Last weekend I had the good fortune to attend the inaugural Sydney Pen Show held on Saturday 18th August at the National Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour just outside the Sydney CBD.
Yes it is the white building being guarded by the HMAS Vampire, the museum's largest exhibit.
The venue itself is a superb choice being very central to accommodation, restaurants and so picturesque.
The view from the front door of the show venue. For those interested that is the HMAS Onslow and a floating memorial to the WW1 submarine AE1.
The show itself was held in one of the museum display galleries - the Lighthouse Gallery.
The show was scheduled to open at 9am, I arrived a 8am as I am an early riser and was staying just up the street. I think I was fourth in line. I spent the hour talking pens and stationery with my fellow line-mates. It was very easy to find common ground as we were all there for the same thing.
The show featured a number of local brick & mortar and online vendors of pens, art and stationery products (who were offering some good show specials), and several pen distributors were there with a display of wares available to the Australian pen shopper.
Services available were several calligraphers doing custom name lettering, a nib tuner doing smoothing and adjustments and taking orders for grinding work.
There were several tables of inks available to test - I stayed away from these as I don't need to be tempted with more inks.
The highlight for me was a Pilot museum display of their Capless pens dating back to 1968, the display was flown out from Japan just for the show and was returning that evening.
In the afternoon the show also featured a range of workshops in topics including calligraphy in a couple of forms, nib tuning, Bullet Journalling and the highlight for many, an urban sketching workshop with the world renown Liz Steel. I was not quick enough to book myself in for any of these workshops - something that I quite regret.
At the close of the show at 4pm, over 600 people had attended. I feel that number was a great result for the inaugural event. A huge congratulation must go to all those many volunteers that worked so hard to make the show such a success especially the co-organisers. Mark and Sophia.
So what did I buy? Not much actually. I had a good load of cash available until Thursday when I said yes to one of only two Pelikan M805 Royal Raden Platinum Limited Edition pens allocated to Australia.
In the end I bought the show pin featured at the top of this post (because well pins are in) and that was about all.
Robert Oster produced a special ink (Sydney 2018 Lavender) for the show and I was given a complimentary bottle of that as I was in the first 100 to buy a ticket and I was also given a goodie bag of stationery items from Milligram as I one of the first in the door at opening.
The day for me was not about the material goods as such but I was there mainly to show support for the efforts that Mark, Sophia, and all of the fountain pen community members in Sydney and Australia had made in making this show a success. I was just happy to meet so many people that I had only previously interacted with via social media.