Nibs Gets an Award at the San Francisco Pen Show


Pen World's 2018 Readers' Choice Award for Best Fine Art 
Pen. Seen in our shop window. 

Awards were given by Pen World's Nicky Pessaroff at the San Francisco Pen Show last month, including one to us here at Nibs for the design of our exclusive Nakaya Naka-ai. Realizing that everyone was appropriately engaged in viewing, learning about, buying, and selling fountain pens, I kept my comments short at the time. But here is what I would have said:

All of us at Nibs are honored that you've chosen our exclusive Naka-ai for this award. Thank you, Nicky Pessaroff and Pen World's readers, for voting for our pen as Best Fine Art Pen. We could not have done it without the help of Toshiya Nakata, Nakaya's president, and Shinichi Yoshida, Nakaya's designer and master craftsman, who executed our design in beautiful materials and using traditional techniques.  Urushi lacquer over hard rubber gives a fountain pen a fabulous heft and feel. In addition, it is durable and even improves with age, as the underlying layers of urushi lacquer shine through more clearly with use. This is a pen designed to be used both now and for generations to come.

Naka-ai translates as "middle way" in Japanese. For me it has both a literal meaning, as it is bigger than the Nakaya Piccolo and smaller than the Nakaya Desk Pen, and it also has a metaphorical meaning, as an expression for choosing a path that avoids unnecessary extremes. But on the other hand, and while admitting to my own biases, I do think it is an extremely beautiful pen, and I thank Pen World and its readers for recognizing this as well.    


Japanese Pens and Japanese Knives

If Japanese pens are among the tops in the world, Japanese knives are right up there, too. 

Craft Today, a sequel to "Craeft" - Book Review.

OK, let's turn the clock to our post-industrial society and ask questions. What is of value and what sort of activities offer fulfillment?

I Love Instagram

Let me start with a disclaimer; I am not of the social media generation. That said, I have an abiding interest in photography and am easily caught up by visual stimulation. An example of this is my difficulty to focus on the person I am with when I am in the presence of a TV screen. (In restaurants I look for seating that do not have a screen in view.) So when my wife introduced me to Instagram, a site where like minded and topic driven people find each other, I could not resist.

The Pen vs. The Keyboard

Breaking news: There is good reason to believe using fountain pens is good for your health. 

I am guilty of neglecting my favorite pens in favor of key punches or thumb touches. It turns out that I should feel guilty. There is growing evidence that the way we communicate with ourselves and others can make us happier or not.  Yes, the keys are so fast and searchable, but there is nothing like a piece of paper and a wet line to soothe and connect. 

Los Angeles Pen Show Seminar 2018: Fantastic Nibs

This is a preview to the seminar I'll be giving on Saturday February 17, 2018 at the Los Angeles Pen Show – I'll be looking forward to delving deeper into this subject matter and answering questions as well.

"Craeft" - Book Review

Our generation is bombarded with all manner of objects and advertising that purports to be authentic craft. Many of these are made by large manufacturers looking to capitalize on what is perceived to be authentic. Witness big breweries that produce beers for mass consumption that purport to be "hand-made," when actually they gush from huge pressurized storage tanks. Websites offer game memorabilia that they say is  "authentic craft." No wonder there is confusion. 

We Always Wanted the Lamy 2000

For years we tried to get the Lamy 2000 into our stable but were told that we did not qualify as we do not have a bricks and mortar store.  Thankfully something changed so now we are able to see new Lamy 2000 pens in our shop.  As we have done many repair jobs on these nibs we were well aware of what a beautiful and functional design this pen is.

Dog Paradise

Each year, I consider what style and motif to use for our annual limited edition Anniversary Pen. Nakaya has created several very popular pens with cat motifs. But as a confirmed dog-lover (my wife and I are serial owners of five shepherd breed dogs in the past fifty years), I felt that a dog pen was long overdue.

A Flex Nib From Montegrappa

The Montegrappa Nazionale Marbled Green has arrived here with a very special Extra-Fine Flex nib - a Fine Flex nib is also available.  The pen itself has the look and feel of the late 1920's with its marbled and iridescent barrel and cap. The simple sterling cap and barrel band and solid silver clip are a step above what would have been available in a vintage pen. They would have been plated brass.

Craftsmanship Quarterly Features Fountain Pens

I opened the latest issue of Craftsmanship Quarterly, an online magazine dedicated to what the hand can create. This winter issue has a large segment on fountain pens and the crafts involved in specialty nibs. Several of our photos and ideas are beautifully presented here. Tim Redmond is a pen enthusiast who has done his homework and written the lead articles, pulling in information from a number of great pen people. The publication is a service to all those craftspeople who have put their dedication to craftsmanship ahead of financial security.