John Mottishaw's position as a fountain pen nib specialist and founder of Classic Fountain Pens and nibs.com evolved out of a career as a fine arts sculptor. Born in British Columbia and brought up in Washington State, John studied architecture at the University of Washington in Seattle before completing a degree in Fine Arts at Antioch College in Ohio.
With his wife, painter Barrie Mottishaw, John returned to British Columbia, where they raised their daughter, Petra. John built his own foundry and worked largely in cast bronze and carved wood. After the family moved to Barrie's home town of Los Angeles, John studied at the University of Southern California and then received an MFA in Fine Arts from the Claremont Graduate School.
While teaching sculpture and design at institutions including the Otis Art Institute as well as Scripp, Pomona and Occidental Colleges, John continued his own work with solo exhibitions at the Koplin Gallery.
John's involvement in the world of fountain pens began when he and Barrie began attending meetings of a group of pen aficionados in Glendale with the founding of Pen Collectors of America. He designed the logo in use by PCA.
John's long experience with metalworking turned out to provide a superb background for the then-neglected art of fountain pen nib repair and customization. He re-pioneered the lost art of nib re-tipping and over a period of time, John began selling and restoring vintage pens, along with providing repairs and customizations for other pen owners.
John's company, Classic Fountain Pens, launched the nibs.com web site in 1996. The site has been growing ever since, widely recognized as an authoritative online source for information on quality writing instruments. With the modern fountain pen revival in full swing, John began offering pens from contemporary brands such as Pelikan, Pilot, and Sailor, and is also the sole retailer in the English-speaking world for the hand-crafted Urushi pens made by the Nakaya Pen Company of Tokyo.
Classic Fountain Pens has been a regular presence at major pen shows throughout the United States, as well as at foreign events such as the London Pen Show. Though serving a diverse international client base, Classic Fountain Pens remains headquartered in Los Angeles, where John continues to bring an artist's perspective to the nib work he does every day. John’s reputation for integrity, craftsmanship, and customer care have garnered the attention of business and professional men and women, writers, artists and actors throughout the world.