I am a picky pen person. I go through a lot of pens that other people adore and that I find entirely underwhelming. This means I buy, try, and then sell on a lot of perfectly good pens. So I suppose it should be no surprise that I really like custom pens. My first custom was a Nakaya, which is living rather dangerously. After all, once you’ve got a Nakaya custom made to your specifications where is there to go, really?
So it has been a long few years since I even considered having another pen made. This year though I found myself losing interest in most of the pens being released, and not really caring about accumulating more vintage pens. I really wanted another experience like Gin Nami, but it was abundantly clear I couldn’t afford another such pen. A while ago I had stumbled across Scriptorium Pens by Renee Meeks on Instagram. She documents the process of making every one of her custom pens through that media and I found myself loving her work. An idea began to brew.
So earlier this year I emailed Renee, I ran through what I was thinking of, a pen in the Nakaya Naka-ai style. It’s basically the piccolo but with a longer more tapered barrel a bit like a desk pen (without being quite so long so it is still portable.) The material, well that had to be special. Deep like urushi, deep ocean waves speckled with phosphorescence, or the Milky Way on a clear dark night. I wanted a roll stopper, though I didn’t know what, and something (again) special about the section.
Renee makes roll stoppers out of earrings, it’s a brilliant choice as it gives you near limitless possibilities. Any post earring will do. I went back and forth through a hundred sterling silver flowers, celtic knots, and nothing spoke to me. Then quite unexpectedly I stumbled across an Etsy store selling minimalistic silver and diamond jewelry. There was a set of earrings with tiny diamond chips that looked for all the world like a little cup, or an impressionist moon. Something about the simplicity kept me coming back. Finally I emailed the jeweler and asked if she could be willing to make me just one earring. She was happy to do so and a few weeks later a beautiful box arrived, inside was tucked the tiniest, most beautiful little roll stopper I’d ever seen. It was perfect.
I shipped it and the intended nib (a Pelikan 600 so that I could use both my 600 nibs, and my antique 400 nibs without issue, this pen would have possibilities) to Renee but we still had no material. I went through her entire catalog. Nothing. I went through all her suppliers and found one material I was interested in, but it was sold out and no longer in production. I started to despair. Then Renee suggested that I email exactly what I was trying (and failing) to find to Jonathon Brooks and see if he could custom make material to fit the image in my head. That’s exactly what he did.
Like the Nakaya I had a long wait in front of me. But Renee kept me informed every step of the way. She went above and beyond and at long last, yesterday, a box arrived.
(Click photos to enlarge)
It is everything I imagined and more. The material Jonathon made is absolutely stunning. It has incredible depth and it glows in your hand. Every shift in light catches fire down in the depths of it and there are even little bits of silver around which the firefly stars swirl and flow. I do not understand the chemistry of his work at all, but I do know that he and Renee are master artisan, anyone who can put my nebulous poetic images into physical form deserves that title.
The pen is an eyedropper filler (I believe with a Pelikan nib unit this is the only real option short of a piston) and so it is light as a feather. The long tail balances beautifully. And when uncapped, a fine sterling silver band at the base of the section glitters, a bit of moonlight peaking through the clouds to caress the waves. The pen writes like a dream, which we can thank both Pelikan and Renee for. In fact the nib writes better in Renee’s creation than it did in the M600 Blue Ocean it came out of, it may never go back.
Everything about Renee’s work is quality, the attention to detail impeccable. Not since my Nakaya have I held such a beautiful pen in my hand, or found a pen quite so delightful to set to paper. This, my friends, is a pen who does not write; she sings.
I cannot recommend Renee highly enough. An utter delight to work with, a true artist, I will treasure this pen forever. Now: she needs a name!