I’ve noticed over the past few years that, despite my tech tendencies, it’s the low tech stuff I buy for myself on special occasions. On my birthday every year I buy myself a little nicety that I would never normally be able to justify. It’ a private celebration and I thoroughly enjoy the shopping trip to find that special something.
I’ve noticed over the past few years that, unintentionally, that special item has always had to do with paper, pens, ink or paint. I find that extremely interesting, although it surprised me when I first noticed the pattern.
- One year, it was a beautiful leather-bound journal from Oberon Design, which I found in the Artique shop in Lexington Green. Because it’s a refillable journal, it’s my only paper journal.
- Another year, it was a portable watercolor set by Winsor & Newton and a watercolor journal (also portable size). I have wanted to paint for years, and although it remains untouched, I have carried it with me on several trips. Someday soon, I’m going to have to put water on the paint cakes.
- One year, it was a nice selection of high quality watercolor brushes (Winsor & Newton and Robert Simmons) and a selection of watercolor papers with all different textures and a self-instruction book, “All About Techniques in Watercolor: An Indispensable Manual for Artists.” I thought this would push me to begin painting. My schedule, unfortunately, has objected to this plan for far too long.
- Last year, I found a rollerball pen by Retro 51 (the same company that produce the purple leather rollerball a client sent me as a gift a few years back) that is both beautiful and functional. I use it every day and it brings me a sense of aesthetic joy every time I pick it up.
- Another year, I bought myself a leather book cover from Levenger — a beautifully tooled black leather wrap to hide the fact that I like to carry around a copy of Stephen King’s latest hardback with me. I figure it’s nobody’s business what I’m reading. Besides, any book (even my technical manuals) look and feel like pure luxury in that cover (and it has a built-in ribbon book mark so I never lose my place).
- Later, I did the Levenger thing again and bought a purple leather cover (with my initials branded in the front) to make the standard composition books I always use as my “everything” book, a bit more enjoyable.
Now, I find that I’m six months from my birthday and I’m salivating horribly over a new pen. It’s a Namiki Raden vanishing point fountain pen. And it’s got to be the most beautiful pen I’ve ever touched. I saw it for the first time when I went out with my father this year to celebrate my birthday. It was in the Leather, Inc. shop here in Lexington. It was awesome. I’ve tried to forget it since then. I’ve failed. I saw it again yesterday when I went in to that same shop to get a refill for my Retro pen.
Granted, I drooled over the Agatha Christy Mont Blanc for years (all sterling adorned with a snake clip and gemstone eyes), but I finally decided that although I love fountain pens, they simply aren’t practical. They are messy. They aren’t designed to be portable. You have to be so careful with them. So, I resigned myself to a rollerball lifestyle, because I was convinced I couldn’t be both mobile and fountain-pen wielding.
Then I see this little gem… and it’s nib is RETRACTABLE! And it writes like a dream. And it’s beautiful. Usually, I’m not a “sparkly” girl. I don’t go for glitter and such… but this instrument visually captures a spray of creative magic across the clean black background of the pen’s barrel. Simply put, it’s inspiring!
The tiny sparkles in purple, green, pink, blue and silver bring to mind the colorful sprays that were emitted from the wands of Meriweather and her sisters when they argued, magically, over the color that Sleeping Beauty’s dress should be.
Yeah, it hits me on that elemental level — back when I was a child and magic was a tangible, rather than a creative force… way back when Disney movies still enchanted me.
I’m in love with a pen. *sigh*