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Jules, The "squid Pen"

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Dan Carmell

It is not my usual practice to cross-post reviews between FPN and Pentrace, so I hope I can be excused this instance, as I am in love with this pen and proud of my review of Jules. By posting it here, I can preserve it here long after it disappears from other forums.



I was happy to take delivery of a long-awaited and desired pen at the LA pen show: Jules, or as its fond admirers and owners call him "the squid pen." I will confess immediately to be a friend to Dragon Studio's principals, Joyce Tang and Jeff Boschert. And I have been lucky enough to have have had peeks into the design and handcrafting of this pen over time, so I know how Jeff and Joyce thought and obsessed and worked and worked and worked at this pen. The result is an amazing piece of art, a sculptural work that is also a great writer, as you will see.



Jules, takes its name from Jules Verne, the early writer of wildly speculative fiction, and plays on the themes from his great novel "Twenty Thousand Leagues Beneath the Sea." A giant squid makes a dramatic appearance in the novel, and Jules the pen is equally dramatic. With a hand-crafted overlay of sterling silver with a barrel and section of dark blue marbled acrylic, the great squid and the ocean come together. Like the farthest depths the giant squid lives in, the acrylic is deep, dark blue, but with luminous areas of marbling, like light seen through deep waters.



The sterling overlay is hand cast using the lost wax method, then hand finished, with Jeff and Joyce working under high magnification. The great eyes of the squid are set with 1.5 karats of natural ruby. Sapphire is an option, but Jeff explained to me the red eyes were meant to reflect the squid's anger at being disturbed in its watery depths, so I honored the artist's intent and went with ruby. I also like that this introduces another color element into this pen. These are large sized rubies for being unfaceted and many had to be rejected because they didn't have the depth and color Jules required. The silver, by the way, is made with a special process that is tarnish-resistant.



What finally convinced me that I had to own Jules was the nib. Based on the large Bock 18K nib, Dragon customized it with their studio name and the pen name, then carefully decorated it with the theme of a Nautilus shell--which was the name of the vessel in Vernes' novel. Joyce makes that wonderful shell motif by hand, in a pain-staking process that incorporates the nib slit into the very design.



Something Joyce excels at is tweaking nibs. She has a very high standard of smoothness and ink flow and never rests until she gets it just so. So how does it write? Like a dream! Perfectly smooth, lovely ink flow and a perfect line. The overlay on the body makes for a great grip, either high or low, providing texture and bulk.


This pen does not post and unposted, the balance is excellent. Jeff and Joyce are so picky about balance! When we compare pens, they are constantly noting variations of balance that are much too subtle for me, but the result is a pen for which the design has not compromised the balance for writing. This is a pen you can write with--with which you must write. And here's another asset in their design: Jules is a cartridge converter pen, but designed to be used as an eyedropper as well, so the barrel threads were carefully cut with that in mind. A clever tin of silicon grease arrives with Jules, just to drive the point home!



I haven't yet started researching squids, but Wikipedia, here I come! I should mention that Jeff is deep into exotic fish and I don't mean just the type that arrives on your plate with a garnish of fennel! So they worked hard to represent the squid properly, seeking to get the proportions right, the tentacles just so, and the fluke on the bell (what we'd call the cap) just right. Joyce tells me that the hard structure inside the squid is called a squid "pen." Joyce and Jeff must have known they were on the right track when they learned that!


This is a luxury pen, even in its "humble" sterling silver mode (the solid gold pen is staggering and I can't even imagine the platinum Jules!), but it is also a writer's pen. And that's most appropriate, coming from two people who value the writing experience so much. I love my Jules and I am so proud to own him--he is an instant and eternal heirloom!


Dan Carmell


Several folks have asked how to contact Joyce and Jeff, so here is their contact information with a postscript direct from Joyce:


I hope that anyone who would like to give us positive or negative input on Jules, receive more information, or place an order will email me at dragonpens@gmail.com or joycetangmd@gmail.com


Jeff and I are honored that people are using and enjoying their Dragon pens. As artists that is the best we can hope for. We plan to post more information about Jules as soon as we have photos from Bill Riepl in a few weeks.

Edited by Dan Carmell
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I remember the movie made out of the book with James Mason as Captain Nemo and the moment of high art when he played Bach on the organ inside the submarine. I see spots of blue ink on the nib. Would not Sepia be more in keeping with the motif?

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That's so cool! Are these for sale at all, or will they be?

"Inside his cardboard box, Greg heated a dented can of Spaghetti-O's over a small fire made from discarded newspapers, then cracked open his last can of shoplifted generic beer to celebrate the 10th anniversary of his embarkation on a career as a freelance writer." --Lawrence Person

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Wow, that is really neat! I must admit that I have a fondness of things with a squid motif, and I agree with trencherman that you need to be using a sepia ink! The nib's detail is indeed gorgeous... Do the squid's tentacles in any way make the pen hard/uncomfortable to hold?

http://img261.imageshack.us/img261/4619/inkxchangemm0.png Currently out of vials.my ink list


Ink of the moment: mix of Noodler's Lermontov, Britannia's Blue Waves, and Whiteness of the Whale

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QUOTE (Tytyvyllus @ Mar 4 2007, 08:27 PM)
QUOTE (Leigh R @ Mar 4 2007, 08:06 PM)
Oooooooooooooo I want.

Fabulous review and pictures, Dan. biggrin.gif

Pen, baby college fund, pen, baby college fund, pen...


Nice self portrait as well laugh.gif

You mean I wouldn't get those images on my pen if I bought one? Oh well, never mind then lticaptd.gif

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Dan Carmell

To answer a couple of questions--


I was dressed, I swear it! I looked again and all I can see are my fingers and the camera lens, so I think you folks are joshing me!


Since it's a c/c pen, Jeff and Joyce provided me with a Waterman Florida Blue cart. When that gives out, I'll flush it and fill the pen as an eyedropper with light brown or sepia ink, per popular demand.


About grasping the pen, I don't find that the overlay gets in the way at all. But much like with the Namiki/Pilot VP and some other pens, your own style of holding a pen might make your experience different.


Yes, Jules is now available. Joyce and Jeff made some sales in LA, some were already sold, but more are available. Their contact information is at the bottom of my review.



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had chance to play with it at LA. Sorry i didn't have my camera lab with me. This one is something. Of course it costs about half the value of my whole vintage pen collection. But, one can admire...




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QUOTE (trencherman @ Mar 4 2007, 06:21 PM)
I remember the movie made out of the book with James Mason as Captain Nemo and the moment of high art when he played Bach on the organ inside the submarine.  I see spots of blue ink on the nib.  Would not Sepia be more in keeping with the motif?

Well, how about the real sepia ink?



Dan, congratulations on your most unusual and beautiful new pen!!!

Edited by Taki
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Very cool, thank you for letting us have a look at it!

Isn't sanity really a one-trick pony, anyway? I mean, all you get is one trick, rational thinking! But when you're good and crazy . . . ooh hoo hoo hoo! . . . the sky's the limit!

--The Tick

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(In best Shatnerspeak): Must...have...pen! Life...so...insignificant...without it!

Edited by D.R.Mabuse

Freelance Word Pusher, Societal Leech and Genial Bon Vivant

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QUOTE (david i @ Mar 5 2007, 12:32 AM)
Of course it costs about half the value of my whole vintage pen collection. But, one can admire...


]So the thing costs as much as 4 or 5 of the aztecs you posted ! rolleyes.gif rolleyes.gif animal26.gif animal26.gif animal26.gif animal26.gif

Edited by framebaer

Sensitive Pen Restoration doesn't cost extra.


Find me on Facebook at MONOMOY VINTAGE PEN

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A beautiful pen that's just as much art as it is writing instruments. Congratulations on a memorable new pen.

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I REALLY like that pen, it is unique and very smooth looks.

Enjoy!!! wink.gif

sonia alvarez




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Noce pen. Isn't there a Captain Nemo on this forum? He should have one of those.

"Auld Nature swears, the lovely dears

Her noblest work she classes, O,

Her prentice han' she tried on man,

An' then she made the lasses, O."

- Robert Burns







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Just so you know. I am their authorized dealer cool.gif


Mighty cool looking pen, yet well balanced. The one you see here is the sterling silver version, and there is also 18kt version, platinum plated and platinum.



To Cross The Rubicon


Internet Pens

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QUOTE (winedoc @ Mar 6 2007, 12:58 AM)
Just so you know. I am their authorized dealer cool.gif

Of course you are! dry.gif You are the dealer for all my "if I had lots of money" pens

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