This weekend is the upcoming Scriptus Toronto Pen Show, and if you’re planning on going, I’m sure you’re almost as excited as I am! Almost, but not quite, right??
Some of you may be on the verge of cracking open that piggy bank, but lucky for me, I have the deep pockets of a handsome man to reach into… and by deep, I mean, Jon has set a budget for me based on how much I’m willing to cut out of my washi tape budget. (That’s a joke, because “obviously” I don’t have a washi tape budget. That would be ridiculous. I just spend whatever I want willy-nilly.)
Here are a few photos from last year’s pen show, without too much advice, mainly because I was a bit wide-eyed and dazed by it all – not so much deer in headlights as zombie in headlights. I do remember, though, diving in head first and not really knowing what to expect from a pen show. Having taken the year to recover, I figured I might share some advice on what to expect from the pen show, and a few tips on how to get through it all, especially if this is your first pen show.
Before you get too worried that it’s the blind leading the blind you’ll be pleased to know that the fountain pen community is full of wisdom and wisecrackers, and I’ve take the liberty of e-mailing/cajoling/harassing some of the wisest pen experts out there to get some of the best tips on how to truly enjoy a pen show. There are lots of blog posts out there with tips on what to do, but I think at the end of the day, you should be enjoying yourself.
And, it’s also no surprise that these folks took time out of their busy day to answer questions from someone like me, because the pen community is truly full of some of the nicest people out there.
This is what they had to say:
There are no dumb questions, everyone wants to talk about pens (and inks and paper and everything else).
-Ana Reinert, The Well Appointed Desk
Wear comfortable shoes. I’d say thats number one.
-Philip Wang, TWSBI
Have a look around the blogs to see other people’s experiences – a lot of those guys posted reflections with their experiences/advice.
-Jonathon Deans, Pen Economics
You don’t need a fishing vest – It’s hard to say why they’re so popular…
-Ed Jelley, edjelley.com
Pay a compliment to anyone you see wearing a fishing vest.
-Brad Dowdy, penaddict.com
Always remember that some pens will get away and some will go home with you.
-Philip Akin, Scriptus Toronto Pen Show Organizer
-Paul Joynes, gorgeous.ink
If you’re going with someone who has limited self-control, make sure you’re holding the cash.
-Jon Chan, married to Liz
It is not appropriate to lick a pen before you buy it and even then… I don’t care how much it looks like candy.
-Gerald Taylor, mycoffeepot.org
(After the show) Ginger (695 Yonge Street), great pho and sums.
-Michelle Leung, Scriptus Toronto Pen Show Organizer
Have a great day!
-Brian Gray, Edison Pens
For Brian Gray, I wasn’t sure he if was saying to “have a great day” as an end to his email to me, or as a piece of advice for pen-show-goers, but I’m thinking it might be one of those works-either-way things 🙂
Really, near and far, almost everyone ended with saying to just have fun. Actually, almost everyone wrote these really beautiful and detailed e-mails with tips and encouragement and shared excitement that we had a pen show coming up here in Toronto. I feel a bit guilty about my “condensing” of all their wonderful advice, even though there were some duplicate tips about bringing cash, or preparing yourself for possible over-stimulation. I think, though, everyone was sharing so many great tips because they want me and you all to have fun.
And I think that’s the most important part. It can be busy and bustling and I know last year’s show felt a bit squashed in, but I hope at the end of the day, whether you walk out with a bottle of ink or a pen or nothing at all, you enjoy yourself. Plus, I think there’s more space this year…
If you see us, please say hello! We’re bringing the baby, but not the dog. I would love to see what pens or anything else you managed to snag. If you’re nervous about finding a pen, come walk around with us! Jon’s really good at elbowing people out of the way. Then again, you may want to walk just ahead of us, so I don’t buy up all the pens before you get there.
*In case this blog post is not as helpful as you envisioned, here are a few great links to check out as you prepare for the big day:
Richard Binder’s article Pen Shows: Why Bother?
Richard Binder’s article Your First Pen Show
SBRE Brown’s video Pen Shows: What to do, what to expect
Tips from FPN
Ed Jelley’s Recap of the Long Island Pen Show 2015
Our shop is also going to be open from 1-5, if you want to stop by! Coffee and egg tarts 🙂