Archive for Guest Bloggers
Today’s Noteworthy artist is Angie Snyder Lande who will be offering a review on samples of PASTELMAT provided by Armadillo Art. PASTELMAT is a premium acid-free and lightfast card surface (360gsm / 170lb) specially developed by Clairefontaine for pastelists. Its unique velvety surface, made from a fine coating of cellulose fibers, has the ability to grab and hold multiple layers of even the softest pastels. PASTELMAT is ideal for use with all dry media, and is also water resistant for use with washes and mixed media techniques.
The inspiration for this painting is a sunset from Siesta Key, Florida. I am always photographing skies. They are a painter’s dream with their ever-changing colors and forms. I am intrigued with light, how it glows and falls on forms. This glow I try to achieve, gives a feeling of warmth throughout my work that is peaceful and inviting.
I really enjoy working with this paper. I usually work on tinted paper for most of my pastel and charcoal drawings because it acts as an underpainting or *imprimatura.
I am always looking for a great surface that will hold up to many layers of color. PASTELMAT was soft like velvet yet durable. It handled well with soft pastel sticks as well as pastel pencil. I even worked with blending sticks, which can sometimes rough up the paper. I chose the black paper to bring contrast to the bold, warm sunset colors.
I appreciate the versatility between achieving soft blended areas of color as well as bold accents. I plan to experiment with wet media on the PASTELMAT as well.
Angie is inspired by the beauty around her. Forms, lines, textures, tones and colors transform into works of art. The forms become illuminated and sometimes figurative. The tactile experience from the creative process influences the emotion revealed from the finished work. Her drawings and paintings reflect her thoughts, her feelings, her life. Visit Angie Snyder Lande’s Art Page on Facebook
Angie Snyder Lande received her BFA from Kutztown University and has maintained her studio at the Banana Factory for over 10 years. During this time, her work has been on display throughout the region in galleries, juried shows, and invitational exhibitions. Angie has also supervised numerous mural projects throughout the community, and continues to teach drawing and painting to all age levels.
*Imprimatura is a term used in painting, meaning an initial stain of color painted on a ground. It provides a painter with a transparent, toned ground, which will allow light falling onto the painting to reflect through the paint layers. The term itself stems from the Italian and literally means “first paint layer”. The imprimatura provides not only an overall tonal optical unity in a painting but is also useful in the initial stages of the work, since it helps the painter establish value relations from dark to light.
The subject of today’s Talk Back post is: Who are you, and what do you do?
I am Stephanie Smith, and I am your Rhodia Driver. When people ask what I do, I often struggle to put it into a single word or phrase. The simplest answer would be, “I’m creative.” But that tends to not make sense to a lot of people. A slightly longer answer would be something along the lines of, “I’m a writer. I’m also an artist, and I develop and offer creativity workshops designed to inspire, empower, and support people along their path.” Rhodia Drive and I found each other because of my intense love for tools that feed my creativity.
I believe creativity flows easier when working with tools you love.
I’ve been using Rhodia 8+ years and one of my current favorite products is the No. 16 top stapled pad in blank or dot. Cover color doesn’t matter. How do I use these? Typically to scrawl ideas for new projects and I’ve gone through a ton.
I also use the No. 18 (blank) the Classic Meeting Books, R pads… As long as it’s blank or dot, it’s high on my list. I am patiently waiting for spiral bound dot pads….
Now that I’ve had a moment to share, will you tell us a bit about yourself? Who are you, what do you do, and which is your favorite Rhodia product?
How to Build a Time Machine
I’m a director. At miano.tv we are visual storytellers creating corporate videos, customer testimonials, television commercials, historical documentaries and more. I’ve been fortunate enough to do what I love – directing – for my entire professional career. My work has been seen across the United States and around the world.
Preserving history through documentaries is perhaps what brings me the most joy as a director. Frankly, I was never really into history. “History” was a class in school where you had to read a “history book” and then you were quizzed on what you learned. It wasn’t until I directed my first documentary that I realized how fascinating and outright fun history can be! History is not simply what some scholar writes in a book or an agreed upon account of the past – to be memorized, quizzed on and forgotten. History is our story and it is as fascinating and diverse as each of us.
By now you are asking: “What does any of this have to do with Rhodia paper?” Well, nothing… And everything.
Early on in the process of researching our documentary The Worlds Greatest Fair – about the 1904 World’s Fair – I was shown the diary of a young woman who visited the fair and who wrote about it in great detail. Her name was Laura Merritt.
Laura was likely a teenager when she visited the St. Louis World’s Fair with her family in 1904. She was born on the family farm near Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Like so many people, visiting the World’s Fair was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the world. Laura wrote about that experience in her diary. Her accounts ultimately became part of the introduction and conclusion of our documentary. (Note: Unfortunately, since Rhodia didn’t exist in 1904, Laura didn’t use a Rhodia journal.)
Laura Merritt’s diary represents a physical connection to something that happened 110 years ago. The words written on each page were put there by a person who actually experienced that momentous event. Those same words typed on a computer and read in an email or a book would lose something very important and yet difficult to quantify. Laura’s words are not terribly substantive or poetic; her penmanship doesn’t exhibit a particularly artistic flair. There have certainly been more thorough accounts of the 1904 World’s Fair and thousands of photos exist that reveal more detail. But Laura’s handwritten diary is more than an account of an event. It is a time machine. Seeing those carefully handwritten words, feeling the paper as you turn the pages – the same pages that Laura turned over a century ago – transports the reader back in time.
I use fountain pens to write in my Rhodia A5 webnotebooks nearly every day. What I write is unlikely to ever be fodder for a documentary. In fact, I often write purely for the tactile experience; the words are sometimes unimportant. There is just something so enjoyable about writing on high quality paper… The pen seems to float across the page.
You may think that the act of physically writing is old fashioned and insignificant… If so, you’ve missed the point. You are depriving yourself of one of life’s simple pleasures and a uniquely human experience.
Close your laptop; turn off your computer. Grab a marvelous pen and some Rhodia paper and write! Tell your story – large or small – and you will create something far greater than text on a screen. You will create a time machine.
This week’s Noteworthy Guest Blogger is sketchbook artist Bonnie Jean Woogler.
Over time I have wondered how to describe myself and my work. Recently I have come to think of myself as a sketchbook artist. The filling of a sketchbook is not a means to an end, but it is the creative work.
The form, the shape, and the weight of the notebook/sketchbook is the vessel for the artwork. Each page flows into the next, making my internal world external. This is a creative process and finished work that has come from a lifetime of day jobs and limited time for creative work. I can carry a sketchbook with me everywhere and allow the creative thought to flow in and around all the day job demands. The sketchbook/notebook is the work; it is the lifeline to always being with the drawings and the internal creative world.
The discovery of the Rhodia notebooks has been a luxury. I have spent many years making my own books or simply using the next one I find.
The Rhodia Journal book, hard cover with the dot paper, (Webnotebook) is my favourite. The dots are a wonderful background for my drawings and collages.
One of the qualities that make the Rhodia books a real luxury is that the binding holds up to my abuse.
The quality I love the most is that the paper is totally compatible with and receptive to the assortment of pens and pencils I use in my work.
Five years ago on Nov. 17, 2009 my wife and I received our first shipment of Rhodia, Clairefontaine, and J. Herbin products from Exaclair to sell on our website, GouletPens.com. This was our first foray into fountain pen retailing, and we had a whole new world to discover.
We were new to online retailing, and brand new to the fountain pen world. We had our website that we’d been using to sell our hand-turned wood pens for the previous three years, in a failed former version of our business. We’d devoted three years of our lives trying to build up our company with wood pens, and we simply treaded water.
It wasn’t until I’d discovered fountain pens and the amazing community of folks that are into them that I found my new home. Attending the DC Fountain Pen Supershow in 2009 opened up my eyes to the fact that people are actually into this fountain pen thing, and my discovery of online communities like the Fountain Pen Network showed me that the internet was bringing us together in a way that wasn’t possible even just a few years before. Fountain pen users were no longer isolated from each other. Yes, maybe geographically we are spread out, but online we’re all together sharing with each other. I immediately recognized that this is what had been missing from my wood pen experience, and I dove in head-first to learn everything I possibly could about fountain pens and then turn it around and immediately share it back out freely on my own blog and in my YouTube videos. This laid the groundwork for my company today, and I’ve put out well over 1,000 blog posts and 600 videos with many more to come.
It’s very appropriate that the GouletPens anniversary falls right around Thanksgiving every year, because each year I’m thankful to have spent yet another year doing what I love. The pens, ink, and paper that make up this hobby are great. Though for me they’re not the most satisfying part of being “in the fountain pen business” after five years. It’s the people. Those of us who are into fountain pens have a connection with each other, one that’s hard to explain and even harder to find outside of this community. Because of the internet, blogging, and social media, we are able to find each other and share our knowledge and passion with one another in a way that was difficult to do even ten years ago. I consider myself to be unbelievably fortunate to have discovered fountain pens when I did, with the opportunity that was there for me to participate in the writing community like I do.
It’s no longer just about me and my wife, either. We have had two children since starting our company and been able to build a future for them. We have a team of amazing people that help us do what we do every day, twenty-four of us all working hard to share the fountain pen love. This is something I could not possibly have conceived when I wrote on my first Rhodia pad in 2009, and I am truly grateful for the opportunity I have to serve the community that has taught me so much.
I’m thankful for Exaclair, for allowing a once no-name online retailer like me to start to carry their products and represent their brands. I’m thankful to Stephanie Smith here at RhodiaDrive for blogging passionately and being a resource for me as a fountain pen newbie. I’m thankful for manufacturers like Rhodia who make consistent and reliable fountain-pen friendly products that greatly enhance our writing experience. And most of all I’m thankful for you as a reader of RhodiaDrive for reading and sharing your own knowledge of this writing lifestyle. Your passion and generosity of your knowledge is what drew me in to fountain pens five years ago, and that continues to inspire me to this day.
Do you ever look back on actions you’ve taken or choices you’ve made in the past that have shaped your “today”? The origins of my Dudek Modern Goods brand came almost by chance. On the contrary, like starting any blog, writing The Clicky Post was a very conscious decision and was one I knew I would be committing to from the start, but the creation of my line of walnut pen holders was something that evolved all on its own.
The start of Dudek Modern Goods was not intentional and began when I was visiting my local specialty lumber yard to purchase material for a home project I was doing. While perusing their aisle of scrap hardwood pieces they sell to hobbyists, I stumbled upon a good sized piece of walnut and thought “I could make something from this”.
As I had already started writing the blog and my collection of pens continued to grow, I knew I needed a place to store them when not in use and didn’t want to settle on a standard pen cup. Not that there isn’t a place for a pen cup, but when you start investing into nicer writing instruments you want a place to keep them that both protects and displays.
I don’t think I would call myself a true “minimalist”, but I do enjoy items that have a sense of simplicity and elegance. Beauty mingled with high functionality. Just because something is simple doesn’t mean it cannot be of high quality. These underlying thoughts are what lead me to create the first of my walnut pen pieces for my own use and to give to a few close friends early on.
I already had a workshop that I would tinker in making various things, so I ventured out and started brainstorming. As I had bought a precut piece of scrap walnut that was about 2.75” tall, 3” deep, and about 20” long (like a big rectangular bar), I had to come up with a design that fit these dimensions. I enjoy symmetry and decided to create my first design in a sort of square or “cube” shape that was 3” x 3” on top. In trying to find the right proportions (again, symmetry) for the hole configuration, I opted for a 9 hole pattern that was evenly spaced from the center. This created a nice aesthetic and balance, but also provided some ample room for the pens to sit comfortably.
There was enough material to make about a half dozen of these “cubes”, so I went to work and created my first finished pen holders that would later turn into the start of my Dudek Modern Goods line. They would later become simply known as The Cube. I documented this project of making the first Cubes on the blog through pictures which prompted readers to reach out to me about possibly purchasing them. Once I started hearing from more people and with motivation from friends like Dan Bishop from Karas Kustoms, I knew it was something I could offer to the community which was exciting and fun.
Little did I know it would branch out into what it is today…
In the past year and a half I’ve added 4 additional products to the line, done two product collaborations (another in progress), and have shipped my handmade pieces to 20 countries around the world. To say I am humbled is an understatement. As a creator, being able to share your work or products is extremely satisfying and the scale of support has been tremendous. I’ll take a minute to say thank you to all that have contributed to the creation and continuation of these products as I couldn’t do it without your help.
I’ve recently released a new product called The Divide which is a piece that holds both pens and pencils with a strategically placed notebook slot as to keep them separate or “divided”. In discussing the guest post on Rhodia Drive (thanks so much for having me), we thought it might be fun to pair up and do a contest/giveaway of The Divide and include some Rhodia notebooks to go along with it!
Enter to win The Divide – a $60 value, this coming Wednesday 11/19 on Rhodia Drive!
As my habits have evolved into primarily fountain pens for my daily writing, I have turned to Rhodia as my go-to paper as it really one of the best products to use with a liquid ink. My desk/bag is filled with Rhodia products of all sizes with the Dotpads (black cover) N16 and N18 being my primary. A small thing, but something I appreciate, is that each page is perforated.
I love the way Rhodia paper interacts with my fountain pens allowing the ink to set upon the page rather than just being soaked in completely.
A big thanks again to Rhodia Drive for allowing me to guest post and good luck to everyone in the giveaway of The Divide!
My name is Derek Knoble. I am a Project Manager for McKesson, a Forbes Top 100 company. I manage the implementation of software to our clients. On a daily basis I am on conference calls with clients, tracking the status of the many projects that I have going on at a single time, working my Six Sigma projects, and learning more about Project Management.
I started out in the support group for my company, where I learned that keeping notes of calls and projects that I worked on there was key to making sure that things went smoothly. I work out of an office building with access to lots of different types of notepads. One thing that I learned early on is that your standard, run of the mill notebooks do not work well with fountain pens, which I have a deep appreciation for.
I had to find something that would allow me to use my collection of pens while making it so that I could read what I had written previously, so my hunt began for the perfect notebook.
I had not previously used any Rhodia products, and I am not sure that there is even a distributor of them in the town that I live in. I did some research online and saw how well many other fountain pen users had rated them. Sure, they were more expensive than the spiral notebooks found at your typical office supply store. However, I am not one to shy away from a product just because of price.
I started by ordering 2 Black Side Staple-bound A4 notebooks. The lines were wide enough to allow me to write as large as I needed to, and the texture and color of the paper was perfect! I figured that they would last me a while due to the size of the pages. However, I found that I filled them up quite quickly because I was actually enjoying the writing experience more!
Eventually I decided that I needed something smaller for note-taking for the classes that I take on the side on my way to acquiring more Project Management certifications. I had been eyeballing the Ice series since it had come out and decided to pull the trigger on one. I decided this time to go with the Top Staple-bound No. 16 notepad. This has worked perfect for me! The graph paper is amazing and offers me the flexibility to be as creative on the pages where I have to draw out items, or follow the graph lines to create my own graphs.
It is crucial as a Project Manager to make sure that you are keeping track of feedback from your clients, ideas for what to work on next, planning a timeline, and just keeping notes on what is talked about on status calls with the clients. Not dreading the writing experience because the pen is giving too much “feedback” on scratchy paper is definitely a nice plus. I found that the 80g paper in these notebooks is perfect for this.
I will most definitely be a Rhodia notebook user for life as I feel the product quality is fantastic. The price for what you get is well worth the initial investment. Showing notes to others around the office makes me feel better as well as I take more pride in what I am writing, as well as what I am writing on, as silly as that sounds.
Today’s Noteworthy guest blogger is Ron Manwaring from Pen Chalet. Welcome Ron!
I was first introduced to Rhodia because of my passion for fountain pens. Designing, building and maintaining the website for Pen Chalet has also helped, since we sell Rhodia pads and notebooks online. I like to keep a small Rhodia pad at my desk or with me wherever I go, so I can jot down a quick idea or sketch out a new design. I also keep a short task list of thing to do so I don’t forget them and I can prioritize my goals. I find if I don’t write things down as they come, I may forget them later. I am a big believer of the Chinese proverb, “The palest ink is better than the best memory”.
I recently created an infographic on the fountain pen. When the idea came to me, I immediately grabbed a Rhodia pad and began to sketch out the idea. (Since Rhodia pads come in a wide range of sizes, it is easy to find a small notepad to carry with me at all times.) The infographic shows basic elements of the fountain pen; from the anatomy of the pen, to the nib and feed sections. It also shows a brief history of fountain pens, common brands and more.
In the fountain pen community, there are few notebooks that are “fountain pen friendly”. Rhodia is accepted by the community as one of those and considered one of the top choices by fountain pen users across the globe. I have found that I can lay down a lot of ink on the paper and it will not feather or bleed through. Many cheaper papers will soak in fountain pen ink, causing the writing to feather and bleed. The 80g Rhodia paper is smooth and durable, and the cover is coated- making it waterproof yet flexible, which makes the top staple bound pads ideal for carrying.
I enjoy what I do! I have been in web design and development now for over 10 years for various companies. Creating websites and digital images such as infographics gives me a sense of accomplishment. To be able to watch an idea take shape and then to implement it on the web and share with others is a lot of fun.
Many thanks for sharing your story Ron! Stay tuned for additional Noteworthy guest bloggers each weekend here on Rhodia Drive.
I’m Gabe Couch, a designer and partner at Few. I’m also CEO of our internal startup, Tagless Style – an alternative online style service. Our group of friends launched a design and development conference in 2012 called Made by Few and last year Designed by Few which was a large part of launching Few, a mobile and web application development house. We are located in the center of Arkansas (The Natural State) and are working on creating a truly creative culture here. Continue Readering »
We would love to see where you’ve been taking Rhodia on the Road this year. Send your images to stephanie at rhodiadrive dot com to be added to our Rhodia on the Road Fan Photo Page. Interested in being a guest blogger? Include a paragraph or two with your image telling us a little bit about who you are, how you use your favorite Rhodia products and where you’ve taken them on the road and we’ll review it for publication on the blog.
PS: On Instagram? Tag your images #rhodia
A recent post on mypenneedsink.com about writing things down caught my eye. I asked the writer if I could have permission to use the first paragraph of his post to share with all of you on Rhodia Drive. I thought his ideas might spark some good conversation and insights from the group, on whether is notebook system, and writing things down vs. typing on a keyboard has additional benefits besides the pleasure of writing. As our conversation progressed, I asked him if he would like to write about the topic on Rhodia Drive. I am delighted to introduce Bob, from My Pen Needs Ink. Visit him there for other pens, paper and ink adventures.
Hello from a guest poster you may not recognize, though I hope to change that in the future. I’m Bob and I blog over at www.mypenneedsink.com about pens, paper, writing accessories and life experiences of a pen enthusiast. I was honored to be asked by Karen to guest post here on Rhodia Drive about my use of project notebooks. I hope to hear from you and get the opportunity to share experiences.
I think writing things down makes me smarter. OK, maybe not really smarter but at least a better retainer of information. I have always had a To Do list personality but I get more benefit from penning thoughts than just writing tasks down and crossing them off later. I seem to retain knowledge better when I record my thoughts with ink on paper. I have recently converted to a journal or notebook for each of the variety of projects that keep me busy. The board of my home owners association, my daughter’s wedding, longer term home improvement projects and the like. These usually require meetings or visits outside my home or office whether it’s over lunch with my daughter or at the home center for that next piece of lumber. I just grab the appropriate project notebook, my favorite pen and I’m ready.
One could successfully argue that the safety of paper notebooks is risky due to loss or damage but I would call it a wash since electronic media can crash, get damaged and get lost as well.
My preferred format is the side staple bound notebook with fountain pen friendly paper. The side staple format lays flat in my briefcase and stacks easily on the desk. Each notebook has a label on the front and the back courtesy of the little plastic tape label makers you can get at any of the office supply stores. Labeling front and back helps with quick retrievals when fumbling around in my briefcase.
All my entries start with a date and after that it’s free form. It could be a contact phone number, a window treatment measurement, a drawing, a price quote or any type of information that is hard fro me to keep track of in the different formats of the electronic project management software/apps.
I’m not building space shuttles but for me juggling right at my capacity of what I want to do and what I need to do these notebooks work great for me.
What do you think? Have you found writing things down help build your knowledge base?
“I can’t wait to try out a glass dip pen on it. I know the results will be beautiful, but I also anticipate a satisfaction in matching a beautiful paper to a beautiful pen, and capturing a sense of writing in a way as people have written for centuries. That creates a connection for me. Even though I’m a computer-fiend, I was a pen-and-paper fiend first, and the computer will never recreate that sense of connection. Or the feeling that not only am I creating a beautiful thing, but that the act of creating it is beautiful in itself. The action of making marks, moving pen across the page–these are artful things.”
Life Imitates Doodles blogger and artist Sandra Strait is a favorite of ours for reviewing our products because of her willingness to be so very thorough. As an artist myself, I know how common it can be in the moment to want to use a variety of mixed mediums on a surface that isn’t always intended to accept it. When anyone takes the time to test a wide variety of wet and dry mediums on an individual product, I find it incredibly helpful. In this review, Sandra tests this paper using pen and ink, fountain pen, rollerball, collage with glue and gel medium, acrylic paint, colored pencil, photo transfer, and finally, watercolor paint. You can read her full review which included loads of pictures, here.
Everyone, at some point, will need to write down a note to themselves. Whether it’s a shopping list or lecture notes, we all have to write things down to help jog our memories later on.
If your notes are usually two or three words scribbled in a dying pen, then you’ll know full well that bad notes are tricky business. Here are some tips on making notes for yourself, so that your ideas are as clear and inviting as the gorgeous Rhodia notebook that they’re written in. Continue Readering »
Fredric Pitts: Review of two Rhodia No. 19 pads of lined paper – one white and one yellow.
“When I sat down to write with these two papers I will admit that I had preconceived ideas about how the experience would go… and I was wrong. I thought that the white paper would be great for fountain pens and, thus, my favorite. The yellow, reported to be toothier, would be great for pencil but not fountain pens and I rarely use anything but fountain pens. On both pads the lines are nicely spaced for my hand and the page has lots of real estate to write upon which is great for the desk top, not really my favorite size for travel. Continue Readering »
Earlier in the year, I’d written a post about New Pens for the New Year and Jane Herman took the time to write about her wanting to try a new pen and then discovering an opportunity to test it in person. Be sure to visit Jane’s blog, Jane the Writer.
“For some time, I’ve been eying these Papermate Flair pens, but was reluctant to buy the whole set without the opportunity to try one first. My chance came yesterday, when my sister and I stumbled upon University Stationery just two doors down from the movie theater where we’d spent the afternoon. The bins of individual brightly colored pens waiting to be tested and the piles of Rhodia notebooks and pads caught my eye immediately in this high-end, but cramped independent stationery store in the neighborhood of NYU. It didn’t take much to convince my sister we should pop in, and like a kid in a candy store, I tested pen after pen after pen, even though I knew all along that the blue ultra fine Flair above would leave the store with me.
The pen, a gift from me to me, got its test run in the office today and passed with flying colors. The ink is smooth, the color vibrant, the line fine and sharp, and, best of all, it doesn’t bleed through the pages in my brand new planner! If this experience is a sign of things to come, 2014 is off to a great start!”
What new pens have you purchased this year so far?