• A Fleeting Ripple

delft blue: rickshaw pen cases

It’s sweltering hot even inside, even at the early hours of the morning. Cicadas are chirping, a cacophony of insects accompanied by bees buzzing. The village is devoid of people, there are almost no cars or people passing by. Other houses are silent, a few people are out on their balconies to read the newspaper. Sunlight filters through the macrame curtains, scorching the pale tiled floor. The breeze left about an hour ago, but even then it did not help to cool down much.


I do not own many pen cases. Well, not nice ones that I put my fountain pens in, at least. I only have two of those. Both of those are Rickshaw pen cases; one in 6-pen size and the other in 12-pen size. The 12-pen case usually stays on my desk, loaded with my desk pens. It’s too large and heavy to be carried around often anyway. If I’m working on my desk, those are the ones I’ll use. It also houses my fancier pens, I don’t like to take very colourful or curious pens to school. I leave my desk often, and things do get lost, as it is the way with schools.


The 6-pen case is my carry case. If I’m going to school or the library to study outside, I’ll take that with me. I like to take five minutes during my morning coffee to go through both of my pen cases and move pens in between them according to what I’ll do that day or what I feel like using that day. Generally I don’t use all six pens every single time, but the variety is always appreciated. Sometimes Pelikan M200 is the right one that’ll fit my hand like I need it to, or some days only a Lamy Safari would get the work done.


But then, how are the cases themselves? Soft. So soft. The inside is lined with bright navy plush that’s going to keep your pens cosier than a blanket on a snowy day. It also keeps the pens separate from each other and scratch-free. I cannot use a fountain pen case that lets all the pens touch each other. It gives me scratch anxiety. It’s also easy to pull the pens out of the case, you don’t have to fumble with the opening much. It just folds back to reveal the tops of your pens and you can easily grab them. It’s also nice to take a peak at all the pretty pens every now and then… It’s such a simple thing that makes life so much easier.


Another highlight of the design for me is the elastic loop closure. You can roll up the pen case and tie the band around. I spent half of my life hauling coloured pencil rolls around, so it brings back good memories. The case becomes compact and easy to carry around in a backpack. Okay, the 12-pen roll never becomes really compact, that’s a monster no matter what shape it is in.


The colour and the fabric’s design is where this case becomes very special. As far as I know, Fontoplumo is the only seller of the Rickshaw pen cases in the Netherlands, and they have their own fabric designs. The first one I got had a Girl With The Pearl Earring. The famous portrait had sunglasses on one side and headphones on the other. It’s awesome. I ended up giving it to my mother when she started to use fountain pens. Apparently it’s still quite the conversation starter.


The ones I have right now are a matching set in the shade of “Delft Blue.” Apparently Delft used to have a large porcelain industry where they started out by mimicking the white & blue Chinese porcelains. It was famous around the 17th century. It kind of still is, if you like porcelain, but there are only two factories left. For this pen case, Rickshaw got together with artist Micha de Bie, a local artist. The case has a dark blue colour, reminiscent of Delftse Blauw, and bold white lines. I enjoy using it a lot, and if you ever find yourself in Delft, it makes for a great souvenir.


One last thing I want to mention for this case is for people like me that have to carry a lot of heavy stuff in their bags. Those stuff rattle and move around as I go about my day. This case will not protect your precious pens from being crushed by heavy books or getting stuck under your humongous laptop. The whole deal about softness isn’t that great for protection from that. I like to tuck it in an inside pocket or a small front zipped pocket so it would stay a little safer. But also none of my pens ever cracked or crushed.


Since these are my only pen cases, I use them pretty much every day. I don’t know if I’d ever get more pen cases. Perhaps for storage purposes, or a beautiful Galen Leather one. My storage options are in dire need of improvement, all of my stored pens are in random pen boxes in a cupboard that makes finding them extremely difficult. Of course it would be, when the Pelikan box holds a Lamy Safari and a Lamy box holds a Sheaffer Imperial. I only have one question about this whole pen business though. What is the “right” way to tuck them in? Cap up or cap down? Clipped to the fabric? I tend to put them cap up so they would peek out when I fold back the opening of the case.



Thank you for reading!