finer things: ferris wheel press ink collection
Early morning is still pitch black. Streetlights fade into the background as the market sets up in the square. Rows of fruits, vegetables and cheese shine under white fluorescents. The scene underneath is only visible through the staircases that go up to the roof of the square, towards the roof of the theatre building. They seem to be suspended in the air, hair-thin cables that hold up them blend into the shadows of the roof’s trusses. Down there, in one of the food carts, they serve fresh oysters with a glass of bubbly wine. Saturdays in Antwerp are something else…
I have been thinking about something that one of my professors mentioned: sweetweird manifesto. It talks about that a hard life doesn’t have to make you cruel or tough. We can be kind and soft, because life is hard. We can reach our in compassion and understanding, because we cannot go through life alone.
We need each other.
So, in spirit of kind but quirky characters (instead of aggressive and mean), I want to mention one of the weird things I do: I carry emotional support stationery everywhere. A 75 year old Parker in my backpack, safely tucked away from the rain, while I’m walking down the street, buried to my ankles in wet, rotting leaves. A shiny new Sailor accompanying me on a two-hour train ride during rush hour, when you need to stand on one leg, pressed against others, taking as little space as possible. A quick Vanishing Point in my purse when going out for dinner with friends. A pen comes with me wherever I go. A small luxury that I can incorporate into life to make it more bearable.
So the collection’s name really got me. Who doesn’t like to enjoy finer things in life? The colours were not mind blowing for me, but I don’t have many browns and I can always do with another dark green.
Let’s be honest, though, the most attractive part of the Ferris wheel Press inks are their branding. It is extremely distinctive in the fountain pen world. Finely printed boxes, beautiful bottles… Attention to detail on their product packaging is immaculate. Personally, I have always love heavy glass bottles. It started with perfume bottles in antique stores, all the way to fancy ink bottles nowadays.
Opening the package is a whole experience. The foil stamped cardboard catches the light beautifully, then reveals the brass bolt-shaped cap. You peel of the packaging, pull out the bottle. It is always smaller than I expect, even when I know it is a 38ml bottle. The bottle is smooth and the facets are rounded off, so it feels nice in your hand. The cap twists off with a little resistance. It’s so satisfying that I fidget with the cap for a solid minute or two every time I’m filling up a pen. Some pens don’t fit into the opening or they’re uncomfortably tight, so I tend to stick with syringe filled cartridges for these bottles. This doesn’t worry me anyway, as I rarely dip my pens straight into the ink.
Even though I admire well-done packaging, the actual product has to work. They’re mostly okay, even behaving on not-so-good papers, but they have one weird thing going on. I wouldn’t call these inks dry, but they feel like it. They pool and shade, but the writing is not smooth and doesn’t feel well-lubricated. I put these in some of my smoothest nibs, and they have feedback now. The ink gave Sailor-esque, pencil-like feedback to my pens. If the nibs that sing is your thing, give them a go.
I’m going to start with talking about the green ink: Spruce County Post. Apparently I misread the name at first, “county” is not a unit of settlement in where I come from, so I thought the ink was named Spruce Country Post. I was confused. This was the only ink I knew that I’d like because dark greens are among my most used colours. It doesn’t shade much -it’s too saturated for it- and it has a tiny bit of red sheen around the edges of the swab that doesn’t appear in writing. A solid, good green. Kind of reminds me of Graf von Faber Moss Green. I’ve been meaning to get a bottle of that ink -I had a sample- and I’m going to put it off for a while until I finish this ink. The only weird part was that on their Instagram, they say that this green is reminiscent of old postage stamps. It reminds me more of how some old black inks fade into a dark grey-green on letters and diaries.
The next one is Oyster Hour. I thought this was the most interesting colour, simply because I had never seen a similar shade of ink before. I also thought that this was the riskiest one. I enjoy the colour in larger, wetter nibs, even the medium Visconti steel nib didn’t really cut it. It shades pretty well, though it also feels much drier than the other two. Funnily, I thought the “oyster” in the name referred to the mollusk, not watches. I was worried about someone eating slightly brown oysters, but didn’t question the name choices too much. Watches make more sense, especially if it is one of those older, unrestored ones with yellow-tinted dials.
The last ink I’m going to talk about is surprisingly my favourite one: Steeped Umber. This also had a confusing name for me. As far as I know, umber is a pigment. I don’t know why you would like to steep it in one of the cute little teapots on the box. Do not drink pigment. Not recommended by yours truly.
I might or might’ve not mixed my water cup and paint cup.
The rich, red-brown colour is so beautiful. It shades some, while still staying saturated. The swatch shows some black sheen that’s hard to photograph. I was pleasantly surprised with this ink. I thought it was going to be unimaginative and slightly boring.
Overall, I like these inks. Even thought they get the job done, they’re not outstanding except for their packaging. I might or might not buy Ferris wheel Press inks again, it depends on the names they put on their inks. Oh, by the way, I didn’t use almost a third of the Steeped Umber bottle. Instead I spilled it while trying to fill up a pen. At least the narrow opening of the bottle didn't let too much ink out. It’s disappointing, but at least the photographs came out looking cool.
Thank you for reading!