryland.
And you had chosen two. Use part of the profits to help fund the living classrooms foundation. And I just wanted to let you give a chance to talk about that foundation and why you chose.
Other Evan: Doing a project like this, where we knew, okay, we're guaranteed to make some money on this. We don't have to worry about, breaking even we wanted to make sure, okay. If we're comfortable in this, we want to give some money back. We don't have to worry about, we're going to put ourselves out of business by donating.
We want to make sure that we're sharing the wealth there.[00:12:00] The short answer is it was something I care a lot about that was non-controversial as opposed to choosing something more controversial that might get people not to buy it.
But I do care a lot about them. W what I like about living classrooms is that, they're supporting education in Baltimore, in DC and areas where I think, personally, I think they focus on improving education and improving the lives of children who may not have as much support as in other areas, really benefits all of us.
It definitely benefits those children, but I think it benefits, society at large. Yeah. You know that, that's why I think that's an area of worth giving back to.
John: Okay, very cool. So I'm going to pull this next one and then I'll let Evan take the next question. Do you have a current grail pen?
Other Evan: So I've been fortunate that I had a few specific grail pens that I picked up over the course of the pandemic, things like a dialogue. , [00:13:00] I got a, , you Visconti homosapiens lava colors Inferno. They, cause I, I wanted any homo-sapiens and then they came up with a red one and I said, okay Red's my color.
I have to get that. Right now, I don't know that there's one specific grail pen but I'd like something. That's Urushi with, some sort of angles or facets or something to it where you can see the depth of the Urushi around it. So I, it's not necessarily, I could say, oh, Nikaya DECA pod, but I don't know that's the one, just something that, kinds of shows off that property of Urushi
John: right? Yeah. So with , the lava. Homo sapiens. Have you been able to compare that to the normal black lava homosapien?
Other Evan: I've had them side by side only briefly. The differences, other than the color, that the difference is that you've got the hook safe on the black lava homo-sapiens and it's magnetic capping on the lava colors. I believe the reason they did that, and this is just speculation, but I [00:14:00] believe the reason they did that he is with the lava colors.
You want to be able to clean the ink off of the. And it's difficult to really get in there and the hook safe where on the black pan, you can't really see it. But if you've got, especially, the white lizard, lava colors, you're going to see that ink there, and it's going to know you with the hook safe, but honestly, whatever treatment they use on it, the ink rubs right off when you clean them.
Just Evan: The hook safe also has to be harder to manufacture as much as I love the hook safe mechanism on the VHS.
Other Evan: Yeah, I, maybe one day I'll get another one with the hook shape, but I've been happy with the magnetic capping. I love the pen honestly, I've got big hands. And so the magnetic capping gives me more space to grip. So I'm not complaining about that.
Just Evan: no, I get that. The pens they're at a great range of pens. Because I've also gotten relatively recently, one of them during the pandemic. Not of course we've talked about that. one before. But so [00:15:00] another thing that you seem to be pretty active on is tit talk both in a Jewish lens and in the Pen space. How did you get involved in the.
Other Evan: Kind of procrastinating while doing grad school work. Like all good
Just Evan: What'd y'all do grad students.
Other Evan: Yeah. I was, I honestly, I'm surprised that I'm as involved as I am on the Jewish side, as opposed to the Pen side, when I first made a tic-tac account, I thought, okay, I'm going to make a pen, Tik TOK. I think there were a few others out there, but there weren't too many, I thought, okay, I can try my hand at this and if it doesn't go anywhere, it doesn't go anywhere.
Who cares for some reason. I just, whenever I sit down to make a Tik TOK video, it ends up being on the Jewish side of Tik Tok and that's where I've been gaining critical mass. So I think I'm a little over 200 followers away from being able to go live. So once I go live, maybe I'll start doing stationery streams on there and telling people, Hey, if you want more, go follow my other accounts [00:16:00] to try to get followers on the
Just Evan: Interesting. Yeah, I've not really I know I've talked to you with you before on this. I've not really dived into Tik Tok a good portion of the reason being yet. I would probably get way too deep into It
Other Evan: It is very easy to just scroll through. It's just interesting. It, from a technical aspect, it's fascinating how that app works and the way that you can just scroll through and through, you can respond to videos with other videos. They make it very easy to stay there and actually, I, that not such a good thing, they make hard to leave.
It's very difficult, even in a direct message to share a link with. you know, It's, the app is designed to keep you there,
That said, I've seen, some, small businesses have success putting even just parts of their process up on there. I, you have people have streams of them just packing orders and [00:17:00] people like that.
Just Evan: Yeah. That.
is migrated to other social media is. And it's sometimes it's very interesting. It will say that.
John: . Have you been able to use the tick talk to feed into Instagram successfully?
Other Evan: I have had Tik TOK postings, Instagram. I don't know that anybody's, following one to in terms of traffic feeding, but I've been able to at least get the video to record through Tik TOK and then post to both.
Just Evan: So another thing that we've talked to somewhat. Before Evan, having an eye before on, in other platforms is that inst in Judaism. And obviously if anyone doesn't know both Evan and I are very Jewish as are probably most Evans that you've met. But the use of stationery and writing and Judaism. Is fairly big from everything I can observe. And aside from the continuation of the handwritten Torah, where every Torah scroll is written by an actual scribe, again, anyone [00:18:00] who doesn't know, what do you see as some of the continuations in that space with either art or stationery or letters?
Other Evan: Speaking of art, I was going to go a different direction with this. When you send me this question, but just speaking to art, something that struck me from an early age was Jewish, micro calligraphy in art. And in fact, my bar mitzvah invitation was a micro calligraphy of, ultra Orthodox rabbis dancing with Torahs
with, I believe it was the entire text of the song of songs was what was written out on there, which at the time as a 12 year old boy picking it out, I enjoyed the fact that okay, this is probably the dirtiest book of the tamale that I'm sending out to everybody. I know, but
Just Evan: That's correct. I actually only recently learned that micro calligraphy was like a specifically Jewish thing. I just because it has gained popularity. Making images of, let's say Sherlock Holmes out of the text of a [00:19:00] Sherlock Holmes book or Dickens, or making the characters from pride and prejudice that's the sort of art for anybody who who doesn't know, that we're talking about.
I only recently learned that it like was originally Jewish thing.
Other Evan: I'm learning that right now. I just assumed that everybody did it. I just assumed that, I see the Jewish stuff because I grew up in the Jewish sphere, other people have their own.
Just Evan: no. So I learned that it was Jewish by listening to drinking and drashing Torah with a twist, which is a very fun name, podcast.
Other Evan: Yes.
John: I think one of the first first application select serious applications. I saw of that kind of style where you're writing out an image using words was oh man, now I'm going to space on his name. He's the master pen man out of Colorado. want to say Josh, but yeah he was making a birds and flowers using words and that's really striking.
Other Evan: Yeah, no I know who you're talking. I'm blanking on his name as well. I know who you're talking about any. [00:20:00] He is incredible.
Just Evan: but where were you originally going to go with this?
Other Evan: So originally I was thinking more about how I had planned to do a Daf Yomi. Which for those who aren't aware that Daf Yomi is a seven and a half, I believe it is year cycle of studying roughly seven and a half years studying every single page of the Talmud every day you study one page front and back.
And the cycle just started over in early 20. So I had planned to go through with this particular Daf Yomi cycle and had set myself up with a notebook. And this plan of, I, I'm going to read and study every page and I'm going to write this. One line from each side of each page that really speaks to me.
I had this whole stationery kit set up, I was ready to do it. And then the pandemic hit. And then I decided let's go back to grad school and that kind of scrapped everything. I think most people who set out at the [00:21:00] beginning of a Daf Yomi cycle,
Just Evan: tough. Do you want me? Yeah, I did not do Daf Yomi maybe. And that cycle I'll think about it.
Other Evan: Yeah, I'll see where I am. I would love to do it. I enjoyed the couple of months I put into it. And they, it's again, w with speaking of the stationery there, the, to have that notebook to go back to and say, okay, as I went through the Talmud these were the lines that spoke to me, at that time, at least.
John: So I have a question for both of you. The, one of my favorite grinds is at least within. Western world is called an architect grind, but I've also heard it called a Hebrew grind. And have either of you used an architect grind or Hebrew grind like that, and does it really help with your Hebrew text?
Just Evan: He can probably talk more to the. because mine is basically copying from other things. I don't know, [00:22:00] Hebrew architect is one of my favorite pen grinds because I liked the look of it.
Anyway. It also looks technical which is an engineer. I really like. But I will use it when I've attempted Hebrew and I it's one of my favorites. But I also frequently write it as a Hebrew grind instead of an architect. Not because I have some reason or otherwise, except for the fact that Hebrew is an easier to spell word. So I know I've spelled it correctly.
John: Yeah. I tend to abbreviate a architect down to just a R C H and call it.
Other Evan: I will say if you want to write Hebrew blocks they, especially, he brought black script calligraphy. If you want to write it in a, the most traditional look, you can, you need an architect or Hebrew grind to do it because the way that , those block letters are traditionally shown, it's got the wide cross strokes in a narrow downstroke. And that's, I've also heard of it as an Arabic grind that I believe that, traditional Arabic script has a [00:23:00] similar kind of balance to it. And I think it all comes from the way that ancient reads were cut, to write these scripts, originally Evan mentioned earlier, the writing of Torah, scrolls and other ritual scrolls, that's all done by cutting reads and I'm using, I believe iron gall, ink that has to be made in a certain way.
And those read your cut in such a way that they have a tipping similar to an architect.
Just Evan: Yeah.
Other Evan: W which would little interesting tidbit on the architect grind in Hebrew. I know that Josh lacks, JJ lacks when he did the scribe grind for Estabrook, they're out of the box architect grind, one of the reasons it's called the scribe is in honor of all of those Hebrew scribes that Sofer is the word in Hebrew, but scribe would be the English translation that write those ritual objects.
John: Yeah. So one thing I wanted to ask about, and this is just purely from a position of ignorance, but what the handwritten [00:24:00] Torahs is there a particular group of people that tend to do that? Or is that a general Judaic.
Just Evan: It's a job being a Sofer is a job. It's not, I haven't ever looked to try and buy a Torah, but there are Sofers who writes Sofer Torah. Spots, I believe has many of them.
Other Evan: Yeah, I'm not that I've ever bought a Torah, but mezuzot scroll goes on a doorpost. They also has to be written not by.
Just Evan: hang mine up.
Other Evan: Oh, great. I need a new one for one of my doors. I've got a door without one and I feel bad about it, but as long as I feel bad about it,
Just Evan: exactly.
Other Evan: But yeah, it's the same process writing out the scroll that goes in the mezuzot the scroll that goes in the phylacteries, that Tefillin in that some Jews wrap with a, for daily prayer it's, Sofer does all of those things.
And so in that way, as Sofer is, [00:25:00] into, in and of itself a job, they're not, just, I, not that somebody couldn't do it as a hobby, but it's. What are these sort of ritual jobs that somebody can have within Judaism?
John: Is it with that being a job? Is that kind of a journeyman apprentice system or do they learn that through university? How has that passed along?
Other Evan: So I'll be honest. I'm not a hundred percent certain on. I guess I could see it being in a kind of journeymen apprentice or being classes at a a seminary, I'm not sure which way it's done, but it's definitely something that takes a lot of training and skill. Because if, if you get things wrong, it's not kosher and it can't be used.
So it really has to be, exact to how.
John: Yep. We're going to go back to the Penquisition blog and wanted to ask about some of the pen reviews you've done. Have there been any real surprises? , In those reviews.[00:26:00]
Other Evan: So I, I hate to go negative, but something that really surprised me was how much I disliked the Lamy 2000 multipen
Just Evan: hm.
Other Evan: That was something that you know, cause I, I love my Lamy 2000 fountain pen. I love the look of it. The multi pen I thought, okay, this is going to be great. It's got the kind of gravity mechanism where you turn it to the side to advance the colored led you want, which are the color not led, but either the pencil or color of ink you want, which my favorite Rotring multipen from way back when had the. So I thought this was going to be great and it just didn't feel right. In my hand, something about, it just felt like the parts were cheaper than other Lamy 2000s, or they weren't lining up. I even, I purchased it on Amazon, so I had to replaced with another one by them and it felt exactly the same.
So I realized that it's not a defective unit. It's just, it doesn't feel the way [00:27:00] I want it to feel. And I, and I stated that in our review, I think we did a video review. I like to do those occasionally where my father and I both get on the camera and kind of talk to each other about it.
And yeah, that was a disappointment. I will say, though. I was surprised by some of the other multi pens that we tried, like the pilot Dr. Grip, that, it's easy when you're into high-end pens to write off something that you'd get off the shelf at a, office supplies. But that pilot, Dr.
Grip was a great multi pound that you can, the BIC that I tried, the three plus one with the pencil, built them very good for the price. I think that was, something that reminded me, Hey, stop, don't don't overlook the inexpensive pens. Sometimes they're just inexpensive, because they're not that expensive to produce.
Not because they don't have.
John: Yeah. Yeah. And I've played with the Rotrings. I'm also an engineer, so I spent a lot of times with Rotring pens and pencils, [00:28:00] and I've also got a Lamy 2000 multi pen. And I could see how getting spoiled by a Rotring would sour your reaction to the Lamy, but the Lamy had.
that gravity mechanism on the Lamy is touchy in my experience, but it's a fun pen. I still like the Makralon for it, but yeah, I can definitely get where you're coming from. And pilot man pilot just knocks it out of the park with almost all of their pins. I've run across a few. I think the pilot air was a flop, but almost all the other pilot pens I've seen have been just spectacular.
Just Evan: Yeah.
I've never had a pilot pen write poorly unless I destroyed it. I have a metropolitan that doesn't write any more than the nib went down the sink.
Other Evan: Yeah. I will say in regards to my experience with the Lamy 2000, multipen, th there's a reason I don't put number grades or letter grades or anything on my reviews. I think that, so much of [00:29:00] stationery is so subjective in terms of what you like and what other people like, I, I try to just present.
Here's how I react to them. , If you've read enough of what I've written, hopefully you have an idea of what my biases are and you can try to, put that against your own biases and whether or not you'd like it. But that's why I never say, okay, this is a good pen. This is a bad pen
I say, okay, I didn't like it, but maybe it's good for this person or that.
John: Yep. The one that the one review that I found the most surprising on the blog was the review that you did for the, Fortune credo Shema. I hope I've not. Huh?
Just Evan: Uh,
John: Okay. , you did on there and you had mentioned. And again, I'm going to probably slaughter this the Daf Yomi cycle earlier.
And you mentioned that in this this review as well. So I thought this was a really neat review. I like it. You had mentioned in the review, the [00:30:00] various symbolisms that are on there and. The various Hebrew lettering that's on it. I thought it was really cool. And I'm going to try one more Hebrew word here, and I'm going to try not to slaughter this too much, the Chai for meaning a life that's on the grip.
Chai Okay. Thank you. we go. Perfect. And I absolutely love the way that looks on the section for that Monte grappa pen.
Other Evan: It is a gorgeous pan. It was actually gifted to me by a reader who said, I, oh, this is how I want to contribute to the Pen community. I can send this pen to you, and then you can put a review out to everybody else, which was incredibly generous of him.
John: yeah, that's cool.
Other Evan: Yeah, but I it's, it is a beautiful pen
something interesting about it. And I believe I touched on this in the review. It's been a bit since I've gone back and read that one something that I find interesting is that it has [00:31:00] that prayer, the Shema prayer on it, which is the same prayer that is written inside of a mezuzot on the scroll.
There are. Deliberately in designing it. They changed certain words that are considered holy words, that mostly names of God, things like that. So. It's not, you know, the pen itself doesn't, , have an issue with, , what do you do if it breaks or if it gets thrown away? Because if it had, the actual holy names written on it, then it becomes a ritual object itself.
And you've got rules about throwing it away. There's concerns. If you leave it clipped on your pocket and you walk into the bathroom, cause you're not supposed to take something holy into the bathroom.
Other Evan: I always find that fascinating about it is that they definitely paid attention and said, okay, we need to make sure that this is usable as a functional item, rather than accidentally making it, elevating it too much.
John: Okay. Oh, that's a great piece of insight. That's very cool. And hats off to Monte grappa [00:32:00] for that level of awareness. That's really.
Just Evan: Yeah. that's something, I haven't obviously read the text of the pen itself, but when I first seen the pen forever go just in passing that it exists. That was something that I was honestly concerned about. Was were they doing something that would not be kosher? And I literally in a literal sense.
Other Evan: No, I did even. I consult a rabbi on it just to be absolutely a hundred percent. See I spoke with by my childhood rabbi, rabbi Layman, who has that, that name that contradicts itself. Very nice guy. Yeah. And he confirmed that yet because of the way that they wrote out those words there, it's fine to use for whatever, not that you throwing out a fountain pen when it runs out of ink, but if anything ever happens to it, it doesn't have to go into a geniza , which is where ritual Jewish papers are sent to be buried because they can't be thrown away.
It's just treated as a mundane.
John: You had mentioned earlier Evan, that you'd seen this [00:33:00] pen earlier. How old is this pen? Is this pen still?
Other Evan: I don't believe it's still available in the finish that I reviewed it in, which is the stainless steel. They might have it still in the black and possibly the blue. They definitely still make the Monte grappa. Are the Fortuna credo, I think is specifically the Fortuna line that this came from,
John: Yeah, they say it's a series.
Other Evan: yeah, the Fortuna I believe was a Roman God, maybe a Greek god
that's a fun little contradiction that you've got a Jewish pen in a line named after a Roman, a Greek God. But.
Just Evan: happens.
Other Evan: But yeah, I believe that there may be still some finishes made it definitely, if it's completely off the market brand new, it wasn't so long ago that if somebody is looking for one, they should be able to find one out there.
Just Evan: I may have to, I may have to look for one of these. There are no that if you [00:34:00] Google a Montegrappa Fortuna credo Shema, the second link is for Penquisition.com.
Other Evan: Wonderful.
Just Evan: Not useful for trying to buy one though.
Other Evan: No, because I'm not selling.
Just Evan: Yeah. Oh, that's a
John: So Evan I believe you had a question you wanted to
Just Evan: Oh yes. This is one that I didn't include, but for any Jewish interview I have to ask.
Other Evan: I mean, Really you have to ask chocolate. like a screening question at the beginning,
John: Yeah. Are we allowed to keep going with this interview cinnamon or chocolate?
Just Evan: Cinnamon is the.
only bucket. Now. It doesn't matter. It's just a fun, it's a fun question. You get fun responses on.
John: Yep. So I'd imagine that this is probably a moving target, but I wanted to ask if you had a current favorite.
Other Evan: I'll be honest. They, when it comes to paper, I go back and forth on things. Cause you know, I get some beautiful results from things like to Tamoe river, but then it never [00:35:00] dries. And I'm sitting there with a notebook open on the side of my desk forever. What I tend to rely on, as a kind of easy way to just default is I use a lot of products from Write
notepads in part, because they're local here in Baltimore and I've met the guys and the, nice guys. But also I think they use, or w whatever paper they're using is a real nice balance between, performing well with fountain pen inks, and also pencils, which, I like something that can take both, but also not taking forever to dry. So I, I can't tell you specifically which paper it is, they, their engineering notebook is what I tend to use for my writing samples on my blog. I like to keep one of their pocket notebooks.
John: Nice. Very cool.
Other Evan: When I started the blog as well. One of the things that, I thought about was I don't want to take forever to set up everything perfectly. In order to do my reviews. And there's, if you look through the blog, there's a lot of what's called these pocket-sized reviews. And this was me just forcing myself to take whatever I had on me, which was literally, whatever pen I have [00:36:00] with whatever ink is in it, my pocket notebook, and just write some. I don't have the best handwriting. I'm not, an amazing artist. And so the thought was, don't worry about, you've got to set up everything perfectly, pick out the perfect paper and really, have this amazing spread here. You're not going to lay out, this amazing looking Instagram photo.
It's just here is what I'm thinking. I attributed to the days I spent in high school going through local punk show, just that sort of DIY aesthetic of, don't worry about being good at it. Just worry about having fun with it.
John: I completely agree with that. Now I'm with you with the the handwriting on there that I occasionally still get grief from people. So you've got such amazing pens and such horrible handwriting,
Other Evan: I'm honestly shocked people. Don't say that to me more. That, that was my big fear when I started putting things out there and I very rarely do I get that from people which surprises me, but it encourages me to keep going. And that's, w what I would say to anybody else who, feels like, oh, I wish I could do this, but I don't have that perfect handwriting.
I don't, I don't have the Ida line, everything up, at perfect angles. [00:37:00] So what if you enjoy it?
John: Yep. And yeah, if you don't start somewhere, you're never going to end up somewhere. So if you want to improve your handwriting, you got to pick up that pen and you've got to start doing drills and whether it's improving your printing or actually getting back into handwriting, which I was doing for awhile and then fell off the train there, but it's you got to practice.
Just Evan: Yeah.
my handwriting is never gotten to improve. As many of my pen pals can attest to
Other Evan: it's mostly just remembering to include bigger spaces between words.
Just Evan: kerning. That's not quite kerning, but currently would be really.
John: What pens have you been reaching for lately?
Other Evan: So I've got I'm still amazed by it and again bad audio, but I'm going to show you. This pen here I had done by mad science pen company.
Other Evan: think it's such a fascinating design. This is the beta [00:38:00] version too. It's also up on my Instagram and up on their Instagram, I think,
John: Okay. That's that was going to be my immediate, next question is can they see it on instant?
Just Evan: we'll include a link.
Just Evan: All of the hooded nib. That's neat.
Other Evan: yeah, put it nib cap screws in there. In the back, you've got an ink window, which not all of them have that, but that's like he can do grip right there in the barrel. And then this sort of semi blind cap that you can use to ink it. And it's just this guy, Jacob, on a mad science pen company, he's got a few designs that are just so different from what everybody else has. And I find that fascinating because, I have, I've got lots of different pens from different makers and they're all awesome. But I love when I see a pen that just doesn't look like all the other pens out there.
Other Evan: So that's what I've been going for. Another one I've been using a lot lately was a gift I got for graduating grad school, which used my Mont Blanc [00:39:00] star Walker, urban speed I said earlier, red's my color and that's got the red Stripe right down the
Other Evan: there.
Do you have other Mont Blancs?
Other Evan: uh, I have a couple of other Mont Blancs. I've got a Meisterstruck, 12 that I think my father accidentally stole from somebody I don't know, 30 years. I've got my father's Mont Blanc, 1 49 that I've essentially stolen from him. But th this is there's something about that star Walker finial that just speaks to me. And the urban speed has a different shape to the finial where it's almost more flat on top. Whereas most of the others are done.
John: Yep for
Other Evan: And I just, I don't know something about the shape of it. It's not, the grail pen that everybody would pick, oh, this is what I want when I graduate.
But something about it was just like, okay, I want this to be mine. I want this in my collection. It just feels nice every time I pick it up. But I, when I got it, I couldn't find these specific Montblanc star [00:40:00] Walker converter. Standard schmidt converter fits in it, but I wanted the one that says, only for star Walker on it.
So I linked it with the converter I had. And then I managed to find that a converter at, I think Penboutique that a month ago. So I'm trying to use it, the ink in here so that I can rethink it with the right converter.
Just Evan: Nice.
. Can you share one technique with our listeners that you think will elevate their snail mail and their snail mail art?
Other Evan: What I would say is, as I was saying a moment ago, just doing it, just get out there and do it. I, I talked earlier about feeling guilty about not having a mezuzot up I am awful at responding to that. had a correspondence going for a bit with Johnny Gamber of the Erasables podcast.
Awesome guy. And yeah he would send me these, such awesome thoughtful letters. And I felt I can't live up to this in sending a response back, and I would do my best and then I fell off there. And in snail mail and snail mail art. I the best advice I can give is don't worry about whether or [00:41:00] not what you're doing is good enough because just the fact that you're doing it is what makes it good enough, with my pocket-sized reviews that half of those have little doodles in them that aren't necessarily any good.
I might pull up a reference photo on my browser and try to draw something similar while looking at it. And it, no one's gonna be paying me for my art, but people come read the blogs. So it does.
John: Yeah, and I completely agree. You've got to do something and doing it with a level of consideration is the best gift you can give.
We had mentioned before about your Instagram account and some of the other stuff that was going into Instagram, and I wanted to ask with. particular platform in mind. Are there any artists that you follow on Instagram that you think are doing some amazing work?
Other Evan: Ooh, there was a new artist I found just the other day and I'm blanking on their name. Give me a moment here. Apologize for the clicking. And I've been trying [00:42:00] not to type.
Just Evan: This is the reason I haven't plugged in my my keyboard. And I'm using my ergo dots since that.
John: Yeah. Are you on your mechanical keyboard that you reviewed on the blog?
Other Evan: I am. Yes, that's actually the only one I have plugged in here,
Just Evan: Nice.
Other Evan: my little 3d printed baby Yoda key cap.
Just Evan: Oh, fun never got my, when I had access to a printer, never got it. Tuned enough. They could print key caps
Other Evan: it's it's not that bad. I shouldn't put my work down, but I don't know that it's a quality high enough that I'd sell it. But it's also not my design to sell.
John: Yeah, that's.
Just Evan: Yeah,
Other Evan: That's been a big thing for me, selling 3d printed objects is that, you mentioned earlier the Maryland pen rest I did in making that I had to essentially go out and find a image of Maryland that, [00:43:00] was free for my use to base it off of, because I don't want to use someone else's intellectual property without permission without, I, I don't want to try to obscure that I'm using someone else's intellectual property either.
I want to, own what I'm doing. So I essentially had to find a government open source image of the state of Maryland and then trace it as a vector file.
John: That is always the option. Put it down and trace it. Yup.
Other Evan: There are other pen rests I've done that, will never see the light of day commercially, because I use something that was, creative commons non-commercial. So I made them as gifts for people, they're never going to go out on sale because I don't have the right to.
Just Evan: And you're respecting the rights of the artist, but just plenty of people would not care if it's a creative commons or even if it's just available somewhere on the internet.
Other Evan: It's important to me as a creator, as a maker myself, and just as a person living in the world that, it's easy in this [00:44:00] internet age to forget about. Respecting, the rights that artists have to things and who knows what wrench NFTs are gonna throw in with all that.
But you know it to me, yes, that's important to respect them.
And I've found this artist. There are so many amazing artists on Instagram. I wish I could list them all, but I was. Playing along with a Instagram account that likes to be facetious a older man that claims to be, I think, 32 years old. And he posted something when meatloaf passed away about how he was such a big meatloaf fan.
And so I, I posted playing along with the account creator. I posted something going, you're not old enough to be a meatloaf fan. And some people thought that I was being serious in the comments and one of them I looked at their profile and saw that they were an amazing artist. So I commented back to them like, Hey, how dare you tell me that I can't gatekeep.
Even though [00:45:00] you're such an amazing artist and everybody should go follow you, et cetera. And it got a laugh out of them. And so I'll spell out the handle here. T X I M I N O M a N, Cosmey, I believe is his name. I just, I was floored by his art, for just stumbling across a random yeah.
John: So going going along here do you have a favorite purchase and this can be stationery or not in the last six?
Other Evan: In the last six months, it might be that mad science pen. I that's definitely up there cause that was in December. I commissioned it a little while back and in December it was finally ready for me to pay for something I purchased temporarily. I'll say just put out a big order with Rick Shaw
Other Evan: for some items that we're going to have at the Baltimore pen show.
John: Oh, and yeah, the Baltimore the Susan style Baltimore
Just Evan: Maryland flag.
Other Evan: Yeah, [00:46:00] Maryland flag up pen cases. So I've been excited about those. It's not really a purchase for me, although w we'll see if the photo samples make it back into inventory after. That really is. I think with the with the retro pen, Richard had retro knocked it out of the park, designing it.
Yes, it's the Maryland flag, but he really made it fit the Pen shape. He really, got the colors, and, the same that Mark at Rick Shaw, really translated that design very well to those.
John: Yeah. Thank you, Evan. I greatly appreciate you taking the time tonight to sit down and talk with myself and Evan and with other Evan and we managed to, generally speaking, keep it straight. Thanks to the miracle that his video even though there were some. Bad audio moments in the whole thing.
But we managed to make the whole thing work and wanted to make sure that everybody knew where they can find Evan, other Evan on the internets. We have Penquisition.com and we also have his Penquisition account on Instagram. So thank you all very [00:47:00] much for tuning in hope to see you again in two weeks, be proud of your snail mail.