water lilies: giants' pens
Bugs of the night chirp outside, like the static of the television. Otherwise, it’s quiet under the ancient olive trees. Maybe they’re not ancient, but all of the olive trees look ancient and weathered. On the road above a car drives past every now and then. They slow down to take the sharp turn, mostly going downhill, mostly going back to the large town for a good night’s sleep. The light faded some time ago and the clear skies show all the stars that the night sky has to offer.
Sometimes you see a pen and know that it is meant to be. Everything is right, perhaps even if you didn’t realize it at the time or even if you had second guesses. This is what happened during the Dutch Pen Show. The only maker that I’ve heard about before was Giants’ Pens. That’s also a funny story, I would’ve been completely oblivious to them if not for an off-hand comment and a rabbit hole down their website. So, the first table I made my way to was theirs.
This pen with the Water Lily Koi resin from Carolina Pen Company was also the first one I picked up. Green & purple are two of my favourite colours, and the shiny, shimmery resin was irresistible. My only holdup was that the section was wider than what I’m used to, therefore I didn’t know whether I would enjoy it a lot. I picked up and looked at a bunch of different pens. Even though the blanks and the pens themselves were exceptionally crafted, I couldn’t take my eyes of the Water Lily Koi. In the end, I realized a big reason I wanted to get this pen was the reason I hesitated to get it; the more I held the pen in my hand, the more I realized I enjoyed the different feel of a larger section.
Since I don’t have very large hands, I find myself using a large range of section widths regularly. This is mostly because I don’t write constantly for long writing sessions except for journaling and, well, writing blog posts. Even then, thinner pens never made me uncomfortable. But the huge section is especially comfortable to hold for those long writing sessions. The slight flare at the end and the curve of the section lets my hand slide into the most comfortable holding position with ease. This is not a very long pen, but the width of it makes the pen feel large and substantial.
Another thing I was surprised to see was how thick the walls of the body were. The cap is not overly thick, therefore I hadn’t realized it at the time. The actual surprise was when I opened the barrel to fill up the pen. The walls of the body were actually really thick. You can also see it in the section, when you turn the nib up and look at where the feed’s collar fit into the section. I think it’s a genius way to add the tiniest bit of extra weight when the pen lacks metal parts. It gives a nice sturdy feeling without upsetting the balance of the pen in hand. I think it compliments the large size of the pen nicely, while still being light.
I am generally not the biggest fan of torpedo shaped pens, but the asymmetrical shape of this one really shines through. It is a distorted version of the traditional shape, where the curves at the two ends of the pen are not the same. Bottom of the pen barrel has a sharper curve and the top of the cap is slightly flattened. I genuinely love this one.
Lastly, I want to talk about the wonderful material. A bright, warm purple with cream and a nuclear waste green. All the colours swirl and have an insane amount of depth. I cannot stop myself from staring at it while writing. Granted, the exam “week” became a month -including the resits- and I’m just looking for distractions at this point. My favourite parts are the whisps of white veil over shiny purple and green swirly bits around the section and the huge white part that swallows all colour on the cap.
The nib is a regular Bock fine nib, tested by Giants’ Pens to write well. It does write a well-balanced, smooth line. But I’ve also been thinking about an Instagram post I saw a while ago, unfortunately I cannot remember who it was. They were talking about how all of these beautiful, exceptionally crafted pens have to be content with mediocre EF, F, M, B nibs -lucky if you get a stub. I understand the ease of these nibs, even then I cannot keep myself from wishing for the variety of different nibs that fit a range of pens from old Esterbrook’s or Sheaffer’s. All of our fun nibs have to come from nib grinders now. Yes, they do a much more personalised work that’s tuned to your own writing style, but the artisan quality -and simply the sheer quantity- of it makes it inaccessible to many. I know more stock nib options aren’t viable anymore, as it is a small market. I know that I rarely use anything beyond a fine nib. Don’t get me wrong, the nib is great to write with, so pleasant that I rarely used another pen while studying. That doesn’t change the fact that I simply own a lot of other pens with the same Bock nib. A pen this lovely deserves a special nib in my opinion.
Anyway, the pen body itself is beautiful and comfortable to hold. The finish of the pen is great too, the machining is clean and the pen is polished to almost a mirror shine that shows the depth of the material nicely. It is currently inked with Robert Oster Eucalyptus Leaf, though I have a feeling Rohrer & Klingner Alt-goldgrun will be an amazing match due to the greens in the resin.
Thank you for reading! The photographs really don’t do this pen justice as the camera had a hard time focusing on the barrel. The material has so much depth that it confused the lens, and it mostly focused on the cloth it was sitting on. I think my phone’s camera did a better job for the first time…