Now a while ago, we received our first shipment and introduced the Sailor Kobe inks to the shop, and I’m finally getting around to sharing some more details on some of these inks.
It’s no secret that I love Sailor inks (and Sailor pens) – I think they’re beautiful colours, they’re reliable and safe inks that tend to work well even on lower quality paper, they often have incredible sheen (without being over-saturated). As a bonus, I find they clean out of pens very well.
Sailor Kobe inks were previously only exclusively found in Japan, colours designed and inspired by places and themes in Kobe, and so it was a pretty exciting day when we discovered we were going to be carrying them. We’ve come a long way since our days at 906 Dundas West.
With 20 new Kobe inks, there’s sure to be a colour for everyone, and I love how Sailor inks are a bit subtle and unique in the hues they make. In particular, I’m glad for a few more browns and golden browns, and I also love a few of the deeper blues they offer – Sky High has been my favourite bright blue for a long time, but I love a good blue black as well.
And so my love affair with Sailor inks continue. Even that unique scent Sailor inks seem to have (which I think actually comes from some special fungicide they put in to prevent mold) brings good vibes and nostalgia to me every time I fill a pen. Even knowing that the smell is a fungicide doesn’t really faze me.
I picked six of my favourites to ink up, and by coincidence they sort of ended up looking like fall jewels.
This first one is one of the most popular in the shop, and a few favourite of mine: No.7 Kaikyo Blue. In a wet enough pen (this was a Parker Sonnet Medium that is definitely on the wet side) you can see the sheen even in writing.
I have to admit to already having a bottle of this before we began carrying Kobe inks in the shop, so I already knew it was a favourite: No.21 Taisanji Yellow. It’s a rich and warm golden amber colour, with beautiful shading.
Another beautiful brown! Dark and chocolate. No.16 Nada Brown. This is a lovely correspondence or thank you note sort of ink.
No.44 Sumaura Seaside Blue: a deep teal that was my next choice for my 580 AL Turquoise. I’m normally not a huge turquoise/teal person – I like my greens earthy and olive, and my blues either blue blacks or a true peacock blue like Sky High – but this is a gorgeous ink that looks great in my 580.
This No.8 Arima Amber was a bit hard to capture on camera – it’s a reddish brown, sort of like Ancient Copper but with less orange. A great fall ink.
Another sheening ink! No.2 Hatoba Blue. A beautiful, lighter blue than Kaikyo Blue, which is a darker blue black with a hint of violet.
It’s always a beast to get new ink lines photographed and swabbed and scanned, but a sort of special thrill to see beautiful new inks on the shelves. As a shop keeper, it’s one of those deeply satisfying things, to see a line of new things all in stock and fresh. I suppose I’m lucky that nowadays I mostly get to relish the thrill, since we have help with organizing all the swabs (thank goodness).
When we were approached by Sailor to see if we wanted to carry these colours, of course we said yes. I know these are expensive inks, even if a bottle lasts a very long time, and we’re certainly trying to offer a balanced selection of different lines and brands, but we’re hoping that being able to see swatches and purchase samples will help you decide if one of these bottles is the right treat for you.
As our shop grows and matures over time, it’s been an interesting process to become more conscious and deliberate about what new brands we bring in and when – there’s always the temptation to bring in the newest and most exciting things, but it’s hard to keep up with that and not be overwhelmed by it and all of the choices.
When we first started there were, it seemed, there were just a few companies really reaching into this idea of writing by hand still being important, and creating new tools and supplies in a fresh and exciting way again, like TWSBI or Noodler’s. It was the beginning of the revival of longtime, steadfast companies into the mainstream (again) or the discovery of Japanese pen and ink makers just beginning to spread. It was a bit less daunting to select which brands to carry, although when we first started, we could hardly afford anything, which is what kept us careful.
Nowadays, though, there are more and more boutique inks with special traits or paper made out of different materials or old pen companies doing new things or new pen companies doing old things, and it’s wonderful, actually, to see this analogue market flourishing.
But, especially as a small business, we want to pick and choose things that are beautiful and useful and truly going to be found someplace on your desk or in your hands, things that are going to be dipped into and written with, used in a way that helps you to slow down and to enjoy the journey of putting pen to paper.
Rather than carrying stuff for the sake of carrying stuff, we want to carry items that you’re looking for, and find new items to share with you that maybe you haven’t seen before.
In other news, Chicken caught his first mouse the other night. We were sort of resigning ourselves to having been scammed into a “companion cat” – one who is neither a mouser or a very good shop cat when it comes to customers browsing in the shop. It turns out Chicken and I have a very special bond, where the love flows 99% from me to him, and I’ve come to accept and treasure his 1% deeply.
The catching of the mouse was quite an event: Chicken darted across the room and pounced, actually catching it between his teeth. He tried to scramble off with it when he saw Jon coming towards him, and then it turned into a melee with Jon and Super both trying to get in.
Jon was there to retrieve the rodent and prevent anything unhygienic spreading where Caleb could touch, and Super suspecting something exciting was going on and not one to be left behind in a hunt. If there’s one thing Super could learn from Chicken, it’s how to play it cool every once in a while.
Eventually Jon had an animal collared in each hand, the three of them looking at each other and the dead mouse on the floor in between them all.
Chicken got his first nod of approval from Jon following this great capture, but since then Chicken has been unbearable as king of the jungle, pouncing and leaping and attacking feet and string and random items left on the floor.
Doing laundry has become impossible, as he tangles himself up in the sheets, and then these paws with claws out bat out at your ankles and the whole mess of sheet follows your ankles around. Every time I walk across the floor, he sort of lowers the front of his body and eyes my feet, and I’m just waiting for how close I’m going to be before he leaps across and attaches himself to my legs.
It’s gotten to the point where you can see it coming, his eyes tracking you and his tail batting ever so slightly, and you try to warn him off with a low “chickkennn.” Then, as the human being in the picture, you end up walking in a wide arc around this cat, trying to give him some space, and then swatting him off your ankle with your other leg as you try to escape.
With all the personalities in this shop and family, Chicken’s manages to be both the quietest and the most obnoxious at the same time.
Currently reading: Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar
Using: Sailor and Parker pens
Eating: Homemade popcorn with coconut oil
Looking forward to: Friday’s PA day, with Caleb home from preschool – an extra long Thanksgiving weekend