Tuesday, 10 July 2012

My return to pen and ink!

I must confess to having a stationery fetish.  Name nearly any stationery item and I will sigh fondly.  

What can be more satisfying than a stainless steel pencil sharpener that results in a pencil lead so sharp that a little shard snaps off when you use it for the first time?  Or the promise of that ever elusive, organised house that a newly-put-together magazine file holds?  And notebooks in every shape and size?  Don't get me started!

Fortunately having a job in education allows me to indulge my stationery habit.  A bulging pencil case is the top tool of the trade for a Teaching Assistant.

As we near the end of school year, my pencil case is looking like a shadow of its September self:

Just a few lead pencils, coloured pencils (mostly blue for some reason), a highlighter and a rubbishy pencil sharpener.

I don't want to rush into re-stocking it now.  I recently read that an estimated 4000 million pens are thrown out daily in the US, so although I've dabbled with pens made out of recycled materials in the past, and I always buy recycled paper products if I can, this summer I want to take even more of an eco-stationery stance.

To tide me over until the full re-stock of my own and my kids' pencil cases (which will include using what we already have in the house), and inspired by hearing that fountain pen sales are on the increase, I have dug out my old ink pens.  The reason for the rise in people buying more of these is maybe that in these computer-driven times, handwriting has become more exclusive and pens are seen as luxury items.  But I prefer the notion that in a complex world, people return to simple, honest, traditional objects.

I found four ink pens lurking in our stationery drawer, all of which must be at least 15 years old.  Two of them are now up and writing. With lots of interest in fountain pen parts, the two lidless pens may be Ebayable and I'd love to think of them being used rather than languishing in our dusty recesses.

I abandoned my Parkers many years ago for my favourite Pilot Hi-Tecpoints, but I am finding them a pleasure to use:

(These blogposts don't just write themselves you know - although you might not believe it, some work does go in to planning them in longhand first!)

I don't think that I can convert to using Fountain Pens ALL of the time, but they will certainly become one ingredient in my eco-pencil case.

And if, when I have restocked my pencil case with more vintage finds from around the house, I find that we still need more pens, I will be checking out websites like The Green Stationery Company for environmentally friendly options.  (I'm not sponsored or affiliated to them in any way, but I like the look of some of their products.)

What's your favourite writing tool? 


  1. I love beautiful, old-style things. There was a time when everything was well-made and people expected them to last their entire life. Kind of sad all the plastic-y pens that end up in landfills. Do you know if the cartridges for these old pens can be refilled? I should go through my desk drawers and see what may lurk at the very back!

  2. Disposable pens are just another symptom of our throw-away society...just think what 4000 million pens looks like - quite a big pile I should imagine! Of course ink pens often come with the refillable cartridge you fill with ink from a bottle, especially the classic brand names, so that should be easy to sort out. There's a whole internet ink pen world out there: websites, blogs etc, and you will find that there are people who have worked out how to refill a 'disposable'cartridge! I haven't got to that point yet but if I ever do, rest assured there'll be a blogpost! Good luck with seeing if you have any pens lurking, and getting them back on the road...it will be worth it!

  3. Disposable pens area unit simply another symptom of our throw-away society...just assume what 4000 million pens feels like - quite an massive pile I ought to imagine! in fact ink pens usually go together with the refillable cartridge you fill with ink from a bottle, particularly the classic whole names, so ought to be straightforward to arranged.

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