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New from Laban Pen and available at fountainpenhospital.com! Laban consistently introduces new writing instruments with many different and exciting finishes. An example is The Taroko Collection, and the attached photo is of my "Autumn Red".It's fitted with a Bock steel nib...smooth, excellent writer..and an overall outstanding fountain pen at a desirable price.
delhirox posted a topic in Paper and Pen ParaphernaliaGreetings FPN Members! I am in the market for a leather cover for my Taroko Enigma A5 notebook (148mm x 210mm x 18mm). After reading the various reviews on FPN and NanamiPaper.com, I am eager to invest in a GFeller kip leather cover. Would anyone have experience with / knowledge of the Gfeller Kip Hobonichi Cousin A5 cover (148mm x 210mm x 17mm) fitting the Taroko Enigma notebooks? I have scoured the Internet but have been unable to find conclusive evidence of the same. Any inputs would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance! delhirox
Hi folks, I have just finished my A5 Taroko dot notebook when it hit me...I don't know a lot about the brand or the makers... Quick nosy Google search took me to their Etsy and Facebook page, but that did not satisfy my curiosity. Stationery world is very personal, the notebooks are a hit, so I have reached out to Steven to share something of his background and love of stationery. I hope you will find this interesting...I had a great time chatting and geeking out with him. Enjoy! Interview Tell me a little about your background. What was the impulse to start making your own notebooks? We're a small studio based in Taipei, Taiwan, and our story really started with the purchase of my first fountain pen, a Pilot Kakuno, several years back. With the fountain pen in hand, I was surprised at the difficulty of finding the right paper/notebook products in the market to use the fountain pen with. One thing lead to another (trying lots of different paper+pen combinations) and we've managed to secure three types of fountain pen friendly paper to make products with: Tomoegawa 52 and 68 gms, and our own Taroko Orchid paper at 80gsm. The mission is really to provide more choices to fountain pen users where most paper products cater to the rollerball/gel pen usages. What's the story behind your studio? After my earlier career in tech (product manager for notebooks and mobile phones), I decided to pursuit an industrial design degree. While taking the degree program, classmate at the time is my current studio partner Wenwen Liu. We decided to group up and start the studio a few months before graduation to keep the learning process going, by taking on projects as a team. Our past projects included graphic and floor plan design for photography exhibitions, souvenirs for tourist centers, and product branding and packaging. The creation of notebooks under the Taroko brand gives us the freedom of implementing our ideas (versus having to adhere to client design guidelines), as well as choosing the type of material that goes into our notebooks. How did you come up with the brand name? Taroko is named after Taroko Gorge in my hometown of Hualien. Most people would think of Taiwan as an industrialized island packed with 20 million people, but there are still natural wonders on the eastern portion of the island. We will be incorporating elements from Taroko National Park into our notebooks in the future. Here are some references on Taroko Gorge/National Park: http://www.earthtrekkers.com/taroko-national-park/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taroko_National_Park What would you be making if not notebooks? Leathercrafts. Love the experience of making things by hand that will age well with usage. An important lesson from design school days is to always make things with your hand, draw with pen and pencils, and suppress the urge to jump right into Photoshop or a 3D rendering program. So we are always cutting and binding paper during our prototyping stage. What do you attribute the success and/or demand for stationery today to? The product has to deliver a kind of "experience" to the customer, from the weight of the notebook, suprisingly light to unexpected heft. The touch of the materials used, and the subtle feedback of the nib sliding across the paper. It is a difficult balance to hold between achieving that unique experience and manufacturing constraints in delivering products, but I believe that's what most leading brands are striving to achieve. What’s your favourite item of stationery in your personal collection? It's a little folding hand knife I bought in Nishiki market in Tokyo, and I use it to sharpen pencils with. The knife is handcrafted by a Japanese artisan, and when I use it to sharpen pencils, it serves as a reminder of the trip, as well as liberate the aroma from the pencil wood. And finally - what is your current paper+pen+ink combo? Tomoe River paper 68gsm (of course) with Pilot Justus 95 filled with Sailor Seasons Yama-dori (teal blue). The Pilot Justus 95, with its adjustable nib hardness, is perfect for when I need to write interchangeably between English and Chinese. And the Yama-dori gives a wonderful red sheen on Tomoe River paper. Thanks to Steven for sparing his time to give this great interview. We wish you and Taroko Design best of luck. Mishka (^_~)
migo984 posted a topic in Paper & Pen Paraphernalia Reviews and ArticlesI recently bought a Taroko Enigma A5 journal, featuring 68gsm dot grid Tomoe paper. At the same time I bought a similar journal from Taroko featuring their 80gsm Orchid paper. I thought it would be worth trying it out as it is half the price of their Tomoe version, at US$15 + shipping. Delivery from Taiwan to Australia was under a week. I am vey impressed indeed with the customer service from Steven Chang at Taroko, his comunications, the care with which he packs and ships his products and with quality of the journal. All these factors are excellent. Summary from their web-site. My comments in italics * 400-page of Taroko Orchid Paper (80gsm of fountain pen friendly paper with most nib/ink combinations. Wet nibs, flex nibs, and certain inks will occasionally bleed. Not suitable for watercolor) The paper is great with all the inks I've tried so far. There is minimal show-through, especially when compared to Tomoe 52gsm. There has been no bleed-through or feathering. * Sewn bound journal reinforced with glue at the spine (in essence, like a case bound book without the hard cover), and when opened, will lie completely flat. If you are familiar with Nanami Seven Seas journals, the construction of the Mystique is very similar. I actually think the page alignment and sewing is better than Nanami's, which I've found a little inconsistent. The cover is an attractive dark red, with a textured finish. It is a soft cover, same as Nanami. It does lie almost completely flat with very little central gutter to impede hand position when writing. No pressure is required to make the pages lie flat - they fall into place easily. * Layout in 5mm dot grids I really like the dot grid print. It is a soft grey, not too dark, so doesn't impede writing and could be easily used for sketching. Yet the dots are visible enough to provide a good guide. * Comes with 3 index pages at the beginning.The index is useful. The pages aren't numbered so you'll have to number them yourself to take advantage of this useful addition. There are also Keyword/tag list pages at the back for your use and a 2016 and 2017 calendar. The calendar page also has the top and bottom edges marked with an imperial and metric ruler respectively. * Perfect for bullet journaling. Lots and lots of pages to write with, if you write at length, and feel like you should have all your writings in one place. I don't bullet journal but I think it would be ideal for those who do. There are indeed plenty of pages - 400 in fact. I've put mine in a Mircofibre slip cover from Belle & Sofa, but it could be used without. Being a standard international/ISO A5, covers are very easy to find. It doesn't come with a page marker/ribbon (but my Belle & Sofa cover has one already so that addresses the omission). Shipping from Taroko Shop in Taiwan, to me in Australia, was US $10 - about a third of the shipping charged by Nanami. Overall, I'm delighted with this journal. It's good quality and a fair price. (NB Taroko Design Enigma A5 68gsm Tomoe journal is the same construction, with a dark blue cover, the same dot grid print and other features, but with 420 pages. It costs US$30 + shipping) Finally, here are some photos. Apologies that some are rather blurred, I tried to keep the sizes down. I hope this overview of the Taroko Mystique Journal is helpful. STURDY CARDBOARD WRAPAROUND PROECTION, SHIPPED INSIDE AN OUTER CARDBOARD BOX THE JOURNAL COVER THE INDEX PAGES THE KEYWORD/TAG AND CALENDAR PAGES AT THE BACK LAYFLAT PAGES - THIS IS APPROX THE MIDDLE OF THE 400 PAGES TAKES INKS WELL - NO FEATHERING LITTLE SHOW-THROUGH AND ZERO BLEED-THROUGH MYSTIQUE JOURNAL ON TOP OF NANAMI SEVEN SEAS (TOMOE) WRITERS JOURNAL, TO SHOW COMPARABLE THICKNESS (BOTH INSIDE BELLE & SOFA MICROFIBRE COVERS)