One reason I love living near DC is the surprising abundance of stationery. Not only can I visit great stores like Jenni Bick and Fahrney’s Pens and go to local meetups like the DC Metro Pen Crew, but there are two major pen shows nearby! Those two are the DC Pen Show and the smaller Baltimore Washington Pen Show. I went to BWPS last year and was delighted by the small, cozy atmosphere. This year I went with my parents and college friend Klaudia!
There isn’t the largest selection of inks, pens and notebooks, but it’s much easier to talk to store owners and pen sellers! And that’s why smaller conventions are my favorite. It’s not just about buying every pen in sight, but talking to people from all over the world. The DC Pen Show is great but can be overwhelming. Baltimore doesn’t have the huge crowds and narrow aisles you have to squeeze through.
It’s always amazing talking to my favorite creators, bloggers, sellers and artists! Shout out to Brad Dowdy, who is legit the nicest person ever. His blog, Pen Addict, is the first fountain pen blog I ever read. I also love the Vanness Pens table, Drama Mama Bookshop (the creator, Alisa, is so talented and nice! Check out her laser cut notebooks), Bertram’s Inkwell, DC Metro Pen Crew and the Yafa table. Thank you Niv for being so kind and helping my mom pick out a rollerball pen! 🙂
I didn’t buy a lot this year which was a good thing! The Taccia inks drew my eye so I bought Momo, a beautiful eye-searing pink, and Ugisu, an olive green. I was so tempted to get the Taccia pen show special but decided against it… As for notebooks, I got the Baron Fig dream journal, a Drama Mama laser-cut journal and a Curnow Bookbinding Tomoe River paper notebook. Some other items include the Nock Co. Sinclair Case, Pen Addict Fire on Fire ink (Thank you Brad), Monteverde Coral (Also thank you Niv), Monteverde Rose Noir, J. Herbin Rouge Grenat, J. Herbin Corail des Tropiques, some assorted stickers and a pen and ink samples for my friend I’m trying to convert to fountain pens. 🙂
I had a great time today. The fountain pen community is such an amazing community! I love seeing people of all ages and backgrounds united by their love of pens.
2 thoughts on “Baltimore Pen Show!”
Wonderful report, thank you! I want to go to Baltimore some year. Also, I enthusiastically agree with what you said: I think you are so right that smaller shows are soooo much better if you’re an attendee. That’s a great insider’s tip. The less-insanely-crowded shows still have the big vendors, but it’s so much more relaxed and leisurely for everyone. You have time to peruse, and they have time to chat, and you have time to get to know some really nice vendors — national and local. Plus you have the chance to meet fellow pen fans. Honestly, if DC had been my first pen show, I don’t think I ever would have gone back. 🙂 Instead, luckily it was Chicago, because that’s where I live, and not only did I go back every year, bringing my kids, and gaining familiarity, and confidence and experience, but now I help run it, and I have made so many friends in pens, and learned so much, because of it.
You know what it’s kind of like? It’s like when you travel — if you don’t know much, maybe you go on the tours, with big groups, and you’ll see all the big sights that everyone tells you you can’t miss, but that’s all you’ll see. Instead you can take the Rick Steves approach and travel a little off the beaten path, and then you’ll get to know people and the areas a lot better, and still get to see the Eiffel Tower. : )
You are, as you say, really lucky you have both and can go to both. I’m thinking more of the people who travel to shows, and always seem to think they “have t” or “should” go to DC or LA, because “everyone” does. In a way, everyone going makes those shows worse for the attendees. 🙂 Pick Baltimore, Chicago, Ohio, Philly, etc instead. 🙂 JMHO. 🙂
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thank you so much for your great comment! I totally agree with you. The smaller shows are my favorites. Baltimore is a nice change of pace compared to DC. Chicago sounds like a lot of fun! Obviously I don’t live anywhere near there but family does. Maybe one day I’ll go. 🙂 It’s great that you’re involved in running the show! I’d like to help at shows when I’m older.
DC is still awesome for the pure quantity of inks and pens there but it’s not the only con. Kind of like ComicCon, you could go to this massive event but there’s hundreds that are fun and less crowded. There are so many shows now!
I went to DC first and it was fun but I needed time to sit down and rest. It probably helps that I’ve gone to large comic and anime conventions so I’m used to crowds. LA and DC need to be run better from what I heard.
I’m glad one of my hobbies happens to have a big community here. I’m very happy with what’s around me. 🙂