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  • A Fleeting Ripple

another day, another notebook: clairefontaine velvet paper

There is a tree outside the window, its leaves a warm green in the grey weather. It sways to a phantom wind, branches dancing. But now is not its time to shine. It is its most beautiful in the warm sunlight. The leaves drenched in gold like the golden laurel crowns in the museums. Reaching to the cloudless blue sky. Behind the glass the tree feels like an artefact from a different era, a different place.

Last year I was lucky enough to go to Paris for a while and to some stationery and art stores. I’ve been there before when I was younger, stayed for a short time and swept off to see the sights. This time I had enough time to get lost in the streets and boulevards, go to the bookstores and get notebooks. In the attic of a stationery store in a lost passage, I found this bound Clairefontaine notebook. I’ve seen Clairefontaine paper before only as loose sheets, A4 ring bound notebooks or glue bound notepads like the Triomphe. None of those are my preferred paper formats, therefore I was quite happy to find a nice thread bound notebook with lined Clairefontaine “Velouté” paper. Unfortunately there isn’t any labels on it except for the sticker that says “Papier Velouté 90 g/m2 MADE IN FRANCE”. No information on their website whatsoever as well.

The paper itself is quite pleasant with a slightly soft feeling under the nib. Stark white colour shows shading, but the colour of the ink itself appears a little darker, a little less bright to me. I think it’s good for a more distraction-free writing, as I tend to get distracted when my ink is too beautiful and I stop every few words to admire it. My preferred paper is lined, which can be unfortunate when the lines are quite bold on the page. The lines are a light blue with quite some space to write in between. The blue colour reminds me of one of my father’s shirts, even though his was the same blue with thick white lines.

I used this notebook to write the first drafts of the blog posts that I’ve been writing. Mostly because this blog is also another reason to write more, use my pens more. After going through all 192 pages (96 sheets) in this notebook, I can safely say that it worked. Ghosting at the back of the page is almost non-existent, even with a BB Kaweco nib, so both sides of the page handle writing very well. I haven’t carried this book around a lot, mostly because I tend to draft my posts at home on my desk. It shows, there isn’t much wear on the notebook. Only the cardboard covers started to fray around the edges a bit and a single thread from the cloth binding cover started to unfurl.

It’s amazing how notebooks get thicker when you use them. Except for a few pages that were marked with washi tape, the only thing in this notebook is lots and lots of ink. The paper absorbs all of your thoughts, every single mark you leave on the page. This has become a substantial notebook, heavier than what it once was.

Clairefontaine is a beloved paper manufacturer for me, I used it pretty much for everything in my life. When I was in elementary school, we had these huge drawing pads for art class, and now I still use Clairefontaine paper for my fountain pens. It’s amazing to see how wide their range is. I don’t know how I’ll ever find this notebook again, but if I ever do, I’m planning to stock up. I have been also trying to use locally manufactured paper a bit more, and Clairefontaine is the only paper manufacturer that I know from EU.

Thank you for reading. By the way, in the writing sample it says that Platinum Balance has a medium nib, it's actually a fine. Now that I’ve finished my first post writing notebook, I’m going to start a completely different one!


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