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Papier Plume - Iron Lace (New Orleans Collection)


namrehsnoom
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Papier Plume – Iron Lace (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 Iron Lace,  a black ink with a strong green undertone.

 

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This ink from the New Orleans Collection is inspired by the iron lace galleries and balconies in the French Quarter. These intricate designs from wrought or cast iron can shift from black to green depending on the oxidation level of the iron.

 

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The Iron Lace ink captures this aspect just right: it’s a black ink at heart, but with a strong green component, that surfaces mostly in swatches. On the bottle it says “A Not-So Basic Black”, and they are totally right. This is not a dull and boring black, but one with layers of complexity that makes it a very interesting ink to write & draw with.

 

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The ink itself writes fairly wet 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 has a small dynamic range, without much contrast between light and dark areas. To illustrate this, I did a swab where I really saturated portions of the Tomoe River paper with ink, pooling it on. The limited contrast range translates to soft & elegant shading that looks aesthetically pleasing. Shading is just visible with the EF nib, and becomes more prominent with M-nibs and above. But it’s always subdued, giving just that extra touch of elegance to your writing.

 

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On the smudge test – rubbing text with a moist Q-tip cotton swab – there is quite some smearing, but the text itself remains crisp and clear. Water resistance is surprisingly good, both with my still water test (letting drops of water sit on the page for 15 minutes) and with a running water test. The ink easily survives watery accidents, making it an excellent ink for use at the office. The chromatography confirms this: the dyes remain firmly attached to the paper in the bottom part.

 

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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 Pelikan M101N with M-nib
  • Drying times of the ink on the paper (with the M-nib)

 

Iron Lace has a slight tendency to feather on the lower quality papers in my test set, most obvious when using a wet pen (see e.g. the source of the quote on the HP and Optiimage printing paper). I noticed no issues with better quality paper or when using finer nibs (M-nib or below) on paper of lesser quality. The ink writes smoothly with good lubrication, and provides excellent contrast with the page. Writing looks good on both white and more yellow paper. Drying times are fairly low – in the 5 second range with my Lamy Safari M-nib. All in all a fine ink for use in an EDC pen.

 

At the end of the review, I also show the back-side of the different paper types, in the same order. A small amount of bleed-through is present on some of the lower-quality papers (Moleskine, generic notepad paper), but nothing too bad.

 

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Since scans alone are not always enough to give you a complete picture of the ink, I also provide you with a few photos for an alternative look at Iron Lace.

 

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Writing with different nib sizes
The picture below shows the effect of nib sizes on the writing. Papier Plume Iron Lace manages to look good in all nib sizes from EF up to the 1.9mm calligraphy nib. With the very fine nibs shading is just visible, but starting at F/M and above the soft and eye-pleasing shading adds extra character to your writing without being overdone. I personally prefer Iron Lace in drier pens, where it writes a bit less saturated, and where the ink’s subdued shading is much more prominently visible. With wet pens, the more heavy saturation tends to overwhelm the ink’s shading, making your writing look more flat (my opinion).

 

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Related inks
To compare Iron Lace 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. I added Pelikan Onyx – which is a pure black – as a reference point. This clearly shows the green undertones that are present in Iron Lace. Diamine Graphite comes close in colour, but is lighter in nature (dark grey instead of black).

 

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Inkxperiment – Eye in the Sky
With every review I try to do a single-ink drawing that shows what the ink is capable of in a more artistic setting. The most fun part of the ink review, and I quite enjoy brainstorming and then implementing these little pieces. Inspiration comes from the Alan Parsons song “Eye in the Sky”, with the lyrics: “I am the eye in the sky … Looking at you … I can read your mind”. I used these elements as the theme for the drawing.

 

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For this inkxperiment I used a piece of 300 gsm rough watercolour paper. I started by drawing in the outer eye surrounded by a geometric pattern. I then added the inner eye looking over the cityscape. Everything was drawn with Q-tips using different water/ink ratios. I finally added the details to the eye and the houses using a Lamy Safari pen filled with Iron Lace. In this more artistic setting, Iron Lace beautifully shows its green undertones.

 

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Conclusion
Iron Lace from Papier Plume is a very well executed addition to their New Orleans line. A beautifully complex black with green undertones, that deviates enough from true black to make the ink quite interesting. Technically the ink is near perfect: good flow, well saturated, subtle shading, looks good in all nib sizes and on all paper types. I personally prefer the ink in drier pens, where the shading is more present. If you like off-black inks, this one is definitely worth your attention.

 

Technical test results on Rhodia N° 16 notepad paper, written with Lamy Safari, M-nib

 

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Backside of writing samples on different paper types
 

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Thanks for the thorough review and the drawing - I especially appreciate you telling us how you accomplish the drawing - it's like a mini art class! :)

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Excellent job!

Thank you for your time, knowledge and dedication to present us this review.

Regards.

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Thanks for such a thorough review and lovely ink drawing... This reminds of series of green blacks done by Noodler's...

if you haven't tried it, I'm sure you love Zhivago for your ink drawing... ;)

 

 

 

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Fabulous!

I love this ink. Along with pretty much all of the New Orleans collection - one of these days I will have a full set, but it's hard work getting them at the moment.

 

Thank you for a fab review :)

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This one works for me and has now added itself to the ongoing "must have" list.  Reminds me of some of the murky greens from KWZ and Noodler's, maybe a bit greyer than Sequoia.

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Another stellar review! Before I got down to the grid I thought it similar to KWZ Green Gold, only to find it markedly different. One for the Murky Gang.

"Simplicate and add Lightness."

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Great comparison collection > great review > great ink

Life is too short to drink bad wine (Goethe)

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Nice ink and great review - thanks!

I haven't used Papier Plume inks yet but, by the looks of the New Orleans collection inks, I have a sneaking suspicion they are made by L'Artisan Pastellier. I think I remember reading somewhere that they are 'French inks' (but the mind is a terrible thing ...). Can anyone confirm?

"Most people enjoy the sight of their own handwriting as they enjoy the smell of their own farts." - W. H. Auden

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First impressions matter is best shown in this review, the flower had me in an instant, always love such detailed reviews, thanks for them.

 

I like the colour a lot, in fact would get one and know the perfect pen for this occasion, kinda feel that it would make a strangely nice companion to a brushed black hooded pen......I wonder why....it had me thinking this.

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Not a color for me, but thanks as usual for the comprehensive review and the great artwork.

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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Thanks for the review!

 

But for us EU dwellers, where can we get our grubby hands on Papier Plume stuff?

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34 minutes ago, Eclipse157 said:

Thanks for the review!

 

But for us EU dwellers, where can we get our grubby hands on Papier Plume stuff?

Sadly, with great difficulty - the only way is to import as far as I can work out. Which is a shame as I'd love some more of these. 

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1 minute ago, mizgeorge said:

Sadly, with great difficulty - the only way is to import as far as I can work out. Which is a shame as I'd love some more of these. 

No European distributor that I am aware of. I ordered my bottle directly from Papier Plume (together with some stationary stuff to justify to myself the import/shipping cost)

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On 1/16/2021 at 10:22 PM, yazeh said:

Thanks for such a thorough review and lovely ink drawing... This reminds of series of green blacks done by Noodler's...

if you haven't tried it, I'm sure you love Zhivago for your ink drawing... ;)

Thank you for this suggestion. I searched my stack of samples, and lo-and-behold, there’s a Zhivago sample among them. I’m most certainly going to try it out soon.

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Beautiful ink!
Compares well with "J.herbin - Vert Atlantide"...

 

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17 minutes ago, namrehsnoom said:

Thank you for this suggestion. I searched my stack of samples, and lo-and-behold, there’s a Zhivago sample among them. I’m most certainly going to try it out soon.

Most welcome. It writes black but it's when you do the wash that the magic happens. But you're a pro, so you'll probably due such a review that, I'd be tempted to buy a bottle :)

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