This year Raleigh's Pen Show saw lots of new custom pen makers. The variation in style makes each of these pens unique, and that's a feature that we can all appreciate.
Randy Fike at Cravelli Pens. He makes a wide range of pens in several different styles. The material is a secret, but I can tell you it has great depth and shine. Randy says that the material is made specially for him. They start at under $80, and go up from there.
Van Horne Pens. We spent a long time talking to the Van Hornes, and we learned quite a bit about their business and the pens. They're also a custom pen maker that uses a super-secret material to make their pens. There are swirly pens and pens that look like carious sorts of feathers. We watched them sell a rollerball with piano keys and a musical score on the barrel. He'll custom-make a pen with your choice of score, if that's what you're into. And then there are some real stand-outs.
Definitely worth a look at the webpage for much better pictures than I got.
We spent a long time talking to Hirsch and Terry Davis. He buys and sells vintage pens and she makes custom jewelry. Hirsch and I talked fountain pens while Audrey and Terry talked nail polish. Fun times for all. He introduced me to several different iterations of the Conklin Crescent filler that I'd never seen before.
And here's Pendleton Brown. He was sans ink-splattered jacket, but his pants made up for it. He's a character, and it's hard not to talk to him for a long time while he alters nibs and sells pens. I actually ended up buying a Conklin Crescent with a 1.1 stub nib from him. I've wanted one since I first saw them a year or so ago, and his price was awesome. I might have him alter my TWSBI nibs at the next show.
I chatted with the guys from Franklin-Christoph for quite a while, and I found out a good deal about this super local brand. I ended up going home with one of their pens and all of their inks. Totally psyched about that. I hope to get out to their Raleigh office to look around and interview them about what they're doing and what's coming up on the horizon.
I also talked to Tyler from Organics Studio ink. He's a great guy, and set me up with several of his new inks. I tried some of them about a year ago (with mixed results), and I'm excited to see his improvements. Just from swatching these inks, I can tell they're vastly improved. He's been branching out, too. Pendleton Brown's new inks are OS, and I can tell you I wish I'd gotten a bottle of the Red Rubber Ball ink that I dipped my Conklin in to try out. It's still on the nib, and it's a nice red ink.
I'll have pictures of my new pens up soon, but here's a few pictures of our new inks to tide you over. Be looking for these in the near future.