Some of you have been wondering what has happened to my site over the past few weeks. Well, to cut the long story short, my previous hosting account was expiring, I made a bad decision to switch hosts so that I could try out new ones, and then everything messed up.
This happened in April where I happened to have had two business trips to attend to, and in the midst of that, I have not been able to restore my site, despite the technical support team’s help from my new host. I was frustrated to say the least, and at some point I just told myself to be mentally prepared in case I had to lose 5 years’ worth of blog posts from my site.
Well, this weekend, by some miracle, I actually managed to restore the posts and the blog layout! It was a relief, but there are still a number of things to iron out, such as plugins not working properly, posts not posting properly, comments not publishing properly… It still sucks, but waaaaay less than before. So it probably isn’t so bad after all.
Thank you for your patience while I try to get those stuff sorted out (it may take a couple more weeks depending on whether I can figure them out, with my limited knowledge – I probably would need to ask Google for all the solutions. And thank you also for checking in with me on the situation my blog had to undergo.
Cody from The Pen Haul has invited me to guest post on his website, ThePenHaul.com. I took a long time, honestly, but I managed to come up with a decent post to contribute! I wrote about my journey in my sub-collection of small fountain pens. Yep, I have this strange fascination for small fountain pens. They just look so cute. Here’s a picture:
Thanks to the help from C.H., a Singapore Fountain Pen Lover and a friend of mine, I got my hands on this interesting Lanbo 008 fountain pen (temporarily). He had borrowed it from his colleague who also agreed to lend it to me to play with. Don’t be intimidated by the dragon’s head embellishment on the clip – the fountain pen itself look relatively simple and harmless. As usual, let me start by talking a bit about the pen and its design, before going into the cleaning mechanism.
It is black with gold accents and the barrel has a nice lotus flower design that is placed in the centre, but does not take up a lot of space on the barrel. The only other interesting design on the pen is really just the dragon on the clip, gold with ruby-red eyes. Not real rubies, of course.
On the cap, between two gold bands, is the brand name in Chinese. 蓝泊 (pinyin: lán pō) translates somewhat to “blue berth”; “berth” as in the place where a boat stops. The other side of the cap shows the brand name in English, “Lanbo”.
The nib is a two-tone gold and silver coloured nib. It’s most likely a stainless steel nib which is gold-plated in parts where you see gold. On the nib there is a design of a dragon head, looking a little like the dragon on the clip. There is also the brand name carved on the side, as well as “22KGP” in the middle of the nib. This nib does not have a breather hole, only the middle slit.
The filling mechanism used here is a squeeze-type converter, which is one of my least favourite types. Doesn’t matter. On the black cover of the converter, there are some Chinese words written in white which says “Instruction: Cleaning tool is located between the nib tines. Prevents clogging when using with carbon-based ink.” I assume that meant “pigmented ink”, but I’m not entirely sure. But this is where the interesting part is. In the nib of this pen, there is a little plastic piece that slides to and fro the slit of the nib when you push the lever back and forth. It’s the first time I’m seeing something like that in a pen!
I’ve made a GIF animation here to show you how the lever works. It can be pushed easily with a finger and the piece of thin plastic slides through the slit, much like using a brass sheet to floss between the tines.
More pictures below:
Yep, I’ve used a macro converter on my camera lens to get this superb zoom level. The plastic piece doesn’t look very well-made as it is jagged and rough. If you scrutinize it, you can actually see it with your own eyes without any magnifying aid. However, I doubt that this affects the flow of ink, since the primary function is to scrape out the dried ink between the tines.
When I just received the pen, I noticed some paper fibres stuck between the tines. Those did not affect the ink flow, but I pushed the slider and found that it does indeed push out the dirt. That was nice. I filled it with my usual J. Herbin Perle Noire black ink. Nope, it isn’t pigmented, but I did not dare to potentially ruin the pen (which doesn’t belong to me, remember) with pigmented ink. We don’t usually use pigmented ink in our fountain pens (because the pigment does not only clog the nib, it also clogs the insides of the pen), but one issue we might have is difficulty starting after the nib dries out. I wanted to test if this “patented technology” worked well to encourage ink flow or not…
… and the conclusion was “no”. I placed the pen uncapped on my table for a day, found out that the nib wouldn’t start, so I pushed the slider a few times, and the nib still wouldn’t start. It’s a pity!
In any case, this was quite an interesting pen to explore, and it’s fun to see how people try to get creative with improving fountain pens. The Lanbo 008 fountain pen itself writes decently, with minimal skipping and reasonable smoothness. If you ever get hold on one of these pens, you could give it a shot and try injecting pigmented ink into it, see if it clogs or not. An example of pigmented ink you could use is India Ink, often used for writing or drawing (with a dip nib), and should be relatively easy to get. Let me know how it goes if you do!
A while ago I had published my Rohrer & Klingner (I will just call it R&K in the rest of the post) series overview from parts 1-6, covering 3 R&K inks in each part. I love manufacturers who make a greatly attractive series of ink colours, but then again, we are all spoilt for choice, and a variety of ink colours can make choosing the “ideal” one quite difficult. But call me picky or not, sometimes I am targeting that one specific ink colour which eludes me, despite the sheer variety of inks available on the market!
Before the R&K ink series, I had also published a 4-part series of the Pilot Iroshizuku inks, 24 colours in total. For a number of those inks, I managed to spot some sheen very easily. I don’t know if this is characteristic of Japanese inks or not, but I hadn’t managed to spot much sheen in other inks, especially those from R&K. I wasn’t convinced that R&K inks have totally no sheen, so I decided to do a little experiment on my own.
DO ROHRER & KLINGNER INKS HAVE SHEEN?
For my ink swab records, I usually made a single ink layer followed by a double layer using a cotton bud (or Q-tip, which may be a more familiar term for some of you). For Iroshizuku, this was already sufficient to bring out the sheen under good lighting, but it was definitely not enough for R&K. Therefore, for this follow-up study, I dabbed a very generous amount of each ink onto a piece of paper from a Caran d’Ache notebook (yes, fountain pen-friendly paper), let them dry, and then scrutinized them under my bright desk light. Just to get some additional information, I also tried to split the ink colours using water by dripping a drop of tap water onto the corner of each dried ink spot, then let it spread and dry on its own.
MY CAMERA, MY EYE, AND ADOBE PHOTOSHOP / LIGHTROOM
Okay, to be honest, my camera does not always take the best picture to represent the ink as seen by eyes. In fact, some people even perceive colours differently. Seeing a turquoise-y colour, I might generalize it to “green” while my mum might call it “blue”. Also, the infamous “blue-and-black-or-white-and-gold” dress that took the world in a viral wave last year proved that colours can be interpreted very differently! (Side note: By the way, there was a follow-up to #TheDress this year, featuring #TheJacket.)
In order to showcase the sheen in some of the inks better, I have edited the exposure and contrast settings of the ink photos and I will be showing both the original and the edited one side-by-side. Which one is more accurate? I don’t really know. Both, I guess? In any case, its is better that you try the ink yourself. Don’t trust any ink photos on the internet, as they most certainly would look at least very slightly different from a real-life perception!
Here are the photos:
In conclusion, there are really very limited inks in the Rohrer & Klingner range that shows any sheen. The best ones would have to be Solferino and Konigsblau, but even these aren’t extremely obvious on paper. Blau Permanent offers some glimmer of hope in the sheen department, but it is really quite limited.
Now I wonder if sheen is more a Japanese kind of thing…
Do you like sheen in your inks? What are your favourite inks that have a great deal of sheen in them?
I am both excited to have seen the Northern Lights in Norway this past week, and sad that the holiday was so short. Now I am back in Singapore and boring work life resumes in a few hours. Oh well. Here are today’s Sunday Inkings from the past fortnight, and later I will show you a couple of my travel photos. 😉
The Levenger L-tech 3.0 came in a silver box. Something cheap made well enough to be customised, but just a box. appearances do not matter to me here, it has been tossed carelessly as I did not deem it worthy of a photo. How it is presented looks costly, but gaudy and too much of a resemblance to a metal brief case filled with cash like on a low budget D-list movie. It is jarringly out of place, I’m no triad boss, it is not a discreet box.
Diagram by me, like I used MS Paint, I made this with pro Photoshop skillz. Mad SKILLZ bro. Lie. I can’t Photoshop. Next. Photo sources as listed.
Opening it, I nodded my first approval– thorough enough, and not too expensive for what I paid, a mostly brass alloy stick nestled in dense foam with not just one, but two stylus tips. One meshy and the other silicon-y Well, for a fountain pen, it wasn’t too expensive, retailing at the Levenger’s site for US$99.
Levenger also sells other pens, associated paraphernalia from paper to, quite oddly, wallets and wristwatches. Are they going to be a department store? At the point of my first draft, I could not uncover more about the brand, quickly searching for it did not bring much up. What is a ‘Levenger’? It was founded by a pair from the United States of America in 1987, as written on the website. Much is shrouded and their direction seemed unclear to me, but also on display, the founders have revealed their faces, never mind that it kind of reminds me personally of a stock image.
On further pressing, portraits of each one appear in other sections of the site and the ideal for them is quality. This means to me it must be able to be withstand the test of time and use, still maintain durability and not look like a piece of junk when I die. Finally it must be good enough to be then handed down to someone else, a son or daughter, an idolised person or a friend to gift as a prized possession. Quality is one of those things. Carry on. The address points to the state of Florida. Nothing special. There are even separate pages for mission, vision and purpose. There is a video. A blog. Oh goodness. Too much now. I shut the tab and went with their line: they want to appeal to the writer, thinker, reader. Specifically. I do not feel inclusive although I write, think and read, each one extensively. It should be for all! Throw pens at people, everyone! I quote the legendary Sir David Attenborough, roughly, as I was only in the audience and this I can only quote by memory: Let the females, let women have equal opportunities to be educated. That is why I believe a pen should be given to everyone.
The stainless steel nib is claimed to be handcrafted in Germany. Steel rusts. What about the rest of it? The brass alloy body is powder-coated, and in the colour ‘Stealth’, matt on the faceted barrel, a knurled grip (this is not comfortable, but I tolerated it)– and the nib was lacquered black. That would be the end of the it, friction will rub the lacquer off. This is not heirloom stuff, yet it was imposing as it stood. Tall, dark and handsome. It was constructed with thought and carried with it a rather heavy weight. Cap on, cap off, it balanced well. In my small hand, in my husband’s much larger hand, this pen had the potential, still, if modified.
Along with the pen and stylus tips sat a piston-filler converter. Thoughtful. Someone wanted to make this thing a weapon to behold and a weapon it would make if you knew where to stab someone, pointy sticks go to things like the eyes! Ow. Masculine in stereotype and by shape, a woman pulling this pen out her purse would intimidate simply by looks. I chucked the cartridge aside and excitedly pulled out a vial of ink, one of my first ones so generously shared with me by Maybelline (shout out to you!); Rohrer and Klingner. In Verdure/Verdura, whichever language you want to use, I call it Verdure (it is a word in English and first meaning is for lush green vegetation), and from Latin, Old French and Old Italian.. Argh! I was excited, I spoke in every language I knew, muttering to myself as I dug around my treasures, my husband knew me and just left me to my experiments, left me to be this Gollum-like state I get into, a crazy scientist.
To me, a rich green in shade and tone, to describe it as emerald would make sense to most who do not work with colour or gems. Personally, I do work with colour, but I don’t think in names and words when I do, now that I try to describe it, languages escape me. Many have written about this ink and I will continue.
Photograph by myself and my phone. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Lies. I want a class action lawsuit against apple for cruelty to stupid human for not treating other human properly. I didn’t say Apple. I said apple. Dangnabbit apples. Once upon a time, I bought a big fuji apple from Japan, not China, it was massive and tested like apple, duh, just eleven trillion bajillion times sweeter with good crunch and texture, not sweet like sugar explosions, it was sweet, apt. The fragrance and flavour of apple was prominent, the sweetness only played back up, even the skin complemented the flesh, as if it was the soundproof walls keeping every flavour’s note together until you finish chewing and swallow it with satisfaction. Down the esophagus! Bucket list for eating the best apple, done. I must keep to point. Erghghgh.
For the L-Tech 3.0, I wrote with it for a full page, enjoying slip it had over Tomoe River paper; Yes… the wind is in my hair, the speed and finesse I have experienced personally with more German engineering in the form of….. mmm cars (yes, I am a speed demon, I no longer drive though, everyone is safe!) and with gusto, I wrote with this instrument akin to a muscular, chiseled but lean male who flexed and puffed his chest. Menacing, but masked. This masculine appearance flopped when put to the test. When the time came for him to drop the disguise, the beveled body that sailed smoothly by with ticks automatically awarded for aesthetics gave way. My palm was green, and from somewhere this piece of metal is broken. I checked, consulted, over and over. My eyesight is still fairly good despite my huge bout of illness; there was a hairline crack at the base of the nib, cutting close near the feed. Sighing, I removed the converter to save the ink, and every bit of this construction I cleaned gently, rinsed with water, soaked and dried on cloth that was now worth more than the useless metal. Still, I treated it with respect like it had passed away.
Aside, put it away, I don’t want to see it– I had told my husband. It would be as if I had never touched it to the naked eye, it would pass. Without that crack, if it had quality control, it would have been the pen I carry with me to write and sign my name with. This minute detail is of great importance: for now I sit in a wheelchair, and had to relearn how to write, with a rollerball i struggle, a ballpoint, chicken scratch. A fountain pen? I have to write letters of proxy today by hand because sometimes I just cannot be outside, and on ink with paper, I identified myself and signed my name. Walk? On extremely fantastic days, I walk. My signature, in frustration, was just squiggles for a time. I have moved on from the pen now, the potential is marred like bloodstains on silk, white and pearlescent of quality, hems embroidered by hand and tailored to fit a beloved Empress… A scar upon the face that should launch a thousand ships, Helen of Troy. A dud. Bad luck? I wanted to throw it into the recycling bin, but I held on for no reason, and it is now lost in the abyss of my perimeters.
It was a sore defeat.
I have moved on from that Levenger pen, as mentioned, and I write this day with thanks to other fountain pens that don’t leak and colour my hands black and blue (done before). Purple on my face that my doctor thought was a bruise? Oh, dear no, I have smeared something on my face. This day, I write with ink, coax colour across materials, away from materials, and paint with both synthetic and natural fibre brushes. Squirrel, mink, pony, horse, then, even for my hair, boar bristles as I have damaged growth and pull at it frequently. Kuretake and Hakuhodo, I laud for well made tools. I am only an amateur with fountain pens, but in a land before time, I hold a brush the other way around and transform faces with Hakuhodo brushes, I gave my clients their last dusting of powder, or if needed, the density of its fibres picked up pigment and deposited it back. A living canvas. In my free time, I would make cards for no reason, happy birthday! to no one. Kuretake gave me markers, glues for the craft-gene-lacking me, and a waterbrush, along with watercolours that I want to put on display instead of go nuts with it. The brand also created brush pens which I believe will be much suitable for Chinese calligraphy. An art I dabbled with, much younger, but got tired of due to rubbish equipment. Ink came from a bottle, not by dilution of a slab of…. I am wandering off again! Stop!
I am always trying something new, always a student of something, watching and learning. It has been and is difficult to go down this path of helplessness, what is this path and where does it go? How did I end up here? I am a useless bag of human waste and near-insanity. In distress, lines have started to drag on my features. My current pen of finesse is a red Visconti Saturno, inked red, but I reach for a Pelikan, Bring me the green one, I would ask my husband. It is also inked a bright red, more fiery, with a Pelikan Souveran M1000, I wrote in bright blood. It is like enjoyment of butter. I ate butter for breakfast for awhile. It became expensive, and young men watched me butter my toast in horror. My ribs were visible but they gawked. What’s your problem? I will eat what I want to eat. Look at me for one more second and I will gouge your eyes out. With a fountain pen. Ohhhhhhh. Ok, my own stomach churned and said no. I would frequently use my TWSBI, for it had the sweetest shade of pink. I had asked the lady behind the counter, can I sign in pink? And the pen signed for me, my signature to pay for the doctor who saved me, same as when I signed my life over to the doctors. It was me. I signed in pink, because! I have many pens inked in other colours, but, tough, I’m writing about red today.
With a cheaper Pilot pen, I wrote on blush pink G. Lalo, they make letter paper I despise. I do own Rhodia notebooks and Clairefontaine paper. Problem? I needed a heavy weight paper to push someone down. Do you understand? The simpleton didn’t. It was inked a dark red, giving full permission to my husband and signing my name off so that he could by proxy bring me a simple, stupid student card. He was questioned for my parents’ names. I am always cautious to give their names away but in his email, I had armed him with proof of our marriage, which listed my parents’ names, silly silly, he forgot about it. Still, it was heinous, it sits clear now, I am discriminated against, and only now, my husband noticed. The university had no knowledge of my parents’ names and had no right. Of a different race, with me not taking his last name, he was questioned. I had pen and paper, but my body is weak and only on the great days, I walk. My husband is loving, confused, frustrated, understanding, everything, he is worn thin. I weave a very complex pattern, and I am wearing thin too, but I await other items with glee. Items I bought, just for me to sample. Will I post again? Don’t know. Ask Maybelline. she might have kicked me out the ‘house’, chased me around with a broom. I’ll be laughing like I had just pulled her braid, but only gently because I cannot harm a sister, and when I return, I will bring her a treasure and ask for her wisdom, is this one a precious? With all my enthusiasm I would drag an answer from her, “Our precious?”.
I may never return to the country we once both lived in, but through the net I can still talk to her, and with technology seek her out.
Disclaimer: No one bought the Levenger pen for me. I bought it with my money, no pens mentioned were given to me. The ink was a gift from the skilled to the new, like markers given to a child, no monetary exchanges were made. I speak only for me. No one paid me for the post either. I wrote it because I wanted to and because I share something above pen and ink with my dear friend Maybelline and with ones who share my sparks. Hello and goodbye!
Think of minimalistic fountain pens, and the brand name of Lamy is called to mind. The latest fountain pen range that has emerged from Lamy’s Premium trove is the Lamy imporium. Designed by Mario Bellini, the award-winning imporium comes in 3 designs: the Lamy imporium TiPt (titanium matt), Lamy imporium BlkBlk (black matt/black), and the Lamy imporium BlkAu (black matt/gold). This year, the pen has won the iF Design Award in the “Writing Instruments” category.
Impeccably engineered from the nib to the clip, the pen features a straight-lined body which is guilloche all around. The section towards the nib has guilloche patterns all the way across the section. The nib itself is a two-tone nib, made of 14K gold across the slit to the tip, and the rest of the nib being PVD-coated (PVD stands for Physical Vapour Deposition). Contrasting the guilloche body is the smooth screw-off cap featuring a glossy clip, either in platinum, gold, or black (PVD).
Here are the 3 different models available:
Model 093: LAMY imporium TiPt
The Lamy imporium TiPt fountain pen has a titanium matt body, refined with PVD. It is accented by a glossy clip made of polished galvanized platinum. It retails in Singapore at S$765.
Model 060: LAMY imporium BlkAu
The Lamy imporium BlkAu fountain pen has a black matt finish on its body. “Au” is the chemical name for “gold”. The cap is accented by a galvanized gold clip, and there are also gold accent rings on the section and the end of the barrel. Its retail price in Singapore is S$765.
Model 092: LAMY imporium BlkBlk
The Lamy imporium BlkBlk fountain pen is all black except for the slit of the nib. The entire body has a black matt finish using refined PVD, except for the clip, which is polished. The retail price is S$738.30.
The imporium fountain pen is available in Singapore in nib sizes of extra-fine, fine, medium, and broad. In addition to the fountain pen, the imporium range also includes a rollerball, ballpoint, and mechanical pencil for all models.
Add a Lamy fountain pen to your collection today! The imporium can be purchased at all 4 Lamy stores in Singapore, as well as selected authorized retailers.
Another 2 weeks went by without a post – but we have a new Sunday Inkings header! Hope you all like it. I found out that it looks really weird when I post it on Twitter and the featured image shows up, because of the transparency. So I’m making a solid one this time. Looks pretty retro, eh!