Spring has been a long time coming in London and in some ways I feel like we missed it! We went from grey, squally and chilly to bright, sunny and hot. Still though, I’ve been celebrating spring through four new ink choices that I’ve been bringing into rotation since the beginning of April.
Quick recap: I decided to “write with the seasons” as one of my stationery New Year’s Resolutions. Each season I choose a few colours that I particularly associate with the season and stick with them for 3 months or so for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I get to know the ink, its shading and performance, rather than switching up on a whim back to old favourites, which was a bad habit I was in last year. I also wanted to use much more ink overall and a solid 3 months of use means I refill my pens regularly (show me a stationery addict that doesn’t have too much ink to get through!). Also, I’m trying out new pairings of fountain pens and inks and I’m able to assess my fountain pens over 3 months too. Seasonal inks are lovely to look back on in notebooks and journals as it creates a beautiful illustration of the year and its progression. Overall, I really enjoy this strategy for choosing inks and fountain pens – it’s purposeful and I particularly like hearing from others as to what they would choose for the season – sometimes they are very different to mine.
Anyway, onto my seasonal choices. I associate spring with the new colours that emerge around us, seemingly overnight, and green is foremost amongst this shift in season. It’s also defined by the presence of a carpet of delicate and fragrant flowers. My favourites are the blue and purples of crocuses and bluebells that can’t be found at any other time of year. Visiting Japan did make me think of the pale pinks of the sakura (cherry blossom), but I felt such a pale shade might be a bit impractical for my fountain pens. I set my spring sights firmly on greens and purples.
Pilot Elabo soft-medium nib + Pilot Iroshizuku Murasaki-shikibu
The crowning jewel of my fountain pen collection at the moment is my shiny new Pilot Elabo, the one fountain pen I bought myself in Japan. It has a rhodium-plated 14k gold, falcon-shaped nib with a lovely flex, all housed in timeless, elegant, glossy black resin. I have paired this beauty with a new Pilot Iroshizuku in my collection: Murasaki-shikibu, which means “Beautyberry”, a most enjoyable name.
Pilot Iroshizuku has gradually become my ink of choice. I love the range of colours, the lovely, practical bottles and the simple branding. I tested this ink in Japan and it was just the right shade of purple I was looking to include in my spring line-up. It’s bright, cheerful and quite flat, although I don’t find this a bad thing. Not every ink needs to be sheeny. (The other ink I would have bought myself for spring if I hadn’t have found this Iroshizuku was KWZ Gummiberry, which looks like it would be quite similar, although Mr Brad Dowdy noted that in reality it’s quite a bit darker than the Murasaki-shikibu).
TWSBI 580 RB M nib + Sailor Jentle Chu Shu
My TWSBI 580 RB gets another season in the limelight. I really enjoy using this pen, I find it incredibly practical and sturdy. It holds a lot of ink, the medium nib size is perfect and I enjoy seeing the ink shade in the pen. I’ve paired it with a very understated ink: Sailor Jentle Chu Shu, which means “mid-fall gray”, and is actually part of Sailor Jentle’s autumn shades (the Jentle inks are seasonally inspired).
Although this doesn’t immediately shout springtime to me, I wanted another purple shade but I didn’t want a very saturated, deep purple like Lamy Dark Lilac or Diamine Bilberry. I wanted a purple ink on the grey spectrum, and I found this lovely Sailor Jentle ink in Japan. I had a grey ink in my winter seasonal line-up (Iroshizuku Kirisame) and it really grew on me. The swatch really shows the purple undertone in this ink wonderfully and I feel like this is a purple ink for non-purple lovers, if that makes any sense.
Pilot Metropolitan M nib + Diamine Meadow
I just love the Pilot Metropolitan. It’s so enjoyable to use and I would be happy to include this pen in every seasonal line up. Diamine Meadow is such a zingy, fresh ink, perfect for spring. It’s a light, bright, yellowy green that reminds me of those first leaves sprouting on trees.
Diamine produce lovely, incredibly affordable ink that I find to be very reliable, and the colour line-up is excellent. I’m hoping that Diamine Meadow will still show up well enough with this pairing, as my Pilot Metropolitan M nib isn’t the broadest of nibs I have and it’s quite a light ink. So far, it is showing up much more clearly on very unabsorbent paper (i.e. Tomoe River, Mnemosyne paper) than it is on thicker laid and wove papers, and will be one to keep on a white or off-white paper.
Kaweco Classic Sport F nib + Diamine Woodland Green
I missed using this pen over winter. I find my Kaweco Classic Sport a joy to use, really reliable, and I feel like I hold and use it more like a gel pen rather than a fountain pen, giving me a nice fine line and an enjoyable tactile feeling when I write with it. This is a limited edition “Mocha” pen that I got from Fontoplumo in 2016. It’s gorgeous, I love the combination of toffee brown and gold accents. I’ve paired this with the beautiful Diamine Woodland Green, an ink I have used before. This is a very warm, saturated green. It’s a very sweet green somehow, almost like food colouring.
I thought about using a more “natural” green on the brown scale, more of a mossy colour, but I think I associate those shades more with autumn. Spring is all about bright, immersive greens all around you and spending hours outside for the first time in months. Woodland Green also shows up beautifully on a grey paper (my favourite shade) so I’ll definitely be using this pairing for letter-writing and cards in particular.
I’m excited about all of these pairings. I’m quite glad to get rid of the Karas Kustoms Fountain K from my rotation and to bring back an old favourite in the Kaweco Classic Sport and a new treat in the Pilot Elabo. It’s also great to use two bright shades more often, as my winter line-up was (appropriately) comprised of subdued and rich tones. I’ve stayed away from inks with a heavy sheen or complexity and I love the boldness of these colours. Also, unlike my choices for winter, I’ve stuck with colours that I like upfront, rather than choosing a couple of shades that I am unsure about, so all in all I’m really enjoying these lovely inks. Here’s to spring!