stubs and stones: galen x studyo agackakan v1 fountain pen
The clouds pass overhead, obscuring the sun every now and then. You’re sitting in shade one moment and then hit by the warmth of the sun the next. The subway goes on the ground when it is between neighbourhoods. It rattles and swings side to side, screeches in turns. Someone’s earphones leak out the loud music, nobody really speaks. It’s warm and quiet, making you sleepy as you sway in your seat with the metro cart. Then, the tracks lead underground, the Sun’s warmth is gone and the fluorescent lights in the dark hit you like a wall. The subway is cold, dark and sterile again.
One of my favourite stories that I heard in university is about how one of the professors came into the possession of a stone library, a lithotheek. Apparently, someone started in the 19th century and collected samples from all over the world. Students would send samples with a small info sheet from different places, explaining the origin of the stone and properties. Colourful marbles from Africa, Italian Carrara marble, slabs of river stone from the forests of Brazil. After a lecture, I got to meet with the teacher and ask about how they became the guardian of such an extensive collection. Turns out that they saved it from a literal dumpster. The records were lost over the years and when the university was cleaning out the basement one year, they decided to just throw it away. Now, they’re trying to piece the collection back together, finding the names and origins of the stones, meticulously cataloging them. Unfortunately, the wood sample library was not in a good condition, and they couldn’t save a good part of it.
That was what I was thinking about when I first saw the Galen x Studyo Agackakan V1 in Teal Agate fountain pen. The library didn’t include semi-precious stones, but it did include granites with brown and blue pieces melded into each other. A good memory, a wonderful colouring of a resin and an interesting shape make for a a pen that I find myself reaching for again and again. The resin gives that earthy, grounded feeling that I associate with beautiful stones.
Even though the sparkling resin is beautiful, the most eye catching feature of this pen is the shape for me. It is a flat top with tapered ends, where the ends taper at different angles. This is similar to my other Studyo Agackakan pen, even though that one is in a bit more of a traditional torpedo shape. The asymmetry of the taper and the flat tops remind me of amphoras. The graceful, gentle shape that is distinct and doesn’t follow the set conventions for the shapes of writing instruments. It becomes a bold, creative design that gives a modern flair to the pen, even though it nods to an ancient aesthetic. Despite this, the shape is simple, lending itself beautifully to a resin that is anything but understated.
It is almost poetic, the contrast between the angular, sharp shape of the pen and the resin that swirls lazily in earthy colours.
And we didn’t even open the cap yet. The section is comfortable with a little concave section in the middle, anchoring your fingers without being obtrusive. The finishing on the pen is smoothed out, not a single edge is sharp. Even the threads feel like beach stones in your hand, smoothed over until it only has the suggestion of an edge.
One of the things that surprised me was how easily the cap opens. It only takes a single turn. I wasn’t expecting this and almost dropped the cap. Maybe that’s on me, it’s not really something I pay attention to.
The medallion on top of the cap and the logo on the nib are nice finishing touches. It’s extremely cute because it looks like someone older giving something to a kid. I like to imagine that it is a parent or a grandparent giving a kid their first pen. My mother had given me mine, so it always makes me smile whenever I see it.
Simply put, this pen is one of the most comfortable and prettiest pens I have the delight to use. It is well-balanced and lightweight even for longer writing sessions that last for hours.
Even though this pen is something special, it is made even more special by the nib grind made by Galen Leather’s nib master Meltem Hazarhun. It is an italic nib ground from a medium. It is also my first italic/stub nib that’s not a stock option. I was in love with it from the first time I inked it up. The only comparison that I can make is to the Lamy 1.1 stub, which is a lot softer on the edges and a tiny bit wider. Despite the sharper corners, the medium italic is much more forgiving and much easier to control. It puts down a decently wet line, which I’ve been enjoying with shimmer inks and shading inks. Honestly, I ended up loving it so much that I am considering getting a few more nibs ground.
Of course, a shining pen and a wonderful grind deserves a special ink; Diamine Winter Spice in this case. It’s a warm brown ink with blue shimmer and lots of green sheen that matches the pen’s colours nicely. This pen has seen a surprising amount of use with this ink, I filled it up a third time in a week. And I still use other pens too. A surprising amount of writing done…
The fountain pen I’m holding in my hand right now has so many people’s meticulous work and craftsmanship and it shows. It starts with the beautiful resin by Bob Dupras’s, then designed and turned by Galen Leather and Studyo Agackakan, and lastly finished with a wonderful nib from Meltem Hazarhun. It is truly a special pen that I keep returning to over and over again.
Thank you for reading!
Disclaimer 1: The story at the beginning of the post happened a while ago, so the details might be fuzzy.
Disclaimer 2: I was sent this pen in exchange for an honest review by Galen Leather.