Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St.Patrick's Day - with a bit of help from Exaclair & My Favorite J.Herbin Inks

Since I come from a great group of Kavanaugh's, Boyd's, O'Malleys and Ellerys St.Patrick's Day has always been a nice holiday for me. I also always look forward to it because it is about this time each year when the hummingbirds return to our corner of the world. This year, after hearing that they were on the mainland, I put some feeders up on Saturday. Sure enough, they showed up for some fuel on Sunday morning!

I think I have previously mentioned that my favorite fountain pen inks are made by J.Herbin, a French company that has been in the ink business since 1700. They make other wonderful products that pertain to the arts of pen & ink as well. I am still hankering to try one of their glass pens & their calligraphy & art papers look wonderful too!

One of the recent blessings in my life is to have made a cyber connection with Karen Doherty who is the VP of Marketing for Exaclair Inc. I say I have been blessed because she has been very generous in humoring my obsessive tendencies for inks & papers to try. I mean, seriously, how much luckier could I get? I am a pen & paper obsessed, 'new thing on the block' kind of gal who loves to play - and Karen indulges me by occasionally sending me product samples to play with.
Yesterday's mail brought a fun surprise from Karen. Two bottles of ink in the most absolutely perfect "Irish" colors of Vert Pre & Orange Indien. The Irish flag's colors are orange (representing Irish Protestants & Unionists), green (representing Irish Catholics, the Republican cause & Irish Nationalists) & white which represents the hoped for peace between the "two Irelands". These inks were just the thing to help me create a St.Patricks Day journal page with!
I layered the inks to increase the saturation & added clover leaf 'shadows', the names of my family, bits of an Irish Blessing & and a quote by Adrienne Cook about St.Patrick's Day that I especially like "...St. Patrick's Day is an enchanted time...a day to begin transforming Winter's dreams into Summer's magic...". I also added some gesso for the white & used a charcoal pencil for some detailing. Thank you Karen for sparking my imagination - I needed to make a special journal page for today and this was just the spark I needed. Perfect timing!
Here are those two bottles of ink - don't you just love the labels?! These are my "Irish" Lamy Safari fountain pens. The orange is a new color that just came out & the lime was actually the first of these pens that I purchased last year. They are wonderful "go to" pens for using in the office. I bet you just can't guess which color ink I put in which pen!!

Also included in my "art care package" was this nifty little note pad made by Clairefontaine. This paper (and these pads) are marketed by Exaclair as well. Clairefontaine paper is especially prized by those of us who are enamored with fountain pens. It is a lovely bright white, heavier weight paper than is usual & the best part of it is that inks do not bleed through to the back - which is a problem with many other journals & notepads - especially when a fountain pen is used.

I had fun today using a dip pen - trying some different nibs that I have had but had not been able to take the time to play with yet. I have a feeling that the design on the J.Herbin glass dip pens might make using a dip pen a bit easier on the nerves. I am somewhat awestruck when I think of how long dip pens were the only means of writing (well, other than perhaps pencils or charcoal or something)- and, worse yet, when I consider how using a quill must have been! Anyway, my play went along quite well with the pen & these lovely colored inks. The last three pens I tried using on the pad are Pilot Parallel Pens in varying widths. They use a thicker ink & because they are wide nibbed they lay down a lot of ink.

Below is the back of the page - you see nothing there. That is precisely the point - nothing shows through on the back of this excellent quality paper - so you can write to your heart's content & be assured of being able to make use of both sides of the paper. I have also tried using Sharpie's (fine & 'regular) on this paper & there is a bit of bleed through with them but not nearly as much as with a thinner paper such as in a Moleskine journal.

So - all in all I had a fun day of experimenting and, just when we thought it could not rain any more than it has been this week- the sun has just broken out! Must be the luck of the Irish! Hope you are all enjoying your day as much as I have mine!


Vicki W said...

I love your journal page!

Karoda said...

thanks for sharing the luck of the irish because the weather here was, still is, great! i'm thinking dyeing fabric isn't too far away in my future.

i keep thinking i'm going to stumble over a pen, paper, ink specialty store in my area...i would just loose my mind!

love this post, but you prolly already knew i would ;)

Karoda said...

Marie, would you consider putting together a favorite resource list and posting it on the Calligraphy group at Creative Souls?

WabiArt said...

i want a friend, cyber or otherwise, who send ME pens, inks and paper!!!

Sandy said...

You've been busy having fun. I love the journal page.

Ontheroad said...

Lovely art work, Marie & thorough, terrific review.


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