Sunday, November 29, 2009

Christmas Ink

I have a friend who spends what is probably hours each week preparing beautifully written cards and notes for friends, family and acquaintances. I’ve never heard her describe her enthusiasm as a hobby, but by whatever name, her output is impressive and she never misses an occasion, nor ignores a season when she can pull out her stacks of different cards and notepaper, her pens and her postage stamps. I look forward to these cards and notes, knowing that a change of season, a birthday or holiday will surely bring to my mailbox a splendid match up of card, colors, ink and words, topped off with the latest stamp from the US Postal Service.

Custom and sentiment have played a big part in assigning certain colors to certain occasions and holidays, so that most of us have ideas or expectations about what color goes with what holiday. Many ignore the customary designs and colors, and create their own personal expression of what they feel the occasion or holiday expresses through their eyes. But the majority of us fall back upon the traditional and apply what the custom, or card companies suggest. I am going to pair up two inks here that I feel work well as the color traditionals of Christmas — red & green.

The green is a special season ink from Montblanc called White Forest, and is pine scented.

The red is another seasonal ink from the same maker called Seasons Greetings, this one vanilla scented.

Both inks are rich, smoothly flowing inks, easy to write with. Unfortunately, the inks do not leave the pine or vanilla scent on the paper, but the scents are very noticeable when writing. Hard to go wrong with the vanilla, and in this ink it has a delicious aroma. I’m a little hesitant in calling the White Forest pine scent an equal to the vanilla. I can’t help thinking that the pine scent is just a little too close to bathroom spray.

Both inks were bought at the Montblanc Boutique located inside Seibu Department Store in Tokyo.

I have included a snapshot of the two fountain pens used to write the sample sentences from The Night Before Christmas. The pen at the top (with green) is a Bexley Limited Edition, No. 9 of 29 in the 2008 Tea Time series. The pen has a B sized nib and was crafted by John Mottishaw at Classic Fountain Pens. The bottom pen (red) is a Sailor Naginata with an M nib, this one by Nobuyoshi Nagahara, mentioned in an earlier post.

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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America