Fine Writing Instruments (and Where to Find them in Toronto)

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a woman in possession of a large collection of fountain pens must be in want of … more!  And so it was that I took myself off to several wonderful stores in the last few weeks in order to feed this delicious addiction of mine, and, hopefully, to pass my love of writing instruments on to my son.

The wonderful Wonderpens, located at 906 Dundas Street West, and online, was my first stop, and I did not come away empty-handed.  I discovered a new-to-me line of fountain pen inks, called Noodler’s Ink, and their name is as fanciful as their colours.  There are no less than half a dozen shades of black, not to mention every colour in the rainbow in multiple shades and degrees of intensity.  The fact that the store displays the colours as a wash on watercolour paper makes the shopping that much more appealing, and I found myself just enjoying the colours and textures on display.  I came home with two bottles of ink, in sepia and blue-grey.

Wonderpens carries a dozen lines of fountain pen inks, so there is no way on earth that you could walk out of there empty-handed.  The wonderful thing about buying fountain pen ink is that you then have an urge to use it, which, of course, means a trip to a stationery store for some lovely new cards.

My store of choice was Presto, at 1011 Yonge Street.  I exclaimed as I entered that I felt like I had died and gone to heaven.  The colours!  The matchy-matchy calendars, and sticky notes and gift tags and file folders!  And, Oh! Be joyful!, a J. Herbin roller ball pen that works with fountain pen ink cartridges, of which I already own … more than a few in varying shades.  One shade of dusty violet is called Poussiere de Lune.  Moon Dust.  And Gris Nuage.  Cloud Grey.  With a world of colours like that at your disposal, how, how, how can you possibly choose which ink with which to fill your fountain pen?

“But, Nathalie,” you say.  “Why, if you want to write with a fountain pen, would you buy a roller ball pen for fountain pen ink?”  I didn’t buy one.  I bought two.

So far, ink and roller ball pens, but not a fountain pen.  Above Ground Art Supplies took care of that.  I found there an inexpensive sketching fountain pen with a broad nib, which is my preference, and I intended it as a gift for my son.  As it turns out, he does not like a broad nib, so, alas, I will just have to keep it for myself and get him another.  I will take him with me this time, and he can choose his own pen and ink to fill it with.  Addictions are things best shared.

Eldest son has completed a book of cursive handwriting exercises, and I wanted to give him a fountain pen to use for the next, more sophisticated, book.  He’s still happier with pencils, though, and his pencil of choice these days was at all of the stores I visited.  The Palomino Pencil Collection was sent to 4Mothers this summer, and it is now coveted in this house by all the writers and homework-doers.  There are several varieties in the line, all equally beautiful to behold, and shaped a bit like artists’ brushes.  The one my boys like the most is the one with softer lead, the Blackwing 602, that promises “half the pressure, twice the speed.”  And when boys clamour to get their hands on a pencil to do homework, who am I to argue?  (As the person in charge of the fine writing instruments, I am hoarding the supply of Palomino pencils in my study.  Shhhh.  Don’t tell the boys.)




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