Last year I made a journey to the Dallas Pen Show and had a great time. This year I decided to attend a show a little closer to home and a 4.5 hour drive seemed more appealing than an 11 hour one, quite frankly.
The Chicago Pen show is much larger than the Dallas show. I arrived Thursday night so i could be there bright and early on Friday. The show opens to the public on Friday at noon but if you purchase a weekend pass, you can get in at 8am. Wait...I can get 4 whole hours before the general public? sold.
I spent that time browsing all of the vendors and looking to see what i would be interested in. I had a budget, of course, and did not want to spend beyond my means. So many lovely items on display but the first purchase was ink. Papier Plume made the trek from Louisiana and had two show exclusive colors. Da Blue and Bootlegger's Sacrament.
One of the best parts of a pen show is meeting people and the pen community is one of the nicest around. I was able to meet Mandy from Franklin-Christoph with whom I had emailed many times. I had a lovely discussion with Lisa Anderson about pen shows from the patron point of view. Shawn Newton and Liz were there and so was Leigh Reyes. Ralph Reyes was also there with his amazing nib creations and Lisa Vanness was nearby. Love her Hi Y'all greeting.
I also was able to meet some pen pals and people who follow my Instagram page. I met some new friends and made some great connections. One of which was one of the show's organizers, Laura. Laura is a kindred spirit in the art of sarcasm. We hit it off and are now planning on sending each others ink samples of our favorite inks.
Along with the great people here, some wonderful deals can be found. I found one of my grail pens and I could afford it so after some deliberation, i pulled the trigger on a Sailor King of Pen in ebonite. Oh man does it write like an effortless dream.
I ended up spending all day Friday and Saturday at the show with a great pen mixer Saturday night which was sponsored by Vanness Pens and the Chicago Pen Show. There was even an appearance by an 8 foot long, 30 pound gummi snake. The things that can be purchased on Amazon.
I had a great time at the show and will go again next year. Here is what the haul consisted of:
- Papier Plume Da Blue ink
- Papier Plume Bootlegger's Sacrament ink
- Sailor King of Pen
- Pilot Custom 74
- Monteverde Smoke Noir ink
- Monteverde Jade Noir ink
- Montblanc Swan Illusion Plume ink
- Monteverde Olivine ink
- 2 pen wraps by NOIA
- 6 pen penvelope by Franklin-Christoph
- A5 Clairefontaine Flying Spirit notebook
- A5 Stifflexible Berlin subway notebook
- A5 Franklin-Christoph notebook
- Colorverse Matter/Anti-Matter ink set
- Architect nib grind by The Nibsmith
I recommend attending a pen show at some point if you have not ever been. Great people, great pens and great stories.