Tuesday Talk Back: The Benefits of a Consistent Source of Paper Manufacturing

clairefontaine_mill

The Clairefontaine company in France is now managed by sixth generation family members and is currently the only European manufacturer making its own paper for its own products. This guarantees consistent quality and better control over the environmental impact of the manufacturing process.

If you will, please tell us which of these things  is most important to you as a consumer:

  • Clairefontaine paper is made from pulp and wood by-products from forests independently certified by PEFC or FSC as sustainably managed.
  • Clairefontaine has reduced its water consumption through an advanced recycling method. The water is returned to the River Meurthe cleaner than when it arrived at the mill. The water is so clean when it is returned to the river people can swim, boat and fish downstream within sight of the mill.
  • Our paper is chlorine-free. A gift of nature, a mineral called calcium carbonate gives Clairefontaine paper its famous trademark qualities of extra white and ultra smooth.
  • The ink used in all Clairefontaine and Rhodia products abides by the most stringent European environmental standards. The inks are water-based and made from vegetable oil pigments.
  • We supply most of our own energy as Clairefontaine operates a dual power generation system (electricity and steam) which supplies 80% of the mill’s needs.
  • Through a plan for improving sorting at source and recycling/transforming, Clairefontaine has reduced the quantity of solid waste produced by the plant by over two-thirds. Packaging is designed to produce the least waste (returnable containers, bulk packaging, etc.) The waste from the water treatment plant is converted into agricultural compost. This is a first for the paper industry.

Who would like to see fountain pen friendly Rhodia Engineering paper?

Engineer Paper

We received a recent letter from Michael Marchesan asking us to develop an fountain pen friendly engineer’s pad. When Karen Doherty asked why engineers couldn’t use the standard grid, Michael responded as follows:

I used to do all of my math/science on graph paper for years until I began engineering study and realized the beauty of engineering paper. 

Engineering paper has it’s grid on the backside, which you do not actually write on. The grid shows through to the front of the paper which is blank, so you can have the benefits of writing on gridded paper, without actually writing on a grid.

When you tear your sheet off the glued-top-bound pad, it appears as if though you wrote in perfectly straight lines and did all your calculations, figures and measurements with incredible precision on a blank sheet without the distraction of a grid on your work.

The other benefit to this is that the grid does not show up when your work is photocopied from engineering paper.

Each grid on engineering paper is 0.2″x0.2″, with bold grid-lines forming 1″x1″ squares every 5 grids–great for scaling and doing precise engineering calculations and figures.

So who else out there would like to see Rhodia produce a fountain pen friendly version of this specialized paper? Spread the word and tell people to comment on this post.

European Paper Company: Ltd. Edition Rhodia ICE – Coupon code inside

European Paper Company

Boulder Colorado based online retailer European Paper Company is now stocking the Ltd. Edition Rhodia ICE products and is offering a coupon for $5 off an $85 purchase by using the coupon code ICE5 before 10/15.

Five sizes are available in this special edition of a customer favorite:

No. 11 –  3 x 4″
No. 12 – 3.375 x 4.75″
No. 13 – 4 x 6″
No. 16 – 6 x 8.25″
No. 18 – 8.25 x 11.75″

Tuesday Talk Back: Ivory paper with grey lines – your thoughts?

Ivory Rhodia Paper

The new Rhodia Anniversary notepad set contains the same ivory paper as in the Webbie (Webnotebook) and the R by Rhodia premium pads – 90g with grey graph ruling.

How do you like the 90g ivory Rhodia paper? Do you prefer it over the white? Prefer the grey ruling over the blue? We’ve heard a few people talk about fountain pen ink colors on white vs. ivory – what are your thoughts on that? Are there any other Rhodia products that you’d like to see use the ivory paper?

Tuesday Talk Back: You don’t like the notebook you started… Now what?

Notebooks

Question: What do you do with the journal or notebook that you started, but ended up not liking?

Before I started writing for Rhodia Drive, I used to do a lot of product reviews on my personal blog in search of the perfect pen, ink and journal. At that time, the perfect notebook for me was one that was first and foremost friendly to fountain pen inks. Other preferred features included being able to both open and lie flat, pages with rounded corners, and a rigid cover so that I could write with the book propped on my knee. I ended up testing many, many journals.

(Some people use the words journal and notebook interchangeably. I tend to use “journal” when describing a notebook whose pages are not removable.)

If I really didn’t like the book, I’d either give it away or recycle it. If I liked it, I’d obviously use it – but there were one or two that while I didn’t love them, I thought had a few redeeming qualities. These ended up hanging around on the shelf a lot longer than I’d intended.

Case in point – I just finished a book that I’d started in July of 2010. I didn’t love the book when I first bought it, mostly because it wasn’t fountain pen friendly and the pages had noticeable grain. Four years ago I decided to turn it into a mixed media art journal and had started drawing on the first few pages but once again, I quickly abandoned it.

I came upon the book once again this past April, when I decided that I either had to use it or get rid of it. Knowing that I’d created art in it, I didn’t really want to let it go and so I tried again. Five months later, it was filled with a combination of writing and sketches, all done in pencil and it felt good to have finally finished something that I’d started so long ago- even if it was just a simple journal.

So if I may ask, what do YOU do once you’ve started working in a journal or notebook, then decide you don’t like it?

(Once in a blue moon, if I’ve been in a journal for too long sometimes I get antsy and want to move on even if it is a journal that I do really like. In which case I’ll either finish the last pages with collage, sketches, poems, affirmations, intentions, prayers and/or overall positive words of encouragement.)

Creative Prompt: Take a grounding walk in nature

Forest

What does it mean to be “grounded?”

The simplest way to describe it, is being fully present in your life as opposed to being distracted by past or future events. When we are “in our heads” and thinking about anything but the current moment, we lose the ability to operate from or with, our fullest mental capacities. You can think about this like the RAM on a computer. Whether it’s a computer or our brain, give it too many tasks to process at the same time and it will ultimately grow sluggish.

You don’t need to take a lengthy or expensive vacation to a remote island or mountain top to do this. One of the easiest ways to reconnect with your full creative self is just by taking a quiet walk in nature.

Try this: First find a quiet place to take a walk. If you have to get in the car or on a bus to get to such a place, do it – it will be worth it.

Next, turn off technology for at least an hour.

Then, start walking. Try to be fully aware of placing one foot in front of the other and not thinking about anything else. Breathe deeply. Notice the sights, sounds, and smells around you. If your to-do list pops into your head, gently place it to the back burner while you bring your awareness back to one foot in front of the other.

If you have the opportunity, try taking your shoes off and allowing your bare feet to touch the earth – if only for a moment.

Retailer Spotlight: Fountain Pen Hospital in New York City

Fountain Pen Hospital

Image by fountainpenhospital on Instagram

Look at all that Rhodia in the beautiful new showcases at the Fountain Pen Hospital, located at 10 Warren Street, New York, NY 10007. The Fountain Pen Hospital is a retailer of fine writing instruments, ink & stationery and has also been repairing pens since 1946- an era when the only types of pens being used were fountain pens!

Fountain Pen Hospital

Image by RW Sinclair on Flickr

FOUNTAIN PEN HOSPITAL was founded in 1946 by Phil Wiederlight and Al Wiederlight (the father and grandfather, respectively, of today’s proprietors – Terry and Steve Wiederlight). Terry and Steve have a combined 60 years experience in all phases of vintage and modern writing instruments. Joining them in January of 1997 as Director of Operations, was Ed Fingerman who brought an additional 20+ years experience in fine writing instruments to the firm. Ed is a former President of Pen Collectors of America, a regular contributor to The Pennant, and has contributed to Pen World and numerous vintage pen books. (from the Fountain Pen Hospital website. Be sure to check them out online as well as in person when visiting the city.) 

Rhodia Anniversary Video! Take a look into the Rhodia factory

manufacturing3_750

Rhodia is celebrating its 80th birthday! Take a look at the video below for a behind the scenes look at the Rhodia factory. See below the video for an English translation of the French.

Here is the newest Rhodia product, with its white color and metallic logo – offering a nod of recognition to the technology (cell phones) of today. For 80 years, the Rhodia brand has stood resilient- watching change after change in the way people communicate with one another, proving that nothing beats a great pad of paper. 

Geraldine Muller product manager: “The Rhodia pad is timeless. – which is the way Rhodia founders wanted it from the beginning.  The Rhodia logo and characteristics have remained the same. The only changes have been the introduction of the black cover in 2007 and now this year in white for its 80th birthday with a silver logo. It is a sort of wink to the digital with whom it gets along very well.”

40 people at the plant have produced 10 millions pads, and other than the color of the cover, the pads have not really changed since 1934 when two brothers from Lyon started with this simple orange pad with 80 sheets, and 80g paper, staple bound at top, To this day, it remains 100% made in France.

Patrick Sartre, plant manager: “We have both the people formed and ‘faithful’ to the company as well as the tools specialized for this product. With this winning combination there is no need to move away in order to stay abreast of the competition.”

Finally the 5000 tons of paper we use are guaranteed to protect the environment and the socio-conomic role of the forests.  Knowing that 11% of forests are harvested for paper, it is a very respectable accomplishment.

More Rhodia Yellow?

Yellow Rhodia

We have started to receive requests for the yellow Rhodia paper to be available in additional options. Is there a particular format or ruling that you’d like to see filled with the yellow paper? dotYellow? Or yellow paper in the Meeting Book?

We are always very appreciative of your feedback regarding the design of our products.

It’s Anniversary time! Five years as your Rhodia Driver!

Stephanie Smith Rhodia Driver

It was five years ago this month that I first started writing for Rhodia Drive, and it will be 6 years in November that I made the overall decision to become self-employed. Aside from penning the Rhodia Drive blog, I make and sell art from my private studio at The Banana Factory – an arts and education center located in Bethlehem, PA. (Contact me if you’d like to visit!) I teach private students, offer workshops and do motivational speaking engagements on creativity.  Continue Readering »

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Journal

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today (and everyday) is a good day to be grateful.

What are you grateful for?

Who would like to see more options in wirebound Rhodia products?

Wirebound spiral Rhodia pad

Exaclair currently offers a limited variety of Rhodia wirebound (spiral) notebooks and we’d like to know if you like them, how you are using them, and whether or not you’d like to see additional options made available in the future. I myself would love to see anything blank or dot- especially a dotReverse.

Current options can be seen here and include products such as the Wirebound Notebooks, 4 Color Book, Elasti Book, Reverse Book, Top Wirebound Pads and two versions of the Meeting books.

Creative Prompt: Notes to Your Younger Self

G Lalo Stationery

If you could write a letter to your younger self, what would you say?

Would you offer kind words of support and encouragement? Talk about potential pitfalls? Tell yourself that things will only get better?

Sometimes (when I sit down and really think about it) I subscribe to the theory that all time is now and that every version of us is happening at the same moment- that if you offer love, coaching, advice etc., to a younger version of yourself, that it can positively affect who we are in the supposed here and now.

I happened upon this theory as one day when I happened to recall my failed audition for the junior high majorette squad. It wasn’t only baton twirling skills that I’d fallen short of, but also cheerleading, rifle squad, basketball… I’d noticed that I no longer take risks in that same way and I’d wished that I could tell her to not be discouraged and to keep trying.

And so I did.

Favorite Ink Colors: Summer of 2014

Herbin Inks

I know that many of our fountain pen friends enjoy switching out their inks to mark the changing seasons. Did you have any favorite brands/colors that you used or discovered this summer? Did you make any recent purchases that you are looking forward to using this fall?

Did you discover any new all-time-favorite ink colors at any of the recent pen shows?

Retro Exacompta FAF Pad: You know you want one…

FAF Pad Exacompta

The FAF pad is a practical and highly functional desk pad with a unique vintage look. The perfect fit for your desk, home office and all of your writing needs. Makes a great gift.

• Elegant black box with clear top
• Sturdy metal construction with non-slip backing
• Bright white 60 g paper
• Comes with 200 microperforated pages for easy removal
• Refillable with 200 blank pages

The FAF (Fabriqué en France) pad is made in Paris in a workshop built by Gustave Eiffel (of eponymous Tower fame)

Exacompta Bloc Faf Retro Office Excellence at Pencil Talk

Review of the Exacompta FAF Pad at Life Imitates Doodles

Exacompta FAF Desk Pad Review at The Unroyal Warrant

Exacompta FAF Pad Retro Desk Pad at OfficeSupplyGeek

Review: FAF Un Bloc Pad at Pocket Blonde

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In Your Bag

Will you show us yours? Send us a photo of Rhodia in your bag to: stephanie at rhodiadrive.com so I can add it to the page.  ... Read on »

Rhodia Customization Module

Visit our customization module at Exaclair.com

Grab Your Camera and Show us Where You Buy Your Rhodia!

Target? Dick Blick? Borders? Art Brown? We want you to show us where you buy your Rhodia... The next time you are out and about,  snap us a picture of where you buy your Rhodia products so we can assemble an online gallery of local retailers. To... Read on »

Favorite Pens

Will you show us yours? Send us a photo of your favorite pen: stephanie@rhodiadrive.com so I can add it to the page. ... Read on »

David Allen of GTD on Rhodia

David Allen is a productivity consultant who is best known as the creator of the time management method known as “Getting Things Done”. David comments on the Rhodia Meeting Book: “I love this Rhodia pad. First, the paper stands... Read on »

Chef Hosea Rosenberg on Rhodia

Season 5 (Bravo Network) Top Chef Hosea Rosenberg, originally from Taos, New Mexico, was always good at math. After graduating 3rd in his class at Taos High School, he moved to Boulder, CO to study at the University of Colorado. His dream... Read on »

Download the Life Noted App

Life Noted App

Visit the App Store on your iOS 7 device to download Life Noted

Would you like to be a guest blogger on Rhodia Drive?

If so, contact me via e-mail at stephanie at rhodiadrive dot com with your proposed subject matter. We are looking for posts ranging in length from 100-500 words. Photos to accompany the article are a welcome bonus. If you have been reading... Read on »

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Rhodia Anniversary Video

Rhodia Classic Pad Showcase

PanPastel and Rhodia

Rhodia Fashion Show

Tom Bihn loves Rhodia

Clairefontaine Basics - Life. Unplugged

InkNouveau.com Clairefontaine vs. Rhodia

Alberto Lung reviews the Rhodia Pencil

Testing a vintage Mabie Swan fountain pen with a lot of flex - on a Rhodia Pad

Click here to read the story behind this video.


About

Rhodia Drive is a blog about Rhodia notebooks and the people who use them. It’s a place where devotees of this “French orange notebook” contribute ideas, experiences and links on the latest tools, events and general notebook-related news.

Rhodia Drive attracts creative people passionate about their Rhodia. Designers and artists, writers and pen collectors, thinkers and free spirits—anyone who loves notebooks—come together on Rhodia Drive.