RD Please tell us a little about yourself.
Ana: For the last five years, I’ve been running the pen-and-paper blog, The Well-Appointed Desk. Unfortunately, the blog isn’t my full-time job. I also work for the world’s largest greeting card company designing greeting cards. I live in the middle of the US with three cats and one very patient husband.
RD: Why The Well-Appointed Desk?
Ana: I started The Well-Appointed Desk after hearing a lecture by Erin Olson Moser about how she started her blog House of Turquoise. She was out of work and wanting to furnish her new apartment. She loved turquoise and just started posting all sorts of turquoise-centric home decor. Then it snowballed into a whole enterprise.
Erin talked about finding a niche theme for a blog, something you might be passionate about, and running with it. She felt confident that if you stay true to your vision, readers will find you. So I went back to my desk directly after the presentation and created Well-Appointed Desk on Tumblr. I believed at the time that there were not many people talking about good quality writing tools and related items. At the time, there was really only The Pen Addict and Pencil Revolution so I thought there was a niche for a female perspective and a more all-encompassing place to talk about how to make the place where you work — be it desk, coffee shop or the front seat of your car — a beautiful place to work.
After a couple years, I realized I needed more control of the layout and content on the site, so I moved the blog to a WordPress site but I still keep the content on Tumblr for the folks who started reading the blog there. And of course as social media has grown, I’ve added Pinterest boards, an Instagram account and a Facebook page. I want people to be able to enjoy the site wherever is most convenient to them.
RD: If you have any favorite Rhodia products, we’d love to hear about them. Also about your favorite pens, pencils, inks – vintage products…
Ana: I test every single pen, pencil and ink that I acquire on a Rhodia Uni Blank No. 18 pad. It is my gold standard. I prefer the bright white paper to get a true idea of ink colors for sampling and the paper is the best paper I’ve found for fountain pens. For notes and journaling I do like the warm ivory color too. And the Rhodia ICE pads have become a favorite for jotting notes and to-do’s at work.
I love the little mini bottles of J. Herbin inks. Its a great way to try new colors and I like to give them as gifts to new fountain pen users.
I have come to love the J. Herbin rollerball pen even though, in general, I have difficulties with rollerballs as an awkward left-handed writer. It’s just so great to fill with lots of wonderful colors. I even like transitioning one ink cartridge for another and having a page or two of blended color.
I actually got into fountain pens because I was learning calligraphy at work and a friend recommended that I try to find a vintage Esterbrook fountain pen with a 9128 flexible nib. I found a pen body and then he gave me a 9128 nib from his stash of New Old Stock (NOS). After that, I was hooked on fountain pens and started trying modern brands as well as continuing to find vintage ones. My goal is to one day own a full spectrum of Esterbrooks.
If I go by number of pens owned, my favorite modern pen brand must be Kaweco. I love the little portable Sport and Skyline models. And I have a Dia II that I absolutely love.
I love trying all sorts of inks and tend to get on a color kick and try the color from every ink brand I can find. My latest kick was deep purples.
I also love art supplies and have fallen madly in love with colored pencils of all makes and materials. My most recent discovery is the multi-colored “magic” colored pencils that have several lead colored blended into one core so you can write or draw in a rainbow of colors. I hope to write some reviews of art supplies and drawing tools in the coming months.
Exaclair reviews on The Well-Appointed Desk: