The 2016 Baltimore-Washington International Pen Show was held from March 4 to 6 at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in Linthicum, Maryland. This was the first pen show I’ve attended. I haven’t been tempted before into desiring anything much beyond a Lamy AL-Star; I didn’t really see the point. The effect of the show is that this has now changed.
My wallet remained closed, but my head has been turned. Photos on the internet don’t convey how beautiful these pens are. Nice pens need to be seen in person. That’s when the craving starts.
My first stop was the table for Ryan Krusac Studios. These handmade pens were incredible. The ones above in particular caught my eye, a limited-edition series called Dangers of the Deep, with scrimshaw work on naturally shed moose antler. Blackbeard, krakens, ships at sea, and mermaids are all here. The metal has an old-world patina with spots of verdigris. I don’t know if it’s on purpose, but the pens are subtly shaped like spyglasses. The whole aesthetic and coloration is perfect. I still can’t get over these. If I ever decide to treat myself, I’m going back to these pens.
I also loved the handmade pens by Richard Kleinhenz and Patricia Lawson. Again, there were nautical-themed ones that I thought were fantastic. Above, on the right, are steampunk ones with tiny gears inlaid in them. Wonderful stuff.
Visconti’s Amerigo Vespucci pen, which was on the Bittner table, has a scrimshawed map of the world as it was known in the explorer’s time. (I’m detecting a theme here for the kind of pen I want.) I like Visconti’s tagline on the stand: “The Writing Renaissance.”
Oh, my. The pirate pen by Montegrappa. My photo didn’t turn out well (my timbers must have been shivering) and can’t do one bit of justice to this pen. For a better photo, see Fountain Pen Day’s Twitter post about the pen.
Speaking of Fountain Pen Day, the cool Pen Addict stickers, buttons and patches were on display on their table. As Brad Dowdy and others have mentioned on podcasts and blogs, the pen community is very friendly, and now I saw that first-hand. All the vendors were generous with their time and didn’t hesitate to put expensive pens into my reluctant hands.
Finally, I saw my grail pen, the 2009 Lamy Safari Orange. (No, my pen quests aren’t particularly outrageous or ambitious.) I didn’t go home with it, with mixed feelings of regret and begrudging congratulations to myself on my restraint.
But there is always next year, and other shows….