My name is Nick Stewart and I’m currently involved with a personal project – an experimental journey into the creative possibilities of fountain pen inks and bleach. With hundreds of inks to test, I have no end date in mind, just a compulsion to experiment, create art and share my findings, as time allows, on this blog site.
Fountain pen inks are made up of dyes. When the inks are applied to blotting paper the dyes are released and the colours spread outwards – imagine a drop of petrol on wet tarmac. I have found a way of achieving and utilising this effect on watercolour paper. The chromatic process is very much serendipity led and the beauty of the final outcomes are invariably dictated by this. Because they are natural and non contrived, the viewer is naturally drawn to them, like watching clouds or a sunset. I’m also a firm believer in the concept of ‘less is more’ and through these processes you can get so much from so little. I also love the idea of alchemy or in this case, creating a gold effect through subjecting fountain pen inks to bleach.
Each fountain pen ink is supposedly unique and there are lots of them! With a plethora of fountain pen inks yet to source and 900+ samples tested so far, the results have been diverse and fascinating. Some inks don’t react while others reveal a whole range of unexpected behaviours, colours, reactions and creative possibilities.
The techniques, processes and reactions are all unique to fountain pen inks and have all been realised through this project. You really do have to take a leap of faith, surrender to the process and let the art happen. It can be unstable, frustrating and unforgiving. To get the best out of your fountain pen inks: practice the techniques, take advantage of chance outcomes, make mistakes, be patient and keep at it.
Looking to the future, handwriting is not going to be a growth area. Smart technologies are the now the communication tools of choice. Fountain pens are increasingly becoming collectable items and fashion accessories. And what might become of fountain pen inks? Well, I believe that there is a huge opportunity for FP inks as a creative medium within the art sector, and I hope that what I’m doing here is proof of that. This would in no way upset their history as a writing medium – in fact it would positively enhance them. If we look to the far eastern traditions, art and handwriting have been created from the same medium and seen, in harmony, for centuries. So, in the spirit of the current recycling era, I’m on a mission to re-invent, up-cycle and promote the use of fountain pen inks as something a little different. AND, if you like what I’m saying… please, SHARE THE LOVE!
If you’re into social media you can follow this project on any of the links below:
• Facebook: facebook.com/quinkandbleach/
• Twitter: @NickiStew
• Instagram: @quinkandbleach
And if you’re into lettering:
ALL feedback – positive or negative – is most welcome.