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  1. Papier Plume - Calle Real (New Orleans Collection) Papier Plume is a stationary shop in New Orleans, that's best known on this forum for their "New Orleans Inks", that celebrate the rich colours and history of the city. One of their inks in this series is Calle Real, a nice-looking member of the royal blue family. Calle Real is named after the corresponding street in New Orleans. I won't repeat the interesting history behind the name here, but refer instead to the excellent review of Jackokun (highly recommended). Personally I'm not a fan of plain blue inks, but I liked this one. It's a vivid light blue that looks great on the page, and that shows some nice non-obtrusive shading. But the ink also has its shortcomings: a tendency to feather, and drying times that can vary wildly with paper type. The ink itself writes wet and with good lubrication in my Lamy Safari test pens. Quite a contrast with some of the other New Orleans inks. Saturation is excellent, even with EF nibs. The ink itself has a medium colour span. To illustrate this, I did a swab where I really saturated portions of the Tomoe River paper with ink, pooling it on. This beautifully illustrates the dynamics of Calle Real. The range moves from a light to a darker but still vivid blue colour, without too much contrast between both extremes. This results in elegant shading that looks aesthetically very pleasing. The shading didn't show with the finer nibs, but made its appearance starting at F/M and above. On the smudge test - rubbing text with a moist Q-tip cotton swab - the ink behaved quite badly. The inks smudges easily, even after leaving it alone for a while. Water resistance is almost non-existent. The dyes disappear quickly, leaving behind a very light purplish ghost of the text. Reconstructing your writing is possible, but you will have to put some effort into it. Not what I would call an accident-proof ink. The chromatography confirms this: some light-purple dyes remain in place at the bottom part. I've tested the ink on a wide variety of paper - from crappy Moleskine to high-end Tomoe River. On each scrap of paper I show you: An ink swab, made with a cotton Q-tip 1-2-3 pass swab, to show increasing saturation An ink scribble made with a Lamy Safari M-nib fountain pen The name of the paper used, written with a Lamy Safari B-nib A small text sample, written with the M-nib The source of the quote, written with a Parker Sonnet (F-nib) Drying times of the ink on the paper (with the M-nib) Calle Real has a slight tendency to feather, most noticeable on the lesser quality papers in my test set. Not a good choice to use on cheap office copier paper. The ink manages to look equally good on white and more yellow paper. Contrast with the paper is excellent but not overdone: even a page full of text looks pleasing to the eye. Drying times are wildly unpredictable - ranging from 0 to over 30 seconds depending on the paper. Paper with a hard surface results in super-long drying times and I mean this literally... 30 seconds and above. Forget about this ink if you're a lefty. At the end of the review, I also show the back-side of the different paper types, in the same order. Some bleed-through is present on most of the lower-quality papers. You should take care when pairing paper & ink if you want a satisfying result, i.e. avoid low-quality paper, or paper with too hard a surface. Rhodia, Fantasticpaper, Semikolon and Life Noble appeared to work the best. Writing with different nib sizes The picture below shows the effect of nib sizes on the writing. Calle Real manages to look good in all nib sizes from EF up to the 1.9 calligraphy nib. With the very fine nibs shading is quasi absent, but starting at F/M and above the elegant and eye-pleasing shading is very prominently there. I am not really into blues, but I liked the vivid character of this ink that adds character without being too obtrusive and in-your-face. Related inks To compare Calle Real with related inks, I use my nine-grid format with the currently reviewed ink at the center. This format shows the name of related inks, a saturation sample, a 1-2-3 swab and a water resistance test - all in a very compact format. As you can see, Calle Real looks quite good if you compare it to the other inks in the grid. Diamine Royal Blue and Blue Velvet come close, and show some of the same vivid-ness that I like so much in this Papier Plume ink. Inkxperiment – A Saucerful of Science With every review I try to do a single-ink drawing that shows what the ink is capable of in a more artistic setting. This is the most fun part of every ink review, and I quite enjoy brainstorming and then implementing these little pieces. Inspiration for this inkxperiment comes from the Neil deGrasse Tyson book "Welcome to the Universe" that I just finished reading. A humbling book that beautifully illustrates how small we earthlings are relative to the vastness of space and time. And my respect for the scientists that extracted this knowledge from the universe has grown substantially. So this inkxperiment is an ode to science. For this inkxperiment I started with a piece of 12x18cm HP photo paper. I applied some washi tape to divide the paper into regions that I background coloured in a number of different ways, and with different water/ink ratios. I then added some topic-specific details to some of the regions (bookcases, formulas, some mysterious-looking writing). Once dry, I removed the washi-tape to create the white dividers between the regions. The end result is not too bad, and shows what can be obtained with Calle Real as a drawing ink. Conclusion Calle Real from Papier Plume is a vivid light-blue from the Royal Blue family. A great writing ink with beautiful colour and nice shading, but only if you pair it with the correct paper. Make the wrong choice, and you'll have to deal with some feathering and really really long drying times. Make the right choice, and you'll love this ink! Technical test results on Rhodia N° 16 notepad paper, written with Lamy Safari, M-nib Backside of writing samples on different paper types
  2. Not sure how many people live in the New Orleans area or will be in the New Orleans are but Friday November 3rd we're hosting a Fountain Pen Day event, "we" meaning Papier Plume. It will be a get together to meet people, share pens, and we'll also have an ink swap. You can swap bottles if you want but we'll bring some stuff for sample swaps. Speaking of ink we'll be giving away a special ink we're making for the event, it's called Samhain. We'll also have other giveaways as well, so if you can come out we would love to see you. The event will start at 7pm at: Le CitronBar/Bistro 1539 Religious St.New Orleans, Louisiana 70130 Food and drinks will be available for purchase from Le Citron Bar and Bistro. You can sign up through our Facebook, call us, or even reply here if you think you might show up. Last thing. People have asked if we are selling the ink to people that can't show up. The answer is we'll have a limited supply for sale on our website on Friday starting at around Noon CST.
  3. ​Just returned from New Orleans. We stayed in the French Quarter and one of the meccas to visit was Papier Plume. I was not disappointed. A nice airy, spacious and well lit store. The personnel were very accommodating and very helpful. I bought several bottles of their ink and a beautiful glass pen which writes as smooth as any regular fountain I've used. The clerk was very helpful in putting the ink in plastic bags and then in a box. The same was true for the glass pen. The clerk, realizing they would be traveling in a suitcase. Everything arrived home safe and sound. All-in-all a wonderful shopping experience.





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