On the Saturday before the pen show, we had the pleasure of hosting Esterbrook and Matthew’s Nibworks, and also a visit from Azizah from Gourmet Pens. Plus at the last minute Jon got some pretzels. What a day.



Azizah and Simar came just before the shop opened to regular humans, and how lovely for me that they took on baby care for a little bit.



And then the action. Visitors from all over, some who had come into town specifically for the pen show. New and familiar, people who “discovered pens” during the pandemic, pen friends who are only beginning to emerge again, all sorts gathering in our lowly and humble stationery shop. Some of us eating pretzels.



Esterbrook brought their range of beautiful pens, and also a selection of their accessories: blotting paper, journals, bee things. Jon is the one who does our ordering and deals with Cary and Bryan, so it was extra special for me to get to say hello and admire their set up. They travel all over and everywhere, so they know what they’re doing.


I feel like I took more and/or better shots of Esterbrook, but after several scrolls through the camera roll, alas this is about as good as it gets. It’s in part due to inferior cameramanship, and also due to this giant pole behind which we had to choice but to position their table (and the pretzels).



Sean, from our team, took this great shot of Esterbrook as they were setting up.


Matthew of Matthew’s Nibworks came from the US with all of his gear to grind and tune and smooth pens for us, and he was busy the whole day, everyone taking their turns at the seat to describe what they wanted and to do some test writing. I loved his philosophy of making pens accessible and useful and suited to everyone, regardless of financial means. If you missed out you can always contact him and ship out your pens to him—more details on his website.



The kids, having been ill-socialized the last three years, managed to embarrass on a fairly average level, which, when all is said and done, is not too bad.





There was a lot going on, our shop full to bursting again, which is an incredible thing to contemplate after so many years and months of being closed up. It feels like ages since we had a real event at the shop, and we were scrambling to remember where the plugs in the wall were, where to move furniture, nervous about if people were going to come or not, nervous about if people were going to have a good time while we were hosting.


And it was great. It all turned out so well, I can only grin at the memory of it—a week later, as I finally get around to this blog post. Pen people are the best people and we all got to flash around our favourite pens as we got them tuned up, we all got to crowd around the Esterbrook table and admire the finishes, we all got to crack back into our social norms. After you, no after you, no no, after you. We’re all dancing around new the social etiquettes and social norms around social distancing but we’re all itching to bump our heads a bit closer to the displays, to maybe just squeeze in a little hug. The exhaustion of trying to figure out each other’s comfort levels after three years of emotional chaos is completely worth it.


And so as the bubbling feeling of life overwhelms me, I continue my excellent parenting, and here follows a glamour shot of the McDonald’s drive-thru, from whence I depart. I left early with the three shop kids, Jon still at the shop to supervise the last of the event, the closing up and wrapping up, neither of us sure who had it easier.


Related Posts

November 07, 2022 — Liz Chan

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.