Saturday, August 22nd, 2015

Guest Blogger: Thierry de Nardin


(L) Writing on a Rhodia pad (R) Writing on a generic notebook
(L) Writing on a Rhodia pad (R) Writing on a generic notebook

Thierry is primary a Quality Assurance Consultant, having to deal with and track deadlines, documentation architecture, documents revisions and approval, audits, meetings, for different customers.

He is also Graphic Designer, and recently starting a line of craft wood / leather jewelry.

He is using Clairefontaine paper, and especially dotPads for all its projects.

Disclaimer: this article, stating that the author is better at what he does using Rhodia pad paper is completely biased but could – I hope and suspect – gather in a same thought some of you.
I have to face it: If I using Clairefontaine paper, it is because I enjoy writing with a FP. Since I got my first one, when I was ten. Soon, I’ve noticed that Clairefontaine paper (borrowed to fellows) was smoother, thicker and whiter than the others. More expensive, too, when I could write on some, at school, it was a special experience, and I was putting extra care at how I was writing.
Years after… still at school, studying machinery, I needed a pad for speed calculations, tolerances, and so on. I have to admit that I was not so good with calculations. I was very nervous, always forgetting the right formulas to set the correct speed, and always messing with upper tolerance and lower tolerance. My pad was all teared down, dirty, poor paper quality. Then one day, I got an orange Rhodia pad. Can’t remember if I had the #10, 11 or 12, but it was fitting perfectly in my chest pocket, the squares were very helpful for tech drawings, the paper was tough enough to take some oil and still be usable, the (not too) rigid back was perfect to take notes and the orange color was helpful in that blue/grey environment. Believe it or not… I became better in my calculations. I was not ashamed anymore of my pad, I’ve glued some key formulas on the back on the pad, and… voila. I was on track, and the teacher even congratulates me. When I said my pad was helpful, he looked at me a little bit surprised but said “A good worker uses good tools.”.
Years after… after I bought a new FP, I got an agenda. The reason behind was that I needed to be more organized generally speaking: do a better follow-up on projects or quality corrective/preventive actions, and basically organize my life (appointments, calls, how my cash was spent etc.) and my work.
And I knew that if I was to use that agenda, it had to be a “special object”. Something I could be proud of, able to be carried out in a production factory and to meetings with style. I chose a QV because of the paper. I became to be known as “The agenda”. Co-workers knew that if something was written in my agenda… I will always be there to remind them to close the written issue. I was getting better at what I was doing, more involved and focused.


If you are using a FP, you know these tools require a quality paper – even if we test our FP on “cheap” paper, as copy machine paper (you know, the recycle one, the scratchy one, supposed to be white but looking yellow/greyish…), cheap notebook generously given to employees, etc.
Quality paper allows the nib to run smoothly, reduces the “scratchy sound”, and allows some speed during the writing… Quality paper is a pleasure to use because of the silence, and feeling my hand on the paper, smooth as silk, is almost sensual.
I’ve realized the act of writing is sensual. And Clairefontaine paper, as used in Rhodia pads, offers me the pleasure of writing, the pleasure of taking MY time to do things right. Write carefully. Not wasting paper as I could do with cheap paper (even if I write on both sides whatever the paper is).
This said, when I’m doodling, the paper doesn’t slow the pencil, so I’m feeling pretty insecure to use that paper for drawing. But for technical drawings it is perfect, because it can take some abuse. Technical people and engineers can sometimes be “passionate” about an idea, and this can be reflected on the force applied to the pen… ;)


Back to the question.
Using the cheap notebook provided by a company doesn’t help me to be at my best. I take notes quickly, and almost forget about them as soon as I wrote them. When I have to read them again, I have to decipher my writing, and I often key parts are missing. And it takes me some time to remember all the details.

Above: Notes on my regular cheap notepad. Who said cryptic?
Above: Notes on my regular cheap notepad. Who said cryptic?

Using my own Rhodia pad, notebook, or agenda, kind of slow down my mind, my thoughts. It forces me to organize my thoughts before writing. Being organized, I don’t forget them as easily. And I have a real pleasure using my tools. You know, like working in a good environment, with fresh air, a window, and a nice color on the walls.
Is it subjective? I admit a 20% could be , but for the remaining 80%, I just remember my teacher saying “Good workers have good tools”. Whatever you’re into: gardening, painting, carpentry, hiking, photo, etc. you know that the right equipment puts a smile on your face because everything seems easier, goes faster, looks better, etc. Sure your own talent is there, but your talent (or experience) with the right tool… Wow man! We’re flying!
Do you agree?

Above: Draft of this article on my Dotpad Rhodia, #19.
Above: Draft of this article on my Dotpad Rhodia, #19.

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