Immediate reactions are priceless, and the reactions Myke and I had when opening our respective Kanilea Pen Co. Hanauma Bay Fountain Pen in the privacy of our hotel room at the 2018 Atlanta Pen Show were just that.
Myke went with the mouth agape, eyes embiggened, audible gasp reaction when first opening the box, while I went with the grin, giggle, and head shake, as if to say “Wow, they did it again, didn’t they?”
Yes, they did.
The “they” in this case are Hugh and Karol Scher, the owners of Kanilea Pen Co., and they were kind enough to send us a pre-launch look at their newest release. We had to sit on these for a week or two before sharing them and spilling the beans, but both Myke and I arranged purchase of our respective loaner pens before leaving the hotel room that day (Disclosure: I paid full price for the pen barrel and was given a gold nib upgrade at no charge.) That was in April, and I think I’ve had it inked up ever since.
What fascinates me the most about what Kanilea brings to the market is the wizardry behind the acrylics. And the wizard in the big pointy hat and cape is none other than Jonathan Brooks. What comes out of his cauldron is nothing short of magic.
If you knew nothing of the real-world locations or source images these pens were designed to mimic, you would still be blown away by their beauty. That someway, somehow their representation is near perfect is beyond my admittedly basic mental capabilities. I don’t understand how it happens, but I’m glad it does.
The golden yellow of the sunrise is what sold me. This is a mostly-blue swirl pen, with a fair amount of silver and shimmer. The yellow is mixed in liberally, representing the sun on the horizon between the blue of the skies and the ocean, and is mostly translucent. That’s what sent me over the edge: The mix of translucent and solid acrylics in one pen, with a wide range of depth and transparency. And each pen is different.
Shopping with Kanilea Pen Co. is best done in person for that reason. I know it’s not feasible for every one, every time, but getting to choose the exact model you want to write with is a plus.
A year earlier, at the 2017 Atlanta Pen Show, Myke said he wanted to be sure to get to the show floor early so he can be first in picking out the then brand new Haleakala Silhouette. He spent some time with each model, finally settling on the one. He then paid for it, and Hugh began setting up the nib for Myke, which he does for each pen. Upon handing over the pen to Myke, Hugh mentioned that he picked a good one, as it was the one chosen for the recent Pen World cover shoot and article on Kanilea Pen Co.. Needless to say, Myke thought he was hot stuff after that.
Kanilea Pens are about the stories. I could bore you with technical specifications, but that information doesn’t even register with me when discussing it. Ok, it’s a big pen, on par with the Pelikan M1000 closed, but closer to the M800 when writing with it. And it’s an expensive pen, almost $400 with a stock Jowo #6 steel nib and over $500 with the 18k option, so it can’t be purchased on a whim, if ever. But when you see one and hold one you will understand.
And if you are lucky enough to buy one, you can start writing your own Kanilea Pen story.
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