butterflies: kwz monarch
It’s chilly in the house, a hearth without its fire. The late morning sun is already up, giving wispy layers of bleak, grey light but not warmth. It doesn’t reach into the depths of the room, where shadows crawl deeper into the corners. The sky is also grey, it was supposed to bring snow. It did bring some snow last night. A handful in the crevices of roofs, a heap under the tree. Blink and you’ll miss. Maybe it’s enough to throw one sad snowball, already mushy and wet. No, it’s already gone, gone in the wind.
I like learning. I like learning especially when it keeps my hands busy. For the past few months, I’ve been trying to learn embroidery and cross stitch, alternating between patterns and trying to absorb every bit of subtlety such a craft requires. It is addictive almost, especially if you get a fuzzy blanket, put on a good movie and make some tea. Last week, I finished my first actual cross stitch project, a monarch butterfly to be gifted away (best skills to learn are the ones you can share). It was fun, and it reminded me to use an ink that I had mostly forgotten: KWZ Monarch. I inked it up in a pen to journal with, because when your hands are busy, your mind is left to wander.
This ink was mostly forgotten because I didn’t like the colour a lot at first. Maybe I was looking for something brighter, bolder. Now, as I write under the almost blue light that comes through the window, it is a warm reminder of the lovely muted colours of fall. Or maybe of late summer sunrises, where it’s not too hot yet. I generally have good associations with orange, especially muted ones like this one rather than eye-searingly bright ones. I like those too, sometimes.
The ink’s orange is a beautiful burnt orange, shifting from caramel browns to paper thin yellow-orange tones. Perhaps I call it a burnt orange because it reminds me a lot of Robert Oster’s Burned Orange, which is also a similar muted orange colour, though this is less bright and less brown. I don’t know how you manage to capture the texture of velvety butterfly wings in an ink, but it gives me the feeling as if I’ll feel the softest, whisper thin velvet under my fingertips when I run my fingers over the writings. No, it didn’t happen yet.
I can’t say how accurate the colour is as the only Monarch’s I’ve seen were either under glasses in museums or from photographs. Monarch butterflies, not actual monarchs. Well, considering that, the only time I’ve seen them are also in museums and in photographs/paintings. Anyway, this is how I imagine the colour though, in beautiful shades of orange, dipping its toes in brown. The shading in writing, especially in a fine nib, is lighter, so it goes all the way to an almost mustard colour from a darker caramel brown. In the large swab with a paintbrush, the colour reminds of almost gone embers; a little darker overall than in the nib, but the mustard yellows are still somewhat visible.
Let’s hope the camera can catch how complex the shading is in this dark winter day.
The bottle has to get a mention as well, because I take bottle design into account when I’m getting an ink. Ugly or less useful bottles won’t stop me from getting an ink -ahem, Diamine 30ml- whereas lovely bottles will make me swoon over an ink more. I like a heavy glass bottle as much as the next person. KWZ’s bottles are a nice middle ground. They’re amber apothecary-like bottles with large openings that would let pretty much any pen section through. I also sometimes dip the paper in to get fun swatches. The only problem is that with their smooth caps, they’re too similar to my vitamin bottles and I reached for it before. They’re hidden away in the depths of my drawers from now on, not displayed on my desk. One thing I don’t understand with these bottles is how much they get stuck. The said smooth cap doesn’t give you much grip to wrestle it open, but I shouldn’t be wrestling a glass bottle in the first place. The ink just glues it shut. I don’t understand it at all, they’re not even standing horizontally in my drawer… It’s a true test of power to open a KWZ’s bottle cap. It makes me want to go to the gym more often.
Or you know, you can run it under warm water and risk washing off that lovely ink swatch on the label.
I don’t judge.
The ink behaves exceptionally good on bad paper. I don’t know how KWZ does it, all of the inks I own behave much better than average on bad paper. The colours are still recognisable and the feathering is minimal. It’s pretty consistent across the line. One thing I don’t like about these inks in general is their smell. It has a pretty strong sweet vanilla smell that I just cannot get used to. It’s pretty strong when you first open the bottle. In the pen it is much less, but you still get a whiff of it every now and then while writing. I’m quite sensitive to smells so I cannot use any KWZ ink for long writing sessions where my nose will be in the notebook for a while and the pen’s cap will be open for a long time. Still, I rarely hesitate before buying KWZ inks, as long as I am sure that I like the colour. They come in large 50ml bottles that last a good time and their price is quite good.
As a treat, I'm also including the picture of my stitch!
Thank you for reading!