Showing posts with label Lamy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lamy. Show all posts

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Scribe Writing Essentials: The Philippines' One-Stop-Shop for Fine Writing Instruments

I remember the first few years after I started using my first fountain pen. I was so frustrated because the only ink I could use then was Parker Quink Black. When I joined Fountain Pen Network-Philippines, or FPN-P, I learned about a specialty store in Quezon City's Eastwood Mall selling not only fountain pens, but fountain pen inks and fountain pen-friendly notebooks as well. The store, Scribe Writing Essentials (SWE, or Scribe), became a very popular name within FPN-P since then. Soon, owner Marian Ong joined the group in one of our monthly pen meets to introduce a highly celebrated German brand, Pelikan. That was three years ago.

FPN-P 2010 Christmas Pen Meet, Conti's Greenbelt 2, Makati City. Marian Ong (in striped top) seated in front.
This photo belongs to FPN-P member Arnell T. Umali.
  

Today, Scribe has grown tremendously. In less than a year, four more stores were added to the one in Eastwood, all selling a wide variety of products from journal and diaries to fine writing instruments from around 20 brands from all over the world. 

Scribe now offers fine writing instruments from Japan and Taiwan in Asia, and Germany and Spain in Europe. Brands such as TWSBI, Sailor, Platinum, Inoxcrom, Kaweco, Lamy, and Pelikan are all known to produce high quality writing instruments, and most of their products are collectibles. Topnotch and highly-coveted Japanese notebook Midori is also in Scribe's shelves now, as well as Hong Kong made notebooks and stationery items from Daycraft. Scribe has also made a giant leap by offering fountain pen inks that used to reside only in my dreams: J. Herbin from France, Pelikan Edelstein from Germany, and Noodlers from the US. Other fountain pen inks from Sailor and Lamy are also available from their stores.

To officially launch Scribe, their stores, and the brands they carry, Scribe's founder and owner, Marian Ong, hosted a cocktail party at the Shangri-La Plaza Mall on March 4, 2014. The event was well-attended by a large number of FPN-P people, members of the press, and Scribe's friends. 

The Atrium of Shangri-La Plaza Mall where the Scribe launch was held on March 4, 2014.
The Scribe store in Shangri-la Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong City. Photo provided by SWE.

Scribe has three brand ambassadors who were present during the launch. They are Michael Manalo, and FPN-P's Leigh Reyes and Fozzy Castro-Dayrit. Their art were displayed during the event. 

Art by Leigh Reyes, who counts the Scribe display as her first exhibit ever.
Leigh is a known figure in the advertising world, having won the country's first ever GOLD CLIO and WORLD PRESS Gold awards. Her work has been recognized both here and abroad. She loves doodling with pen, ink and paper and making jaw-dropping works of art. She gets most of her stuff from Scribe which she considers her "happy place." 
Fozzy Castro-Dayrit's intricate calligraphy.
Fozzy has conducted calligraphy workshops for the store in the past. Her classes are sought-after as she specializes in calligraphy, designing wedding invitations and personalized cards. Fozzy considers Scribe a one-stop shop for all her calligraphy and art supplies needs.

Design by Architect Michael Manalo.
As a boy, Mico loved looking at illuminated manuscripts from the Gothic Age. He then studied Architecture with a masters degree in Architectural Conservation from the Escuela Nacionál deConservación, Restauración y Museografía INAH, Mexico City. Now, he spends his time designing new structures, trying to restore old ones and travelling to learn about the importance of saving heritage while working with the UNESCO. 

Before the program started, guests were encouraged to write messages to be posted at the Scribe Calligraphy Message Wall. Paper, Speedball ink, and colorful quills were provided to the event's enthusiastic guests. 

FPN-P members Reggie Reginaldo and Mars Hagedorn write their messages for the Calligraphy Message Wall.
Calligraphy Message Wall

The program started with a short documentary about how Scribe evolved to being the one-stop-shop that it is now. Trivia games were played as brands carried by Scribe stores were introduced, and three FPN-P members went home happily with Scribe gift certificates. Fountain pens were raffled off, with two more FPN-P members going home the happiest. 

Left to right: Michael, Marian, Fozzy, Leigh, and program host RJ Ledesma. 

The Scribe launch was a joyful celebration for me. I knew it was a very important event for Marian and her group, and we at FPN-P were just happy to celebrate with them. It was also an occasion where I get to be with my FPN-P friends who are the kindest, happiest people I know. We get to meet once or twice a month, but being with them at an event to launch our favorite store is just awesome!

Indeed, Scribe has brought not only the sophistication to our choice of writing instruments, it has brought back an art long considered lost and archaic. More and more people are enjoying the art of using fountain pens nowadays, and the growing number of FPN-P newbies is proof of that. 

To say that we at FPN-P are happy that we now have a "one-stop-shop" for fountain pens, ink, and notebooks is an understatement. No longer are we envying neighbors Malaysia and Singapore for their pen boutiques for Scribe, in Manila, is offering us a haven for our pen and pen-related needs.

Below are some photos of FPN-P members during the event. Photos courtesy of Scribe.

Marian with FPN-P's Raffy Roxas and Peter Bangayan
The Archer, Cesar Salazar, Gelzon dela Cruz, Ernesto Tabujara, Ronnie Geron, Mars Hagedorn, 
Mona and Reggie Reginaldo
Allan Caindoy, Peter, Jonathan Isip, Carlos Abad Santos, Dennis Duran, Raffy, 
and FPN-P's founding father, Butch Dalisay
And again, FPN-P with Scribe's Marian Ong and Cindy Dingkoi. I hope the next FPN-P + Scribe group pic won't take another three  years in the making.


For more information about Scribe and the brands they carry, visit their website at: http://www.scribewritingessentials.com/ or like their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/ScribeWritingEssentials.

You can also visit a Scribe store nearest you. Below is a list of Scribe's stores, their store hours and contact numbers.

EASTWOOD MALL
Level 3, Eastwood Mall Eastwood City

E. Rodriguez Jr Avenue, Bagumbayan Quezon City
Mon to Thur 11:00am – 10:00pm
Fri to Sat 11:00am – 11:00pm
Sun 10:00am – 10:00pm
Tel. 900-0053

SHANGRILA PLAZA MALL
Lower Ground Floor, East Wing Shangrila Plaza Mall 
Brgy Wack Wack Mandaluyong City
Mon to Thur 11:00am – 9:00pm
Fri to Sat 10:00am – 10:00pm
Sun 10:00am – 9:00pm
Tel. 654.5071

GLORIETTA 5
Level 2, Glorietta 5 Ayala Center 
Brgy San Antonio Makati City
Mon to Thur 11:00am – 9:00pm
Fri to Sat 11:00am – 10:00pm
Tel. 804.3889

SM AURA
Level 4, SM Aura Premier 
26th Street corner McKinley Parkway 
Fort Bonifacio Global City Taguig
Mon to Sun 10:00am – 10:00pm
Tel. 519.5346

SM MEGAMALL
Level 4, SM Megamall Fashion Hall, Mandaluyong City
Mon to Sun 10:00am – 10:00pm
Tel. TBA

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Fountain Pen Review: 2013 Limited Edition Lamy Safari Neon


I was not happy when I heard that Lamy's Safari color for 2013 is not purple but a vivid, bright, and intense neon. I was thinking that if I ever get one, what would I do with it? But Lamy always proves me wrong, and I instantly liked the neon Safari fountain pen the moment I saw it in its box.

NEON is Lamy's limited edition Safari color for 2013, and it is available as fountain pen, rollerball pen, or ballpoint pen. I received the fountain pen in this review at no charge from Lamy's authorized and exclusive distributor in the Philippines, Times Trading Company.

Neon Lamy Safari fountain pen comes in a self covered plastic box, and inside is a soft plastic clamp that holds the pen in place. The bed inside the box is felt, ensuring that the pen will not be scratched.


This Safari pen is truly neon! It is bright and intense, and that made it a bit hard for me to shoot photos for this review. I had to reshoot my exposures several times to ensure that I will get one where the pen doesn't appear to be glowing.

Lamy Safari pens are student pens, promoted for extensive use in school. For many fountain pen users, the Safari becomes their starter fountain pens, but these are made from sturdy ABSP plastic – the same material used in Lego blocks and inner walls of refrigerators – a thermoplastic used in many products for its hardness, gloss, toughness, and electrical insulation. The Safari fountain pen was first introduced during the 1980 Frankfurt exhibition, and has been in regular production since then. Wolfgang Fabian designed the pen.


The neon Lamy Safari's major parts, as with the other Safari fountain pens, include the barrel, section with converter, and cap. Safari fountain pens measure 5.5 inches while capped, 5 inches uncapped, and quite long at 6.5 inches when posted. It's a light pen, and anyone can use it for extended periods of writing. The cap with the oversized chrome-coated stainless steel clip is 2.5 inches long, the length from the nib to converter is 4.6 inches, while the barrel measures about 3 inches.

Lamy's proprietary piston operated Z24 converters are used to fill the Safari fountain pen with ink from a bottle, but the T10 ink cartridges are also available for use on this pen.


Lamy Safari fountain pens and rollerball pens have cap buttons, a truly unique feature of the series. Rollerball pens have a line, and fountain pens have a cross (or x) sign in their cap buttons. The previous two years' fountain pens (AquamarineGreen) had cap buttons in the same color used in their caps and barrels, but the neon Safari has a black cap button similar to that of 2008's limited edition lime green, and those of Safaris in regular production (glossy white, glossy black, matte black, blue, red, yellow).


The changes in Safari fountain pens' cap buttons through the years. Lamy reissued pink and orange Safaris recently, and their cap buttons are of the same color as their caps and barrels, too.


Some users dislike Lamy Safari fountain pen’s triangular grip, because they find it uncomfortable and annoying. This feature, however, is designed to make writing easier – it is meant for users to have a firm and secure grip on the pen. Near the end of the section is the anti-slipping brake to prevent a user’s fingers from slipping into the nib while writing. I do not find the triangular grip uncomfortable at all. I actually do not notice it when I'm using my Safari pens.

The best feature of Lamy Safari fountain pens is the interchangeability of their nibs. A Safari fountain pen uses the same feed and nib as those on the Lamy Vista, Al-Star, Joy, Nexx, and Studio. The default nib on Safari fountain pens bought in the Philippines is medium, which is my preference, but other nib sizes are available: extra-fine, fine, broad, and left-handed. It can also be fitted with an italic nib ranging from 1.1mm to 1.9mm since the Safari shares the same section, feed, nib, and cap designs with that of the Joy, Lamy’s own set of calligraphy pens. I have seen a yellow Safari fountain pen fitted with a 1.9mm nib used as a highlighter pen. I will do the same conversion and make my own highlighter pen!


The Safari fountain pen’s barrel has an ink window that allows me to check on my pen’s ink level without having to screw out the barrel. Towards the end, neatly etched in clean, sharp lines is the Lamy logo.


I flushed this pen before filling it with ink to ensure that there is no factory residue in it. After filling, the pen wrote instantly and smoothly. It did not even skip as I wrote on my Banditapple notebook. I filled my neon Lamy Safari fountain pen with J. Herbin's 1670 Bleu Ocean. I used a dark ink for this bright pen to achieve some contrast. I wrote the quote with the default medium nib on my pen. The writeup below was written with a medium stub nib done by my friend Jose Reinoso.


This neon Safari is an awesome addition to Lamy's growing line of fountain pens. It feels good in my hand when I write with it because it is light, but sturdy at the same time. And it comes in many different colors! My green fountain pen from last year still looks new and now I have the 2013 neon Safari in my hands. Now it makes me dream again of a purple Safari. But don't let that keep anyone from getting one of this impossibly impossible to ignore pens. Go get yours now! 

All of my limited edition Lamy Safari colors. From top: Lime Green (2008), Orange (2009), Pink (2010), Aquamarine (2011), Green (2012), and Neon (2013).
Which pen is the brightest of them all?


Lamy Safari pens are widely available in reputable pen sellers worldwide. For a global search of Lamy sellers worldwide, check this link.

In the Philippines, the neon Lamy Safari (and other Lamy pens and ink) is  made available by Times Trading Company, through their kiosks at National Bookstore branches around Metro Manila. Lamy pens are also available at Scribe Writing Essentials, a specialty store offering fountain pens, inks, and paper products, located at Eastwood Mall in Quezon City. A Lamy Safari (including the neon pen) fountain pen sells for PhP1,499.75 (~USD35).

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Fountain Pen Review: Lamy Safari 2012 Limited Edition Green


When I started using fountain pens in 2007, I was like any other newbie. I hoarded. I had no clear idea of what I really want and got pens I could just easily get. Lately, though, I decided to focus on pens that work well for me, rather than settle on what I just like. I let go of some pens, and now maintain a few sets that include my Lamy Safari fountain pens. I have 14 Lamy fountain pens as of this writing, and my most recent is the 2012 limited edition Green Safari.

Green is Lamy Safari’s 2012 limited edition color and is available as ballpoint, rollerball, or fountain pen. Lamy's authorized distributor in the Philippines, Times Trading, through the kindness of Charlene Ngo, sent me a fountain pen to review. When the pen was delivered to my office on a Monday morning, a lot of people were in awe of this  vibrant, lovely pen.

The Green Lamy Safari fountain pen comes in a self-covered plastic box. You push the sides away from each other and the pen inside the box is shown, held securely in place by a plastic clamp. This box is so Lamy, don’t you think? It is simple, with Lamy’s logo as its only embellishment, but very functional. I like the plastic clamp because while it holds the pen in place, it does not scratch it at all.


Lamy Safari pens are made from sturdy ABS plastic, a common thermoplastic widely used in a variety of products. It is also used in Lego blocks and the inner walls of our refrigerators! The first Lamy Safari fountain pen, the Savannah, was introduced during the 1980 Frankfurt exhibition. It was designed by Wolfgang Fabian and the Mannheim Development Group under the direction of Prof. Bernt Spiegel. Lamy has kept the Safari in regular production since then. To read more about the Safari's history, visit Lamy's website here.


Below is the Green Safari fountain pen’s major parts: cap, section with converter, and barrel. The Green Lamy Safari fountain pen measures 5.5 inches while capped, 5 inches without the cap, and 6.5 inches when posted. It is a light weight pen, and I can use it for extended periods of writing. The cap with the oversized chrome-coated stainless steel clip is 2.5 inches long, the length from the nib to converter is 4.6 inches, while the barrel measures about 3 inches.


Lamy Safari pens, especially the rollerball and fountain pens, have cap buttons, a unique feature of this line. Rollerball pens have a line, and fountain pens have a cross sign in their cap buttons. The Green fountain pen’s cap button is green like the rest of its parts, though not as glossy, and similar to last year’s limited edition pen (Aquamarine) and the re-issued pink Safari. It is different from the black cap buttons of Safaris in regular production (glossy white, glossy black, matte black, blue, red, yellow).


Here is the Green Safari together with other limited edition Lamy Safari fountain pens in my collection. Farthest right is the earliest pen in the pack, the Lime Green Safari issued in 2008 with the black cap button and cross. Next to it are the Crème Orange (2009) and Pink (2010) Safari fountain pens that have simple dots as cap tops in the same barrel and cap colors, instead of the usual cross on black. The two pens to the left are the Aquamarine (2011) and Green (2012) Safari fountain pens. Last year's group photo is here.


Many fountain pen users frowned at Lamy Safari fountain pen’s triangular grip, finding it uncomfortable and annoying. The triangular grip in the pen’s section however, is designed to make writing easier – it is meant for users to have a firm and secure grip on the pen. Near the end of the section is the anti-slipping brake to prevent a user’s fingers to slip into the nib while writing. I do not find the triangular grip uncomfortable at all. I actually do not notice it!


The Safari fountain pen’s barrel has an ink window that allows me to check on my pen’s ink level without having to screw out the barrel.


Lamy’s proprietary Z24 converters are used to fill the Safari with ink from a bottle. T10 Cartridges are also available, but a Z24 converter comes when you buy a new pen. A pair of nipples on the converter’s sides fit snugly into the small grooves in the upper part of the pen’s section. They fit perfectly so that the converter will not easily turn inside the barrel or be accidentally pulled out of the section. Photos showing more details of the Z24 converter nipples are available here.


The other reason why I love my Safari fountain pens is the interchangeability of their nibs. My Green Safari fountain pen uses the same feed and nib as those on the Lamy Vista, Al-Star, Joy, Nexx, and Studio. The default nib on Safari fountain pens bought in the Philippines is medium, which is my preference, but other nib sizes are available: extra-fine, fine, broad, and left-handed. It can also be fitted with an italic nib ranging from 1.1mm to 1.9mm since the Safari shares the same section, feed, nib, and cap designs with that of the Joy, Lamy’s own set of calligraphy pens. I have seen yellow Safaris fitted with 1.5mm or 1.9mm nibs to be used as highlighter pens. Lamy’s nibs tend to write wide, but they write wet and smooth.


As an old practice with new fountain pens, I flushed this one before filling it to ensure that there is no factory residue or ink on it. After filling it, the pen wrote instantly, and did not need any strong pressure to start writing. It kept writing very smoothly and did not even skip as I filled a page in my pocket Venzi notebook.

Below is my writing sample of this vibrant Lamy Safari Green fountain pen. The ink I used here is an equally vibrant green ink, J. Herbin's Vert Pré.


I love how I can easily swap nibs in my Safari pens. When I received this Green Safari fountain pen, it was just in time for my 'Pentangelized' Lamy stub nib to arrive. It was a joy to have the stub nib on my new pen, as it is so much different from a regular round nib. Pentageli is a dear friend and fellow fountain pen user/collector Jose Reinoso. He is based in Manila, Philippines, and started doing nib work as special favors to his friends. He now accepts minor pen repair work and nib grinding jobs. He fixes barrel cracks using empty shell casings, and has amazingly converted a TWSBI 530 extra fine nib to a juicy, wet flexible!  Photos of his works can be found here, here, and here.


Many followers frowned at Lamy's choice of color for 2012 because two green Safaris have already been issued previously: the original Safari (Savannah) and 2008's lime green. I only have the lime green fountain pen for comparison, and I think the new Green Safari is a beautiful addition to Lamy's growing stable of pens. Next to the new Green, 2008's lime green fountain pen looks more yellow than lime.


This Green Lamy Safari is another cool addition to Lamy's growing line of fountain pens. A beginner's fountain pen, with others even calling it a student pen, this plastic pen actually feels very good in my hand because it is light, but strong and firm at the same time. And it comes in many different colors! My Aquamarine pen still feels new and now I have the 2012 Green Safari in my hands. It makes me dream of the 2013 Safari color. Purple! I want purple! A purple pen would be a nice addition to the pens below, right?


Lamy Safari pens are widely available in reputable pen sellers worldwide. For a global search of Lamy sellers worldwide, follow this link.

In the Philippines, the Green Lamy Safari (and other Lamy pens and ink) is  made available by Times Trading Company, through their increasing number of kiosks at National Bookstore outlets around Metro Manila. Lamy pens are also available at Scribe Writing Essentials, a specialty store offering unique paper products and writing tools located at Eastwood Mall in Quezon City. A Lamy Safari (including the Green pen) fountain pen sells for PhP1,499.75 (~USD35).

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Ink Review: J. Herbin Ambre de Birmanie


I miss writing ink reviews, really. I was supposed to write one for Valentine's, but the occasion felt too frivolous so I skipped it and chose a different ink color. I saved the red ink for the dark rainy days. One Saturday morning, when the sun was out and shining, I dragged myself out of bed and arranged a photo shoot for this lovely J. Herbin ink called Ambre de Birmanie (Amber of Burma).


J. Herbin's Ambre de Birmanie is a bright yellow-orange to light golden brown ink that looks like Burmite amber, the gemstone that it was named after. Like Diabolo Menthe, it appears light while wet, but turns a beautiful gem-like amber once it dries. This ink is not highly saturated, has excellent flow and beautiful shading especially when used with a wider nib.


Ambre de Birmanie reminds me of the sweet caramel syrup on top of the tall vanilla ice cream that my niece Raiyah and I love to share at McDonald's on our Sunday afternoon dates. I also remember that it looks a lot like the raw honey on thick honeycombs that my brothers and I used to get from a hive in our backyard when we were kids. 


I almost gave up on this ink the first time I used it. The pen I filled with it has a fine nib and the writing sample  did not look any good. I tried it next on my yellow Lamy Safari with a medium nib, and it wrote so good!

Though Ambre de Birmanie is a lovely ink, very few reviews were written about it, and I think I understand why -- not everyone likes a bright yellow-orange ink on their notebooks' pages. And I feel the same way too, but I love using this ink to write  notes on almost everything -- my modules, things to do, important dates, reminders, anything! Bright colors can quickly catch my eye and I like to use them in my planner and journal notebooks to complement the dark inks on their pages. It's also an excellent ink for calligraphy because it produces so much shading.


Clearly, Ambre de Birmanie works well with wide nibs. I wrote the Murakami quote with the 1.5mm italic nib on my Lamy Joy, and the shading I saw when the ink dried is just amazing! I didn't expect a light-colored ink to produce this type of shading. 


And for my usual ink concerns regarding feathering and bleed, I am happy that Ambre de Birmanie did not feather at all on Muji paper. Here, the ink's yellow-orange color is simply outstanding!


But what's even more amazing is that even on a wide nib such as an italic 1.5mm, Ambre de Birmanie did not bleed! There is some show-through, but that's fine with me.


Ambre de Birmanie's drying time does not differ that much from most J. Herbin inks. It dries fast, taking no more than 15 seconds to dry on Muji paper, with the ink coming from a medium Lamy Safari nib.


I mentioned earlier that Ambre de Birmanie is an excellent ink for calligraphy so I tried it on a quote from Sir Winston Churchill. The color is very beautiful. When I look at the page, I pretend that I wrote it using my Herbin glass pen dipped in sweet caramel syrup.


Below are some macro shots of Ambre de Birmanie on Muji paper. These were written using a Lamy Joy with 1.5mm italic nib. This ink is beautiful on white paper. Its cheery color stands out of the bright white page. It doesn't look as good on cream or beige paper, though.


Amber is fossilized tree resin which has been appreciated for its color and natural beauty since Neolithic times. It is primarily found in the Baltic regions, but also appears in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Burma (now Myanmar), Italy, Romania, Borneo, New Zealand, the Middle East, Alaska, Canada and the United States. Hilltribe women from the Kachin State are known to wear long, crayon-shaped pieces of the unique orange-red Burmite amber found there.

Could it be possible that J. Herbin passed through Burma during his travels? If so, it may be in Burma where he saw the beautiful yellow-orange color and named it Ambre de Birmanie -- Amber of Burma, after the land's beautiful amber.


J. Herbin inks are available in 30 beautiful colors. These water-based inks are non-toxic, have neutral pH and manufactured using natural dyes. Download a printable PDF of the J. Herbin fountain pen ink swatches here.

A 30ml bottle of J. Herbin ink sells for P475 at Scribe Writing Essentials here in the Philippines, and US$9.75at The Goulet Pen Company. (I am not affiliated with either companies.)

The bottle of Ambre de Birmanie reviewed here is courtesy of Exaclair, Inc. through Karen Doherty, while the Muji notebook and Lamy pens (Safari, Joy) all belong to my personal collection.

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