something beautiful : : encre 1670 by J.Herbin, France

Depuis 1670...

I love dip-pens, and I am mad about subtly-colored inks in lovely bottles. In fact, I love the writing produced by very fine steel calligraphic nibs so much that I wrote my class lecture notes at university using a dip pen…cradling a little bottle of  sepia ink in my left hand and covertly dipping into it as I scribbled. I was a bookbinder, too, and so my notebooks were handcrafted, hardbound, and covered in real marbled paper. Oh, it was hoity-toity, la-di-da, and affected TO BE SURE! But—just so you know—my notes, covered in very fine, dense, coffee-colored calligraphy, looked AMAZING. It was totally worth the hassle!

I don’t collect pens and inks so that I can keep them in a drawer and once in a while do some fancy party-trick calligraphy, either: I use my steel nib dip-pen in a wooden handle, and my rainbow of bottled inks, every day. I once, stupidly, filled out a job application for housekeeper at a hotel this way. Needless to say, I didn’t get the job…shit, would you hire someone to make up dirty beds and scrub toilets if she crossed her t’s with looping flourishes? *laugh* I should have used a blue biro, made my letters a centimeter tall and dotted my i’s with little hearts, instead!

I write my journal entries, notes in my daily planner, my to do lists, my pipe dreams, sometimes even my Post-it notes, in a small, italic hand with flourishes and decorative swirls. Because it’s times like these—all the mundane, everyday moments that actually make up a life—when standards in taste and quality should apply. Show-off moments, when you are surrounded by an audience, don’t count: the true quality of your life is determined by the way you spend your time at home, alone or with your family, on the ordinary days.

Encre “1670“, also known as “l’Encre des Vaisseaux” (The Ink of Ships) is a special Anniversary Edition of the blood red ink (Rouge Hematite) that French ink- and sealing-wax-maker, J. Herbin, originally made some 340 years ago for the French…er…people? 😉 I was tempted to say ‘courtiers’, but that’s just fanciful and romantic. Hah. Probably, he made the ink for clerks and lawyers. But hey, don’t f**k with my fantasy! Being in Australia, I buy my J.Herbin inks from the New Zealand pen and writing supplies shop, Zany…they are friendly, fast, efficient, and there is a warm human touch to dealing with them that many of the larger companies online simply can’t provide.

A beautiful blood red ink that is somehow also deeply orange, and yet also a deep rose colour. Clean hues, with no hint of brown at all, and also much more strongly pigmented than the company’s regular fountain pen inks (The Jewel of Inks, or “La Perle des Encres”.) The variegated shades that emerge as the ink pools and dries make for rich, subtle, beautiful (not at all like the uniformly bright red ink used by zealous professors to correct examination papers!) lines. This is an ink to write a passionate love letter or cast a spell with, or pen some swoon-worthy poetry in. What are you waiting for? Go on, then.

Do something beautiful with your life; it is later than you think.

1670 by J. Herbin

Depuis 1670...


2 thoughts on “something beautiful : : encre 1670 by J.Herbin, France

  1. That ink looks lovely, Nat! I can imagine you illuminating manuscripts with it. 🙂 Hope you’ll post some of the stuff you’ve made with it here on the blog.


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